“It was clear to me the White House is dedicated to taking action that will reform the system to better protect our brave men and women.” Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, at a White House bipartisan meeting to address the issue of sexual assault in the military on May 9, 2013
WEEK OF MAY 6, 2013
Nation: It’s been an emotional week for Cleveland.
Three women who were held captive returned home for the first time in ten years this week. Their captor, Ariel Castro, has been charged with multiple counts of kidnapping and rape, and prosecutors have said that they might seek murder charges against the defendant. On Monday, one of the victims was able to break out of the house and flee to a nearby home to alert authorities. Cleveland police have been criticized for not following earlier leads and tips about the suspicious house and perpetrator. The media has been asked to respect the privacy of the victims involved and give them time to heal before being asked to publicly address their ordeal.
World: Congress looks deeper into what happened in Benghazi.
The House dug up old memories on Wednesday, searching for more answers in a hearing on the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya that led to the death of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. While some disturbing new facts were revealed, critics see the Republican effort as a “witch hunt” meant to block former Secretary Clinton’s speculated bid for the White House in 2016.
Politics: Sanford solidifies his comeback: cue all comedians (especially Stephen Colbert).
You remember Mark Sanford – the congressman caught with his mistress in Argentina while he was supposed to be hiking the Appalachian Trail? Well this week he beat out his Democratic rival Elizabeth Colbert Busch (Stephen’s sister) in a special election for his old South Carolina seat. The win is viewed largely as a response to Sanford’s political views and not his personal priorities, but it begs the question, could Anthony Weiner be next?
Business: Okay, China, let’s talk economics.
Plans are in the works and will be unveiled later this year by China’s powerful State Council, which has said that it will move to open its borders to the freer flow of capital. A transition to a freer, more market-based financial system could be advantageous, but the decision over how much financial liberalization, how fast, has been an ongoing internal battle within the Chinese government. Will this move propel China into a major force in international finance? The answer is yet to come.
Technology: Cyber-heist hackers stole $45 million. Whoa.
Thursday, federal prosecutors unsealed an indictment charge against eight men in an alleged cybertheft ring accused of stealing $45 million from banks around the globe. The operation included sophisticated computer experts operating in the shadowy world of Internet hacking, manipulating financial information and street criminals who used that information to loot automated teller machines. Authorities are calling it “one of the most sophisticated and effective cybercrime attacks ever uncovered.”
Science: Honeybees are dying and we don’t know why.
Last week the Department of Agriculture released a massive report detailing “colony-collapse disorder” the catchall term for the large-scale deaths of honeybees across the country. Scientists have yet to determine the cause of these deaths, upwards of tens of millions since 2006. This mysterious circumstance has major implications for our food sources, as bees are responsible for pollinating the majority of our fruit and vegetables: from apples, avocados and almonds to pears, squash and zucchini. Scientists are working on pinpointing the source of this disaster because as of now, it’s not looking so good.
Women’s Affairs: Spanx founder becomes the first female billionaire to join the Giving Pledge.
Sara Blakely, founder of the ever-popular shapeware brand Spanx, went beyond saving our figures to winning our hearts this week when she became the first female billionaire to join the Giving Pledge. Led by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, Giving Pledge signatories agree to give at least half of their wealth to charity. At 42, Blakely is the youngest self-made woman on Forbes’ Billionaires list and she still owns 100 percent of her company. “I have so much gratitude for being a woman in America,” Blakely said. Well said and well done! We commend her decision.