In the Know: August 15, 2014

“I announce before you today, to facilitate the political process and to form a new government, that I withdraw my candidacy in favor of the brother Dr. Haider al-Abadi, and all that goes with that in order to preserve the high interests of the country.” Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, announcing his decision to step aside after days of crisis in the country.

On Saturday in Ferguson, Missouri, 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed, reportedly unarmed. Protests ensued and police are being questioned amid unrest from the community over why the young black man was gunned down. Stay tuned.

Funnyman Robin Williams has died, struggling with depression and an early diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease prior to his death. Thanks for the laughs, heart, and especially for bringing us Mrs. Doubtfire.

President Obama declared Thursday that the U.S. “broke the…siege of Mount Sinjar” in Iraq by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), removing the need for further U.S. operations to evacuate trapped refugees there.

Pope Francis is visiting South Korea, the first time in 25 years. He held his first public mass in Asia today, and called for Catholics to combat the allure of materialism. 

Former governor of Virginia, Bob McDonnell, and his wife will begin calling witnesses to defend their case next week. If found guilty of corruption, McDonnell could face up to 20 years in prison.

Hillary Clinton kicked up some controversy this week in an interview with The Atlantic, where she distanced herself from the increasingly unpopular Obama administration on some key issues. 2016, anyone?

Trolls (web trolls, that is) were in the news more than usual this week, with more high-profile cases of their ill effect on the internet coming to light.

Insomnia affects an estimated 60 million Americans, and now the FDA has announced support for a landmark drug as a sleeping pill that could help.

Researchers at Harvard say well over 1.5 million heart-related deaths worldwide can be blamed on eating too much salt. Nearly 58,000 lives could be saved every year in the U.S. alone by cutting sodium intake in half.

In the wake of a widespread outbreak still raging in West Africa, drug companies are racing to prioritize the development of drugs to help stem the spread of the disease.

Women’s Affairs
Hollywood legend Lauren Bacall died at the age of 89. Actress and style icon, her son Stephen Bogart reminded us this week, “Her life speaks for itself. She lived a wonderful life, a magical life.”

Iranian Maryam Mirzakhani is the first female mathematician to be awarded the Fields Medal, an honor often called math’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize. A professor at Stanford University, she was honored for her “striking and highly original contributions to geometry and dynamical systems.”

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