“Are the marriages of millions of straight people about to be threatened because a few thousand gay people are permitted to join? What will they say: ‘Darling our marriage is over, Sir Elton John has just got engaged to David Furnish’?” Nick Herbert, Conservative Member of Parliament, in regards to Britain legalizing gay marriage on July 16, 2013
WEEK OF JULY 15, 2013
Nation: Not guilty.
Neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman was found not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter this past Saturday in the shooting of teenager Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman did not deny shooting Trayvon in a late-night confrontation, but maintained that his move was made in self-defense, and jurors agreed. Attorney General Eric Holder reacted to the decision on Tuesday, taking aim at so-called “Stand Your Ground” laws that applied to Zimmerman’s case. “It’s time to question laws that senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods,” said Holder, calling Trayvon’s death “unnecessary.”
World: School lunch turned tragedy in India.
In Bihar, India, 22 school children (between the ages of 5 and 12) died this week after complaining about the free lunch served at their state school saying it tasted strange. Officials have identified tainted cooking oil stored in a container formerly used for insecticides as the cause of the tragedy, leading angry parents to speak out about the government’s negligence. On Wednesday, parents and villagers took to the streets in protest of deaths and the many more sickened children still in the hospital. They have since buried three of the children inside the school grounds in the hope that their headstones might serve as a reminder of the tragic event.
Politics: Snowden’s leak scandal is straining Russian relations.
Reports indicate that President Obama may cancel his September trip to Moscow as the standoff over the fate of NSA leaker Edward J. Snowden continues. The White House could be using the meeting as leverage in the Snowden case, but a decision to skip the get-together could be seen as a direct slap to Russia’s President Putin who values these visits and at a time when the U.S. relationship with Russia is already strained. Snowden is currently residing at Moscow’s airport, but could leave within days. For his part, Mr. Putin has warned the former defense contractor to behave. If we were Snowden, we’d do what Putin says.
Business: Detroit is broke.
On Thursday, the city of Detroit, Michigan filed for bankruptcy in federal court and in doing so became the nation’s largest public sector bankruptcy. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said the financial condition of the city left him no choice. “We have a great city, but a city going down hill for the last 60 years,” he said. Once the nation’s fourth most populous city, Detroit’s population has fallen 28% since 2000 and the unemployment rate is 16.3% (down from the peak of 28.7% in the summer of 2009). Because municipal bankruptcies are rare, there is no road map for Detroit’s recovery, but state officials said ordinary city business would carry on as city leaders take their case to a judge to prove the city is financially troubled enough to be eligible for bankruptcy status. Good luck, Detroit.
Science: We’re breaking records with this heat.
We know, we know, it’s hot out. And, as a matter of fact, last month marked earth’s fifth hottest June ever recorded. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released the finding on Thursday amidst another severe heat wave dominating about two-thirds of the eastern part of the country this week, in what the experts are calling a “heat dome.” Dr. Jessica Blundon, one of the report’s authors, said the June temperatures are “consistent with what we expect to see in a warming world.” Stay cool, Everygirls.
Women’s Affairs: Bravery in the face of violence.
On Friday, July 12, her sixteenth birthday, Malala Yousafzai spoke to members of the United Nations Youth Assembly, calling on world leaders to provide “free, compulsory education” for every child. “Let us pick up our books and our pens,” Malala told the young leaders from 100 countries. “They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world. Education is the only solution.” This was her first major speech since she was shot in the head by a Taliban member last October for being an outspoken advocate of education for girls. In her speech she touched on her attack by saying, “They thought that the bullets would silence us, but they failed. … Thousands of people have been killed by the terrorists and millions have been injured. I am just one of them. So here I stand, one girl among many. I speak not for myself but for those without voice.” Bravo, Malala, we commend you for your bravery and thank you for raising your voice.