“I believe America is at its best when we champion the freedom and dignity of every human being.”– Hilary Rodham Clinton, former Secretary of State, endorsing same-sex marriage
WEEK OF MARCH 18, 2013
World: Mr. Obama goes to Israel, the first visit in his presidency.
President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took great pains to showcase their once-strained relationship as Netanyahu confirmed the President’s timeline for when Iran might produce a nuclear weapon. The Prime Minister also expressed his confidence in U.S.-Israeli security cooperation (especially salient, as this week marks the tenth anniversary of the Iraq war). Obama continued on to discuss the stalled peace process with Palestinian President Abbas. His next stop is Jordan.
Politics: We’ve avoided another government shutdown! At least for now.
The House gave its final approval Thursday on a bill that will keep the government funded through September, just before leaving for a two-week recess. The Pentagon has also put the brakes on issuing furlough notices to federal workers, which could reduce unpaid leave requirements. So everything is fixed and we can all go home, right? Well, maybe not. We still have the next balanced budget to contend with.
Business: Cyprus needs a bailout. By Monday.
Frankly, Cyprus’ finances are a mess. Earlier this week, lawmakers voted down a controversial and unprecedented tax on civilian bank deposits. And now the European Union is giving Cyprus until Monday to raise billions to secure an international bailout or face a complete collapse of its financial system. Once a possible aid, Russia is now out. Markets are a bit unsettled and preoccupied with the crisis as it’s in wait-and-see territory now.
Health: Good news! Leukemia appears vulnerable to manipulation.
Researchers are reporting that experimental cell therapy shows promise for an acute type of leukemia. Meaning, the treatment genetically alters a patient’s own immune cells to fight this aggressive (and usually lethal) cancer, producing remissions in adults. Experts are considering it a “highly promising approach.” The study is continuing, but as far as we are concerned: mankind 1, cancer 0.
Women’s Affairs: India is getting serious about violence toward women. Finally.
Less than three months after a violent assault on a moving bus left one woman dead, India’s parliament has passed a sweeping reform measure that toughens laws on sexual violence. Resulting from widespread protest, the bill criminalizes stalking and voyeurism, imposes tougher penalties on sexual offenders and is intended to create a stronger police and judicial system to respond to these crimes.
Sports: It’s March Madness!
You’re in for some intense basketball talk now through April 8th. The mecca of all NCAA tournaments, March Madness commenced this Tuesday with 68 men’s Division I college teams in the running to be crowned National Champion. Be on the lookout for some major upsets these next few weeks while cheering on your favorite team. How is your bracket looking this year? Go U!