There’s always that one person. You know the one. They seem to have a telepathic link to Twitter, always on the cutting edge of news. Here’s your chance to stick it to them and steal their power. Because it’s the second week of 2014, and we’ve got the top stories from around the world, no telepathic link necessary. Go get ’em, tiger.[divider] [/divider]
Ariel Sharon passes away. The former Israeli Prime Minister drew both celebration of his dedication to a strong Israel and condemnation for his policies towards the Palestinian Territories. He spent the last eight years of his life in a coma, following a stroke in 2006.
For relaxing times, make it Suntory times. The Japanese whiskey company immortalized in Sofia Coppola’s “Lost in Translation” has bought Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark.
Date set for implementation of Iran nuclear deal. The U.S. and Iran confirmed Sunday that the interim agreement reached in Geneva will go into effect Jan. 20. The plan will remain in place for six months, during which time Iran will receive limited sanctions relief in exchange for a number of steps meant to increase transparency and reduce breakout capacity of their nuclear program. To read more about the nuclear deal, visit here.
Senate reaches veto-proof majority on Iran sanctions. In other Iran news, the U.S. Senate has been able to secure a majority of votes needed to pass new sanctions without the president’s approval. The move would torpedo the ongoing negotiations with Iran over their disputed nuclear program and undo the work of diplomats in both Iran and the U.S. to overcome decades of mistrust.
Voting on Egypt’s constitution brings public protest. A draft constitution expected to pass easily drew pro-Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators, resulting in clashes with security forces that killed 11 and wounded many more. The Muslim Brotherhood, the party of former-President Mohammed Morsi, has been banned from Egyptian politics, and membership in the group can result in a jail sentence.
Chemical spill in West Virginia. A foaming agent leaked into the public water treatment system, leaving 300,000 without water. Four were hospitalized as of Sunday due to exposure to the contaminated water. The area has been declared a federal disaster area.
California police acquitted in death of homeless man. The case was brought against two officers, with a third not being put on trial, who allegedly beat a schizophrenic homeless man. Video and audio of the beating, which left the victim unconscious and suffering wounds that lead to his death five days later, have drawn national attention and widespread condemnation of heavy handed tactics used by police.
Five terror suspects arrested in Sochi. With alleged connections to the bombings in Volgograd, the arrests have brought further into question the safety of the Winter Olympics. The U.S. State Department issued a travel warning for Sochi, citing terror and LGBT safety concerns.
Francois Hollande battles affair rumors. My favorite
wombat-human hybrid Socialist President of France has come under fire after allegations of his having an affair surfaced. Hollande, who has a history of cheating on long-time partners, has struggled in the polls since taking office in 2012, but recent numbers show this recent battle with the press has not negatively impacted his approval rating.
Robert Gates’ memoir ruffles feathers. Excerpts from the book, to be released on Tuesday, criticize Obama’s seeming lack of enthusiasm for the war in Afghanistan. The former Secretary of Defense also goes after VP Joe Biden, which is understandable as Biden is the only person tied to the Obama administration who is still as lovable as he was in 2008.
U.N. has stopped tracking Syrian death toll. Citing difficulties in verification, the United Nations is no longer keeping a running total of those killed in the Syrian civil conflict. The U.N. total has not changed since July, when at least 100,000 were believed to have been killed.
A man had a dream about gold, and so the dig began. Shobhan Sarkar, a holy man in northern India, dreamed of 1,000 tons of gold beneath the fort of a former king, leading the Geological Society to conduct tests in the area. The findings suggested something non-magnetic and unidentifiable under the fort, and began excavating. Four weeks later, it has become clear there is no gold. My own dream of a particularly huge Tootsie Roll has yet to be acted upon, sadly.
Details emerge in Chris Christie “Bridgegate” scandal. In September the town of Fort Lee, N.J. turned into a commuter parking lot as cars were stalled all the way back to the town from the George Washington Bridge. Emails between N.J. Governor Christie’s staff and Port Authority were discovered this week, although Christie vehemently denies any involvement. Skeptics believe the lane closures were payback for Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich’s support for Barbara Buono, who faced off against Christie in the gubernatorial election this past November. The fiasco could hurt Christie’s hopes for a Presidential bid in 2016.
The December Jobs Report was a letdown. The U.S. unemployment rate is currently at 6.7 percent, the lowest since 2008, yet only 74,000 jobs were added to the labor market in December. The low rate is attributed to an increasing number of retiring Baby Boomers and twenty-somethings’ delayed entry to the workforce due to college.
Obamacare website has new contractors. The administration is cutting ties with CGI federal, who designed the buggy Obamacare website launched in October. Dublin-based Accenture will now carry the $45 million healthcare website contract. 1.1 million Americans are currently signed up to receive insurance through the federal Marketplace.
Republican voters are becoming Independent voters. A Gallup poll released last week shows that 42 percent of Americans consider themselves Independent voters. This is the highest percentage of self-proclaimed Independents since Gallup began taking this poll 25 years ago, and it coincides with the lowest Republican identification in the same time span, 25 percent. Democrat identification has remained at 31 percent over the last four years, but has also declined since the elections in 2008.
More than just Target was credit hacked over the holidays. After the report of the massive credit hack to Target in which over 70 million names, addresses, and personal information were stolen from customers, news has come out that other national chains including Neiman Marcus, as well as other companies that have yet to come to light. There is suspicion that other stores were targeted earlier in 2013 meaning this story could continue to grow.
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