The Catchup: August 28, 2015

We're not going to fault you for not staying on top of this week's news. We're only here to help.

Temple of Baalshamin in Palmyra, Syria before its destruction. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons/Bernard Gagnon

Temple of Baalshamin in Palmyra, Syria before its destruction. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons/Bernard Gagnon


  • South Sudan president Salva Kiir signed a peace deal with the rebels on Wednesday to bring an end to the 20-month conflict that has displaced nearly two million. The development came over a week after Kiir refused to sign the accord with rebel leader Riek Machar. The Security Council had reached an informal agreement to impose sanctions on South Sudan if Kiir did not sign the peace deal by the extended deadline, September 6. However, whether fighting will stop remains to be seen, as the two sides accused each other of attacks barely a day after the signing. 




  • ISIS reportedly demolished the Temple of Baalshamin, a historic ruin in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra. Photos posted by ISIS supporters on social media show men strap what they claim are IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) to columns and detonate them. News of the destruction of the 2000-year old UNESCO World Heritage Site came just a few days after the beheading of Khaled al-Assad, Syria’s renowned antiques scholar. 


  • A live televised shooting in Virginia claimed the lives of reporter Alison Parker and her cameraman Adam Ward on Wednesday. The gunman, a former colleague who claimed to have been fired from the station on racial grounds, posted a video of the shooting online a few hours before taking his own life. The horrific incident has prompted calls for gun control across the nation. 
  • Three Americans and a Briton were awarded the Legion d'honneur --France’s top honor -- for overpowering a suspected terrorist on a train to Paris. President Francois Hollande presented the four with the award at Elysee Palace on Monday.


  • Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s decision to shut down the border with Colombia has forced hundreds of Colombians to flee the country. Maduro says his move to declare emergency in the territory along the border is in response to instances of smuggling.
  • Brazil’s economy enters recession as official figures show the economy contracted by 1.9% during the second quarter (April - June). The industrial sector was hit the hardest, with construction output dropping by 8.4%