We're not going to fault you for not staying on top of this week's news. We're only here to help.
By: Tony Hotland and April Elizabeth Curtis
On Thursday, Ethiopian troops announced that they have closed in on an area where they believe 125 children hostages, who were taken by South Sudanese militia, are being held. Last week, 208 died after the militias attacked 13 Ethiopian villages.
On Wednesday, U.S. officials announced that they had located several clusters of the Nigerian schoolgirls who were captured by Boko Haram two years ago. However, they are not planning on rescuing the girls at the moment as this could create retaliatory measures against other hostages in different locations. The U.S. officials said they have not given up rescuing the girls, and stressed the fact that there are hundreds of other women and girls who are also being held captive.
On Friday, Japan became the fourth nation to test fly its own stealth jet in a move that could accelerate the arms race in Asia. Each jet would be able to transport between three to six Hello Kitty dolls, depending on how much sushi was served on the prior flight. The first three country also developing such jets—which have reduced visibility to infrared sensors and can cruise at supersonic speeds—are the United States, China and Russia.
- On Thursday, the UK announced its plan to resettle 3,000 refugee children. It is the largest resettlement program for children in the world. Since the crisis in Syria and the resulting refugees, 10,000 children have been lost--most likely killed or trafficked into prostitution or slavery.
- On Wednesday, UN refugee officials told the press that 500 migrants died on their way to Italy from Libya last week after their overcrowded boat sank. As summer approaches and more people make the journey, authorities are worried that more overfilled boats carrying migrants will sink.
- On Wednesday, the NATO-Russia Council held its first meeting since June 2014. The meeting, to nobody’s surprise, fixed nothing between the two sides. It was agreed upon to keep political dialogue channels open, however that means very little when the two sides can’t even agree on the facts of what is happening in Ukraine.
- There have been protests in Macedonia for over a week now. The people are calling for President Gjorge Ivanov to step down after he pardoned 56 officials who were involved in illegally wiretapping some 20,000 journalists, judges, police and diplomats. The situation escalated to such a degree that the EU offered to mediate. However, the mediation was cancelled after the opposition leader of Macedonia refused to participate. The EU mediators said that they are now forced to take “further actions,” whatever that means…
THE MIDDLE EAST
U.S. President Barack Obama was briefly in Saudi Arabia this week to attend a regional summit. This was a rough visit given the many issues that have strained the bilateral relations over recent years and what America claims as lacking commitments to help Iraq economically, combat terrorist organizations like ISIS.
Listen to this report from NPR on “How Can Tourism Promote Peace In The Middle East?”
The U.S. Treasury made public the decision to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill. The former slave and abolitionist black woman will replace the slaveholding Andrew Jackson. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew also announced the addition of women and civil rights leaders to the $5 and $10 notes. The final redesigns will be unveiled in 2020—the centennial of the 19th Amendment establishing women’s suffrage—and will not go into wide circulation until later in the decade. Watch out for the fine print, which will say the bills featuring women are worth only 70 cents per dollar.
Oprah Winfrey this week started her own campaign to print and be on the $500 bills just for her own use. Or did she not?
On Saturday, Ecuador was hit by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake. At time of publication, 570 people have died and many more are still missing. The costs to rebuild the country are estimated to be a staggering $3 billion. Oil-rich Ecuador has been hit hard by the fall in oil prices and so Ecuador’s President has issued new measures to raise funds for the rebuilding effort, which include taxing millionaires 0.9% of their wealth and raising sales taxes by 2% for one year.
On Sunday, Brazil’s lower house voted to send the motion to impeach Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to the senate. Now it is in the upper house’s hands, however when they do vote, they will most likely also vote to impeach her. Rousseff continues to label these events as a coup and has plans to travel to the UN to gather international support against her impeachment. Of her 31-person cabinet, 13 ministers have resigned, including the Sport and Tourism minister, which is exceptionally bad as there are only 4 months until the Olympics. All this drama has left us at the Catchup with a few questions: Is it a coup? Is it a real impeachment? Is it the final season of Brazil and the writers are going crazy trying to get as many viewers as possible? The world may never know.