USA, World News, The World

New York, the Emmys, and Snowden: The Week in Review

Bombings in New York and New Jersey leave the area shaken, Trump drops the Birther Theory, and the NCAA Championship pulls out of North Carolina.

We get it, Wednesdays can be tough to get through. In an effort to keep up with the world’s ever-changing news landscape, we’ve put together the top 10 headlines from the week so you can stay on top of things.

1. Multiple bombings leave New York and New Jersey shaken

Less than a week after the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11, New York City suffered yet another terrorist attack. This past Saturday, after a 9:30am explosion in Seaside Park, New Jersey, another explosion occurred at 8:30pm in Chelsea, Manhattan. The New York bombing injured 29 people, but police were able to detect and lock down a second bomb before any more were harmed.

Though the FBI originally stated that they had no reason to believe the two explosions were connected, they later found video footage and a fingerprint that suggested otherwise. The footage led police to issue an alert for Ahmad Rahami, a naturalized American citizen born in Afghanistan. Police brought Rahami into custody Monday morning after a violent gun fight, and he’s now been charged with use of a weapon of mass destruction. 

2. Trump drops the Birther Theory


Concerns about President Obama’s citizenship have finally ended, or so we hope. This Friday, presidential candidate Donald Trump announced that he no longer believes President Obama isn’t a U.S. citizen. Trump’s announcement comes 8 years after President Obama released his birth certificate.

Having dropped the “birther theory,” Trump has taken up a new conspiracy theory: that presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was the one who really started the debate about President Obama’s citizenship. “Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy,” said Trump, “I finished it.” Many view Trump’s new theory as an attempt to smear Clinton’s campaign and gain the support of African-American communities.

3. The 68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards take place


In case you missed it, here are the highlights from the 68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards: Jimmy Kimmel hosted. Leslie Jones asked accountants from Ernst & Young to hide her Twitter account. Game of Thrones won Outstanding Drama Series. Maggie Smith won Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series for “Downton Abbey” (which Kimmel accepted for her since Smith has yet to attend the Emmy’s despite being nominated 9 times).

The stunning Laverne Cox called for the entertainment industry to give “trans talent” a chance. Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang’s Master of None won Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. Caleb McLaughlin, Millie Bobby Brown, and Gaten Matarazzo of Stranger Things performed “Uptown Funk.” Kate McKinnon (actually) cried onstage when she won Oustanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for SNL. Tatiana Maslany (finally!) won an Emmy for her work in Orphan Black, as did Rami Malek for his lead role in Mr. Robot. 

4. NCAA pulls its championship events from North Carolina

Familiar North Carolina’s infamous “bathroom bill” from this past spring? It’s coming back to bite the state in the butt.

The NCAA announced Monday night that it will be relocating all of its championship games from North Carolina because of the state’s discriminatory laws. As the NCAA’s board of governors stated, “N.C.A.A. championships and events must promote an inclusive atmosphere for all college athletes, coaches, administrators and fans. Current North Carolina state laws make it challenging to guarantee that host communities can help deliver on that commitment.” The NCAA’s decision marks just one of many protests against the North Carolina bill that bans transgender people from using the bathroom of their choice. When the bill was originally passed, Bruce Springsteen canceled all of his North Carolina concerts, and now the ACC is joining the NCAA in relocating games from the state until more inclusive legislation is passed.

5. Nigeria opens up about Boko Haram negotiations

The Nigerian government opened up this week about the details surrounding negotiations with the terrorist organization Boko Haram. In 2014, Boko Haram kidnapped 200 girls from a school in Chibok, drawing international attention to Nigeria’s ongoing guerrilla war. On Friday, Nigerian government officials described negotiations with Boko Haram to free the kidnapped girls and end terrorist activity in northern Nigeria. The officials explained that Nigeria has been in talks with Boko Haram since July 2015, just after President Muhammadu Buhari’s election.

Parents of the missing girls were grateful for the announcement from their government about the status of negotiations since they have received little information in the past. “We welcome the communication, specifically factual communication, and hope this signals a period of continuous feedback,” said Aisha Yesufu, chairwoman of the strategy committee of the Nigerian advocacy group Bring Back Our Girls in an interview with The New York Times. “Every day we expect that is the day our Chibok girls will come back. And if they are not back, we expect the government to come out and tell us what they are doing.”

6. The United Nations General Assembly opens

The General Assembly opened for the 71st time. At the UNGA, the five major bodies of the UN convene to debate and discuss the most pressing international issues. At the forefront this year is the Syrian refugee crisis, along with microbial resistance & the zika virus, the Islamic State, and breaches of international law & human rights. Additionally, this convention was the last one that President Obama spoke at as President of the United States. His final remarks revolved around the Syrian refugee crisis, the Israel-Palestine conflict, and (against) the theme of isolationism in the upcoming US presidential election.

At the specially-dedicated Summit for Refugees and Migrants, 193 nations signed onto a UN action (also dubbed the New York declaration) that calls on countries capable of taking in higher numbers of refugees for resettlement to do so, and for wealthier nations to increase their humanitarian aid figures. The action does, however, face strong criticism, on account of the fact that it is non-binding and does not give a strategic solution to the issue at hand. People like Malala Yousafzai, champion for universal education, are incredibly dissatisfied, saying that “the world’s refugee children were hoping for more”.

7. Edward Albee, author of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” passes away

Instinct Magazine
Instinct Magazine

Albee, 88 years old at the time of his death, was a landmark playwright of the 20th century. His first play, “The Zoo Story”, was introduced to the public in 1959 in Berlin. It was so wildly successful that it made “Off Broadway” mean what it does today. “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” was Albee’s Broadway debut in 1963 which, appropriately, won a Tony Award for Best Play. In 1966, it was developed into a film that only deepened the public’s love for the story.

Since his burst-out success, Albee wrote over 30 more plays, most of which aimed to show the ugly sides of pretty coins, exposing deep, dark secrets of well-off folks. Even before his death, Albee’s dramatic skill proved to be incomparable and irreplaceable.

8. Sandra Bland’s family settles in wrongful death lawsuit

LA Times
LA Times

14 months after Sandra Bland died in police custody after nothing more than a routine traffic stop, Bland’s family won a settlement against Waller County, Texas and the Texas DPS (Department of Public Safety) for $1.9 million. An attorney speaking for the Bland family stated that in addition to the monetary settlement, the family had stipulated in the proceedings that they wanted a de-escalation training to be mandated in the DPS curriculum. Waller County representatives have denied this claim. The family also made it a condition that the county jail have a nurse on-site at all times – a measure that they believe will prevent deaths like Bland’s in the future.

Bland’s death was officially ruled a suicide, but that was starkly disputed by her family and activists. In January, the police officer who originally pulled Bland over and took her into custody, pled not guilty to perjury charges related to the story he initially gave surrounding the arrest of Sandra Bland.

9. Ten people are stabbed at a Minnesota mall

Star Tribune
Star Tribune

Investigations are still piecing together the identity and motivations behind the mass stabbing at Crossroads Mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota this past Monday. The stabber was fatally shot on-scene and has been identified as Dahir Adan, a 22-year-old man with tight community ties. Although there has been no expressed motive, police are flocking to the possibility that the stabbing was an act of terrorism, and some unverified claims of linkage to ISIS have been made.

CAIR representatives made public statements addressing fears that the local Muslim community at large would be held accountable in the eyes of some, especially since there is a history of aggression against some mosques (such as in St. Cloud in 2014). Minnesota is home to the largest Somali community outside of Somalia itself, the majority of which is Muslim.

10. Edward Snowden talks security

Financial Times
Financial Times

Famous (or infamous, depending on who you ask) info-leaker Edward Snowden appeared via video feed at the Athens Democracy Forum. One of his key points while speaking was that, although people criticized him for leaking sensitive information and potentially putting people’s privacy at risk, the end result of his actions are the exact opposite. Now, after the NSA’s tactics have been exposed and, at times, dubbed illegal and replaced, the average American internet-user has more privacy in the post-Snowden era. This definitely is not the end-all to the privacy push, nor does Snowden think that. This statement comes in the same week that FBI director James Comey urges people to protect themselves against low-level hackers by taping over their webcams (which you can read about here).

Until next week: