Hello, Readers! Today, I am debuting a weekly news roundup. It may or may not become a permanent feature.
Now, I will admit: This is a lot of work! But I feel a since of accomplishment after having done this. Hopefully, this is a great read for you.
What You Will Find In This News Roundup
Basically, you may find anything here except news for the stock market. Personally, I don’t understand it.
That said I have updated my criteria since I first talked about developing this type of post. I was going for a total of 10-15 articles minimum and 20-25 items maximum. Here are the areas I will focus on (mandatory items are in bold):
- Up to 10 Items from Around the World
- Up to 5 National Items
- Up to 3 Regional Items (from Various Cities, States or Provinces, from Any Country)
- Up to 3 Tech/Internet Items
- Up to 2 Entertainment Items
- One Weird News Item
- A Reader’s Choice Item?
There is so much news in a given week, but I did my best to limit myself and highlight some things that are important and might not get a lot of mainstream coverage.
So, let’s take a look at my news roundup!
In International News …
One of Mohammed Morsi’s Convictions Was Overturned.
This week, the death sentence for ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi for his involvement in a 2011 prison break was overturned.
- In April 2015, Morsi was sentenced to 20 years of hard labor in connection with the detention and torture of protestors who clashed with the Muslim Brotherhood. He avoided a conviction based on inciting members of the Brotherhood to murder two protestors and a reporter.
- In January 2011, Morsi was being held at Wadi Natroun prison when armed men overpowered the guards at the prison and freed thousands of inmates. Morsi and over 100 people were accused and convicted of conspiring with the Palestinian militant group Hamas and the Shia Islamist Hebollah from Lebanon in order to start an uprising against then-Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. The defendants were sentenced to death.
- In May 2015, Morsi was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of conspiring to commit terrorist acts with foreign organizations to undermine national security. Sixteen other defendants were sentence to death for selling state secrets. Those sentences were upheld in June 2016.
Morsi faces 3 other trials. Many of Morsi’s supporters feel these are show trials used to give legitimacy to a military coup. International watchers note that many of the mass trials were rife with procedural irregularities.
Expects doubt Morsi will be executed. Executions in Egypt are rare, even with the approval of the grand mufti, Egypt’s highest religious authority.
Abdul Fattah al-Sisi is the current president of Egypt. He was the military chief who overthrew Morsi in July 2013.
Germany Bans True Religion.
German police launched a raid on over 190 mosques, flats, and offices across the country in connection to a ban on True Religion. The Islamist group DWR (“READ!”) was accused of radicalizing young people and recruiting an estimated 140 to join militants in Iraq and Syria.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has faced sharp criticism over incidents involving Muslims and Islamist, starting in 2015. Last year, she let in 900,000 migrants, most of whom were Muslim. In July, there was a bombing and knife attack that left 20 people wounded.
Russia Intensifies Its Offensive in Syria.
On Thursday, the Russian military claimed to have killed 30 members of al-Qaida-linked group Fatah al-Sham Front in Northern Syria with one airstrike. Three prominent members of the group — Muhammad Helala, Abu Jaber Harmuja and Abul Baha al-Asfari — were believed to have been killed in the airstrike. This comes as part of an enhanced offensive from Russian forces, in support of besieged Syrian President Bashir al Assad.
The United States and the international community at large have criticized the Syrian president and the Russians, contending that innocent civilians have been the main casualties of the airstrikes. At least 59 people have died as a result of Russia’s latest offensive, mainly in Aleppo, the center of the Syrian civil war. Some of the casualties were in the neighboring countryside and the rebel-held province of Idlib.
Lauri Love’s Extradition to the U.S. Was Approved.
British citizen Lauri Love, a 31-year-old activist, is accused of hacking a number of United States agencies, including NASA, the FBI, the U.S. Army, and the Federal Reserve between 2012 and 2013. England’s home secretary, Amber Rudd, signed an order of extradition for Love on November 14, 2016. Love could face up to 99 years in prison if convicted of the hacking charges.
Love was given 14 days (from November 14, 2016) to appeal the decision. He has Asperger’s Syndrome and suffers from depression and eczema and argued before that his health should preclude his imprisonment in a U.S. prison.
In National News …
What do we have to look forward to in a Trump Presidency?
In October 2016, Trump gave a speech in Gettysburg, PA, in which he talked about his plans for his first 100 days in office, A.K.A, “Donald Trump’s Contract With The American Voter,” which must be a reference to Newt Gingrich’s congressional plans in 1994. The 100-day plan had three main parts to it:
- Cleaning up Washington: One plan was to enforce term limits on members of Congress (unlikely to happen).
- Protecting American Workers: This includes creating more jobs, most notably in the energy sector (mention of “clean coal” and reopening the Keystone XL Pipeline).
- Restoring the Rule of Law: Much of this talk centered around enforcing immigration laws, deporting the most dangerous among illegal immigrants, and “extreme vetting” of refugees.
Donald Trump also stressed a desire to get rid of the Affordable Care Act.
He talked about picking justices from a list of twenty released a short list of possible Supreme Court nominees. From his shortlist of justices:
- Don Willet of Texas openly mocked Trump during the election with a haiku (via Twitter)
- William H. Pryor, Jr. openly stated his opposition to Roe v. Wade while he was Alabama’s attorney general.
Additionally, Trump has said that he wasnts to work with Russia to combat ISIS. Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin recently talked by phone. Trump’s camp has said he was congratulated by Putin on the election results. The two supposedly talked about Syria and finding ways to improve the relationship between the United States and Russia.
Trump Is Floating out Names for His Upcoming Cabinet.
Currently, Donald Trump’s camp is making a list of names to add to his cabinet. In all, he has to fill roughly 4,000 positions, which consist of federal jobs and appointments.
Names being floated around for cabinet positions include Chris Christie for Attorney General and Commerce Secretary. Ben Carson was considered for Health and Human Services Secretary as well as Education Secretary. Rudy Guiliani was considered for Attorney General.
It looks like some of those names can be crossed off. For one thing, Carson has said he is unqualified.
Since Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, got involved with the transition team, a number of changes have been made: Trump’s VP, Mike Pence, was put in charge of the transition team, a number of lobbyists have been removed, and Christie has been effectively cast aside (as Vice Chairman of the transition team.
There is a connection between Christie in Kushner which portended to former’s future on the transition team. In 2004-2005, Christie, then a U.S. attorney, prosecuted and won his case against Charles Kushner (Jared’s father) for multiple counts, including 18 counts of tax evasion and tampering with a witness.
Two people had been chosen for appointments earlier this week.
Reince Priebus, the current RNC Chair (who served since 2011), is being tapped as Trump’s Chief of Staff. The Chief of Staff the highest ranked cabinet position and it does not need to be confirmed by the Senate.
Steve Bannon, the former chief executive of Breitbart News, is being selected as the Senior Counselor to the President. This is the highest ranking counselor position.
Myron Ebell is a leading climate science denier who is being considered to head up the EPA. He proudly touts that he was named as the #1 enemy of Greenpeace. He helped to craft an action plan that was drawn up in 1998 in order to challenge research supporting climate change as a real, man-made phenomenon, and he helped to form a strategy that ultimately lead to the defeat of cap-and-trade legislation in 2009.
Ebell leads the environmental and energy policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian organization. He also serves as a chair at the Cooler Heads Coalition.
Now, three more names have emerged for Trump’s cabinet appointments. Republican Senator Jeff Sessions (Alabama) has been tapped to serve as Attorney General. Congressman Mike Pompeo (a Republican from Kansas) is in consideration for CIA director. And General Mike Flynn, who takes a hard line against illegal immigration, may serve as Trump’s national security advisor. The last position does not need congressional approval.
Election Protests Continue.
Anti-Trump protests have sprung up in cities across the country. Many of the protesters chanted “Not my president!” in response to Donald Trump’s Electoral College victory.
Protest occurred in places like New York City, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Dallas, Omaha, Kansas City (MO), Las Vegas, Indianapolis, Oakland, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Fort Lauderdale (FL), Richmond, Omaha, and Baltimore.
At least 8,000 protesters in Las Angeles walked a path that started from MacArthur Park.
Protesters marched down the Las Vegas Strip and blocked traffic.
In Indianapolis, rock-throwing protesters injured two police officers. Seven arrests were made after more aggressive protesters carried on.
Portland, Oregon is where some of the most intense protests took place for over four nights.
Protests in Portland eventually turned violent three nights in. The protests began peacefully, but vandalism quickly became an issue. Some protesters caused over $1 million dollars in damage by setting fires, busting windshields, and damaging storefronts. In the early hours of November 12, a man was said to have stepped out of a car and shoot a protester several times.
Police suspect a 14-year-old boy shot a 21-year-old protester in the leg. Shamar Xavier Hunter, 18, was identified as the driver of the car from which the 14-year-old stepped out. Portland Police told protesters to stay home, a message echoed by Mayor Charlie Hales (D). Mayor Hales went a step further and said that the best opposition to a Trump administration wouldn’t involve signs (anymore) but peaceful, coordinated actions with organizations that could fight upcoming, harmful legislation.
More than 100 people have been arrested. In New York, 79 people were arrested in the past week (65 during the first night of protests there). However, the protests on Sunday were categorized as peaceful.
Democratic Party Leadership Positions Are Being Set.
Now, the Democratic Party is deciding on who should hold a number of leadership positions. After the Republicans held on to their majorities in both houses of Congress, the Democrats were left to reassess their strategies. Many watchers and party members are questioning whether the party should seek new leadership, focus more on Rust belt states and economic concerns, and move away from long-time politicians who have ties to Wall Street.
In the Senate, some choices have already been made in defiance of these questions. Outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (NV) is set to be replaced by New York Senator Chuck Schumer, despite protestors staging a sit-in in his office. Schumer was chosen largely because of his ability to raise funds for the party. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who some would have preferred as minority leader, will be named to the Outreach position.
In the House of Representatives, Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan is challenging Nancy Pelosi (CA) for the position of House Minority Leader. Pelosi is expected to keep her position.
There is also consideration for who will lead the DNC. Interim DNC chair Donna Brazille, who has come under fire for her role during the Democratic primaries and due to all allegations of unethical activities. It appears that she still has wide support among party insiders, but there is some dissent within their ranks.
There will be a vote for DNC party leadership in March 2017. Minnesota Senator Keith Ellison is the leading choice to possible replace Brazille. Ellison has the support of Schumer, Sanders, and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Is The Dakota Access Pipeline Project Being Halted?
The Army Corps of Engineers announced on Monday that it would not allow the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). The government agency said that more time was needed to research the possible environmental impacts of the oil pipeline.
DAPL is being constructed near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota. The residents are concerned about the pipeline’s possible crossing under the Missouri River, which flows into Lake Oahe. The Lake is the tribe’s source of drinking water and leaks from oil pipelines are a certainty.
Protests against the construction of DAPL have been carried out for months. A number of protesters, including the likes of actress Shailene Woodley, and reporters like Amy Goodman (from Democracy NOW!) had been arrested. Many more were attacked by dogs, independent contractors, and police officers from several states.
The pipeline is being constructed by Energy Transfer Partners. It’s CEO, Kelcy Warren, was a supporter of Trump. It should also be noted that Trump has invested between $500,000 and $1 million to the company. He also owns stock of similar value in Phillips 66, which has a 25% share of DAPL.
DAPL has been repeatedly asked to halt its construction by government officials, including President Obama. Yet the construction company has continued, despite those requests, a lack of permits to drill under Lake Oahe, and a lack of easements from the Army Corp of Engineers.
In Regional News …
Donald Trump Has Agreed to a Settlement in a Few Fraud Cases.
On Friday, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that Donald Trump had agreed to settle cases over the fraudulent Trump University for $25 million, with an extra $1 million to be paid to the state of New York. There was a case against Trump filed by the State of New York and two class-action lawsuits in California. This is the largest settle
On the advice of Michael Sexton, Trump started a “for-profit wealth-building business” that he called Trump University. It promised people who paid for its services that they would be helped by “handpicked experts” and learn how to profit from real estate. Trump agreed to finance most of the business and hold a 93% stake in the company.
From 2005 to 2011, Trump University (which was renamed to the Trump Entrepreneurship Intiative in May 2010), bilked over 5,000 people out of $40 million. Most of the marks were “elderly and uneducated,” as Ronald Schnackenberg, one of the company’s sales managers, testified. He also said that he thought “that Trump University was engaging in misleading, fraudulent and dishonest conduct.”
In the Tech World …
Nintendo 3DS Users Have Been Banned.
Earlier this month, versions of Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon were leaked over the Internet. A number of Nintendo 3DS users illegally downloaded the game and played it.
It turns out, that did not come without consequences. As the game was being rolled out this week (for an official Friday release), some users took to Reddit and 4chan to tell others they had been banned from the games’ Festival Plaza multiplayer mode and the eShop.
Twitter is Banning Alt-Right Users.
This week, Twitter suspended the accounts of alt-right users, supposedly due to abuses of its usage policy. Users who were suspended included Richard Spencer (who runs the National Policy Institute and owns a magazine), Paul Town, Pax Dickinson, Ricky Vaughn, and John Rivers.
The alt-right is described as the far-right “counterpoint to mainstream conservatism” that focuses mainly on white nationalism. Spencer himself has spoken of a desire to have blacks, Asians, Latinos, and the Jewish removed from the United States.
The Twitter accounts lost their verified status. It should be noted that this is what happened to Breitbart tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos before his account was permanently banned.
In Entertainment News …
Vice President-elect Mike Pence went to see Hamilton last night, to boos from some attendees. The cast of the Broadway musical noticed Pence and appealed to him at the end of the show. NPR has a full transcript of the exchange and more.
Actor Brandon Victor Dixon (who plays Aaron Burr in the play) responded to Trump with a Tweet of his own.
This of course isn’t the first time any actor in Hamilton has made a political statement. Lin-Manuel Miranda, who created the musical and plays Alexander Hamilton, has implored Congress to help out his birthplace, Puerto Rico.
The U.S. territory is in financial trouble, with over $70 billion in debt. It has defaulted on bonds sold to investors.
In Weird News …
Have you heard of the #MannequinChallenge?
Well, this is a current craze that has swept the Internet. Even sports stars and politicians are getting into the act.
The World Champion Cleveland Cavaliers did the challenge during their visit to the White House.
The guys at TNT’s Inside the NBA did their version of the Mannequin Challenge.
They always take swipes at each other.
Here is one entry by Ryan T, whose boxer, Boston, got into the act:
Ryan T and Boston made this entry after the first video went viral. And they’re not alone.
Well, that does is for this week. How did I do and would you like to see another post like this next week? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section.