Hello, readers! It has been so long since I’ve done a proper News Roundup, so I wanted to fix. This time though, we’re going to try something different. Instead of a bunch of big paragraphs, I decided to try to try another format. This is what I wanted to do from the beginning, but it might be more efficient.
Table of Contents
Here are the stories I have curated for this week:
- Mexico’s Presidential Election
- The Boys’ Soccer Team in Thailand
- Guantanamo Bay Haebus Corpus Hearing
- Trump’s Meeting with Putin in Helsinki
- Lebron James’ New School
- Theresa May’s Broken Cabinet
- Another Election in the U.K?
- Donald Trump in the U.K.
- Israeli Apartheid
July was certainly busy around the world, but there were interesting goings-on in Mexico, and in Helsinki, Finland.
AMLO Won Mexico’s 2018 Presidential Election.
The month started with the election of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the fiery leftist former mayor of Mexico City known by his initials, as the president. He pretty much led all polls, even before he officially announced his candidacy on April 1. This was his second run for the presidency. He lost to Felipe Calderon in 2006 in an election that was questioned on its merits.
Past elections loomed large over this one. As I heard, many observers in Mexico viewed a victory by AMLO as proof that life for Mexico Democracy. Until 2000, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) had ruled for 71 years. Even though the National Action Party (PAN) held the presidency in the 12 years afterward, the PRI still had firm control over the national government.
Thus, a thorough beating was expected for the PRI in this year’s elections. That is precisely what happened.
- AMLO won 53% of the popular vote, and he was 30 points ahead of PAN’s Ricardo Anaya, who finished second.
- AMLO also won the popular vote in 24 of Mexico’s states.
- Additionally, AMLO’s four-year-old party, National Regeneration Movement (MORENA), gained control of over 37% of the seats in both the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. PAN now controls 17.59% of the seats in the and 18.75% of the seats Senate in the Chamber of Deputies. PRI now controls 10.16% of the seats in the Senate and 9.0% of the seats in the Chamber of Deputies.
With the alliances formed, MORENA will have control of over half the seats in both chambers of Mexico’s Congress, which will give López Obrador room to enact much of his agenda.
López Obrador’s Agenda
Here are the things AMLO has promised to do as president:
- Root out corruption.
- Reduce the violence in his country, named by ending the war on drugs.
- Halting energy deals that he feels are disadvantageous to most Mexicans.
- Spur economic growth in impoverished areas of the country.
- Maintain fiscal restraint.
- Try to foster a good relationship with the United States.
- Refrain from confiscating property.
How will he do? We’ll have to wait and see because AMLO will formally take office on Dec. 1.
Twelve Members of a Boys’ Soccer Team and Their Coach Were Rescued from a Cave in Thailand.
The Wild Boars team, which had boys aged 11 to 16, and their coach, Ekkapol Chantawong, had entered the Tham Luang cave on June 23, during an outing to celebrate one person’s birthday. However, they began trapped in the cave that was prone to flooding after a monsoon hit. The team was stuck in the cave for 18 days because of the difficulties divers had in navigating the flooded cave.
The Rescue Process
Ultimately, divers conceived of a process by which expert divers would go in pairs to rescue each boy and the coach:
- Water was pumped out of the cave to make the dives more manageable.
- The actual rescue process involved the use of tethers.
- Each of the boys would be given a mild sedative and be fitted with a diving mask and scuba gear.*
- Each diver would guide the rescued, who would be in between each diver in a single line.
- The first diver would carry the boy’s oxygen tank.
- Once the boys were out of harm’s way, they would be carried out on a stretcher.
Some of the boys couldn’t swim and they needed to be given a sedative, so they wouldn’t panic during the rescue.
Honoring a Fallen Hero
The team and the coach were eventually saved, but there was one fatality. Samarn Kunan, 38, was a former Thai Navy SEAL, died around July 6 due to a lack of oxygen. The petty officer died as he was depositing oxygen tanks for rescue divers throughout the tunnels of the cave.
The team was told of his death after they were deemed mentally strong to handle the news. Soon after, the team signed an artist’s depiction of Samarn, who was named one of the rescue mission’s heroes.
Elon Musk’s Pettiness
The rescue involved over 1,000 people from around the world, but none of them was Elon Musk. As the news story gained more and more attention, Tesla CEO and SpaceX founder inserted himself into the story by saying that he would build a submarine to help rescue the boys from the cave. He ultimately dropped a contraption that was made out of spare SpaceX parts but was of no use to the rescue team.
After being called out by Vern Unsworth, one of the rescuers, Musk went on a little Twitter rant. In the last of three tweets, Musk called Unsworth a “pedo.” Musk was called out for that, but many of his admirers still looked the other way.
“We Can Keep Them in Guantanamo for 100 Years [If We Have To],”
On Wednesday, July 11, 2018, a hearing was held as part of a haebus effort by 11 prisoners still being held at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba. The prisoners, some of whom have been detained for 16 years, are arguing that their indefinite detention is unlawful. Lawyers for the Trump administration are arguing that the government had to right to hold the prisoners as long as the “War on Terror” was being fought.
The hearing was overseen by U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan, who asked government lawyers what would happen if the war on terror lasted 100 years. In response, Justice Department lawyer Ronald Wiltsie said, “Yes, we can hold them for 100 years.”
What was Wiltsie’s reasoning? Under international conventions for war, each side in the war may keep prisoners without charge to keep enemy combatants off the battlefield. However, it is illegal to kill those prisoners. In the case of the Guantanamo Bay prisoners, the U.S. government is arguing that it is still fighting the War on Terror, to which there is no definite end.
Baher Azmy, the legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, argued that the nature of the conflicts the U.S. is engaged in has changed since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Also, since there are only 40 Guantanamo Bay prisoners left, there is virtually no risk that their release could replenish terrorist forces.
Donald Trump Held a Summit with Vladimir Putin.
On July 16, 2018, United States President Donald Trump and Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin held a private meeting in Helsinki, Finland. Afterword, they held a joint press conference to talk about their country’s shared goals and to field questions from reporters.
When Trump spoke, he was largely conciliatory to Putin. Much of Trump’s speech was fluff, but he talked about nuclear proliferation and his thoughts about the relationship between the United States and Russia. Trump said that the relationship between the United States and Russia was at its lowest point in history. Beyond that, Trump mentioned North Korea, saying the he thought DPRK and U.S. made progress on denuclearization.
Of course, Trump was inevitably asked about suspected Russian meddling. Around the 40-minute mark (of the video), a reporter asked Trump if he took the word of the U.S. intelligence community that Russia did influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Trump diverted the conversation toward the DNC server, the “Pakistani” congressional aide, and Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 missing emails. He also said that Putin gave a “strong response” in denial of the IC’s claims; Trump indicated that he took Putin’s word for it.
Putin was asked who he favored during the 2016 election. To no one’s surprise, Putin admitted that he favored Trump over Hillary Clinton.
LeBron James Opened Up a New School.
In late July, LeBron James announced the launch of the I Promise School in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. The school was a joint venture between the LeBron James Family Foundation and the Akron, Ohio Public School System. The school will initially include 240 third- and fourth-graders, who were chosen based on their socioeconomic status and academic standing; the school will expand to include first-through-eighth-graders by 2022. The initial staff will include 40 faculty members.
“King James” joins a long list of celebrities who have launched schools or otherwise got involved with the U.S. education system, which includes former professional tennis player Andre Agassi. However, James’ involvement differs from recent efforts in that it tackles the hurdles many at-risk students face, including instability in the home. As such, the following will be offered to I Promise students and their families:
- All students will have free breakfast, lunch, and snacks.
- Students who live outside of a 2-mile radius of the school will be given free transportation to school.
- Families will have access to a food pantry.
- Parents who need it will be given GED and job assistance.
- Starting in 2021, those who graduate from the program will be given free tuition to the University of Akron.
In International News …
The stories that jumped out to me from the previous month were U.K.-heavy.
There’ No Fixing Theresa May’s Broken Cabinet.
On Monday, July 9, 2018, a few members of U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s cabinet left their positions in a huff because of her “soft” Brexit deal, which she made at Chequers. The first member to leave was EU minister Steve Baker, who was quickly followed out the door by David Davis, who resigned as Brexit Secretary. Soon after Davis announced his resignation, so, too, did Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.
Will There Be A Third Election in the U.K. in Two Years?
On a related note, it’s been over two years since the Brexit vote, and the Tories have not come up with a plan that will please the populace or will be accepted by the European Union. And amid the chaos in her cabinet, there were rumblings of a leadership challenge to Prime Minister Theresa May. In the event of such a challenge, or the continued impasse regarding Brexit, voters may call for another general election to either cancel Brexit or to vote in MPs with a viable plan to carry it out.
Donald Trump Ticked a Lot of Brits Off.
When Donald Trump made his visit to the U.K. in July, it was memorable for all of the wrong reasons. First, he gave an interview to The Sun in which he criticized the British PM. when invited by the Queen to have some tea (no dinner), Trump showed up late. Then, when walking outside the courtyard, Trump walked in front of the queen.
Israel Is Officially an Apartheid State.
On Thursday, July 19, 2018, Israel’s Knesset passed a law that stated that only Jewish Israelis had the right to self-determination in the country. The law also removed Arabic as an official Israeli language. The law passed by a vote of 62-55 with two abstentions, but there were plenty of jeers from Arabic lawmakers.
In National News …
Nationally, July began on a sad note, as a beloved journalist and populist died. There were also a few overlooked news items pertaining to the United States’ voting system.
Ed Schultz Passed Away.
On July 5, 2018 former radio, MSNBC, and RT America host Ed Schultz died at the age of 64. As the news came out, there was an outpouring of condolences by his fans, viewers, and those who worked with him. However, there were also articles by mainstream news outlets that highlighted his time with RT and its connection to the Russian government.
Trump Asked About Invading Venezuela.
According to a White House official, Trump floated the idea of invading Venezuela to depose of its president, Nicolas Maduro during an Oval Office meeting on August 10, 2017. Then-U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and then-national security adviser H.R. McMaster were present at that August 2017 meeting and both advised Trump against taking such action. However, Trump pushed back and mentioned two successful cases of “gunboat diplomacy,” in Panama and Grenada in the 1980s. After that meeting, the idea remained in Trump’s head and he floated the “military option” for dealing with Maduro on August 11, 2017.
Hold Up. Did Ajit Pai Actually Do His Job? We’ll See.
On Monday, July 16, 2018, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai surprised many of his critics by stating that he had “serious concerns” about the proposed merger between Sinclair Broadcasting and Tribune Media. Pai submitted a hearing designation order, which meant that the case would be heard in an administrative law proceeding. This could be a formality, or it could be the first step toward killing the merger. In a past example from 2011, then-FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski circulated a similar petition; AT&T and T-Mobile withdrew their merger application shortly afterward.
Voting Systems Sold to States Had Remote-Access Software Installed.
On July 17, 2018, Vice Motherboard reported that Election Systems and Software had a remote connection software installed on election-management systems across the country. The company admitted to such in a letter to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), despite saying the opposite in Feb. 2018. The software, pcAnyware, gives the user remote access to the machines that use it. Although ES&S maintained that the software wasn’t installed on voting machines themselves, the election-management systems were responsible for the vote-tabulating process and could be manipulated.
In Regional News …
There were a few sad and appalling stories last month that jumped out to me.
A Judge Rules That Students Aren’t Entitled to Literacy.
Although the case was thrown out in June, the Metro Times ran a story about it on July 2. The previous week, U.S. District Judge Stephen Murphy III threw out a lawsuit brought against the state of Michigan by 7 pupils. The pupils alleged that the state was responsible for the deplorable conditions at their schools, and that conditions that precluded them from learning. Despite the fact that the school system was taken over by emergency managers at the time, the judge ruled that the state was not at fault and said that no student was granted the right to literacy.
A 92-year-old Murdered Her Own Son.
On July 2, 2018, a 92-year-old woman killed her own son in their shared Fountain Hills, Arizona home after he said he would put her in an assisted living facility. The son, 72, wasn’t identified, but his mother didn’t deny having killed him after confronted by police. In fact, the mother, Anna Mae Blessing, shouted, “You took my life, so I’m taking yours,” as she was being arrested. She later told police that she was angry at her son because he told her that he would put her in a home due to how difficult it was to live with her.
A Minneapolis Daycare Owner Only Received 10 Years’ Probation for Attempted Murder.
On Monday, July 16, 2018, Nataliia Karia, 43, was sentenced to 10 years’ probation for attempting to kill a 16-month-old toddler. Karia was arrested after a father who was dropping his child off to the Minneapolis daycare run by Karia found a 16-month-old boy hanging in her basement. The judge in the case, Jay Quam, gave Karia a light sentence because he felt she wasn’t that much of a risk.
I’m going to cheat a little bit.
At the end of the month, a Koch-funded study found that a single-payer system in the United States would cost 32.6 trillion over a 10-year period. However, that same study found that such a system, which would include medical, dental, and vision plans, would cost $2 trillion than our current health care system.
Fox & Friends submitted a Twitter poll for its followers regarding the study single-payer. The poll garnered over 30,000 responses, most of which were in favor of a single-payer health care system.
In Science & Technology News …
July 27 marked the beginning of two celestial marvels. First, people in most continents (except North America) would be able to see a blood moon. Also, at some points, the planets aligned, and people could see them at night with the naked eye.
In Internet News …
The EU rejected a new rule that would have made it harder for Internet users to avoid copyright infringement. The Copyright Directive was rejected by a vote of 318-278, mostly because of Clauses 11 and 13. Clause 11 would have required sites like Google and Facebook to pay news sites to carry links to those news sites’ content and Clause 13 would have required uploaders to submit their content to copyright filters. This is only a temporary victory because the directive will be considered again in September.
In Entertainment News
There were a couple of big stories in sports last month, besides France’s World Cup victory.
LeSean McCoy Was Accused of Assault and Robbery.
On July 10, 2018, news came out that LeSean McCoy, a running back for the Buffalo Bills, may have assaulted his girlfriend — and hired for someone to rob the house where she was staying. In a since-deleted Instagram message a friend of Delicia Cordon (“Shady” McCoy’s ex-girlfriend), accused the RB of abusing a pet and one of his own kids:
The two have had a contentious relationship. In 2017, cops were called to McCoy’s Georgia residence at least 3 times because of domestic disputes. One call, on July 3, was about jewelry and supposedly, those pieces of jewelry were mentioned by the robber a year later. And earlier this year, McCoy took Cordon to Court to demand that she leave his home.
Of course, McCoy insists on his innocence.
So far, no arrests have been made in the case.
John Schnatter, the Founder of Papa John’s, Is Now Suing His Company.
Earlier in July, John Schnatter, who had courted controversy for weighing in on the health care debate and the subject of kneeling in the NFL, stepped down from his company’s governing board after details from an internal conference call were leaked. During a media training session, Schnatter used the N-word, which he admitted to doing. The board moved quickly to ban Schnatter from regaining controlling interest in the Louisville, KY-based company. Soon after, Schnatter sued the board, claiming that he was unjustly ousted.
Rep. Jason Spencer and Others Make Fools of Themselves on Showtime.
Sacha Baron Cohen’s Who Is America? debuted on Showtime on July 15, 2018 and it has already made waves.
In Episode 1, the series featured independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and notable Republicans, the latter of whom were involved in a fake promotion for Kinderguardians, a program designed to put guns in the hands of children as young as 3 years old.
In Episode 2, Georgia State Rep. Jason Spencer was featured, and he did enough to destroy his already spotty reputation.
The episode also included Dick Cheney, who signed a “waterboarder.”
Episode 3 featured Roy Moore in a skit that had one of Baron Cohen’s characters, Erran Morad, used a pedophile detector.
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