What in the World is Happening?

Afghanistan:

What’s happening?

President Obama has recently announced plans to extend the stay of the US military’s presence in Afghanistan. This decision comes after a recent surge of attacks carried out by the Taliban.

Why is this important?

Because President Obama really didn’t want to do this. Since he took office, POTUS’s plan in Afghanistan pretty much consisted of one thing: getting out. The original plan was to leave behind no more than an embassy-based force in Afghanistan by the time he left office. But with his new plan, 9,800 will remain in Afghanistan that will be stationed in four locations throughout the country. Looks like our long history with Afghanistan won’t be ending any time soon.

Playboy:

What’s happening?

Playboy is giving up nude photos for good. Yes, you read that correctly. Playboy is giving up the one thing that has kept its franchise going for so long.

Why is this important?

Because it’s a fascinating manifestation of how we’ve changed over the years. Playboy, like every other company, has to maintain consumer growth in order to stay alive, which it hasn’t been doing in recent years. The rise of the internet has allowed for all kinds of content, meaning that Playboy is far from the only place to find nude photos these days. To put it in perspective, Playboy’s circulation in 1975 was 5.6 million and has since dropped to only 800,000 this year. Giving up nude photos is pretty much Playboy’s last chance at staying relevant, in order to keep up with its biggest competition, the internet. For a quick recap on Playboy’s history, check out this article.

Airline Hazing:

What happened?

Basically, a video of Kunming Airlines (China) flight attendants being forced into the carry-on storage space went viral. (Unfortunately, it looks like the video was since taken down.) Attendants claimed that they were “forced” into overhead storage as an “industry ritual,” which many went through out of fear of otherwise being ostracized.

Why is this important?

As college students, we’re used to hearing about hazing—on sports teams or in Greek life—but it’s always treated as something completely immature and dangerous. So, to hear that professional adults are still resorting to hazing is that much more shocking. To make matters worse, the airline first denied that the actions were hazing and claimed the attendants were “happy” to be put in the storage space as a “celebratory” ritual, and that they were “outraged at the online distortion of the facts.” The problem is that later on, they claimed they were completely unaware of anything that was going on. Thankfuly, they’ve since stated that they will “prevent such things from happening again.”

FBI Operation Cross Country:

What happened?

The FBI launched their ninth annual nationwide operation to take down child sex trafficking last week. They worked with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and were able to arrest over 150 people involved and save 149 children.

Why is this important?

When we think of slavery, we tend to picture the Transatlantic Slave Trade and “Roots”-style scenes of plantations—but the reality is that slavery still happens everywhere in the world, including in the U.S. In fact, there are more people held in slavery today than the total of all slaves during the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Children are also very often the targets, with estimates of over 100,000 children in the U.S. sold into sex slavery every year. This is an issue that sadly has actually become worse over the years and really deserves more attention, which is why operations like this one are so important.