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Week in Review: 7/6 to 7/14

Unrest in Gaza

(Building destroyed by an Israeli strike in Gaza City. Credits: Lefteris Pitarakis/AP)

The tension in the Middle East continued this week, with Israel and Hamas escalating their attacks on each other: Hamas has been launching rockets into Israel, and in response, Israel has been carrying out air strikes in Gaza for more than a week. There have been hundreds of casualties for the Palestinian side, but none so far for people in Israel. After Israel issued a warning about further air strikes to Palestinians living in the north region, thousands of people in Gaza fled their homes and headed to safer ground. The violence does not seem to be ending anytime soon, and to even further complicate things, Lebanon, Israel’s other neighbor, also decided to fire rockets. So far, the United Nations has not been able to do much, and it is unclear how effective they will be in trying to help sort out this mess.

For more on this story, check out the following links:ReutersHuffington Post

Spying Gone Wrong (Again) 

(An anti-NSA protest in Hanover, Germany. Credits: AP)

Remember when Angela Merkel found out that the NSA was listening into her phone calls? Well, this week, German officials arrested an intelligence employee on the grounds that the individual had been spying for the US. This led to the ouster of the top CIA official in Berlin, and has also renewed tensions between the US and Germany, which also reached high levels last year with the NSA revelation. Since it is very rare in both countries for officials to be kicked out of their positions, it seems that whatever information that was being sent to the US was relatively important. The relationship between the two countries are sure to remain on the radars of other actors on the international playing field.

Too Many Children at the Border

(The influx of thousands of unaccompanied minors have proven to be a major headache for the US government. Credits: AP)

The US government faced a crisis in the past week, with regards to dealing with the influx of hundreds of undocumented minors, especially from Central America. President Obama has requested nearly $4 billion in emergency funds from Congress in order to deal with the immigration crisis, which would go towards better detention facilities as well as more overall support for Border Patrol agents. After all, the National Border Patrol Council posted this tweet in response to the crisis: “New annual job rating areas: Babysitting, Diaper Changing, Burrito Wrapping, Cleaning cells. Law Enforcement? What’s that?” It is clear that while the immigrant children are in the center of the crisis, the Border Patrol agents also have expressed their point of view on the matter. Compared to the past, the White House has taken a tougher stance on the subject. Since the children are unlikely to qualify for humanitarian relief, they must be processed under a law meant to prevent human trafficking, which results in rather lengthy stays with their relatives or in the overcrowded detention centers. The emergency relief funds would be used to speed up the entire process, because right now the main problem is that the government is simply overwhelmed with the sheer number of unaccompanied minors.

For more on this story, see the following links:Washington PostTIME

The Apes are Back

(The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was released in over 20 countries this weekend. Credits: iGN)

In entertainment news, the Dawn of the Planet of the Apes opened in US theaters this weekend, earning $73 million across 3,967 theaters. While many of the cast members have been changed in this installment, the post-apocalyptic vibe remains the same. 20th Century Fox’s teaser for the film is as follows: “A growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar is threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating virus unleashed a decade earlier. They reach a fragile peace, but it proves short-lived, as both sides are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as Earth’s dominant species.” Directed by Matt Reeves, the film has received rave reviews, with many lauding it as the film of the summer. While the film has also been released in over 20 different countries outside of the US, Japanese audiences will have to wait until September 19th of this year to see it in theaters.

Last World Cup Update

(The triumphant German team. Credits: Reuters)

It seems hard to believe, but the month-long celebration of football (soccer) came to a close on the 13th. In the third place match, the Netherlands defeated Brazil by a score of 3-0, ending Brazil’s World Cup on the darkest note possible.

The final, Argentina vs. Germany, proved to be a real thriller. After 90 full minutes of oh-so-close chances, the score remained 0-0, leading to extra time. Even with the first 15 minutes of extra time, neither team could get on the scoreboard. Finally, at the 8th minute mark in the second half of extra time, Mario Gotze scored a brilliant goal, which would end up being the sole goal of the final match. Germany defended the 1-0 score until the very end, which led to their first World Cup in 24 years, as well as putting a huge smile on Angela Merkel’s face.

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