Greece has been working through economic hardship for the last several years. In 2010, the country was dangerously close to bankruptcy and was bailed out by international powers with a loan of $270 billion. The condition of the loan was that Greece would get its economy back on track through strict economic practices. However, it has been five years and the Greek economy is still struggling—and leaders are neglecting to pay back the loan. With the recent election of a new prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, who promised to end Greece’s economic struggle, it does not look like the initial deal of austerity is going to continue.
The implication of subpar Greek participation in the European economy is causing many to be concerned about the fate of the euro—in Greece and throughout the Eurozone.
Obama Budget $74 Billion Increase In Spending
In President Obama’s 2016 budget proposal, he asked for a cease to automatic spending cuts so that more money could be allotted towards discretionary spending for military and domestic purposes. The Republican Congress is opposing this proposition with the argument that it would be better long-term to not quit the spending cuts. Obama seems prepared to meet resistance. As reported by the Huffington Post, Obama said: “If Congress rejects my plan and refuses to undo these arbitrary cuts, it will threaten our economy and our military…Investments in key arenas will fall to their lowest level in ten years, adjusted for inflation, putting American research, education, infrastructure, and national security at risk. But if Congress joins me, we can make sure that ending sequestration is fully paid for by cutting inefficient spending and closing tax loopholes.”
Ex-Stanford Student Accused of Rape
A former Stanford student athlete was charged with rape after allegedly taking advantage of an unconscious, intoxicated woman on campus. Two Stanford students intervened and reported the incident.
In a report by the office of the district attorney, the intervention occurred in the early hours of Jan. 18. Two students riding bicycles noticed 19 year-old Brock Turner, a Stanford freshman, on top of the victim, as relayed in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Deputy District Attorney Alaleh Kianerci said, “She was lying on the ground unconscious, not moving.”
After coming upon the scene the two men restrained Turner as he tried to get away and called the police. The woman was taken to the hospital and treated for the injuries she suffered.
Turner’s prosecution begins this week and, if charged, he faces up to 10 years in prison.
Church of Latter-Day Saints Releases Statement on LGBTQ Rights
During the last week of January, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced that it will now formally support some degree of gay rights legislation. In a statement, the Mormon Church wrote: “The Church believes that a ‘fairness for all’ approach, which strives to balance reasonable safeguards for LGBT people while protecting key religious rights, is the best way to overcome the sharp divisions and present cultural divide in our nation…We must all learn to live with others who do not share the same beliefs or values.” While there is no actual change in doctrine, the announcement could signify a symbolic step forward for the LGBTQ community. However, a few days later in Idaho, a bill including some gay rights legislation was voted down by a committee that included several Mormons.
Last Wednesday, two Israeli soldiers were killed in a retaliation move by the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. The soldiers were near the border between Lebanon and Israel when they were struck by a missile attack. The advance was apparently in retribution for a suspected Israeli airstrike that recently killed members of Hezbollah in Syria. Tensions between Israel and Hezbollah are at a historic low; in 2006 they engaged in a 34-day war that left about 165 Israelis and 1,100 members of Hezbollah dead, according to the Wall Street Journal. Between then and now, fighting had calmed.
According to Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the attack was a warning to Israelis.