Dizzy from Debates About Denuclearization—
The back-and-forth negotiation attempts between the two Koreas and America has been dizzying recently. This past Saturday May 26, the two Korean leaders, Kim Jung Un in the north and President Moon Jae-in in the south, had a secret summit meeting in which Kim Jung Un reaffirmed his commitment to denuclearizing. Although every side seems committed to making this happen, Moon said in a press conference that Kim Jung Un is resistant because of Washington’s unfriendly approach to relations, adding that, although he intends to denuclearize, he is suspicious of what it will mean for his regime. Trump canceled a summit he was supposed to have with Kim Jung Un on Thursday, May 24, in response to the north’s “hostility.” This word is being thrown from all sides and some experts say it is greatly impeding any move toward improved relations and denuclearization. Trump said the plan to have the summit with North Korea is still on for June 12, emphasizing that things haven’t changed.
Ireland Overturns Abortion Ban—
Over two million Irish citizens voted in a referendum concerning the restrictive abortion laws in their country on May 25. Over 66 percent of voters decided to overturn the Eighth Amendment which bans almost all abortions in Ireland. The Catholic country now largely celebrates this change and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said, “a quiet revolution has taken place, a great act of democracy.” Although the Eighth Amendment in Ireland was created in response to the American pro-choice decision made in Roe v. Wade, abortion had been illegal long before then. Ireland has been slowly making more socially progressive decisions since the 1990s by legalizing easier access to things like contraceptives, same-sex marriage and divorce. Yet, this monumental change to the Irish constitution is a striking example of the dwindling influence of the Catholic Church. This reaction against the religious legacy of the country paves the way for new legislation that will make abortion in Ireland legal and safe.
Weinstein Charged with Felony Rape in New York City—
First-degree rape, third-degree rape and first-degree criminal sex act: these are the charges filed against Harvey Weinstein, the infamous movie magnate. The charges were led by head prosecutor, Joan Illuzzi, in Manhattan Criminal Court on Friday, May 25. During the trial, which only lasted about 10 minutes total, Weinstein stayed quiet. Lucia Evans accused Weinstein of forcing her to perform oral sex during what she was expecting to be a casting meeting in 2004. This encounter lead to Friday’s criminal sex act charge. The rape victim was not named but prosecutors said the crime occurred on May 18, 2013. Defense Attorney Benjamin Brafman reported after the hearing that Weinstein plans to plead not guilty. He paid his $1 million bail with a cashier’s check and left the courtroom within an hour of arriving. The bail package requires Weinstein to wear a monitoring device and forbids any travel outside of Connecticut and New York. Weinstein must decide by Wednesday, May 30, if he plans to testify in front of a grand jury.
Storm Alberto Continues its Rampage—
Subtropical Storm Alberto started this past weekend and raged on through Memorial Day. Many were forced to evacuate in Cuba and the Bahamas, where the storm originated. It kept traveling north leading Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida beaches to be emptied as thousands evacuated to avoid the impending storm. With 20 to 25 inches of rain expected in Cuba, and 10 inches along the Florida panhandle, all of the Gulf Coast has been feeling the effects of these flash floods. State of emergencies have been issued in multiple states on the southeastern coast of the U.S., and the storm is expected to continue to strengthen as it moves north. With hurricane season officially beginning on June 1, Alberto is the first storm of the season.
California Will Make-or-Break Democrats in Midterm Elections—
The U.S. is about a month into state primary elections, but just now getting to the bulk, with 17 primaries coming up in June. California’s primary falls on June 5 and Democrats have poured over $4 million into campaigns for three favored candidates. What started as a confident and optimistic goal to take control of the House has now turned into a muddled and crowded disaster. Many democratic candidates are running in the California primary elections and democrats are now nervous that the votes will be scattered across the board, leading the Republicans to secure the primaries. Democrats initially intended the June 5 primaries to set them up to win over seven Republican-held districts in the November election. Now, though, as their plan crumbles due to a congested ballot, they are putting all their energy into not losing any more California seats.
First Black Woman Nominated for U.S. Governor—
Stacey Abrams made history this week when she became the first African American woman in the U.S. to be nominated by a major political party for governor. She won the Democratic primary in the state of Georgia. With African Americans making up 47 percent of Georgia’s population, and 40 percent of eligible voters, Abrams drew black voters to the booths as well as progressive white voters and young people. She was competing against Stacey Evans, a white woman who was raised in rural Georgia. Having grown up in Mississippi, Abrams went to Yale Law School and became Atlanta’s deputy city attorney before turning 30 years old. However, Abrams can’t rest now but must prepare for the quickly-approaching general elections. Winning in the conservative state of Georgia could be a challenge: a democrat hasn’t been elected into the seat since 2003.
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