Russia reshuffles government as Putin eyes prolonged power

By: The Millennial Source

Reading Time: 2 minutes On Wednesday, January 15, the Russian government announced a wave of resignations after President Vladimir Putin proposed changes to the constitution that would give more power to the cabinet, parliament and prime minister’s (PM) office. The resignations occurred within hours of a televised national address by Putin that laid out the constitutional changes.

Among those that resigned were PM Dmitry Medvedev, a longtime Putin ally, along with the entire cabinet. Many political analysts suspect Putin is attempting to get around legal obstacles that could impede his ability to retain power after his term ends in 2024.

U.S. Attorney General Barr asks Apple to unlock iPhones of Pensacola shooter (PLUS Apple's defense)

By: Joseph Lyttleton

Reading Time: 3 minutes Following a deadly December shooting in Pensacola, Fla., United States Attorney General William Barr has pressed Apple Inc. to help unlock a pair of iPhones believed to belong to the gunman. In a press conference Monday, Barr stated the shooting, which resulted in four deaths, was determined to be a terrorist attack. The gunman was a Saudi national who was training with the U.S. military.

Go beyond the headlines…

– What happened in Pensacola?
– What was the motivation for the shooting?

Pharmaceutical executives to be sentenced for criminal activities related to opioid crisis

By: The Millennial Source

Reading Time: 3 minutes Eight months after being found guilty of a racketeering conspiracy, five top executives of Insys Therapeutics are set to receive their sentences. The defendants, which include former Insys CEO John Kapoor, were found to have bribed doctors to push the company’s painkiller, Subsys, on patients, even when the drug wasn’t needed.

The case is notable for being the first time a pharmaceutical CEO has been convicted of racketeering related to opioids, according to Bloomberg.

Go beyond the headlines…

– What did the executives do?
– What are the details of the conviction and the sentencing?
– What is the U.S. opioid crisis?

60 injured after plane dumps jet fuel over Los Angeles school area

By: Dhipa Palani

Reading Time: 2 minutes It has been reported that 60 people were treated for injuries after a plane had dumped jet fuel near five elementary schools and one high school while returning to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on January 14 for an emergency landing.

The most severely affected school was Park Avenue Elementary in Cudahy – situated 9 miles (30.5 km) east of LAX. A number of 20 children and 11 adults reported minor injuries.

US citizen who once pleaded for President Trump’s assistance dies in Egyptian prison

By: The Millennial Source

Reading Time: 2 minutes US citizen Mustafa Kassem who was detained in Egypt for over six years has died of heart failure resulting from a hunger strike on January 13. Kassem, the 54-year-old Egyptian-born American from New York, was detained in August 2013 in Cairo while visiting his family. He was reportedly mistakenly arrested during an Islamist protest that resulted in the death of hundreds of people.

The case has brought to light the atrocities of the Egyptian prison system, where many inmates are reportedly held for crimes they claim they did not commit or have not been charged for at all during Egyptian President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi’s crackdown on dissent.

UN says the world has 10 years to prevent mass extinctions

By: The Millennial Source

Reading Time: 2 minutes According to the United Nations (UN), humans have only ten years to prevent massive biodiversity loss across the globe. As the effects of climate change become more severe and the Earth’s climate gets warmer, many species are struggling to survive, prompting scientists to warn against the possibility that many of them might die off.

The researchers characterized the losses as a “biological annihilation” that represents a “frightening assault on the foundations of human civilization.” Human overcrowding and overconsumption were blamed for the crisis.

U.S. Defense Secretary walks back contradiction of Trump’s justification for Soleimani assassination

By: The Millennial Source

Reading Time: 3 minutes On Sunday, United States Secretary of Defense Mike Esper contradicted U.S. President Donald Trump on the motivation for assassinating Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani before walking it back.

The justifications for the assassination remain unclear.

Trump has justified Soleimani’s assassination by saying he posed an imminent threat to Americans and the nation’s embassies. However, Esper denied knowing of any specific threats to American embassies.

Go beyond the headlines…

– What is Trump’s justification for the killing of Soleimani?
– How did the defense secretary Esper contradict Trump?

3 days of mourning after 89 soldiers killed in attack on Niger military base

By: Dhipa Palani

Reading Time: 2 minutes The West African nation of Niger has declared three days of national mourning after 89 soldiers were killed in an attack on a military base. The attack took place on Thursday, January 9 when heavily armed militants attacked an army outpost in Chinagodrar near the border of Mali. Niger’s flag will also be flown at half-staff across the country to pay tribute to the troops killed in the raid.

President Mahamadou Issoufou expressed his deepest condolences to the victims’ families and wished those wounded in the attack a speedy recovery.

UN passes resolution limiting Syrian aid after Russia veto threat

By: Andrew Stafford

Reading Time: 3 minutes After Russia threatened to use its United Nations Security Council (UNSC) veto, the United Nations (UN) passed a resolution on January 10 that reduces the amount of humanitarian and medical aid given to over 1 million people in northeastern Syria.

Although the UN managed to pass the resolution before the midnight deadline, some UNSC members expressed disappointment with the “watered-down” measure that certain observers fear will cause further ‘humanitarian disaster.’

Go beyond the headlines…

– Why did the Security Council vote on the resolution?
– How did the UN members react?

Saudi military trainees expelled from US over child porn and anti-American material

By: The Millennial Source

Reading Time: 2 minutes United States Attorney General William Barr has confirmed that 21 Saudi military students are being removed from a US training program and are returning home over possession of child pornography and anti-American material, Barr said on January 13.

Of the 21 Saudis now in the process of being removed from the United States, investigators found that 17 had shared social media posts that were either Jihadi or anti-American in nature.

US removes currency manipulator status label from China amid trade progress

By: Zachary Frye

Reading Time: 2 minutes The United States has agreed to remove China from its internal designation as a currency manipulator ahead of the phase-one signing of a new trade deal between the two countries expected on Wednesday, January 15. While the details of the agreement are still unclear, China has reportedly agreed to crack down on the use of stolen or forced technology transfers to Chinese firms.

Oman names culture minister as successor to Sultan Qaboos

By: The Millennial Source

Reading Time: 2 minutes Oman’s new sultan, former culture minister Haitham bin Tariq Al Said, has vowed to uphold his predecessor’s approach as regional peacemaker after being named as the new ruler of the Gulf Arab country.

Haitham made the vow after being named as the successor to Sultan Qaboos Al Said, the region’s longest-ruling monarch, who died at the age of 79 after a long battle with colon cancer. Since January 10, Oman has been in three days of mourning.