Welcome to Newscoop’s Week in Review; your quick guide to the world last week…
Welcome to Newscoop’s week in review, your quick guide to the world last week. I’m Zoe Licata.
1. Among the most interesting political news in the U.S. are four lawsuits filed February 21st in California, Texas, Massachusetts and South Carolina, on behalf of a diverse group of Democrats and Republicans whose votes have been rendered meaningless by America’s electoral system.
Harvard Law professor Larry Lessig is the inspiration and organization behind Equal Votes, the organization that has launched a legal effort to challenge the electoral system in U.S. presidential elections. Led by the law firm of distinguished attorney David Boies, the group is raising constitutional claims, showing that the winner-takes-all electoral system disenfranchises Americans across the country.
2. Next, the student survivors of the recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School in Parkland, Florida have launched an all-out effort to pressure U.S. policymakers into changing the nation’s gun laws. They were immediately criticized by leaders of the National Rifle Association and partisan talk show hosts who oppose any gun restrictions. But after witnessing 17 of their fellow classmates and professors being killed, these students are not backing down. They have organized sit-ins, marches, and a nationwide march on Washington on March 24th.
3. A German-Turkish journalist for the German daily Die Welt,, Deniz Yücel, was released from an Istanbul prison on Friday, February 16th, after spending more than a year in pre-trial detention without indictment. At the beginning of February, the German government submitted Yücel’s case to the European Court of Human Rights, which seems to have led to his release. In the 2017 World Press Freedom Index, Turkey is ranked 155 out of 180 countries. Currently, 159 Turkish journalists remain imprisoned.
4. Meanwhile in Syria, a humanitarian catastrophe is said to be unfolding in the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta, the last remaining rebel-held enclave close to the Syrian capital of Damascus. The area has been besieged since 2013 by Russian-backed Syrian forces, and is now experiencing severe shortages of medical aid and extraordinary levels of malnourishment.
Since Feb 19th, the Syrian and Russian forces have intensified their aerial bombardment of the suburb, killing more than 550 in weeks, half of those children. Another 2400 have been injured, and many others are buried under the rubble. There were also credible reports of victims showing signs of exposure to chlorine gas.
On Feb 25, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution for a 30-day ceasefire to allow delivery of aid and evacuation of civilians, with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres referring to the enclave as “hell on earth.”
As of Monday, February 26, the ceasefire had collapsed.
Zoe Licata (Boston, Massachusetts)
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