tl;dr

  • US declares intent to shutter private prisons
  • Hackers continue to strike politicians and businesspeople
  • NASA makes some of their research free
  • Louisiana floods, California wildfires
  • 15 prisoners leave Guantanamo Bay for the UAE
  • Aetna makes partial withdrawal from Obamacare
  • Wedding bombed in Gaziantep, Turkey
  • Yemen airstrike hits hospital
  • Rio Olympics 2016

United States

“The Justice Department plans to phase out its use of private prisons after they were determined to be less safe and less effective that government facilities…” (The Hill) “The decision will affect only a small share of the detainee population within the United States, which represents one in four prisoners held around the world.” (AFP)

“Hackers… publicly released more than 2,000 documents connected to billionaire Democratic donor George Soros and his Open Society Foundations.” (The Hill)

“NASA just announced that any published research funded by the space agency will now be available at no cost, launching a new public web portal that anybody can access. The free online archive comes in response to a new NASA policy, which requires that any NASA-funded research articles in peer-reviewed journals be publicly accessible within one year of publication.” (SA) The research is listed on PubMed Central.

“The Louisiana floods, which the American Red Cross on Wednesday labeled ‘the worst natural disaster to strike the United States since Superstorm Sandy,’ have not dominated cable news nor the front pages of newspapers. President Obama, other than signing a disaster declaration, hasn’t bothered to interrupt his Martha’s Vineyard vacation of golf and fund-raisers to address the suffering residents of the Gulf.” (The Atlantic) After a system dumped 24 to 31 inches in the southern US, over 30,000 people had to be rescued from rising waters.

Wildfires have torn through large swaths of California. One, known as The Blue Cut fire, has burned over 30,000 acres. Over 80,000 people were evacuated. A fire in northern California destroyed more than 175 buildings and a man was arrested for arson. There is one benefit to the destruction: newly uncovered historic artifacts.

“Fifteen prisoners at Guantanamo Bay have been transferred to the United Arab Emirates — the largest single release of the Obama administration. The population of the military prison in Cuba is now down to 61. President Obama has long vowed to close Guantanamo…” (NPR)

“Aetna will abandon Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges next year in more than two-thirds of the counties where it now sells the coverage, the latest in a string of defections by big insurers that will limit customer choice in many markets.” (AP)

Turkey

“A blast tore through a wedding ceremony in the southeastern Turkish city of Gaziantep on Saturday, according to local officials. The Gaziantep province governor’s office said that at least 54 people were killed, and at least 66 more were injured, 14 of them critically.” (NPR) The Associated Press reported that 94 were wounded.

Yemen

“An airstrike hit a hospital supported by Doctors Without Borders in northern Yemen on Monday, the international humanitarian group said, killing at least 11 people and wounding at least 19 others.” (AP)

“The U.S. military has withdrawn from Saudi Arabia its personnel who were coordinating with the Saudi-led air campaign in Yemen, and sharply reduced the number of staff elsewhere who were assisting in that planning… The June staff withdrawal, which U.S. officials say followed a lull in air strikes in Yemen earlier this year, reduces Washington’s day-to-day involvement in advising a campaign that has come under increasing scrutiny for causing civilian casualties.” (Reuters)

Rio Olympics 2016

As of 16 August, the United States was still in the lead, with 83 medals. The United Kingdom and China were tied for second place, at 48 medals.