TL;DR – TOP 10 STORIES FOR THE WEEK

  1. Seven Maryland police officers arrested
  2. Trump gave a speech to Congress
  3. Sweden reintroduced a military draft
  4. EU may revoke visa-free travel for US citizens
  5. Battle for Mosul continued
  6. Jordan executed 15 people in one day
  7. Somalia and South Sudan plagued with famine
  8. Samsung chief to be indicted on bribery and embezzlement
  9. China made more steps to combat pollution
  10. SpaceX to fly two people around the moon in 2018

Further information and more stories:

UNITED STATES

“Oscars ratings on ABC averaged 32.9 million, least-viewed broadcast since 2008” (Reuters)

“A former journalist has been arrested on suspicion of making threats against Jewish community centres – in a bizarre plot against an ex-girlfriend…. The Missouri man was allegedly behind eight of some 100 threats to Jewish Community Centers (JCC) this year.” (BBC)

“Seven Baltimore police officers were arrested on Wednesday on federal racketeering charges for robbing and extorting up to $200,000 from victims, along with stealing guns and drugs, prosecutors said.” (Reuters)

“The Kansas Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the state’s system of funding primary and secondary public schools falls short of an adequacy requirement in the state constitution.” (Reuters)

“The remnants of tornadoes and storms that killed at least three people and destroyed homes in the U.S. Midwest rolled across the Southeast on Wednesday, sweeping the region with hail and high winds, the National Weather Service said.” (Reuters)

Trump gave a speech to Congress. It was positively received overall — even among liberal media outlets. However, naturally there were critics.

“Foreigners aiming for temporary jobs at high-tech U.S. companies will undergo a longer visa approval process after the Trump administration announced it will temporarily suspend expedited applications for H-1B visas… for up to six months.” (Reuters)

Democratic politicians continued to accuse Trump and his inner circle of collusion with Russia, despite (still) no evidence for the alleged collusion. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was accused of lying to Congress about “improper contact” with Russian officials; there is no evidence (as of yet) for either topic having weight.

EUROPE

“The European Parliament called on the EU executive on Thursday to force Americans to apply for visas before visiting Europe this summer, stepping up pressure to resolve a long-running transatlantic dispute on the issue.” (Reuters)

“Sweden’s left-leaning government reintroduces a military draft 7 years after doing away with it.” (AP)

“Tens of thousands of people – including NHS workers, campaigners and union representatives – have marched in London to protest against ‘yet more austerity’ in the health service.” (BBC)

“The French presidential candidate François Fillon, mired in a ‘fake’ jobs scandal, continued a last-ditch bid to salvage his candidacy at the first of two weekend rallies. But as Fillon spoke on Saturday, his party announced it was bringing forward by 24 hours a crisis meeting ‘to evaluate the situation’ amid growing disquiet over his refusal to step aside.” (TG)

MIDDLE EAST

“Iraqi forces battled jihadists in west Mosul on Sunday, aiming to build a floating bridge across the Tigris to establish an important supply route linked to the recaptured east bank.” (AFP)

“Russia and China have vetoed a UN resolution to impose sanctions on Syria over the alleged use of chemical weapons.” (BBC)

“Ten prisoners with ties to Islamic extremism… were executed in Jordan on Saturday, a government spokesman said. It was the largest round of executions in the kingdom in recent memory.” (CBS) “Human rights groups have condemned Jordan’s mass execution of 15 people on Saturday. Human rights group Amnesty International said the executions by hanging had been carried out in ‘secrecy and without transparency.'” (TG)

AFRICA

“Last week the United Nations declared that parts of South Sudan are experiencing famine, the first time the world has faced such a catastrophe in six years. Some 5.5 million people, nearly half the population, will not have a reliable source of food by July.” (Reuters)

“Somalia says 110 dead from hunger in past 48 hours in single drought-hit region of country.” (AP)

“Zimbabwe says floods have killed 246 people and left nearly 2,000 homeless since December.” (AP)

“A U.N. operation with an attack helicopter dispersed heavily armed militiamen in the remote Central African Republic town of Bambari…. About 40 fighters from the Popular Front for the Renaissance of Central African Republic (FPRC) armed with AK-47s and rocket propelled grenades had gathered in the town, but U.N. forces intervened to prevent them carrying out an attack, [a statement] said.” (Reuters)

ASIA

“Prosecutors plan to indict Samsung’s de facto chief on bribery, embezzlement linked to massive South Korean scandal” (AP)

“The Chinese growth target for this year has been cut to around 6.5%…. The Chinese economy expanded at its slowest pace in 26 years in 2016.” (BBC)

“China will work to clear its skies by increasing investment in clean energy and punishing polluters, Premier Li Keqiang said Sunday in comments aimed at mollifying public anger over chronic smog. Swathes of northern China were blanketed under toxic smog this winter, affecting more than 100 million people and forcing government agencies to take emergency measures to curb pollution.” (AFP)

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Marketers want to use your TV to track what you’re doing in front of it. “Through the installation of a Microsoft Kinect device… on top of participants’ TVs, TVision tracks the movement of people’s eyes in relation to the television. The device’s sensors can record minute shifts for all the people in the room. The company then matches those viewing patterns to shows and commercials using technology that listens to what is being broadcast on the TV.” (NYT)

“We are excited to announce that SpaceX has been approached to fly two private citizens on a trip around the moon late next year. They have already paid a significant deposit to do a moon mission.” (SpaceX)

“Later this year, as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, we will launch our Crew Dragon (Dragon Version 2) spacecraft to the International Space Station. This first demonstration mission will be in automatic mode, without people on board.” (SpaceX)