Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir has evaded arrest and transfer to the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague yet again. On Monday, he departed from the African Union summit held in Johannesburg. By letting him go, the South African authorities disregarded the urgent requests of the ICC, backed by the UN secretary general, in addition to an injunction of their own High Court.
“‘The UW is funded by taxpayers and should be here not only for past taxpayers but their children and grandchildren,” she said. “The additional $95 million the university asked from the state legislature, which is absolutely critical for maintaining the system at a bare minimum, has now turned into a $250 million cut. That doesn’t work.’ But UW System President Ray Cross had a different reaction. He released a statement saying he and his fellow administrators ‘appreciate’ the slight reduction of the budget cut and, ‘Overall, we are pleased.’ Student activists who have been protesting in the state capitol, including recent UW-Green Bay graduate Paul Ahrens, are not pleased. ‘That’s like, ‘Oh, thank you, you beat me six times instead of 10.’ No! Stop beating us, period,’ he said. ‘I want to see the cuts gone, or at least reduced to less than $100 million dollars.”’
“House Republicans released a budget proposal this week that would eliminate funding for the Title X program, a decades-old network of family planning providers offering birth control, cancer screenings, STD testing, and reproductive health treatment to millions of low-income women across the country. The Title X program was first created in 1970 under former President Richard Nixon. Back then, federally-funded family planning services had broad bipartisan support on Capitol Hill, as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle acknowledged the government’s role in making birth control more accessible to impoverished Americans. “It is my view that no American woman should be denied access to family planning assistance because of her economic condition,” Nixon declaredat the time. Since then, the GOP position has shifted considerably. Spurred by concerns that some Title X providers — like Planned Parenthood — also function as abortion clinics, conservative lawmakers have set their sights on stripping funding from the federal program. In 2011, House Republicans voted along party lines to dismantle Title X.”
“Russia has announced plans to increase its nuclear arsenal. On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said his government will add more than 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles this year. Speaking in Brussels, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg accused Russia of nuclear “saber rattling.”’
“The Greek Central Bank (BOG) on Wednesday warned that if the country’s Syriza-led government and international creditors fail to reach a bailout deal, Greece would default and ultimately be forced to exit the European Union…Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras remained steadfast in his vow to reject austerity-driven deals, stating during a press conference Wednesday morning that ‘[w]e have only one option and that is to find a solution that will be accepted and passed by the government and the parliament… If we do not have an honorable compromise, we will once again say the big no.’”
“Though it perpetuates the idea that economic growth is the master to whom all should bow, the new research—conducted by the IMF’s own economists and submitted under the title Causes and Consequences of Inequality —argues that many of the policies promoted by the IMF have actually harmed nations by exacerbating widespread economic inequality. As many have noted, current disparities between the world’s richest and poorest represent a nearly unprecedented level of global inequality which the report described as the ‘defining challenge of our time.’ In order to strengthen economies, the report declares, nations should admit that ‘trickle-down’ theories of wealth and prosperity do not work. In lieu of those, the study recommends raising wages and living standards for the bottom 20 percent, installing more progressive tax structures, improving worker protections, and instituting policies specifically designed to bolster the middle class.”
“While most of the fighting over Tel Abyad, an important border town between Syria and Turkey, was wrapped up yesterday, several groups today confirmed that the town has entirely fallen under the control of Kurdish YPG forces, and are calling it the ‘biggest setback’ ISIS has faced so far.”
“According to the lengthy draft, which was obtained and published by L’Espresso magazine, the Argentinean pope will align himself with the environmental movement and its objectives. While accepting that there may be some natural causes of global warming, the pope will also state that climate change is mostly a man-made problem. ‘Humanity is called to take note of the need for changes in lifestyle and changes in methods of production and consumption to combat this warming, or at least the human causes that produce and accentuate it,’ he wrote in the draft. ‘Numerous scientific studies indicate that the greater part of the global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases … given off above all because of human activity.”’
“The Air Force plans to trim the flights by the armed surveillance drones to 60 a day by October from a recent peak of 65 as it deals with the first serious exodus of the crew members who helped usher in the era of war by remote control. Air Force officials said that this year they would lose more drone pilots, who are worn down by the unique stresses of their work, than they can train.”
“In the process, they weren’t just securing a home where they could start a family one day. They were helping the United States housing market return to normal pricing after 15 years of yo-yoing insanity. A decade ago the market was unquestionably too hot. Four years ago it was too cold. Now, by a wide range of measures, nationwide home prices look relatively normal when compared with incomes, rents and other fundamentals — and are rising at similar low, single-digit rates.”
(Title image via).