Romney decides against a third bid for the Presidency in 2016
In a scripted conference call with donors, Mitt Romney announced that he would not seek the Presidency in 2016. Many of the key donors and political operatives who rallied around Romney four years ago have now flocked to other potential candidates who they believe will have a better chance of defeating the anticipated Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton ’69. Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida and son of former President George H. W. Bush, seems to be a favorite of the wealthiest Republican donors. However, grassroots Republican activists have yet to unite behind a single candidate. Other Republican hopefuls include Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. According to Politico, pushing Romney out of the race was part of a larger strategy among Republican elite to root out weak candidates to avoid another “GOP clown show à la 2012.”
Last minute interception in end zone wins Patriots the Super Bowl
With 26 seconds left in the game and one yard away from defeat, rookie Malcolm Butler of the New England Patriots successfully blocked Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russel Wilson’s throw into the end zone and won the Patriots their fourth Super Bowl title. Down 24-14, the Patriots made an improbable comeback in the fourth quarter, putting them ahead by just three points. One minute and 40 seconds later, the Seahawks once again had the Patriots up against the end zone, taking Pats fans back to their last two Super Bowls when the team suffered last minute defeats which lost them their title. This time, however, the Seahawks made a call which left their fans gaping. Instead of running the ball into the end zone, Wilson threw it, as it turns out, into the hands of Butler. This is the first Super Bowl win for the Patriots in ten years.
U.S. considers sending arms to Ukraine
Ever since the September peace deal collapsed, rebels in Eastern Ukraine have pounded the Ukrainian army with Russian weaponry, leading U.S. officials to weigh the possibility of sending their own military arms to assist Ukrainian forces. While the United States has been supplying the Ukrainian troops with non-lethal military aid like protective vests, night-vision goggles and radar, the Obama administration has been reluctant to supply deadly weapons or munitions for fear of escalating the conflict. However, the Pentagon has long supported sending lethal aid, and now a report authored by former senior American officials is urging that the United States send $3 billion in defensive arms and equipment to Ukraine. That equipment includes anti-armor missiles, which can be fired from a soldier’s vehicle or mounted on his or her shoulder. The question now is whether a better-supplied Ukrainian army would deter further Russian intervention or cause Russian President Vladimir Putin to ramp up his efforts in aiding pro-Russian separatists.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria released a video over the weekend of the apparent beheading of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto. Goto was the second Japanese hostage executed by ISIS. His death has since drawn Japan further into a fight from which it previously kept its distance, only providing humanitarian aid to those battling the extremist group. Now, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has vowed “to make the terrorists pay the price.” ISIS at first demanded $200 million from the Japanese government but later changed its terms, instead demanding the release of suicide bomber Sajida al-Rishawi from a Jordanian prison. The execution of Goto and the threat against the life of a Jordanian pilot, believed to have been burnt alive yesterday, effectively roused public opinion in Jordan against ISIS.