John Boehner announces decision to leave Congress
Speaker for the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner assumed his duties in 2011 and since that time has faced multiple fiscal debates and failed compromises with the White House. Furthermore, he has been pushed by an aggressive conservative party to be more of a hardliner with the Democrats. Inspired by the events of a private meeting with the visiting Pope Francis, Boehner decided that now was the time to resign, not his originally planned date of mid-November. Amid the right-wing disapproval of what Republicans in the House of Representatives view as his less-than-stubborn stance with Obama, Boehner has said he does not want to put anyone through the tension that would result from any attempt by him to maintain his position as speaker. If he were to try for reappointment, it would likely ride on votes from Democrats, which would shake the already unstable position he holds with- in his own party. Boehner’s unexpected resignation has been termed as “seismic” within his party by Nancy Pelosi, who continued that “the disarray among House Republicans… needs to be reckoned with and recognized.”
Pharmaceutical executive raises cost of company’s medication by 5000 percent
Martin Shkreli is the 32-year-old son of Albanian and Croatian immigrants. He skipped several grades in school and started his own hedge fund in 2006. His new company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, recently bought the rights to a medication called Daraprim, which is used to treat a parasitic infection that people with weakened immune systems, namely AIDS patients, depend on. The medication was distributed for $13.50 a pill by its previous rights-holder. Turing Pharmaceutical announced this past week that it will be raising the cost to $750 a pill. There has since been broad backlash against the decision, with people calling Shkreli a “morally bankrupt sociopath” and his handling of pharmaceutical pricing as an illustration of “everything that is wrong with capitalism.” In defense of his decision, Shkreli has claimed that selling Daraprim, which is a highly specialized pill for a relatively rare illness, for so little was akin to selling an Aston Martin for the price of a bicycle and that moving that price closer to that of a Toyota is not too drastic. He further added that all profits from the price-hike would go straight back into improving the medication. Come week’s end, however, an agreement had been reached to lower the price to an undisclosed amount.
Hajj stampede up for further investigation
Each year, the month of September brings thousands of Muslims to the city of Mecca for the religious pilgrimage known as Hajj. This past Thursday morning, ap- proximately two million pilgrims were completing the final task of the event, which includes tossing stones at sacred pillars, where the Prophet Abraham was supposedly tempted by the devil. It was here that two long lines of people converged and a pushing stampede began. An estimated 769 people have been confirmed dead, and another 934 people were injured. This is the second incident to mark this year’s Hajj with a tragedy, with not two weeks having passed since a large crane collapsed at the Grand Mosque. Approximately 100 people were killed as a result of the crane’s failure. With these two events coming to pass in such a small time frame, Saudi Arabia’s efforts to maintain safety throughout Hajj is being scrutinized by foreign countries, namely Iran, which lost 130 citizens in the stampede. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has called for an investigation into the charge, and King Salman of Saudi Arabia has compliantly ordered a review of the event’s safety. The final day of Hajj was Saturday.
Members of Boko Haram surrender in Nigeria
Boko Haram translates into “Western education is forbidden” in Hausa. It is also the name of the terrorist group that has plagued northern Nigeria and its neighbors since it launched military operations back in 2009. It is estimated that 17,000 people have been killed over the course of their insurgency. In the past few weeks, several small waves of Boko Haram fighters have surrendered to the Nigerian military in Banki, a border town along the Nigeria-Cameroon border. This past Friday, 200 members, the largest group thus far, gave themselves up to the state. Once the militants surrender, they are screened and sent off to go through a deradicalization program administered by the government. This program involves previous members of Boko Haram, both captured and surrendered, living together, attending classes offered by teachers and psychologists alike, joining group counseling sessions and playing soccer, a sport entirely banned by the Jihadist group. This new “soft approach” to dealing with terrorism is a stark contrast to the military detention sites ex-members were sent to since 2011. It is estimated that 7,000 men and boys died in these detention centers until last year’s humane shift to the deradicalization program.