Shooting occurs at Planned Parenthood clinic
This past weekend in Colorado Springs, an attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic resulted in the deaths of two civilians and one police officer. About nine other people were injured in the shooting, including five other police officers. The attacker in question, Robert L. Dear, ultimately surrendered himself, ending a five-hour standoff with law enforcement. Robert, aged fifty-seven, was described by his former neighbor as a bit of a loner, and holds records of cruelty to animals, as well as a claim of domestic violence submitted by his ex-wife. Planned Parenthood, while perpetually questioned on its ethics as the largest provider of abortions in the U.S., has recently been the focus of many more pointed protests following controversial videos suggesting it has misused the bodies of aborted fetuses. Mr. Dear is quoted as saying “no more baby parts” during his arrest, suggesting that his motive was perhaps also a response to the clinic’s services. Planned Parenthood performs much more than abortions, as it also provides contraceptive and family planning options, nationwide STD and cancer screening and regular physical check-ups to both men and women. With this added shooting happening on his watch, President Barack Obama has expressed outrage over the events that transpired, frustrated that his efforts at gun control continue to be blocked in Congress. In a nationally televised address he urged that “we have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them. Enough is enough.”
Verdict reached in murder case
Back in 2014, sixteen year old Mohammad Abu Khdair was abducted and burned to death in Jerusalem as a form of revenge for the murders of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank. These Israeli children were attacked by Hamas militants and, were just one part of many killings spurred by tit-for-tat violence that eventually gave rise to a full-on war between Israel and militants in Gaza. At the time, two minors and Yosef Haim Ben David, aged thirty-one, were charged with Khdair’s death. As of this Monday, judges of the Jerusalem District Court found the two then-minors guilty. Both of them confessed to having abducted Mohammed, but only one of them testified to being involved in his actual killing. The judges are awaiting a complete psychiatric evaluation on Mr. Ben David, who did not testify. This last fact elicited sharp criticism from Mohammad’s father. He is quoted asking “How can the defendant, two days ago, a year-and-a-half after the crime, bring a document claiming insanity?” he continued that “It’s all lies and I worry that the court will free them in the end.” The Khdair’s prosecuter, Uri Corb, has made assurances that he will contest any of Mr. Ben David’s claims of insanity.
United Nations hosts COP21
COP21, a shortened name for The 21st Conference of the Parties, was a summit hosted by the United Nations to discuss terms of necessary environmental care, and how much greenhouse gas emissions must be cut down. The conference ended last week, seeing one hundred ninety-five countries decide how to address the next steps toward global environmental stability. Major points addressed included an agreement to limit warming to two degrees Celsius by the end of year 2100. Previous plans, if implemented and executed, would have seen that hover at three degrees Celsius. Another area of debate determined who would be responsible for the bulk of emissions cuts. Both the U.S. and Russia have seen maintained development without an increase in emissions, signaling that industry growth is possible without the assumed cost of increased pollution. This bolstered the argument of some nations that developed nations should do the most to minimize emissions because they have polluted the world for a longer time period, and because developing nations should be afforded the chance to catch up in terms of development. Finally, the United Nations decided in the 2009 Copenhagen conference that about one hundred billion dollars should be given by the world’s largest economies to support poor nations’ development starting in 2020. While the Paris Conference saw great diplomacy and some progress, this last point of funding remains to be approved.
Tensions between Russia and Turkey ensue
Last week, Turkish F-16s shot down a long Russian Su-24 that was flying over its border with Syria. The plane crashed into a region disputed by the Syrian government and rebels. One of the two men flying the plane died. Turkey has submitted a statement explaining its actions, stating that on the Nov. 24, two planes approached Turkish airspace. They were warned ten times over an emergency channel that they must change course, but both aircraft ignored the messages. At a distance of approximately one and a quarter miles into Turkish airspace, one of the planes turned and left, the second plane continued on a very short distance. It was at this time that this second plane was fired upon, and then crashed into Syrian Territory. Russian President Vladimir Putin insists that the planes were not traveling over Syrian airspace. The surviving pilot of the Su-24 in question has said that he did not receive any of the emergency channel warnings prior to being downed. Russian authorities have gone so far as to publish a video of the flight’s course that day. U.S. military officials suggest indications that the plane entered Turkish airspace, but only for a matter of seconds. Since then General Viktor Bondarev, a Russian air force commander, made a statement that radar data suggests that the two Turkish F-16s were perhaps ambushing the Russian planes. Tensions have continued to grow between the two nations. Some violation is suspected between the two countries, as Russia, another large country involved in the ongoing violence in Syria, seeks to attack ISIS through supporting the Syrian President Assad. However, Turkey is known to support the Syrian Rebels that oppose Assad.