Roy Moore backlash after alleged sexual abuse
Last week, Leigh Corfman came forward alleging that Roy Moore, a Republican candidate for Senate, sexually assaulted her in 1979 when she was 14-years-old and he was 32. Alabama law states that encounters of a sexual nature between an individual aged 19 or older and a minor between the ages of 12 and 15 constitutes second degree sexual abuse. State law also dictates that luring a minor to one’s home for sexual purposes is a felony. Corfman explained that Moore approached her in a courthouse as she waited for her mother outside of her parents’ custody hearing. The two exchanged phone numbers and spoke on the phone at a later date, at which time Moore asked Corfman out. Assuming that they were going out to eat, she agreed. Moore picked Leigh up in his car and proceeded to drive her to his remote home. There he kissed her, partially undressed himself and Leigh, and then began touching her over her underwear. Corfman states that nothing further happened and that when she asked to be returned home, Moore complied. Corfman was one of four women contacted by The Washington Post for an investigative piece on the senate candidate. The others were also approached by Moore as teenagers in public settings, with Leigh being the youngest of the four at the time of her encounter. At this time, Moore has condemned The Washington Post’s report and the women’s stories and is continuing his Senate run. Republican leaders are conflicted in their response to the allegations, with some declaring that they would still vote for Moore, while others, most notably Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, asking him to abandon his campaign.
CO2 levels are increasing again
Since 2006, the Global Carbon Project (GCP) has been measuring, assessing and reporting on CO2 emissions around the world. In the time since its establishment, the organization has recorded increases of approximately 3 percent in global carbon output, with the exception of the time between 2014 and 2016. During this period, carbon output declined and flatlined. However, GCP’s most recent report expresses concern at a 2 percent growth of carbon output for this year, the first rise in CO2 levels in four years. Corinne Le Quéré, a professor at the University of East Anglia and an author of the report, has commented that “global CO2 emissions appear to be going up strongly once again… This is very disappointing. With global CO2 emissions from human activities estimated at 41 billion tons for 2017, time is running out on our ability to keep warming well below 2 degrees Celsius, let alone 1.5 Celsius.” This rise is important because it contradicts scientists’ hopes that a global carbon peak had already been reached. A final peak followed by consistent levels or decreases in carbon output are needed prior to 2020 to minimize the effects of climate change for this century and keep the global temperature below the 2 degrees Celsius cap.
Central African Republic (CAR) soldiers released
In December 2015 in Galaboroma, Central African Republic (CAR), a group of soldiers for the Union for Peace in CAR (UPC) were asked to stop at a UN checkpoint. When a peacekeeper instructed the soldiers to put their hands over their heads to search them, two of the soldiers grabbed their weapons and aimed them at the peacekeepers. Upon firing, the UN peacekeepers fired back, killing one UPC member and injuring another. The two remaining UPC fighters, Rodolphe Sombo-Igain and Ilyassa Ibrahim, were apprehended and detained for having injured a peacekeeper. Their detention was made possible by guidelines that were put forward following previous violence against both peacekeepers and civilians. The guidelines stated that “any attack targeting the civilian population, UN, and humanitarian personnel is a war crime that can be prosecuted in accordance with Central African law and international law.” However, Souleyman Daouda, a spokesman for the UPC, has denied the allegations that the UPC troops fired on the peacekeepers. After prolonged discussion between the United Nations and the government of the Central African Republic, both Rodolphe and Ilyassa have been released under the condition of ‘provisional freedom.’ This means that they will be released from detention and may walk free while investigations continue. Human Rights Watch has issued a statement of dismay at the decision, articulating the myriad of war crimes committed by the UPC and its leader, and explaining that by releasing the soldiers on provisional liberty, the UN has agreed to “effectively just [let] them go.”
Earthquake hits Iran and Iraq
Late on Sunday evening, a 7.3 magnitude earthquake shook the Iran-Iraq border. The epicenter was located just over 14 miles below the ground, which is considered shallow, and aftershocks were registered in neighboring Kuwait, Pakistan, Turkey and Lebanon. Assessing the initial damage was a challenge in the dark, but, as of Monday morning, local news sources announced that approximately 350 people had been killed and 6,000 more were injured. Most of these casualties occurred in Sarpol-e Zahab, Iran, a town roughly 10 miles away from the border. The leaders of both Iran and Iraq have publicly extended condolences to those affected by the natural disaster and are mobilizing forces to enter the region for rescue and rebuilding. Haider al-Abadi, the Iraqi prime minister, has “instructed civil defense teams and health and aid agencies to do all that they can to provide assistance,” and Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has instructed the Revolutionary Guard to travel to the border. Accessing the area has proved difficult, however, due to a number of earthquake-related landslides.