EU Strikes Deal with Turkey
Turkey is one of the countries that border Syria, and is considered the major transit point for those escaping the Syrian War. Those who remain in Turkey (so far, up to 2 million, more than any other country) live in one of 22 government-sponsored camps along the border. Others continue on to other countries throughout Europe, including Greece and Germany. Last month, leaders of the European Union (EU) struck a deal with the leaders of the Turkey (which is not one of the 28-member states of the EU) regarding refugees.
The details of the $3 billion deal, which was reached on November 28, include better living conditions for displaced persons and financial support for education. The point is to raise the living standards in Turkey as a way to persuade more people to stay in the country, rather than cross into other countries. In exchange for the money, the Turkish government will increase its border patrol and its citizens will eventually be allowed to travel into the “Schengen zone” (the area inside of the EU where people can move freely with a common visa). Talks regarding Turkey’ inclusion in the EU (which were stalled in 2005) will also resume.
Dig Deeper Do some research and find out the reaction – pros and con – of this agreement. List at least three items per side of the argument.
Adele Breaks Records
British recording artist Adele was already a hugely popular recording artist—with combined sales of her debut album 19 and sophomore effort 21 selling more than 10,000 copies—when her latest, 25, was released last month. The first single, “Hello,” debuted earlier this fall and has been at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart ever since. The album also debut at number 1 on the album charts. The new album has been breaking records, including the most opening week sales since Nielsen began tracking such information in 1991.
The format sales of 25 breakdown is as follows: 1.64 million digital downloads, 1.71 million CDs and 22,000 vinyl albums. It broke the record for first-week sales that once belonged to NSYNC for their release No Strings Attached, in 2000. Adele also holds the record for most weeks at number 1 on the Billboard chart for an album by a female artist. The Beatles remain as the top all-time act on that chart, with nineteen number 1 singles, spending a total of 132 weeks atop the list.
What Do You Think? Do you like Adele? If yes, what do you like about her? Have you bought 25? Does anyone else in your household like Adele or have this album?
Shooting at Colorado Planned Parenthood
On November 27, a 57-year-old named Robert Lewis Dear of North Carolina walked into a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs, Colorado armed with a gun. The police arrived and the suspect engaged in a five-hour standoff before the suspect surrendered. Many members of the Planned Parenthood staff and several patients were kept safe because of security measures inside, including “safe rooms” specifically built into the building. Five police officers and four civilians were wounded; three others were killed, including 44-year-old officer Garrett Swasey.
Established in 1917, Planned Parenthood is a nonprofit organization that provides reproductive health services, including health screenings and birth control. Many conservative members of Congress have been vocal in their support of defunding the organization. Planned Parenthood has long been a target of violent action, with more than 7,000 reported incidents of trespassing, arson, vandalism and death threats.
Dig Deeper Earlier this year, btw reported on abortion providers in Texas seeking a hearing by the Supreme Court to reverse a law that had closed many clinics in that state. Find out the status of that case and if the Court has agreed to hear it.
Trump Drops in Polls
U.S. presidential hopeful Donald Trump has been leading in the polls among Republican supporters ever since he announced his candidacy back in the summer. After reaching a peak of 43 percent, he has seen a recent, dramatic dip in his numbers. Despite a history of being outspoken and ruffling feathers, the New York real estate mogul has many wondering if his tendency to be politically incorrect is beginning to offend more people than he emboldens.
A list of recent faux-pas includes the following: telling reporters that he would support a registry of all Muslims inside the United States, suggesting the crowd “rough up” a protestor at an event, making fun of a physically-disabled reporter, claiming that thousands and thousands of people in New Jersey (supposedly Muslims) cheered when the Twin Towers fell on September 11, 2001. Political commentator and polling expert Nate Silver has said that at this point in the campaign, it is too early to get a real sense of what eventual voters will decide. The field is too wide, especially in the Republican race, and voters in past elections have not made firm decisions until days away from the primaries or caucuses.