So, I've been really really bad at doing this newsworthy blogpost once a week like I said I would. I know, I'm sorry. But I'm trying, really! Anyways, here are some things that have happened in the past two weeks.
Erin Andrews, a female sports journalist, has been all over the news recently because someone decided to horribly invade her privacy and shoot a video of her alone in her hotel room. We can only assume what she was doing. As if female sports journalists didn't have enough issues with people doubting their credibility, they're being judged by their looks as well, which is pretty unfair. (Image cred: Chicago Sun Times & Google)
Chris Brown recently tried out an apology to the public in relation to his severe and cruel beating of then-girlfriend Rihanna. However, judging by how long it took him to apologize and his means of doing so (YouTube, man? Really?) it's doubtful whether or not his apology is actually sincere. I'll leave it to you to decide for sure. As for me, I think it sounds pretty scripted.
Internationally, three American hikers are being detained in Iran. Apparently they accidentally stumbled across the border and are now being charged with entering the country illegally. They had a fourth friend who stayed behind and is hopefully helping them and the US government get them safely out.
An 89-year-old survivor of three Nazi concentration camps was found strangled in his New York apartment last Thursday. On Saturday, an arrest was made in relation to the murder/robbery, but police are still searching for a man who was apparently the woman's accomplice.
The verdict for Aung San Suu Kyi, a Myanmar opposition leader on trial for subversion, was expected Friday but was delayed until August 11. She has been on house arrest since 1989 after she rose to fame as the face of democracy for Myanmar during the national uprising of August 8, 1988 (dubbed '8888'). She and her two housekeepers are now being charged with illegally allowing an American man to stay in her home. She's a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and if convicted could spent up to five years in prison.
China, which is often criticized for its (extremely) liberal use of the death penalty, is promising to (try to) reduce it's numbers of executions. "As it is impossible for the country to abolish capital punishment under current realities and social security conditions, it is an important effort to strictly control the application of the penalty by judicial organs," Zhang Jun, vice president of the Supreme People's Court, said. Of course, because the official paperwork basically says it's on a case-by-case basis and can be subjectively judged, this may just be a political stunt to look better, but nothing at all may change. Human rights groups estimate that somewhere between 1,700 and 5,000 people were executed in China last year for crimes as small as drug traffiking. I guess we'll see if that number drops at all in the next year.
As if Michael Phelps needed another record to boast about, he set the world record in the 200 m butterfly on Wednesday, shattering his own previous world record. Of course, this made up for the extremely shocking loss he experienced in the 200 m freestyle to German swimmer Paul Biedermann on Tuesday. Until then, he hadn't lost the 200 m freestyle event since 2004 in Athens. But I guess there's a first time for everything, huh, Michael? This has sparked what is being dubbed The Great Swimsuit Debate, which basically asks if new polyeurathane suits are acceptable to compete in since they create an obvious advantage for the wearer but are too expensive for every team to afford. We'll see if they get banned before the 2012 Olympics.
An 8-year-old girl in Phoenix was lured into a shed, pinned down, and sexually assaulted by four boys, all 14 or younger. The family was described as "ashamed of her" because the crime made the family look bad. As shocking as this is to Americans, people who know Liberian culture know this is typical. After 14 years of civil war in which rape was one of the tactics used by fighters, groups like Amnesty International have estimated that 60-70% of women in Liberia have been sexually assaulted. A government report in '06 said that have 1,600 women surveyed, 92% reported some kind of sexual assualt, including rape. In Liberian communities, rape victims are often ostracized because of the crime, so many keep it quiet, and it's not because they think rape is okay, but because it's considered part of everyday life. In 2005, after Liberia's first woman was elected president, rape was finally made a crime. President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf had this to say about the crime: "Those parents should know that things have changed in Liberia," she told CNN last week. "No longer do we tolerate this. This is not a question of shame on the family. It's a question of the assault of a young child, and that cannot be tolerated."