In the News This Week

by Debra Brown



Each Wednesday, we recap the most important headlines from our global community to keep you up to speed on world news.


Anti-Government Protests in Iran.

The protests have become the biggest challenge to the Iranian government’s authority since mass demonstrations in 2009. About 450 people have been arrested and the death toll is currently 21 during six days of protest that began on December 28.

The protests began over the country’s stagnant economy and rising living costs, but they developed into a broader outcry against the government and intensified over the weekend. Authorities have responded with mass arrests and restricting the use of the social media apps Instagram and Telegram, used to organize the rallies.

The photo is from footage of an Iranian woman removing her hijab in an apparent protest against the country’s mandatory Islamic dress code. Women in Iran have been forced to cover their hair since the 1979 revolution.

Footage shows the woman silently waving a white flag during anti-government protests in the capital Tehran. The video of the woman’s gesture was posted on Twitter by Armin Navabi.


Powerful Hollywood Women Unveil Anti-Harassment Action.

Three-hundred prominent actresses, female agents, writers, directors, producers and entertainment executives have formed an initiative to fight systemic sexual harassment in Hollywood and in blue-collar workplaces nationwide.

The movement is called Time’s Up. It is a pledge of support to working-class women. Their open letter ran as a full-page ad in The New York Times, and in La Opinion, a Spanish-language newspaper.

Read more about Time’s up initiatives and what you can do to help here.


U.S. Military to Allow Transgender Recruits After Trump Administration Drops Appeal. 

Openly transgender individuals are now able to enlist in the U.S. military, after the Justice Department said that its proposed ban on such recruits was on hold and that it would not appeal federal court rulings ordering the military to begin the enlistments.


Trump Administration Fires All Members of HIV/AIDS Advisory Council.

Six months after a half-dozen members resigned in protest of the Trump administration’s position on health policies, the White House dismissed the rest through a form letter. The council, known by the acronym PACHA, has advised the White House on HIV/AIDS policies since its founding in 1995. Members, who are not paid, offer recommendations on the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, a five-year plan responding to the epidemic.

The group is designed to include “doctors, members of industry, members of the community and, very importantly, people living with HIV,” said Scott Schoettes, a lawyer with the LGBT rights organization Lambda Legal. “Without it, you lose the community voice in policymaking.”


Update on Puerto Rico:  The governor’s office announced that “approximately 55% of the customers who are able to receive electric power have their service restored.” Customers were defined as “residential, commercial and industrial clients,” not individual people.

The official death toll stands at 64, but a CNN investigation revealed 499 deaths, recorded by funeral homes, that could have been caused by the storm.

Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló recently ordered an investigation into the official death toll after CNN and other news organizations raised questions.

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