Pressed: The Week of Dec 4th, 2017

This week's Pressed: Dec 4 - 8th, 2017

By Pressed


Sound Bites: Trump officially called Jerusalem the capital of Israel • Al Franken resigned from Congress • Wildfires broke out in California • Time magazine named its Person of the Year • Russian President Putin is running for re-election.


Since President Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, mass protests have erupted, and leaders around the world have condemned Trump for his decision. Dozens of people were injured after Palestinian demonstrators clashed with Israeli officers during protests in the State of Palestine. The Palestinian-Islamic group Hamas has since called for an “uprising” against Israel, stating that the U.S.-Israeli alliance is a “satanic” declaration of war.

Sounds bad.
It gets worse. Leaders of other Palestinian-Islamic groups made a call for battle and organized a “Day of Rage” that included mass protests along the West Bank. Meanwhile, Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu said he's pleased with Trump’s decision, declaring to the world on Wednesday, “welcome to Jerusalem, the capital of Israel.” But U.S. allies across the globe are not pleased, making it clear that they completely disagree with Trump’s move. As for Canada? Trudeau has been particularly quiet on the subject. 


US Democratic Senator Al Franken announced his resignation from Congress amid sexual harassment allegations.

What happened? 
The Minnesota senator recently came under fire after six women came forward claiming he groped them and made sexual advances. Franken has denied all claims. Speaking to the Senate, Franken called Thursday “the worst day of [his] political life.” And he didn’t bow out quietly; Franken threw notable political figures under the bus for their own harassment allegations (think: President Trump and Roy S. Moore).

Anything else?
Hours after Franken announced his resignation, another political figure announced his own. Trent Franks, Republican of Arizona, called it quits after the Ethics Committee said it would investigate allegations against him of sexual harassment. Much like in Hollywood, the epidemic of sexual misconduct has become dizzying. But unlike Hollywood, politicians on Capitol Hill are having a hard time figuring out how to respond.


The California wildfires are still blazing. High winds (up to 80 km/h) are making them hard to contain. A fifth fire broke out on Thursday north of San Diego. The south-western city joined L.A., Bel-Air, and four other cities in the battle of the flames. So far, one fire-related death has been confirmed and hundreds of homes have been destroyed and almost 200,000 people have been evacuated from their homes. One in four schools in L.A. are closed, including the University of California. Watch this video of a man on the side of the road trying to save a bunny from the flames.


Every year, Time magazine selects a person, group, idea, or object that “for better or for worse” has made a major impact, and names them the Person of the Year. The Silence Breakers - the women and men who came forward with stories of sexual misconduct against men in powerful positions (Harvey Weinstein, Dustin Hoffman, Gregg Zaun,…). The women and men who bravely posted #metoo on social media. The women and men who shifted our culture – they are the 2017 Person of the Year.


Russian President Vladimir Putin announced he's running for re-election next year. And he’s expected to win without putting in very much effort. Putin has been in power as president and prime minister since 2000. 

What’s the big deal?
Putin is a controversial figure. Since becoming president in 2000, he brought in a period of prosperity. Even though that has gone downhill in recent years, he’s still popular with Russians who see him as a strong leader, capable of standing up to the West. Critics see him as a corrupt leader who is severely anti-gay and restricts access for journalists. Oh, and he may have meddled in the U.S. presidential elections to help his buddy, Trump, win. Voting is scheduled for March 18th, which just so happens to be the anniversary of when Russia took over the Republic of Crimea - Putin’s crowning achievement. 

Is anyone going up against him? 
There aren’t any threatening candidates right now. Politician Alexei Navalny, the leader of the opposition party and Putin’s rival, has criminal charges against him so can’t run this term.

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