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ICYMI, Cramm This Book is coming on February 15, 2022! Cramm This Book is a dive into the history that’s shaped the world as it is today, looking at the wars, the movements, the disasters, and more. Pre-order your copy today!


THE HIGHLIGHTS

A landmark case is spotlighting war crimes in Syria. 

 

THE BACKGROUND. 

Back in 2011, a violent civil war broke out in Syria, with rebel groups looking to kick out Prez Bashar al-Assad. It quickly became one of the most brutal and long-lasting wars of our time. At least 350,000 people have been killed since the start of the war. The war sparked a humanitarian crisis and a refugee crisis, with millions of Syrians fleeing the country. And Syria’s gov has been accused of a long list of devastating human rights violations, ranging from the use of poison gas to torture. 

 

THE DEETS. 

Meet Anwar Raslan. He’s a 58 year old Syrian man who was the head of interrogation at a security office in the capital of Damascus when the civil war began. Under his authority, abuse was reportedly common. Think: frequent beatings, inedible food, dangerously crowded cells…the list goes on. Not to mention that 4,000 people were tortured and nearly 60 people were killed while Raslan was in charge. 

 

THE HAPPENINGS. 

Eventually, Raslan ditched Syria and went to Germany. It wasn’t long before German officials began looking into his past…and arrested him. His trial began in 2020. So fast forward to this week, and a court found Raslan guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced him to life in prison. Big deal, since Raslan is the highest-ranking Syrian official to be held accountable for Syrian human rights abuses. 

 

THE TAKE. 

This marks a major step for justice for survivors of Syria’s civil war. 


THE ACTION

CORONAVIRUS: Prez Joe Biden just made a big announcement: the US will purchase 500 million more covid tests to distribute - plus the gov will make free high-quality face masks available to all Americans. This comes as the US continues to record hundreds of thousands of cases each day. In some good news: experts say there are signs that Omicron may be peaking in parts of the US. Meanwhile, US college enrollment dropped again in the fall of 2021. Total undergraduate enrollment has declined by about 1.2 million students since 2019. Outside of the US, teachers in France are going on strike to protest the gov’s covid protocols for schools. Over 3o percent of all schoolteachers participated in the protest. And in other news, Iraq is planning to ban unvaxxed people from entering the country. 

 

VOTING RIGHTS: Everyone is talking about voting rights. ICYMI, since the 2020 US presidential election, Republicans have been intro’ing a slew of new voting restrictions. So Dems have been trying (and failing) to pass updated voting rights legislation. Their biggest obstacle? The filibuster. Scratch that, because it looks like Dems have figured out a loophole. If the House of Reps put the voting rights package into an unrelated bill, it would go back to the Senate as a “message,” which isn’t subject to a filibuster. Stay tuned. Speaking of which, the Ohio Supreme Court isn’t a fan of the state’s newly-drawn congressional maps, which were criticized as partisan. Now, it looks like the state will have to submit a new plan. 

 

WORLD: Recently, the US, NATO (as in the military alliance), and Russia got together to talk Ukraine. Quick refresher: lately, tens of thousands of Russian troops have been amassing on the Ukrainian border. Plus Prez Vladimir Putin has been demanding that Ukraine not be added as a member of NATO. All of the above has led to fears that Russia could be planning an invasion of Ukraine. Cue these diplomatic talks, which so far…have gone nowhere. Tension, high. Also making headlines: North Korea says it successfully tested a hypersonic missile on Wednesday. The country apparently plans to use the new weapon to get the US to lift sanctions. And last but not least, Nigeria just took a red pen to its ban on Twitter, which has been in place for 7 months. 


WHAT TO KNOW

One-third:” how much of our waking hours we spend on our phones on average. BRB, texting about this. 


SAY WHAT?

“I said yes.…and then we drank each other's blood” - Megan Fox on her engagement to Machine Gun Kelly. Adding this to the list of facts we did not need to know. 

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