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Our contributing news and politics editor puts together the week’s most important news information in quick summaries so you can get a high-level idea of what’s gone down in the world. You probably won’t see your latest celebrity gossip here, but you will see the latest on politics and news events. From racial justice info to COVID-19 updates, this roundup will help you catch up on everything that happened during the week. 

 

In this article

1
Protests in Cuba Shed Light on Political Corruption

2
Virgin Galactic Owner Takes First Commercial Trip to Space

3
Uptick in COVID-19 Cases Linked to Delta Variant and Low Vaccination Rates

4
24+ Arrested in Connection to Last Week’s Assassination of Haitian President

5
Debate Over Critical Race Theory in Schools Intensifies

6
Taliban Forces Grow as U.S. Troops Leave Afghanistan

7
Former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to be the Next Billionaire in Space

8
Britney Spears Receives Major Win in Conservatorship Case

 

Protests in Cuba Shed Light on Political Corruption

On Sunday, thousands of Cubans took to the streets in various cities across the country to protest the Communist regime and its failure to provide for Cuban citizens. A current shortage of jobs, food, medicine, and hygiene products exacerbated deep struggles Cubans already face and forced them to the streets in protest, the largest in the country since 1994. One person died during the protests, and there are reports of multiple missing people at the hands of Cuban police. The Cuban and Cuban American communities in U.S. states like Florida and Texas also protested domestically, raising awareness about the mistreatment and neglect orchestrated by the Cuban government. As a result of the protests, Cuba’s president Miguel Diàz-Canel temporarily lifted restrictions on food, medicine, and other goods coming into the country.

READ MORE on CNN

 

Virgin Galactic Owner Takes First Commercial Trip to Space

The “billionaire space race”––as some have called it––kicked off early this week with Virgin Galactic owner and entrepreneur Richard Branson taking the first private, commercial trip into space. The test flight was 90 minutes in total and, to some, was a publicity stunt that showcased the approaching reality of private citizens entering space. The mission was suborbital, meaning that the spacecraft did not make a full orbital revolution around the planet. Branson and the five other crew members accompanying him did experience weightlessness for four minutes, though. The mission ended with a smooth landing back on Earth and a concert celebration for guests in attendance, amongst whom was Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk. In 2022, Virgin Galactic will begin taking private citizens on commercial trips to space for $250,000 per ticket.

READ MORE on Space.com

 

Uptick in COVID-19 Cases Linked to Delta Variant and Low Vaccination Rates

After months of decline, many U.S. states have reported increases in positive COVID-19 cases over the past week. Officials attribute the spike to various causes––summer travel, Fourth of July weekend, loosening COVID-19 restrictions across the country, growing prevalence of the Delta variant, and low vaccination rates. Generally, vaccination rates have plateaued as older Americans jumped on vaccines early while younger populations are slow to get vaxxed. More than half of all Americans have received at least one vaccination dose, but for those taking the Moderna or Pfizer shots, one dose is only half the protection. The Delta variant that was first identified in India months ago has now spread to more than 100 countries and is the dominant strain in the U.S. The World Health Organization advises that even vaccinated people should keep wearing masks due to the prevalence and strength of the Delta variant. In another attempt to encourage vaccination, President Biden invited 18-year-old actress and singer Olivia Rodrigo to the White House this week to promote vaccines for young people.

READ MORE from Associated Press

 

24+ Arrested in Connection to Last Week’s Assassination of Haitian President

Officials have been on the hunt for numerous Colombian, Haitian, and American people who are allegedly connected to the brutal July 7th assassination of Haitian president Jovenele Moïse. One of the suspects arrested is a former informant for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), but the agency has denied any involvement in the attack. President Moïse’s assassination has left the future of the Haitian government in question. The Haitian government requested that the U.S. send troops for temporary assistance, but the U.S. has instead agreed to send senior officials from the FBI and Homeland Security to aid in the assassination investigation.

READ MORE on ABC News

 

Debate Over Critical Race Theory in Schools Intensifies

Reckoning racism in America continues with the recent debate about whether or not to add critical race theory (CRT) to public school curriculums around the country. Despite being a current hot topic, critical race theory is a 40-year-old concept which alleges that race is a social construct. It also puts forth the idea that racism is more than individual bias and is embedded throughout U.S. legal systems and policies. Hotly contested, those opposing CRT assert that it is divisive and paints America as an inherently racist country. Those supporting CRT claim that the teaching simply follows the evolution of enslavement, racism, and inequality in America. A poll released earlier this week suggests that those in opposition to CRT have incorrect misconceptions about the theory and that they might actually support it more than they think. So far, Florida, Arkansas, Idaho, and Oklahoma have banned CRT in public schools.

READ MORE on Yahoo! News

 

Taliban Forces Grow as U.S. Troops Leave Afghanistan

As President Biden’s August 31 deadline to have all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan approaches, there is growing international concern about the Taliban’s control over the country. Late last week, Taliban officials announced that they have taken control of 85 percent of Afghanistan’s territory, and this week, video footage was released of Taliban forces violently killing 22 Afghan commandos as they tried surrendering to the Taliban fighters. Despite the concern over safety in Afghanistan—including that of former President George W. Bush, who launched the war in Afghanistan to combat the Taliban and al-Qaeda after the 9/11 attacks in 2001—President Biden is standing by U.S. troop withdrawal. He claims that the U.S.’s 20-year occupation has provided Afghanistan with the supplies and strategies needed to defend themselves against the Taliban.

READ MORE on Reuters

 

Former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to be the Next Billionaire in Space

On July 20, the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, the “billionaire space race” continues with Amazon chairman and former CEO Jeff Bezos taking a pre-planned mission to space. Bezos’s aerospace company, Blue Origin, will launch him, his brother Mark, aerospace trailblazer Wally Funk, and 18-year-old Oliver Daemen past Earth’s atmosphere at 8 a.m. CT. Unlike competitor Richard Branson, Bezos will go past the Kármán line, an internationally recognized point 62 miles past Earth’s surface where Earth’s atmosphere supposedly ends. Branson’s mission only went 53 miles past Earth’s surface, which is recognized by NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as entering space, but it is not as clear cut for international aerospace agencies. Liftoff will take place in West Texas but will not be open for public viewing. The mission will be streamed live on BlueOrigin.com.

READ MORE on Fox Business

 

Britney Spears Receives Major Win in Conservatorship Case

This week’s developments in the ongoing conservatorship case of pop icon Britney Spears were both heartbreaking and beneficial. The songstress attended a hearing via phone on Wednesday, explaining through tears that her father has been abusing her during the conservatorship. She claimed that he tries to convince her that she is mentally unstable when she is not. Spears also revealed that she plans to press charges against her father for conservator abuse. Spears’s longtime conservatorship attorney, Samuel Ingham III, resigned last week, leaving her legal representation in limbo. Technically under the conservatorship, Spears’s guardians—her father James Spears or co-conservator Jodi Montgonery—would be the only ones allowed to hire her next attorney. Wednesday’s testimony, a statement from Spears’s mother Lynne last week, and Spears’s testimony from previous hearings likely influenced the judge to grant Spears the authority to hire her own attorney instead. Since the entire conservatorship is the issue at hand, restricting Spears’s ability to choose her own attorney was yet another example of how little autonomy she has over her life. Now that the judge has ruled in favor of her selecting new counsel, Spears and her attorney will have to prove mental stability and capacity for self care in order for the conservatorship to end.

READ MORE on CNBC

 




 

If you’ve had a long week or current events aren’t the most positive—reading the news can be draining. We understand. Personal news breaks are totally justified and sometimes necessary. No pressure if you need some time away from the headlines. Whenever you’re ready to read, we’ll be here.   

 

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