July 29, 2015

Jonathan Pollard, NATO’s Quasi Love Affair with Turkey, Qaddafi’s Son Out… and Tom Brady Too ????



“I think if I ran, I could win.†-Barack Obama on a third term



Iran Deal Reaps ‘Unrelated’ Benefits For Israel

Jonathan Pollard, a former US government employee and spy for Israel, was granted parole and will be released on November 21. He is currently serving time in a US prison for his role in passing on classified information to Israel while he was a Navy intelligence analyst 30 years ago. His parole “wasn’t in any way related to the US negotiations with Iran” (well isn’t that convenient). US and Israeli relations have frayed over the past few years and only worsened with the Iran deal negotiations. Pollard’s release is strongly opposed by people on both sides of the aisle. Donald Rumsfeld tweeted that the release was a bad idea (eh… Iraq War?). Nevertheless, US officials are hoping the release will allow for a reset of US-Israeli relations… which is sort of patronizing as it doesn’t address any of Israel’s concerns with the deal. 
 The Pnut Guide to the Iran Deal

NATO Stands By Turkey… On Some Things

Turkey’s campaign against ISIS in Syria and Iraq received the unequivocal backing of NATO today after a meeting called by Turkey under Article 4 of the NATO convention. Article 4 is the softer version of Article 5 which requires everyone to defend an attacked member. However, NATO “urged restraint” (diplomacy for “please stop”) when it came to Turkey’s escalating conflict with the Kurdish PKK — the reason being that the US views the PKK as an ally in the fight against ISIS. Confused? So are a lot of people. That partly explains why there are so many conspiracy theories about the civil war, even some that include the Simpsons…


Qaddafi’s Son Sentenced To Death In Libya

Former Libyan dictator Muammar el-Qaddafi’s son, Saif Al-Islam Qaddafi, was sentenced to death in absentia by a court in Tripoli (Libya’s capital) yesterday. He was found guilty of war crimes that he and his father’s regime committed during the 2011 “revolution.” He was tried in absentia not because he has fled the country, but because a rival militia from the mountainous region of Zintan has held him captive (he was allowed to video chat in for the trial sometimes). Libya has been a general basket case since the uprising that ousted the elder Qaddafi in 2011. 

Useless Read: Five ways to spell Qaddafi

Bad Day For Tom Brady: Four-Game Suspension Upheld

The seemingly invincible, hunky New England Patriots quarterback (and, of course, married to top supermodel Gisele Bundchen) got a major slap on the wrist today. The NFL upheld his four-game suspension Tuesday for his role in #deflategate (i.e. deflating the football to make it easier to grip) during the AFC Championship game in January. Looks like Brady’s dodgy behavior didn’t help matters, including ‘destroying mobile phones and sim cards‘ with potential evidence. Had he been more cooperative, he might not have found himself in the position he’s in today. Ouch. Twitter predictably went mental.

Twitter’s Earnings Is Trending Topic

Twitter, the little brother Facebook never wanted, reported stellar earnings yesterday with second-quarter revenue up 61 percent. The market sent the stock down 11 percent (no mercy) due to weaker growth prospects. Twitter has been struggling to define itself in the world of social media as it struggles to compete for ad dollars against the Facebook Juggernaut. It has also suffered from significant churn in it’s leadership, but now that Jack Dorsey is back the ship looks to be righting. Hey, at least it isn’t going the way of Google+.

#Pnut4Prez: Another Four Years Of Obama?

You heard it straight from the horse’s mouth. In his speech at the African Union in Ethopia, Obama told the crowd that if the law permitted, he could win a third term in office. This seems to have been said not only to make a point about some African leaders who can’t seem to let go of their most coveted position (see: Burundi), but also to ruffle some feathers in the heated 2016 presidential roundup. While noting that he is excited for life post-presidency and that no president is above the law, Obama did concede, “I actually think I’m a pretty good president… I think if I ran, I could win.†Luckily for Hillary he can’t run again…

Keeping Our Eye On…

  • Sam Dubose: The black man who was shot and killed by a University of Cincinnati police officer near the campus for a traffic violation. His funeral was Tuesday and although the video has not been made public it has evoked such strong reactions (even from the Cincinnati Police Chief) that the city is preparing for riots.
  • The Fed: The Federal Reserve is meeting this week to discuss interest rates and is going to issue its statement at 2 PM EST today. We will be watching for signals on what the Fed will do with rates this fall. Crack out the popcorn…
  • China’s Stock Market: It’s been in free fall, and no one really understands why. We’ve learned Mandarin so we can bring you the latest news from the ground.


EU Focusing On Cheese Diplomacy In Time Of Crisis

“Cheese: it is milk that you chew,” and according to the EU, an entity facing not one but two existential dilemmas, it is also a topic of utmost concern. In the midst of the the Grexit and the Brexit the EU Commission has designated Cyprus’ “Halloumi” cheese (the one that feels like rubber) “protected designation of origin status.” So, in order to be called Halloumi, the cheese needs to be produced in Cyprus. This gives the crisis-reeling little island nation hope as its dairy industry has battled competitors from the Levant, Greece and even the UK. Halloumi is now “Cyprus’ great white hope.”
  Seth Explains Teen Slang: Instagrandma, Trapper Creeper - Late Night with Seth Meyers
Our new intern helped us understand what “on fleek” meant (made us feel old). This video should help you get caught up with any other slang you missed. Welcome to the team, Maria! 
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