Another week ended, another line-up of five top news stories brought to you by the blogging denizens of MUI PR. If you agree with your correspondent that it is always good to know what’s going on in the wider world, take a break from your Friday night plans and scan the collection. If not, your correspondent is heartily and unapologetically judging you for being an uncultured, uninformed troglodyte. Cheers.

 

1. Malaysian Airlines Flight Shot Down in Ukraine

A Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was apparently downed by a surface-to-air missile on Thursday, crashing in a flower-covered field in eastern Ukraine. All 295 passengers and crew were killed on impact. Suspicion is centering on pro-Russian separatists, who likely mistook the commercial aircraft for a Ukrainian military transport. The appalling disaster adds heat to the simmering tensions between Russia and the West and places the Ukrainian crisis at the forefront of world attention once again.

 

2. Israel Begins Ground Invasion of Gaza

Israel has begun a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip in an attempt to root out and neutralize Hamas militants, who have subjected the country to a barrage of rocket attacks in recent weeks. Spurred by a recent attempt by Hamas to strike Israel through makeshift tunnels, the ground invasion marks the latest escalation in Israeli – Palestinian tensions. So far, two hundred and thirty Palestinians have been killed by Israeli airstrikes and mortar shelling, while Hamas rockets have killed one person.

 

3. Republicans Gear Up to Sue Obama

Republicans, led by House Speaker John Boehner, appear to be moving forward with a motion to file suit against President Obama for his alleged abuse of executive power. Dismayed by what they style as extensive overreach on the part of the Obama Administration, Republicans are attempting to sue the President over his failure to execute a certain clause in the health care law requiring employers to provide comprehensive medical insurance, which he delayed by one year. The move has been decried by Democrats as bold-faced political maneuvering, and the suit may not be eligible for hearing in a federal court.

 

4. California Death Penalty Ruled Unconstitutional

District Judge Cormac J. Carney ruled Wednesday that the California death penalty system is unconstitutional, characterizing it as “arbitrary” and delay-prone. A death sentence in California, Carney noted in his opinion, is something “no rational jury or legislature could ever impose: life in prison, with the remote possibility of death.” A large percentage of California’s death row inmates have been on death row for decades. The ruling is widely expected to give strength to death penalty challenges elsewhere in the country.

 

5. Bowe Bergdahl Speaks

U.S. Army Sergeant and former POW Bowe Bergdahl has spoken publicly — through his defense attorney — for the first time since his rescue, thanking President Obama for “saving his life.” The beleaguered sergeant has returned to desk duty for the Army and is currently embroiled in an investigation to determine whether his actions in the days surrounding his capture constituted desertion.

 

 

Interested in news of the week? What are the stories we missed? Start the dialogue in the comments below or connect with your correspondent on Twitter @aa_murph