The number of women having abortions in the U.S. continues to fall, according to a new government report released earlier this week. Though the recent numbers aren’t exactly “new”—they are from 2012—they do highlight a somewhat significant trend: The abortion rate in America has been falling for the last 25 years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 699,000 abortions were performed that year; though that number may sound high, it’s actually a 4 percent drop from 2011. The abortion rate in 2012 was only half as high as it was in 1974, the year Row v. Wade was decided. Data from AP also suggests that since 2012, the number of abortions in the U.S. has continued to fall. Discuss
At least 21 people were killed and dozens more injured when a suicide bomber from the radical Islamic militant group Boko Haram blew himself up at a gathering of Shia Muslims. The attack happened at a large Shia procession in the city of Kano. Boko Haram—a group that has terrorized Nigeria for years—has pledge allegiance to ISIS and regularly targets Shias, Christians and those who oppose their radical ideology. In the most recent issue of RELEVANT, we looked at how the group has become one of the deadliest terror organizations in the world. Discuss
Americans feel the pressure to buy a lot of Christmas presents for loved ones, even if they don’t have the money. Experian Consumer Services recently conducted a survey on more than a thousand users, and found that 41% “feel obligated to spend more than they can afford” on presents at the holidays. With the average present budget at just over $800, nearly half said they will use credit cards to cover the costs. And, even though holidays are generally associated with time off of work and spending time with family and friends, nearly 30% said that the task of buying presents stresses them out. Discuss
A disturbing recent report claims that officials in Saudi Arabia plan to execute 50 people by beheading sometime in the coming days. Though the exact numbers are unclear—one outlet put it as high as 55—Amnesty International is taking the reports seriously, noting that each of the individuals was convicted of “terrorist crimes” in trials that were largely secretive. Many of them may have actually been political activists. Six were not even 18 at the time they committed their “crimes,” and Amnesty International says they only “confessed” because they were being tortured.
In a statement, James Lynch, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International said, “Saudi Arabia’s macabre spike in executions this year, coupled with the secretive and arbitrary nature of court decisions and executions in the kingdom, leave us no option but to take these latest warning signs very seriously … It is clear that the Saudi Arabian authorities are using the guise of counter-terrorism to settle political scores.” This year alone, Saudi Arabia has executed 151 people. Lynch is calling for Saudi Arabia to “lift the veil of secrecy around its death penalty cases, as part of a fundamental overhaul of its criminal justice system.” Discuss
Police in Mali have placed two individuals under arrest for their role in a recent terrorist attack on a luxury hotel that left 20 dead. The two gunmen—who stormed the Radisson Blu hotel on Nov. 20 and opened fire on guests—were both killed during a raid a on the building, but may have been working with others to plan the attack. Officials haven’t yet said what role the two individuals played in the terrorist attack, but issued a statement, explaining, “Questioning of these suspects will shed more light on the motivations of the perpetrators of the sordid terrorist attack perpetrated.” Two different groups in the country claimed responsiblity for the mass shooting: a radical Islamic group linked to al-Qaida called the Al-Mourabitoun, as well as, a militant group known as the Macina Liberation Front. Discuss