What You Need to Know About the Crisis in the Central African Republic

Preventing the next genocide in a country wrought with conflict
 

Last night, nearly 10,000 Palestinian protestors demonstrated near an Israeli checkpoint in a rally that led to a violent confrontation with Israeli security forces. According to the Jerusalem Post, at least 200 of the protestors and 27 Israeli police officers were injured when some of the demonstrators began throwing rocks and firebombs. At least two Palestinians were killed. Israeli forces arrested 39 individuals involved in the riots.

The Palestinians had gathered to protest an Israeli offensive in Gaza against Hamas militants in a campaign that has stretched out for more than two weeks. According to the BBC, Since the latest round of violence between Israel and Hamas began on July 8, at least 800 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed ... Discuss

 

Militants from the radical Islamic group ISIS (who have taken to calling themselves "The Islamic State") reportedly made good on threats to destroy sites and shrines they claim are “un-Islamic.” According to the civil defense authority in Iraq—where ISIS has taken over several cities—the group intentionally blew up the tomb of Jonah. In both Christianity and Islam, Jonah is famous for being the prophet who was swallowed by a whale. ISIS, who has been enforcing brutal forms of Sharia law in the areas it controls, remotedly detonated bombs at the Sunni mosque that was home to the tomb. Earlier this month, the group forced the Christian community in Mosul to flee after threatening anyone who did not convert to Islam with death ... Discuss

 

Though they said there is nothing to indicate Russia was directly involved in the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, U.S. intelligence officials believe that the separatists in Ukraine responsible may have been trained by Russia. Last week, a commercial airliner carrying 298 people was downed by a missile near a conflict-plagued area of the Ukrainian and Russian border. According to intelligence evidence, the commercial flight was mistaken for a Ukrainian military plane, and was targeted by the pro-Russia militants.

Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes told CNN, “We do think President Putin and the Russian government bears responsibility for the support they’ve given the separatists… We’re going to continue to pull the thread on this case to determine exactly who do we believe fired that missile.” In response, the U.S. and EU have placed new sanctions on Russia, mostly aimed at restricting Russian officials and business leaders ... Discuss

 

With mountains of sad news pouring in from all over the globe this week, the Internet has collectively rejoiced at the appearance of an old man whose carefree attitude and and cane-free style reminds us that the world is not yet devoid of happiness. Nothing has been confirmed about this gentleman's identity, but he can confirm that his heart is great and his feet are sure. Thank you, sir, for providing us all with the inspiration to dance another day ... Discuss

 

Officials in Gaza say that 512 Palestinians have died in the two-week Israeli offensive in the region. Twenty Israelis—including 13 soldiers that were killed on Sunday—are also dead in the latest surge of violence. U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry are both headed to Cairo as diplomats and leaders around the world continue to push for a cease-fire agreement. In a statement, a state department spokeswoman said Sunday night that the U.S. is "deeply concerned about the risk of further escalation, and the loss of more innocent life.”

Earlier on Sunday, Kerry was caught in a “hot-mic” incident as he was recorded commenting on civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip, saying, "It's a hell of a pinpoint operation.” He later clarified on the record in an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace, adding, “It's tough to have this kind of operation. I reacted obviously in a way that, you know, anybody does with respect to young children and civilians. But, war is tough, and I said that publicly and I'll say it again. We defend Israel's right to do what it is doing in order to get at those tunnels. Israel has accepted a unilateral cease-fire. It's accepted the Egyptian plan which we also support" ... Discuss