Marijuana Legalized…In Uruguay

My latest coverage of the legalization of marijuana in Uruguay.


EU warns France, Spain, Italy over budget plans

Photo Credit: Olivier Hoslet/European Pressphoto Agency

Photo Credit: Olivier Hoslet/European Pressphoto Agency

The European Commission has warned that certain countries within the EU, namely Italy, Spain, and France, that they may not be in compliance with the EU’s new debt and deficit rules.

After submitting 2014 budgets, non-complying countries may have to revise their tax and spending plans before re-submitting them to national parliaments, according to the BBC. reports that the warnings to France, Spain and Italy, come against past of difficult recovery from a recession and debt crisis, and of big social tensions in countries already implementing strict measures to correct public finances.

The BBC explains that “…under EU rules, eurozone member states are obliged to cut deficits until they achieve a balanced budget- and reduce public debt levels. The Commission gives countries some flexibility if their deficit is below the EU ceiling of 3% of gross domestic product (GDP) and their debt levels are falling.”

According to the Irish Independent, If a euro-zone country has clearly broken EU rules in its initial budget draft, the European Commission has the right to ask for a revised budget plan. Other countries at risk of breaking the rules included, Italy, Finland, Spain, Luxembourg and Malta.

Olli Rehn, the European Union’s commissioner for economic and monetary policy, is making an effort to stave off the kind of fiscal problems that nearly destroyed the euro (New York Times).

“Member states have given the commission the responsibility to issue these opinions, and I trust that they will thus be taken on board by national decision-makers,” Mr. Rehn said at a news conference in Brussels.

As the EU has had monumental struggles in the past decade, the European Commission continues attempting to partner the euro nations to prevent crisis during a period of fiscal revamping and supervision.






Japan coastal whaling brings sea creatures to face extinction



“Fishermen in the Japanese fishing town of Taiji catch up to 2,300 of Japan’s annual quota of 20,000 dolphins by herding them into shallow water.”- The Guardian

Photo Credit: Robert Gilhooly

As Japan has a longstanding tradition of whaling throughout its coastal regions, the international attention and condemnation surrounding whaling has generated ‘grave concern’ globally, according to BBC News.

 BBC also reports that the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), a London-based independent conservation group, has said that in the past 70 years more than a million of these sea animals have been killed in Japanese hunts alone, despite well-voiced conservationist concerns.

Though the Japanese government has not commented, they have defended the practice as a source of livelihood and vital for scientific research.

The Bangkok Post says that campaigners looked at  Japanese coastal whaling, which is different from the annual Antarctic whale hunt Japans holds, which draws its own harsh criticism. It has even provoked Australia to lodge a case with the International Court of Justice.


According to the Japan Daily Press, Japan set its 2013 catch limit for small marine mammals at 16,655, which is far below 30,000 that was caught annually before limits were set in 1993.

JPD also reports, Though, the EIA  has believed that data is irrelevant and dated and still points to more recent data showing that Japan’s hunting is still the largest hunt in the world. 

Turkey Lifts Ban on Islamic Headscarves


Turkey has lifted its 90-year-old ban on Islamic women’s headscarves and veils in civil service jobs. Initially, the ban was imposed so separate religion from government operations.

According to the South China Morning Post, anyone violating with what Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said to be a “woman’s right to cover herself in public” would face a prison term of up to three years.

The ban, though, has strung up controversy. The Pakistan Tribune reports that secularists, (military and strict followers of modern Turkey’s founding father Mustafa Kemal Ataturk), believe it is “government imposing an Islamic agenda on a majority Muslim but constitutionally secular state.”

On the other hand, according to EuroNews, Erdogan deems it as a positive step to move closer towards democracy. “A painful ban that has caused a lot of suffering to the parents of young people is lifted. A dark era has come to an end.”, said Erdogan, speaking in parliament.

EuroNews also reports that the ban has kept many women from joining the public work force. Supporters of the ban lift see the change as the restoration of freedom of religious expression.

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Greenpeace activists posed ‘real threat’


The latest Greenpeace movement arrests have halted efforts in Russia. In an attempt to board an Arctic rig oil platform in the Barents Sea, all of the crew members aboard the Greenpeace Arctic Sunrise were arrested. 

According to the Russia and India Report, the Press service of Russia’s Investigative Committee says that not only did the Greenpeace members resisted arrest, but also believe the activists endangered the property and lives of crew members aboard the Prirazlomnaya oil rig.

An Investigative Committee spokesperson commented, “These actions are criminally liable, regardless of what alleged purpose they had; supposedly peaceful motivation is not a valid justification…”. The spokesperson also said that they plan to determine each crew members’ individual roles.

The Moscow Times reports that the Investigative Committee said charges may be filed soon and those charges include piracy, which is punishable for up to 15 years in prison. The committee also said the Greenpeace ship had suspicious equipment on board and the activists also violated the 500-meter security zone around the platform.

Greenpeace Russia members denied violating the Russian and international law, but the inflatable boats they used to scale the platform did violate the zone. They also said, however, that it posed no danger.

As reported from the International Business Times, the Russian Coast Guard ordered the Arctic Sunrise to leave Russia’s territorial waters after firing 11 warning shots at the Greenpeace ship.

The Russian Federal Security Service stated, “Due to the refusal of the Arctic Sunrise captain to halt the unlawful activity, the administration took a decision to stop the ship. The Coast Guard was forced to fire warning shots four times from artillery cannon onboard a vessel,”. 

As the world continues to monitor the conflict between the Russian government and the Greenpeace activist groups, the ranging charges will be deliberated, with a soon-approaching resolution.


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Kayne West Paparazzi Battle

Mega-star, Kanye West’s physical incident with a paparazzo has landed him into some legal troubles. BBC News reported that paparazzo Daniel Ramos, was among other paparazzi photographers who waited outside of the Los Angeles airport for West’s arrival.

According to the Hindustan Times, West confronted Ramos, accusing Ramos of trying to provoke him for a significant amount of money. 

The Bangkok Times reported that Ramos addressed a news conference with Celebrity Attorney, Gloria Allred, stating,  “When Kanye West attacked me, I was in complete shock…All I had done was ask him a question. I was terrified when Kanye started to come at me. I backed up because I felt from the look in his eyes that he was going to attack me.” 

According to both the Irish Examiner and NewsPoint Africa, The rapper’s arraignment hearing has been set for October 10th, but isn’t required to make an appearance if he still has a lawyer. The charges against him were dropped from a felony to misdemeanor because Ramos only sustained minor injuries. West may face up to six-months in jail or a $1,000 fine.

While most sources have addressed Kanye’s actions in July previously, it is evident that the progression of this incident is still of interest globally.

In the world of entertainment news, it is rare that one star generates this sort of publicity with a minor circumstance such as this. That caliber of star, is undoubtedly, Kanye West.



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