My how time flies! 2013 is now officially more than half over. Now that we are on the home stretch of the year, what were the most important world news stories of July 2013? As has been a trend this year, July was full of numerous disturbing news stories. From Detroit becoming the largest city in U.S. history to file for bankruptcy to Cory Monteith, who played Finn Hudson in the Fox hit Glee, being found dead in a Vancouver hotel room, British Columbia police said late Saturday, 13 July 2013. Monteith, 31, spent time in rehab early this year, checking into a drug addiction treatment facility in April. He had been frank about his struggles with substance abuse, telling Parade magazine in 2011 that he began using drugs at 13, and by 19 went into rehab after his mother and friends intervened. Monteith’s death was caused by “a mixed drug toxicity, involving heroin and alcohol,” the British Columbia Coroners Service said.
Another notable death occurred when longtime White House correspondent Helen Thomas died. Thomas, 92, was considered the dean of the White House press corps, as she was the longest-serving White House journalist. She reported on administrations since 1960, when she began covering then-President-elect John F. Kennedy and his family. Thomas retired in 2010 after she made controversial comments regarding Jewish people. A third major death was the tragic passing of Dennis Farina, police officer turned star of it-should-not-have-been-cancelled Law & Order. He died at 69, his publicist said on 22 July 2013. A fourth major death was that of Emile Griffith, the first boxer from the U.S. Virgin Islands to become world champion and inducted into the Hall of Fame. He died at 75. Yet what stories had an influence beyond one major city’s economic turmoil or particular individuals passing away? Read on for the rundown!
10. Web Woes and More!
As the year progressed, the importance of online technology continued to expand, not always for the good of civilization. Google and related services were inaccessible to some users this morning, prompting confusion and consternation across the Web. Reports of outages began about 9:30 a.m. ET on 10 July 2013 and quickly spread on Twitter, with users asking if the problem was affecting others as well. Among the services affected were Gmail, Google Plus, Google Drive and YouTube. According to anecdotal reports, the outages appeared to be most prevalent among users in the Southeastern United States.
Yet, it was not all bad news for the internet. Netflix has two shows nominated for Emmy Awards: House of Cards and Arrested Development. It is the first time a series distributed online has been nominated for TV’s top honors. The Emmys will be broadcast Sunday, 22 September 2013 on CBS.
For more information, see http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/10/tech/web/google-down
9. Crucial Criminal Proceedings
July also included a number of major criminal proceedings that attracted considerable media and public interest. The most widely covered story was that of George Zimmerman’s trial for murder. The case drew national attention when Zimmerman, who is Hispanic, was not initially charged in the death of Trayvon Martin, who was African-American. The judge in Zimmerman’s murder trial allowed testimony about Martin’s toxicology results that show the teenager had used marijuana. Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch volunteer, was charged with second-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Martin in Sanford, Florida, on 26 February 2012. He told police that night that the teenager looked suspicious and that there had been several break-ins in the neighborhood. The two got into a physical altercation, and Zimmerman said he was forced to draw his gun and kill Martin. Zimmerman’s attorney Don West said Monday, 8 July 2013 the medical examiner says that THC from marijuana would have had some effect on Martin’s thinking. He also pointed out that Zimmerman said Martin looked like he was on “drugs or something.” The defense told Judge Debra Nelson it planned to have a witness testify on this matter on Tuesday, 9 July 2013. Also Monday, a group of defense witnesses testified about the 911 call made the night Martin died. It became a key point of contention in the case. Five witnesses said that they recognized the screams on the 911 call as Zimmerman’s voice. Zimmerman has admitted killing Trayvon Martin, but claims it was self-defense. Defense attorney Mark O’Mara said there was no proof that Zimmerman had acted with any other motive than self-defense. “How many ‘coulda beens’ have you heard from the state in this case?” he asked in his closing argument. “How many ‘what ifs’ have you heard from the state in this case? They don’t get to ask you that. No, no, no.” He implored the jury: “Do not give anybody the benefit of the doubt except for George Zimmerman.” O’Mara said no matter what the jury decides, his client’s “life will never be the same.” A jury of six women acquitted him of charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of Martin, who was killed by a single gunshot. Zimmerman was “justified” in shooting Martin, according to one of the jurors who acquitted Zimmerman. The woman, known as Juror B37, was the first juror to speak publicly about the case. She said, “He didn’t do anything unlawful.” Juror B29 similarly told ABC News. “The law couldn’t prove it.” President Barack Obama released a statement a day after the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial, saying the “I know this case has elicited strong passions. And in the wake of the verdict, I know those passions may be running even higher. But we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken.” In surprise appearance in White House briefing room, Obama said, “Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago,” in his first live comments on the court case. As for Zimmerman, he and another man subsequently helped four people get out of an SUV that had overturned in Sanford, Florida, Seminole County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Heather Smith said.
The second most covered murder case of July 2013 involved Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, accused in the 15 April 2013 bombing at the Boston Marathon, which killed three people and wounded more than 260, and the killing of a MIT police officer days later. The suspect pleaded not guilty to thirty counts, including use of a weapon of mass destruction to kill.
Third, an old case once again reared its ugly head when Boston Strangler suspect Albert DeSalvo’s body was exhumed after a relative’s DNA was linked to evidence. A lab matched DNA recovered from the body of Mary Sullivan almost fifty years ago with that of her suspected killer, confessed “Boston Strangler” Albert DeSalvo, officials said on 19 July 2013. Massachusetts officials say it is the first time that law enforcement has been able to confirm DeSalvo’s culpability in any homicide. DeSalvo had confessed to Sullivan’s killing and about a dozen other murders, but he later recanted. He was stabbed to death in 1973 while serving a life prison term for unrelated rapes.
Finally, a trio of cases concerning abuse and capture of people of varying ages shocked America and the wider world. First, news came out that eight people were held captive in a Houston house, some for up to ten years, police said. Next, in a more publicized case involving people held captive, Ariel Castro agreed to a plea deal, sparing victims from having to testify at a trial in the Cleveland kidnappings case. Castro, who held three women captive in his home for nearly a decade, gets life in prison with no chance for parole. Castro abducted Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry and Georgina “Gina” DeJesus separately over a two-year period starting in 2002, according to authorities. The women and Berry’s 6-year-old daughter were freed in May after one of the women shouted for help while Castro was away from his 1,400-square-foot home. DNA tests have confirmed that Castro is the rescued child’s father. Finally, with regards to heinous examples of child abuse, in a major crackdown on child prostitution, the FBI announced Monday that more than 150 arrests have been made in Operation Cross Country, rescuing more than 100 children nationwide.
Okay, I guess we can have one more as a sort of footnote… The Nevada Parole Board has granted O.J. Simpson parole on some charges stemming from 2008 armed robbery convictions, but he will not immediately get out of prison.
For more on these stories, go to http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/07/19/obama-addresses-trayvon-martin-case-in-briefing-room/ and http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/07/26/plea-deal-talks-underway-in-ohio-kidnapping-case/
8. Notable Sporting News
While the above criminal cases mostly interested Americans and are primarily of importance for their victims, sporting achievements remind us that humans are capable of not just great evil. As such, champion and record-setting athletes are revered as heroes in magazines and in sporting cards and we would rather give them higher ranking than any scumbag criminals. Yet, even sports has its ups and downs…
On the happy front for baseball, on 2 July 2013, Reds pitcher Homer Bailey threw the first no-hitter of the Major League Baseball season in a 3-0 win over the Giants. Bailey also tossed the most recent no-hitter in a win over the Pirates last September. On the not-so-happy front, Ryan Braun was suspended without pay for the rest of the MLB season for violating the league’s drug policy, Commissioner Bud Selig announced. Braun, an outfielder for the Milwaukee Brewers, admitted to wrongdoing and apologized for his actions. “I am not perfect,” he said in a statement.
Marion Bartoli of France on Saturday, 6 July 2013 defeated Sabine Lisicki of Germany 6-1, 6-4 to win the women’s championship in the women’s final match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships in Wimbledon, London. The victory brought Bartoli her first grand slam title. She had a shot at the Wimbledon championship in 2007, but lost to Venus Williams. UK tennis player Andy Murray, 26, on Sunday, 7 July 2013 defeated Novak Djokovic of Serbia, to win the 2013 Wimbledon championship 6-4, 7-5 , 6-4. He became the first British male to win the tournament at the All England Club since Fred Perry did it in 1936.
Finally, U.S. golfer Phil Mickelson won his first British Open British Open championship after shooting a 66 in the final round and finishing 3 under par overall. The victory gave Mickelson his fifth career major title.
For more information, please see http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2013/07/06/bartoli-beats-lisicki-for-wimbledon-title/
7. Five Top American Politicians Make Bold Career Choices
Few would reasonably deny that American politics has a global influence and as such the political careers of the five individuals discussed below received international coverage.
First, Texas Governor Rick Perry said on 8 July 2013 that he will not run for re-election next year for an unprecedented fourth full term in office. “The time has come to pass on the mantle of leadership,” said Perry. The announcement by the Republican governor opens the door to speculation that Perry will make another bid for the White House in 2016. Perry is the longest-serving governor in Texas history. He assumed the governorship in December 2000, when George W. Bush stepped down to become president. Perry was elected to full four-year terms in 2002, 2006 and 2010.
Next, an administration official confirmed to Fox News that Janet Napolitano resigned as head of Homeland Security and was named as the president of the University of California system, sources told CNN on Friday, 12 July 2013.
Third, Liz Cheney said she is entering the 2014 Republican race for the U.S. Senate in Wyoming, challenging incumbent Senator Michael Enzi. “Instead of cutting deals with the president’s liberal allies, we should be opposing them every step of the way,” the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney said in a video statement.
Fourth, in perhaps the most embarrassing American political career move, New York mayoral candidate and former Representative Anthony Weiner confirmed as real some newly emerged, sexually tinged online exchanges he had with an unnamed woman. “As I have said in the past, these things that I did were wrong and hurtful to my wife and caused us to go through challenges in our marriage that extended past my resignation from Congress,” Weiner said in a statement. “While some things that have been posted today are true and some are not, there is no question that what I did was wrong.” While Weiner did not reference the specific allegations, screenshots of conversations and photographs appeared on a gossip website that were allegedly between Weiner and the woman in August 2012, a year after Weiner resigned from Congress amid a sexting scandal. “I said that the other texts and photos were likely to come out, and today they have,” he said Tuesday, 23 July 2013. Weiner said that some sexually tinged online chats that were published by a gossip website happened after his resignation from Congress in 2011. Standing by his side, his wife publicly backed Weiner and his run for mayor. “What I want to say is: I love him. I have forgiven him. I believe in him and as I have said from the beginning, we are moving forward,” Huma Abedin said at a news conference. Weiner said people have a right to “say whatever they want” and that he is not prepared to “dispute anything that is out there,” but added that he accepted “responsibility” for his actions. And no, the above photograph is not of Weiner’s um, well, you know, but we figured (or at least hope!) it is of something our readers would much rather look at!
Finally, if Weiner above was not bad enough, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, publicly accused of sexual harassment by seven women, said he will enter “a behavior counseling clinic” for two weeks of intensive therapy starting 5 August 2013. His news conference was interrupted by technical problems. Filner shrugged off calls for resignation.
6. Asiana Airlines Flight 214 Disaster
While the future career paths of the five politicians above are yet to be traversed, the flight path of an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 took a frightening turn when it crash landed at San Francisco International Airport. Flights into and out of San Francisco International Airport were canceled following the crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 from Seoul, the FAA said. Flight 214 left Seoul’s Incheon International Airport earlier Saturday and flew 10 hours and 23 minutes to California, according to FlightAware, a website that offers tracking services for private and commercial air traffic. Anthony Castorani, who saw the flight land from a nearby hotel, said he saw the plane touch the ground then noticed a larger plume of white smoke. Video from the scene posted on YouTube showed dark gray smoke rising from the plane, which appeared to be upright. Evacuation slides could be seen extending from one side of the aircraft, from which there was no apparent smoke. The National Transportation Safety Board sent a “go team” led by chairwoman Deborah Hersman to investigate the crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport, the agency said Saturday, 6 July 2013.
The U.S. Coast Guard transported one person linked to Saturday’s plane crash at San Francisco International Airport to Stanford Hospital, said Corrine Gaines of the Coast Guard. She did not provide additional information on the patient’s status. San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center treated eight adults and two children — all of them in critical condition — who were injured in Saturday’s Asiana Airlines crash at San Francisco International Airport, the hospital said in a statement. Six of the patients were female and four were male. Doctors saw a wide range of injuries after Saturday’s plane crash landing in San Francisco, including “large amounts of abdominal injuries, a huge amount of spine fractures, some of which include paralysis and head trauma,” said Dr. Margaret Knudson, chief of surgery at San Francisco General Hospital. Doctors have also treated “patients who had severe road rash, suggesting that they were dragged,” she said. At least two people have been confirmed dead following the plane crash at San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White said. The two people who died in the Asiana Airlines crash in San Francisco were Chinese girls, said Yoon Young-doo, the airline’s CEO. Both were in their mid-teens. “I bow my head and sincerely apologize for causing concern to the passengers, families and our people,” Yoon said. A third person also died from injuries sustained in the crash of Flight 214, San Francisco General Hospital spokeswoman Rachael Kagan said. Earlier, a San Francisco Police Department official said that a 16-year-old girl who died in the crash was run over by a fire truck, but that it was unclear whether she was alive at the time. Asiana Airlines Flight 214 passenger Ye Mengyan died of injuries she received from being run over by a San Francisco Fire Department vehicle after the plane crashed at the city’s airport on July 6, San Mateo County Coroner Robert Foucrault and San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White told reporters Friday, 19 July 2013. Ye, 16, was alive when she was hit after she was expelled from the aircraft, Foucrault said. Ye was one of three people who died in the crash at San Francisco’s airport. The other 305 people aboard flight 214 survived, authorities said. Officials said that 182 people were taken to hospitals for treatment. Of the 307 people on board Asiana Airlines Flight 214, only one remains unaccounted for, authorities told reporters. A National Transportation Safety Board team left from Washington for San Francisco to probe the crash, NTSB chairwoman Deborah Hersman told reporters. “We have not determined what the focus of this investigation is yet. … Everything is on the table at this point.” The team includes people focused on operations; human performance; survival factors; airport operations; and aircraft systems, structure and power.
The cockpit voice recorder of Asiana Flight 214 reveals the pilots called to initiate a “go-around” at another landing 1.5 seconds before impact, NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman told reporters on Sunday, 7 July 2013. Four seconds prior to impact, crew members were alerted to the fact that they were approaching a stall, Hersman said. She said a call from a crew member to increase speed was made approximately seven seconds before impact.
As a final note, the above was not the only notable airplane incident of the month. Toward the end of July, the nose gear of a Southwest Airlines jetliner collapsed while landing at New York’s LaGuardia Airport, the Federal Aviation Administration said. The FAA initially said there were no reported injuries on Flight 345 from Nashville, but subsequent reports conflicted.
For more information, please see http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/07/06/boeing-777-crashes-at-san-francisco-international-airport/