Texas Church Shooting, Climate Change, Trump’s Asia Tour, and Saudi Corruption in: 60

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Gunman Open Fires on Texas Church

A gunman opened fire in a church service Sunday morning, killing approximately 27 people and injuring at least twenty others. The attack took place in First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, a small suburb 30 miles southeast of San Antonio, and the gunman fled in a vehicle. The ensuing chase resulted in the death of the gunman, though it is unclear if he committed suicide or was killed by authorities. The FBI is still investigating the circumstances of the shooting but believes that the shooter acted alone and had no connections to international terrorist organizations.

President Trump and many members of Congress immediately offered condolences to those affected. Texas Senator John Cornyn described the attack as “truly heartbreaking,” and California Senator Kamala Harris called for a discussion about gun control, tweeting, “When will we say that enough is enough?”

Humans Deemed to be Main Cause of Climate Change

The National Climate Science Assessment, released Friday, indicates that the changing weather patterns can be directly linked to human behavior. This report has been in the works since 2015 and has been put together by hundreds of government experts and academics as part of a joint effort by thirteen federal agencies. This finding is at odds with the Trump Administration’s position denying the validity of the theory. The White House’s reaction to the release of this document has maintained its lukewarm status; they indicated that the climate “is always changing,” and that the link to human behavior patterns is “uncertain.”

Although the federal government could have blocked the release of the report, deputies decided to continue the legacy of the Obama Administration. The implications of this report remain to be seen in light of the upcoming UN annual climate change conference next week, which will be closely watched as the U.S. continues to face criticism from the international community for Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord.

Trump Begins 13-Day Asia Tour

President Trump kicked off the first day of his tour of Asia with a speech to American troops in Japan that touched on his domestic successes and the North Korean crisis. The 13-day tour, which will include visits to Japan, China, South Korea, the Philippines, and Vietnam, is the longest tour of Asia by a U.S. president in 26 years. Trump is expected to focus on North Korea’s increasing nuclear threat and developing economic agreements more favorable to the United States.

Though battling the lowest approval ratings of any sitting U.S. president, in interviews prior to the trip Trump was confident in his ability to negotiate improved trade agreements with Japanese Prime Minister Abe and Chinese President Xi. Both leaders have recently consolidated significant power in their respective countries. Trump has also announced plans to meet with Russian President Putin on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific summit in Vietnam.

Saudi Officials Arrested on Corruption Charges

This weekend, Saudi Arabian prosecutors arrested 11 princes and 38 individuals on corruption charges. The individuals arrested include prominent government officials, billionaire princes, military officers, and businessmen. The charges were a result of an anti-corruption investigation led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. However, some view the indictments as just another component of Mohammed bin Salman’s push to consolidate power and to reform Saudi Arabia, as many of those arrested are opponents of King Salman and his son Mohammed bin Salman. Other recent actions taken by King Salman’s government include allowing women to drive, and vowing to root out “extremist ideologies.”

This particular move was especially shocking because it breaks a precedent that has long allowed Saudi princes to operate above the law.

In Other News… 

An investigation dubbed the ‘Paradise Papers’ discovered that many of the world’s businesses, politicians, and celebrities have been hiding money in secret offshore tax havens. The list includes the Queen of England, Twitter, Facebook, and several Trump cabinet members.

The dismissed president of Catalonia turned himself in to Belgian police on Saturday, the latest fallout from the ongoing Catalonian surge for independence.

The Red Cross revealed Sunday that over $6 million dollars meant to fight Ebola was wasted through internal corruption.

Pleas for support written by unpaid Turkish factory workers were discovered hidden in clothing from Zara.

The eagerly-awaited iPhone X was released on Friday and promptly sold out in at least 20 large US cities.

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