The Week in Review
Just when it seemed the circus on Capitol Hill would end with Congress finally reaching an agreement on the “fiscal cliff,” it appeared only to be a warm up for their second act. Earlier in the week, the Senate passed a $60.4 billion bill to aid the recovery efforts for the continuing aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. But House Speaker John Boehner adjourned the session without a vote, infuriating representatives from both sides of the aisle, particularly those from New York and New Jersey. Facing a mounting storm of criticism, the House finally agreed on Friday to pass a relief bill 357-67.
The new measure only covers insurance claims made by residents whose homes were destroyed or damaged by Hurricane Sandy, greatly reducing the initial aid amount by $50.7 billion. The Senate unanimously approved the measure, which President Obama will likely sign into law. House members who opposed the initial aid package said the bill was filled with earmarks unrelated to the hurricane relief efforts, including $150 million for fisheries in Alaska and $2 million for re-roofing museums in Washington, according to a New York Times report. Despite this, the nation looks forward to a day when bills can be passed by our leaders efficiently without the flair for the dramatic.
Bottom’s Up in the West
The Spurs, with Tim Duncan freakishly playing like he’s 25 again, and The Thunder’s explosive line-up have largely dominated the Western Conference, but it’s the former doormats of the league that have been making the most noise in recent months. The Clippers have served notice of a new era of showtime in Los Angeles Friday night, with Blake Griffin and Chris Paul putting up sensational performances in a largely dominant 107-102 victory against a star-filled, yet struggling Laker team. Before losing to the Nuggets Tuesday and a surprisingly hot Warriors team Wednesday, the Clipper’s had a 17-game win streak dating back to November 28th, 2012. The Clipper's currently share the lead in the Western Conference with the Thunder, and are a half-game ahead of the Spurs.
Transocean Settles to Splash Cash for BP Spill
This week Transocean Ltd., the owner of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, reached a $1.4 billion settlement with the Justice Department, according to the Associated Press. According to the report, $1 billion of the settlement will be paid in civil penalties, with an additional $400 billion to be paid in criminal penalties. Most of the funds will be utilized to aid environmental restoration efforts, as well as spill prevention research and training. British Petroleum, which leased the oil rig from Transocean during the colossal oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, has already agreed to pay $4.5 billion in penalties and plead guilty to manslaughter charges for the 11 workers killed as a result of the explosion leading to the leak.
Delhi Rape Suspects Formally Charged
Five men accused of raping and eventually murdering a woman on a bus in Delhi in December 2012 were formally charged this week, potentially facing the death penalty if convicted (a sixth suspect is expected to be tried in a juvenile court, according to the BBC). The crime has sparked an unprecedented national outcry for increased protection of women, a nation historically patriarchal with an overall poor record on women’s rights.
In a report by the BCC, a friend of the slain woman who was with her during the attack gave his first interview. The man, who was beaten unconscious before the attack began, was critical of the local law enforcement’s slow arrival to the scene, involving themselves in a jurisdictional dispute, and taking the dying woman to a distant hospital, bypassing a closer one. India’s top officials also met this week to discuss the possibility of reforms, including increasing the number of female staff at each police station and recruiting female officers. The growing economic giant will certainly need to make more monumental reforms as their youth have filled its streets, heaving cries calling for justice, security, and equality.