Breaking the Bubble: October 25th, 2013


  • The Obama Administration reassured German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Oct. 23 that the United States was not monitoring her cell phone. While the German government did obtain evidence that suggested otherwise, the White House reiterated that it “is not monitoring and will not monitor” their communications, said White House spokesman Jay Carney. This latest allegation followed another allegation made by French President Francois Hollande that the NSA spied on thousands of French citizens. (Reuters)
  • Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will stand trial for alleged bribery. He is accused of paying a left-wing senator over three million Euros to defect from his own party to Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party. The defection resulted in the collapse of the government and elections that returned Berlusconi to power. (BBC Europe)
  • On Oct. 23, Pope Francis suspended German Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, otherwise known as the Bishop of Bling. Pope Francis ordered the bishop to vacate the Diocese of Limburg immediately while a final decision still has not been made yet. The decision came in the wake of the German Bishop reportedly spending lavish amounts of money, including $20,000 on a bathtub.  (ABC News)
  • The United States suggested that Iran could retain limited nuclear enrichments capabilities for non-weapons purposes under controlled conditions, a view that is not shared by a number of other Middle Eastern States. Saudi Arabia and Israel are among the states that have expressed disapproval of the American stance. Top Israeli and American officials have called for the complete dismantlement of Iran’s nuclear program since the enrichment process started in 2003. (Washington Post)


  • Early on Oct. 21, New Jersey became the 14th state to legalize gay marriage. Governor Chris Christie dropped his appeal of the judicial decision. Judge Mary C. Jacobson of New Jersey’s State Supreme Court ruled in September that New Jersey had to allow same-sex marriage after the Supreme Court decided in June that same-sex couples had access to the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples. (New York Times)
  • The U.S. Navy was rocked by a bribery scandal earlier in the week involving a foreign defense contractor, a Navy commander, and Naval Criminal Investigative Service senior agent. The company, Glenn Defense Marine, is accused of overbilling from tugboats to fuel sewage disposal. They are also accused of providing prostitutes and tickets to a Lady Gaga concert in Thailand. (Washington Post)
  • Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the deceased Boston bombing suspect, has been implicated in a triple murder. The murders took place on Sept. 11, 2011, in which the victims had their throats slashed, their bodies covered in marijuana and thousands of dollars in cash. Documents were filed on Monday in preparation for the trial of his younger brother, Dzhokhar. (AFP)
  • Two separate attacks at schools took place this week, one in Nevada, the other in Massachusetts. In Sparks, Nevada, a seventh grade student shot killed Michael Landsberry, a math teacher at the school who was also a former Marine and member of the Nevada National Guard. The shooter also wounded two students before taking his own life. In Danvers, Mass., teacher Colleen Ritzer was found dead in a wooded area behind her school. Police have charged Phillip Chism, 14, as an adult in his alleged involvement with Ritzer’s death. (ABC News and The New York Times)
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