What We’re Following: Calling ISIS ‘Genocidal’
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry described the actions of the terrorist group against ethnic and religious minorities in the Middle East as “genocide”—a first since the U.S. began bombing militants in 2014. The Islamic State’s violent campaign against these groups previously led the European Parliament and the United States National Holocaust Museum to formally declare its acts as genocide. It’s unclear what, if any, legal obligations the State Department’s designation compels, since the 1948 convention on genocide is based on the notion that only states commit genocidal crimes.
A Whale of an Announcement: The U.S. amusement park SeaWorld announced it would end its orca-breeding program, phase out its well-known orca shows, and invest in animal-rescue efforts. The move comes, in part, because of backlash from a 2013 documentary that alleged orcas suffering in confinement, and that captivity could drive the animals to injure or even kill trainers. SeaWorld’s 23 orcas are unable to survive in the wild and will live out their lives in the park’s three U.S. locations.
The Plot Thickens in Brazil: A federal judge in Brazil blocked the appointment of a former president to a Cabinet-level position. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is currently ensnared in a billion-dollar corruption scandal, which grew this week when recorded phone calls appeared to show Lula wanted to use his Cabinet post to shield himself from prosecution. Hundreds of thousands of people around the country, which is in deep recession, have taken to the streets to protest government corruption and call for Lula’s arrest.