A $1 trillion farm bill was passed by the Senate Tuesday and is expected to be signed by the President that sets the policy on farming (and food) for the next five years. CNN has a good article on what the bill means to you here.
A drought is ongoing throughout the West – 11 states have currently been declared “dangerously dry”
Among other things mentioned in the State of the Union Address, Obama announced an executive order to raise the minimum wage for federal contractors from $7.25 to $10.10. Although it actually only affects a small number of individuals, many hope it will spread to industry.
At least two more have been killed in continuing protests which flared after their president enacted a law banning some of activities (e.g. wearing helmets). The president has, though, finally agreed to meet with opposition leaders.
bombings continue in Baghdad and government troops are still fighting to take back the major cities of Fallujah and Ramadi from ISIS (linked to Al Qaeda)
Al Qaeda has disavowed its affiliation with one of the larger Islamic groups, ISIS. Some suspect they have learned through previous failures that brutality like that espoused by ISIS backfires.
Prosecutors hired by Qatar (a longtime enemy of Assad) wrote a report alleging detainees were tortured and killed on a mass scale by regime security agents. The evidence cited is the photos of a Syrian military police photographer.
The deadlines for the turnover of Syria’s most serious and less lethal chemical weapons have now been missed. Only 4% of the arsenal, which was all supposed to have been turned in today, have made it to the port. Many suspect the government’s honesty in both disclosure and their intent to turn over the weapons.
Completed the destruction of its entire chemical arsenal.
Suicide bombers killed 32 people in December and threatened more attacks at the Sochi Olympic games that start soon. The Department of Homeland Security has issued a warning that toothpaste containers could be used to smuggle dangerous materials and are screening flights to Russia accordingly.
The President blamed the recent soaring crime on telanovelas (soap operas) that glamorize violence and drugs. New price controls put in effect on Feb 3rd claim to protect the incomes of all citizens by setting limits on profit. Everyone who does business in the country must submit specific information the government will use to set prices and margins.