Current Events Cheat Sheet: A Week After the Arizona Shootings

Following weeks of protests, the president of Tunisia stepped down after a 23-year, domineering reign. The violent rioting in the African country was motivated by high unemployment and general dissatisfaction with the controlling and corrupt government. (A government, by the way, that didn’t allow access to YouTube… a whole country of people without access to endless Beyoncé music videos or clips of giggling babies. Just imagine!) As if Mark Zuckerberg’s head wasn’t already big enough, much of the credit for the change is going to Facebook, which young Tunisians used as a tool for organizing the rallies (and they call our generation apathetic?) Since the president fled on Friday (incidentally, only a day after claiming he wouldn’t give up leadership until 2014), Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi stepped in to lead until a new government is organized.

The country is still reeling over the Arizona shootings. Since the massacre took place on January 8th, and Jared Loughner, a 22-year-old, was subsequently arrested, much more has been revealed about the shooter and the victims of the attack. Information has come out concerning Loughner’s history of mental illness, leading many to wonder whether his rampage could have been predicted and prevented. The public safety department at Pima Community College, his school, released 51 pages of documents pertaining to Loughner, many of which support the comments of one of his classmates that he was “obviously very disturbed.”

In much happier news, Gabrielle Giffords, the congresswoman he shot, is free from her ventilator and has been breathing on her own.

Starbucks will be offering a size even bigger than the Venti – the Trenta – for iced drinks. Yep, that’s right, it’s time to add a new word to our Starbucks vocabularies. The Trenta, which will be offered in 14 states come Tuesday and in all Starbucks locations by May 1st, clocks in at a whopping 31 ounces (that’s only one less than 7-11’s Big Gulp). Admittedly, the size is only being offered for iced teas, coffees, and lemonades, and anyone who has ordered such drinks at the chain knows how much of those cups are filled with ice (hint: it’s a lot). But still, with Starbucks going the way of the super-size, let’s all remember what we already know – bigger is not necessarily better.

Mudslides in Brazil and flooding in Australia have killed thousands and left many homeless. Perhaps the scariest thing about these natural disasters is that they are so sudden, yet so devastating. Flash floods in Brazil led to mudslides hurtling down the mountains surrounding Rio de Janeiro, which, in a cruel twist of prophetic irony, means ‘January River’ in Portuguese. The death toll keeps rising and rising; on Thursday it was predicted to be around 361, but by Sunday it was raised to at least 626. In Australia, similarly intense amounts of rainwater have covered parts of Queensland including the big city of Brisbane, where over 30,000 homes and businesses have been flooded.

Picture of the Week:

Photo courtesy of The Daily Mail.

The people in the closest town to Mt. Etna, a volcano in Italy, got an amazing show when it erupted on Wednesday. Don’t worry though; they residents were all safely tucked 18 miles away from the lava’s reach.

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