What Happened This Week – 1. In Bangladesh, the death toll passed 600 in the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory building. Authorities have arrested nine people in the case: the building owner, Mohammed Sohel Rana, his father, three engineers who designed the building, and four factory owners. Rana was taken to court in a bulletproof vest as riots broke out across the city of Dhaka.
PolicyMic’s Andrea Ayres-Deets argues that millennials can prevent future tragedies by becoming more knowledgeable about where their clothes comes from and boycotting companies that promote dangerous labor practices. Millennials can also use social media to tell companies that safe working conditions are more important than cheap clothes. As Andrea says, “We are all… culpable for this.”
2. Across the globe, polls demonstrated weak support for Western intervention in Syria as the White House weighs the possibility of sending weapons to Syrian rebels. A Pew Research Center poll shows that 45% of Americans support military action in Syria, if it is confirmed that Bashar al-Assad’s government used chemical weapons against its people. Citizens in France, the U.K., and Germany all oppose sending weapons to Syrian opposition, while Jordan is the only country surrounding Syria that supports Western military action.
3. In Italy, an alliance of the country’s political parties elected a new prime minister, Enrico Letta, two months after messy parliamentary elections created a divided Italian government. While political leaders support Letta because of his commitment to austerity measures and labor reform, Al Jazeera writes that the majority of Italian voters feel cheated by Letta’s nomination. 50% of Italian voters cast a ballot for bold political change that is not reflected in the alliance between the country’s traditional political parties.
4. In the U.S., President Obama promised to renew efforts to close the military prison at Guantánamo Bay in response to a hunger strike that has spread to nearly two-thirds of Gitmo prisoners. He said he has authorized officials to review the possibility of closing the prison and promised to ask Congress to take steps to transfer Guantánamo prisoners. PolicyMic’s Aubrey Bloomfield writes that the situation at Guantánamo will become more dire as the hunger strikers approach the two-month mark in their fast.
5. In the U.S., Facebook reported strong first quarter earnings. The biggest surprise of the company’s report is that mobile ads now account for 30% of Facebook’s total advertising revenue. The company’s net income grew 7% to a total of $219 million. However, USA Today reports that investors are still uncertain about Facebook’s future as financial growth slows despite a climb in the website’s number of users.
6. On the Internet, NBA player Jason Collins became the first openly gay athlete in a major American sport when he published a story discussing his sexuality. Collins’ announcement received mostly positive feedback, though ESPN announcer Chris Broussard criticized Collins for “walking in open rebellion to Jesus Christ.” Jim Buzinski, the co-founder of a website dedicated to gays in sports, says that Collins’ announcement will lose its importance if he goes unsigned next season: “If he’s not on a team, he’s just another guy who did it at the end of his career, and he retired.”
7. In movie theaters across the country, Iron Man 3 smashed box office records. The film earned $175 million in its first two days in theaters, a jump of 38% over Iron Man 2’s opening weekend earnings. Iron Man 3 is on track to have the second biggest opening weekend in box office history behind The Avengers. The Week takes a scientific approach to answering the question, “Is Iron Man 3 the best superhero threequel ever?”
Coming Up Next Week – Tuesday, South Carolina special election. NPR tells you why Elizabeth Colbert-Busch has a good chance of becoming the first Democrat to represent South Carolina’s First Congressional District in 35 years. She faces off against the controversy-prone ex-Governor Mark Sanford.
Friday, annular solar eclipse. We have a “ring of fire” eclipse to look forward to at the end of the week. Yahoo rounds up other stargazing events to look out for this month.
Saturday, Pakistan elections. Voters will head to the polls to elect Pakistan’s fourteenth parliament. PolicyMic’s Areej Elahi-Siddiqui discusses how the former cricket star Imran Khan could bring an end to the tradition of corrupt politics in Pakistan.
Must Reads From PolicyMic – The Most Sexist Show In History Features Old Men Judging Women's Naked Bodies (Elizabeth Plank, @feministabulous) – Would you want these guys to judge your naked body? That's what I thought.
[31 Mics, 110 Comments, 3581 Shares]
5 U.S. Citizenship Test Questions You'd Probably Fail (Alex Marin, @marin_alex) – In order to become a U.S. citizen, I had to take an American history and civics test. I was shocked to learn that many of my American-born friends didn't know some of the answers.
[17 Mics, 40 Comments, 10 Shares]
What It Means to Be a Muslim Woman in Today's America (Reem Nasr, @reemanasr) – Each Muslim-American experience is unique. A new online exhibition has begun the project of sharing this diverse array of stories.
[12 Mics, 19 Comments, 87 Shares]
Why I Ran For Public Office, and You Should Too (Heather Beaven, @electbeaven) – Millennials: It’s time to step up to the political plate, or watch the American Dream slip away.
[8 Mics, 2 Comments, 61 Shares]
6 Big Misconceptions About Civil Debate (Alasdair Denvil) – Not only do we have a bad habit of caricaturing our opponents in political debate, we even caricature what qualifies as “good behavior.” Here are six myths about civil debate that need debunking.
[8 Mics, 5 Comments, 1 Share]
Everything You Need to Know About the Immigration Reform Debate (Drew Mendelson, @drewmendelson) – The political left and right have come together to propose a well-thought-out and reasonable compromise on comprehensive immigration reform. But is it all falling apart?
[4 Mics, 0 Comments, 1 Shares]
What We’re Sharing – Can we eradicate global poverty by 2030? (NY Times)
Why we should get rid of grades (Slate).
It turns out Jason Collins isn’t the first openly gay athlete in a major sport (Atlantic).
BONUS: the history of the high-five.
Hat tip: Dave Pell
These are the 10 richest towns in America (Yahoo).
Scientists have discovered the fountain of youth… in your brain (Businessweek).
You won’t believe what foods have caffeine in them now (Well).
23% of philosophers think that zombies could exist (io9).
The most ridiculous hats from the Kentucky Derby (Daily Beast).
For Cinco de Mayo: 11 types of songs that drunk people like to sing (Thought Catalog).
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