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This Week: February 16

Photo credit: Helen Quach

By Jack Garland, Aashay Ghiya, and Reese Dahlgren

March 7, 2024 5:34 p.m.

An impending Israeli offensive in Rafah. A historic Super Bowl. Podcasts contributors Aashay Ghiya and Reese Dahlgren discuss these stories and more with Podcasts Editor Jack Garland. News Editor Catherine Hamilton joins the show to discuss a Daily Bruin News story.

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Jack Garland: Today is Friday, February 16. And you’re listening to “This Week” by Daily Bruin Podcasts.

“This Week” is the Daily Bruin weekly news podcast for college students. Every Friday, we bring you the biggest news of the week from around the world, across the country and on campus. My name is Jack Garland. I’m the Podcasts Editor, and today I’m joined by two Podcasts contributors, Aashay Ghiya and Reese Dahlgren. And back on the podcast today is Catherine Hamilton, the News Editor for the Daily Bruin. So, this past Sunday was obviously the Super Bowl. Did you all have any plans?

Aashay Ghiya: My plan was to watch the game. I was rooting for the 49ers, and I was a little disappointed in how the defense played on some key downs and cost us the game.

JG: Yeah, that was a bummer for Niners fans. What about your Reese?

Reese Dahlgren: Yeah, so I’m from the Bay Area. So, I was rooting for the Niners. But, you know, unfortunately, it turned out how it turned out.

Catherine Hamilton: I sat in the same room while the game was playing. But I was rooting for the Chiefs because the kicker, Harrison Butker, went to my high school.

JG: Oh, cool. I was just rooting for a good game. So I was pretty happy with it. Sorry, Aashay.

AG: Yeah, it happens.

JG: Let’s get into the news. So, Aashay, what is the biggest international story from this past week?

AG: Well, Israeli forces began an offensive in the city of Rafah, putting over a million Palestinians at risk. Rafah is the last safe zone in Gaza. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu believes that Hamas militants, particularly Yahya Sinwar, the architect of the October 7 attack, are taking shelter there. Rafah’s population has quintupled to accommodate Gazan refugees. Israel has planned to evacuate civilians from Rafah, but it’s unclear how an evacuation will work given the high number of civilians.

JG: And how is the international community responding to this impending offensive in Rafah?

AG: Well, neighboring countries like Egypt and Jordan have stated their opposition to this offensive. Egypt does not want to accept displaced Palestinians and potentially cause instability in the Sinai Peninsula. Jordan’s King Abdullah issued strong verbal support for a ceasefire. Rafah’s proximity to the Rafah and Karim Shalom border crossing may render it impossible for aid to enter the region in the event of a conflict. This adds to what the UN has already declared as a humanitarian crisis.

JG: And what is the US saying about all of this?

AG: Well, President Biden has called for Israel to have a clear evacuation plan for civilians in Rafah. Although he has not called for a ceasefire, Biden has criticized the severity of Israeli offensives in an attempt to maintain international relations.

JG: So what’s the Bruun angle here?

AG: Well, the offensive in Rafah affects all Bruins who have friends and family in the Israel-Gaza region. Loss of life is a tragic result of political conflict that can affect the mental well-being of loved ones.

JG: So, moving on from the war in Gaza, what else is going on around the world?

AG: Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto won the Indonesian presidential election after just one round of voting. Prabowo won nearly 60% of votes cast and caused the Indonesian stock market to jump up by over 2%. Despite his popularity, Prabowo’s victory has been met with concern. This ranges from claims of favoritism from outgoing President Joko Widodo to revived accusations of supposed involvement in human rights abuses and student activist kidnappings. Japan’s Nikkei share average reached a 34-year high on Thursday, fueled by gains from semiconductor chip shares. The current price of Nikkei shares are just 2% below the point of peak speculation in 1989. These prices are expected to stay even though Japan entered a recession, and the yen is losing value compared to the dollar.

JG: Thanks for those updates from the Middle East and Asia, and any other stories that we’re following this week?

AG: Former President Donald Trump stated that he would not protect NATO countries who did not contribute 2% of their GDP to defense. And he said that Russia could “do whatever the hell they want” with such countries. The NATO chief said that those comments from Trump undermine the security of the whole Alliance.

JG: Thanks for those updates, Aashay. And now, Reese, can you give us the national news updates from the week?

RD: Yeah, so the Kansas City Chiefs won the 58th Super Bowl against the San Francisco 49ers last Sunday, smashing the viewership records with over 120 million views, and the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who won the Super Bowl MVP for the third time, led his team to victory narrowly seizing the 25 to 22 win in overtime. This win marks Mahomes’ third Super Bowl win in five years and the first back-to-back Super Bowl Championship since the New England Patriots in 2003 and 2004. Mahomes’ key role in Sunday’s win has reaffirmed many people’s opinions of him as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time.

JG: So you said that 120 million viewers tuned in for the game. Can you talk a little bit more about the viewership for this year’s Super Bowl?

RD: Yeah, so this Super Bowl became the most-watched television broadcast in US history. According to the BBC, it surpassed the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing, which just goes to show the huge impact that this game had on American people and television history. Unfortunately, there was a tragedy at the Chiefs’ celebratory parade in Kansas City, Missouri, on Wednesday, where a shooting left one person dead and wounded several others. Kansas City Police Chief Stacy Graves said that 800 officers were at the scene before the shooting happened and that three suspects have been detained. Since the incident, many Chiefs players, including Mahomes, took to social media to voice their condolences and support for the families affected. Hopefully, updates in the coming days will shed more light on this tragedy.

JG: Thanks for the updates. What else is going on across the country?

RD: The House of Representatives has voted to impeach Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. The House voted 14 to 213 in favor of Mayorkas’ impeachment. The vote reflects charges against him for neglecting to comply with border laws along the US-Mexico border. It makes him the first sitting US cabinet secretary to face impeachment in almost 150 years. This historical vote marks a victory for the Republican-led house after their failed attempt to impeach him last week. However, Senate Democrats are likely to reject the impeachment charges, but we’ll see how it plays out in the coming days. On the other side of Congress, in the Senate, a bipartisan bill was passed to provide aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. It is uncertain what the Republican-led house will do next.

JG: Thanks for those updates, Reese. Any other stories?

RD: No more updates, but I want to mention that we’ve had a lot of fun holidays this week. Mardi Gras was on Tuesday. Valentine’s Day was on Wednesday. And this upcoming Monday is Presidents’ Day. Do you guys have any plans for the long weekend?

JG: I do not have any plans. I don’t have work Monday, so that’ll be nice.

CH: I also don’t have plans. I just hope to cuddle with my cat.

JG: What about you, Reese?

RD: I’m just gonna relax, play some tennis, have a good time.

JG: Sounds great. Now we’re gonna move to Catherine. Can you tell us about a Daily Bruin story from this week?

CH: Yes, so delivering again with another fabulous lead, our National News and Higher Education Editor Matthew Royer reported Wednesday that Valentine’s Day served as the backdrop for calls of a “break up” as around 75 UC employees demanded for the university to divest from Blackstone. The employees were represented by the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Local 3299, which represents service patient care and technical and skilled craft workers employed by the university.

JG: So what did they do during this event?

CH: They went into Murphy Hall, where the Office of the Chancellor is located, and they stood outside the doors, and there were some speeches calling on the university to divest from Blackstone and members who were present also taped break-up cards to the wall, encouraging the same.

JG: And why are they calling for divestment in Blackstone?

CH: Workers have said that they cannot afford basic necessities such as food, housing and education because UC is currently driving down wages and putting workers and unions against each other.

JG: All right, Catherine. Thanks for coming on.

RD: And that’s a wrap for this week. Tune in Friday for another episode.

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