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July 22 - July 28: Week in Review

Israel Passes Judicial Overhaul Bill: Israel's parliament passed a controversial bill that will significantly limit the country's Supreme Court's ability to review decisions, thus hindering the court's ability to properly serve its purpose of checks and balances with the executive and legislative branches of government.


The decision was proceeded by months of anti-government protests over the plan as thousands of Israeli reservists and members of the intelligence, cyber and special operations units also warned that they would not report to duty if the bill passed. Opponents of the legislation argue that the Supreme Court plays an important oversight role and that the plan will push Israel toward autocratic rule.


After the vote, the Israeli currency and stock market took a nosedive. While Netanyahu argued that it was a momentary response, some experts warn that this could become a long-term trend with foreign investors potentially being deterred by fears that a weak judiciary could open the door to corruption and hurt the business environment.


A pro-democracy nongovernmental organization has filed an appeal to the Supreme Court against the new law.


Because Israel has no written constitution, there is no governing body or text that clearly defines the roles of each branch of government. Read more at Axios & Associated Press.


United Postal Service Reaches Tentative Contract With Teamsters: The tentative deal that was reached between UPS and teamsters would see an increase in pay of $2.75 per hour for both full-time and part-time union workers and $7.50 more per hour by the end of the five-year contract. The deal would also increase starting pay for part-time workers from $16.20 per hour to $21 per hour.


The deal still needs union members' approval, but it is anticipated to pass when voting takes place between August 3rd and August 22nd. Read more at Associated Press & CBS News.


Interest Rates Increase: The Federal Reserve raised interest rates by another quarter of a percentage point to between 5.25% and 5.5%. This marks the 11th time in 17 months in an ongoing effort to decrease the rate of inflation and puts interest rates at their highest since 2001.


After the rate increase, the dollar index, which measures the U.S. currency in relation to six major peers, fell by 0.345%.


Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell provided no indication whether rates will continue to increase at their next meeting in September. Read more at Associated Press & Reuters.


IRS to Discontinue Most Unannounced Visits to Taxpayers' Homes & Businesses: Citing safety concerns for its officers and the risk of scammers posing as agency employees, the IRS announced Monday that it will largely reduce the amount of unannounced visits it makes to peoples' homes and businesses.


Historically, the IRS made unannounced visits to collect unpaid taxes and tax returns that had not been filed. However, effective immediately, they will only do these visits in rare circumstances, such as seizing assets or carrying out summonses and subpoenas. Read more at NPR.org.


Mass Shootings in US: This week, Gun Violence Archive reported a total of 14 mass shootings resulting in 50 victims injured and 8 victims dead.


An International Phenomenon Dubbed "Barbenheimer": Cinephiles had much to celebrate this past week and many people to celebrate with as cinemas across the U.S. and abroad experienced historic attendance thanks to the phenomenon that has become known as "Barbenheimer."


A fantasy comedy movie about Barbie dolls brought to life and a biographical thriller movie about the flawed mastermind that created the atomic bomb - who could think of two more starkly different themes to make their film debuts to collectively create such a historic week for cinemas around the world? That's just what happened this past week with Greta Gerwig's "Barbie" grossing $258.3 million at the box office in its first week and with Christopher Nolan's "Oppenheimer" grossing $127.8 million at the box office in its first week.


Lovers of film have enjoyed much to celebrate with both films deviating from the far-too-typical excessive use of computer-generated imagery (CGI) in major film productions in recent years.


Whether you choose to partake in the "Barbenheimer" marathon by sitting in a theater for five hours in one day to watch the double-feature or not, we hope you find time to enjoy at least one of these cinematic masterpieces on the big screen.



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