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July 8 - July 14: Week in Review

SAG-AFTRA Actors' Strike: The SAG-AFTRA union that represents Hollywood actors is going on strike for the first time since 1980 while the writers' strike is still ongoing. This marks the first time that Hollywood has two unions on strike at the same time since 1960.

Among the things that are being negotiated are:

  • How much workers are paid when their shows and movies are licensed to streaming services.

  • The future of content for streaming platforms as the platforms have overall been less profitable than many investors had anticipated.

  • Job security of actors and writers in the rise of artificial intelligence.

SAG-AFTRA's executive director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland stated that the Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers, which represents the studios in the labor talks, proposed the following: "They proposed that our background actors should be able to be scanned, get paid for one day's pay, and their company should own that scan, their image, their likeness and to be able to use it for the rest of eternity in any project they want with no consent and no compensation."

During these strikes, upcoming film releases and TV shows are expected to experience further delays, and members will stop doing promotional work for upcoming films and shows. Read more at Axios.

Drone Strike in Syria Kills ISIS Leader: U.S. Central Command announced Tuesday that Maher al-Agal, a senior ISIS leader, was killed in a drone strike that was conducted by the U.S. military in northwest Syria. Al-Agal was one of the group's top five in charge. Another senior official was reportedly seriously injured during the strike.

While U.S. officials initially reported there were no civilian casualties, the White Helmets, a team of first responders operating in Syria, said that two civilians were killed in the strike. Read more at Axios.

Turkey & Hungary Drop Their Opposition to Sweden's NATO Entry: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Turkey agreed to support Sweden's NATO bid by putting the issue to a vote in the Turkish Parliament. In exchange, Turkey requested for deeper cooperation on security concerns regarding counterterrorism efforts and a promise from Sweden to revive Turkey's quest for membership to the European Union.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey's Parliament will take up the ratification of Sweden's NATO membership in October when they return from their current recess.

Hungary is also expected to drop their opposition. Read more at Associated Press.

Inflation Falls to 3% in June: Inflation has made its way down to the lowest percentage it has been since March 2021. Energy costs and used car costs appear to be the biggest driving forces in the overall drop in inflation with gas prices being 26.5% lower than they were a year ago and used car prices being down 5.2%.

On the contrary, new car prices remain flat, while rent price increases have continued increasing steadily at 0.5% nationally. Read more at Axios.

Aspartame, a Possible Carcinogen, Deemed Safe in Moderate Consumption: The International Agency for Research on Cancer recently stated that aspartame is a possible carcinogen with evidence showing a potential link to cancer.

The artificial sweetener, which is about 200 times sweeter than regular table sugar, is a popular ingredient in many American foods such as diet sodas, chewing gum and breakfast cereals.

However, the World Health Organization has maintained that it remains safe to consume within current recommended daily limits, which is 40 milligrams of aspartame per kilogram of body weight per day, or about nine diet sodas consumed in one day.

More than 90 countries, including the United Kingdom, Spain, France and Germany, have reviewed aspartame over the years and have found it to be safe for human consumption. Read more at Reuters.

Mass Shootings in US: This week, Gun Violence Archive reported a total of 16 mass shootings resulting in 70 victims injured and 14 victims dead.

Access to Drinking Water Increases for Billions: Studies conducted by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund have found that 2.1 billion people have gained access to safely managed drinking water since 2000, while another 2.5 billion have gained access to safe sanitation.

Three-fourths of the world's population now has access to safe sanitation. Read more at Positive News Magazine.

Photo by Maxime Bouffard.

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