Nation and World News

Ahmed Eissa

Senior Staff Writer

aeissa2@umbc.edu

United States

President Barack Obama announced on Thursday that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will step down. President Obama has not yet decided on a successor but has said that Holder has promised to remain in his office until one is appointed.

Holder is one of the longest-serving members in President Obama’s Cabinet and currently ranks as the fourth-longest tenured US Attorney General in history.

During his time in office, Attorney Gen. Holder has been involved in numerous controversies, often due to the politicized nature of his job. These have included his 2009 Black History Month speech, his involvement in the fight for universal same-sex marriage, and voting restrictions in North Carolina and Texas.

Frequently mentioned candidates to replace Holder include former White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. and former Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm.

 

Gaza and West Bank

Rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas announced on Friday that they have agreed on a comprehensive deal that will allow the Palestinian Authority to govern Gaza. The announcement followed two days of negotiations brokered by the Egyptian government in Cairo.

The two factions had agreed to a united government in June, but had failed to implement it due to the 50-day war between Israel and armed groups in Gaza.

The new deal tackles contentious issues including the payment of government workers, security forces in Gaza and control over crossings, but few details about the agreement have been made public.

Hamas has governed Gaza since seizing control in the 2006 parliamentary elections, while the Palestinian Authority governs the parts of the West Bank not under Israeli control.

 

India

The Indian Space Research Organization’s Mars Orbiter Mission successfully entered Mars’ orbit on Wednesday, ending a 300-day long space voyage. India is the first state to successfully send a mission to Mars on its first attempt.

India also become the first Asian nation as well as the fourth space agency in the world to claim a successful mission to Mars, following the United States, Russia, and Europe.

The $74 million project, which launched on November 5, 2013, transmitted its first picture from Mars back to India just hours after entering the planet’s orbit. The Mars Orbiter Mission aims to observe the physical features of Mars and conduct a limited study of the Martian atmosphere.