FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
August 7, 2014
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The New York Times reports that President Obama is considering air strikes to assist tens of thousands of civilians in northern Iraq who have fled from the militant group the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and who are trapped on a mountain with no food or water. The administration is also mulling dropping supplies to the refugees, who are of the Yazidi sect and thus considered apostates by ISIS, which has shown no compunction in slaughtering civilians who do not follow their extreme brand of Islam.

Over the past week, as many as 300,000 residents fled the town of Sinjar and its surrounding areas after ISIS wrested control of the town from Kurdish forces. Some 40,000 of those refugees are trapped on Mount Sinjar, facing the choice of starvation or annihilation at the hands of ISIS. The Iraqi government has attempted air drops of supplies, but the effort has reportedly fallen far short, with reports emerging of infant deaths and growing health problems.

The latest gains by ISIS in the autonomous region of Kurdistan, once a rare bastion of stability in Iraq, come against a backdrop of political inertia in Baghdad, where politicians are struggling to form a new coalition government. The Obama administration has reportedly been reluctant to intervene militarily against ISIS until a government is formed, but the humanitarian crisis may force the U.S. to act. Ryu Spaeth

6:42 p.m. ET
Francisco Cobos/AFP/Getty Images

In Mexico, at least 49 inmates were killed during a brawl that broke out late Wednesday at an overcrowded prison.

The melee at the Topo Chico prison in Monterrey lasted for 30 to 40 minutes, and left 12 people injured, five seriously, Nuevo Leon state Gov. Jaime Rodriguez said. The inmates used bats, sticks, and blades in the riot, and set fire to a supply room. Rodriguez said the brawl stemmed from a dispute between two rival members of the Zetas drug cartel over who controlled the prison. The prison houses 3,800 inmates, double its capacity, with 100 guards, Rodriguez said. No inmates escaped, and federal police and troops were deployed to restore order.

One of the inmates was shot and killed by a guard protecting a group of women, Rodriguez told Radio Imagen. Outside the prison, family members demanded to know the fate of their relatives inside, including Ernestina Grimaldo, whose son is a prisoner. "We want to know how our relatives are doing because they are telling us that there are more than 50 dead and no authority is giving us answers," she told Agence France-Presse. Pope Francis is traveling to Mexico on Friday, and will visit another infamous prison in Ciudad Juarez. Catherine Garcia

5:17 p.m. ET
Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for NARAS

Kanye West is deep into the first play of his highly anticipated album, The Life of Pablo, at Madison Square Garden — an event that doubles as the debut of his latest fashion line, Yeezy Season 3. And one lyric during the song "Famous," which features Rihanna and Swizz Beatz, already has people buzzing: "I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / I made that b---h famous."

Yes, this very well could be a reference to the infamous "Imma let you finish" controversy in which Kanye rushed the stage to interrupt Taylor Swift's acceptance speech at the 2009 VMAs to declare that Beyoncé should have won. However, this isn't the only questionable lyric spotted on The Life of Pablo so far: Other songs include references to Kim Kardashian's ex Ray J and her brother, Rob Kardashian. Samantha Rollins

3:15 p.m. ET

In a new campaign ad out Thursday, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders calls on people of all genders, ethnicities, races, ages, and sexualities to come together and bring his political revolution to the Oval Office. The 60-second ad, released just days after the Vermont senator trounced Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton in the New Hampshire primary, flashes face after face onscreen. The individual faces are then torn in half and put together randomly, in a representation of the unity Sanders urges in the ad.

"When we stand together, as white and black and Hispanic and gay and straight and woman and man. When we stand together and demand that this country works for all us, rather than the few, we will transform America," Sanders says in the ad. "And that is what this campaign is about, is bringing people together."

Watch it. Becca Stanek

2:59 p.m. ET

When will Marco Rubio's troubles end? After being taunted by robots in New Hampshire, the Florida senator's latest struggle has come in the form of a Twix bar that has reportedly gotten the best of his molar.

"I just bit into a Twix bar and I go, 'Man this Twix bar's got something really hard in it. And I go, 'Oh my gosh, I cracked my tooth,'" Rubio told The Washington Post.

Rubio was on a flight to Washington, D.C. when the incident took place. He visited the dentist the next morning to get a temporary fix on his cracked molar, with a permanent replacement planned from his regular dentist when he gets back to Miami.

Rubio has reportedly defended the fact that he broke his tooth on a chocolate bar by saying it was frozen. Jeva Lange

2:34 p.m. ET
ROB KERR/AFP/Getty Images

The last remaining anti-government protester at Oregon's Malheur National Wildlife Refuge surrendered Thursday afternoon, ending the 6-week-long occupation. Authorities confirmed that the final holdout, David Fry, walked off the refuge and turned himself in to the FBI around 2 p.m. ET Thursday, despite his earlier claims that he would "die a free man."

Fry's three remaining comrades had turned themselves over to federal agents earlier Thursday. The final surrender comes hours after protest leader Ammon Bundy's father, Cliven Bundy, was arrested Wednesday night. Becca Stanek

2:20 p.m. ET
Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

On Feb. 11, 2006, then-Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot his companion, Harry Whittington, while quail hunting in Texas. A decade later, Whittington told the New York Daily News that despite the fact that he still has pellets lodged in his cheek and neck, he never did receive an apology from Cheney.

"[Cheney] never did need to apologize. It was an accident. He expressed his concern about me publicly, but he never had reason to apologize because we knew how seriously he was affected by it," Whittington said, showing exceptional understanding for someone who was literally shot in the face. Whittington, on the other hand, famously apologized to Cheney for the incident back in 2006.

The Daily News added that Whittington only recently fired a gun for the first time in a decade, when his son-in-law and friends took him quail hunting outside his hometown. He stressed that accidents are common while hunting quail, and that he holds "no hard feelings at all" against Cheney. Jeva Lange

1:37 p.m. ET
JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

Alan Grayson was the Democratic representative for Florida's 8th congressional district from 2009 to 2011, a period during which he happened to have another job as well — as a hedge fund manager. While Grayson's role running a hedge fund as a sitting member of the House has already led to an investigation by the House Committee on Ethics, emails obtained by The New York Times show the extent to which Grayson's jobs were intertwined "and how he promoted his international travels, some with congressional delegations, to solicit business."

Grayson's hedge fund, which until recently had operations in the Cayman Islands, is questionable as well. Grayson has reportedly boasted about traveling to "every country" in the world while creating investment strategies that took advantage of companies suffering because of economic or political turbulence.

[A] hedge fund marketing document cited a quote attributed to an early member of the Rothschild banking family in advising that "the time to buy is when there's blood in the streets."

Mr. Grayson defended his approach. "What creates the opportunity is when people overreact to something bad happening," he said.

At least some of Mr. Grayson's global travel has been paid for by the United States government, congressional records show. Mr. Grayson has traveled in official congressional delegations to Finland, Iraq, Kuwait, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, according to a tally of those records by LegiStorm, a website that assembles data on Congress. He has also traveled to Israel on an official trip paid for by a private group, according to LegiStorm. [The New York Times]

According to House rules, lawmakers are not allowed to hold outside jobs that make more than $27,495, although Grayson has said he didn't report any earned income from the fund despite some investors that would have been paying management fees. Read the full report in The New York Times. Jeva Lange

See More Speed Reads