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Dec 30 2016
by Karly Matthews

What Happened This Week in Politics: A Final Obama Christmas, Israel Relations and Charlie Sheen

By Karly Matthews - Dec 30 2016
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With 2016 winding down, it's easy to see that it's been an eventful and historic year in both the United States and beyond. Between Brexit in the United Kingdom, Donald Trump's election in the United States, war in Syria and horrific attacks around the world, 2016 had been full of history, and its final week was no different.

1. A ceasefire is called in Syria.

Both Russia and Turkey have collaborated to call a ceasefire, effective at midnight on Friday morning. This new development in the Syrian war could end six years of bloodshed and over 300,000 deaths. Over 11 million people were also displaced by the conflict. Two other ceasefires have been attempted by Russian-American cooperation, but both collapsed.

2. President-elect Trump creates debate about nuclear weapons.

Late last week, Donald Trump took to Twitter in regards to his opinions about American nuclear capability. For many Americans, these comments caused alarm about a possible Cold War-era arms races during Trump's presidency. It's unclear with Trump's comments whether he wants an actual arms-race or to simply project American strength.

3. The Obamas give a final Christmas message.

This holiday season is the Obamas' last in office, so the First Couple recorded their final Christmas address this weekend. In the video, which can be viewed below, the Obamas call for tolerance and acceptance in 2017. The couple also reminisced about eight years — and eight Christmas Weekly Addresses — in the White House.

4. The New York Police Department allows Sikh and Muslim officers to wear turbans.

In a change of policy that many did not know still needed to be enacted, Sikh and Muslim NYPD officers can now wear turbans and have full beards on duty. NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill said"We want to make the NYPD as diverse as possible, and I think this is going to go a long way to help us with that," regarding the change. The policy comes from a class-action lawsuit from earlier in the year.

5. President Obama imposes sanctions on Russia amidst hacking investigation.

On Thursday, the Obama administration announced that it will impose "retaliatory measures" against Russia after discovering the extent of interference in the 2016 election. To begin, President Obama expelled 35 suspected Russian spies from the country. President-elect Donald Trump responded that he will meet with intelligence agencies about the situation, and Vladimir Putin has made it clear that he will not take the sanctions lightly.

6. Charlie Sheen tweets to God, begging for Trump to be "next."

The recent deaths of Carrie Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds are in the forefront of everyone's mind, and on the day of Carrie Fisher's death, Betty White even trended on Twitter to emphasize that at least she has survived 2016 — there is now a GoFundMe page to keep her alive. However, actor Charlie Sheen took the tragedy of 2016 to a new level when he wished for president-elect Trump to be "next" in 2016. The actor has since received criticism for his comments but does not regret them.

7. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks out against American relations with Israel.

On Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry accused Israeli Prime Minister of preventing peace in the Middle East, which has been one of Kerry's chief goals in office. Last week, the United States condemned Israel's settlements of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. In his speech, Kerry warned, "It can be Jewish or it can be democratic." Republicans and the Israeli Prime Minister — and even Democrat Chuck Schumer — were quick to criticize the speech.

8. Bristol Palin condemns those who will not perform at Trump's inauguration.

As more and more celebrities refuse performances at Trump's January 20th inauguration, daughter of former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin, Bristol Palin, condemned those celebrities on her blog. Most recently, there has been controversy about whether or not Rockettes must perform at the event if the dancers individually do not want to.

9. Journalist David Fahrenthold writes about his experience covering Trump's campaign.

Since the 2016 presidential election, journalists have reflected on the events of the election and how they were reported. A journalist at the Washington Post, Fahrenthold wrote about his experience covering the now president-elect. The essay, which covers the entire year that Fahrenthold covered Trump the candidate, was published in the Washington Post, and he ends the essay stating that he will cover Trump the president "with the same vigor as I scrutinized Trump the candidate."

10. As Sprint announces its creation of American jobs, Trump tries to take some credit.

Even though Sprint's newly-announced job creation is actually part of a Japanese partnership with SoftBank, president-elect has tried to garner some positive attention from the announcement since so much of his platform was about job creation. On December 6, however, Trump did meet with SoftBank officials, so he has not been completely uninvolved with these dealings.

Even though 2016 was certainly very eventful, 2017 promises to be historic itself. On January 20, 2017, Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States, after all.

Lead Image Credit: @charliesheen via Twitter

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Karly Matthews - Temple University

Karly Matthews is a political science and journalism major with a Spanish minor at Temple University. In high school, she was editor-in-chief of her school's online newspaper, a member of the yearbook staff, a Spanish Club officer and a dancer for 12 years. In her free time, Karly drinks too much coffee and follows politics with an obsessive passion. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @karlymatthews_!

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