Sunday news round-up: December 1st-7th

An ongoing series that gathers some main headlines from the week, for people too busy to keep an eye on the news.

Top Story: NASA announces plans to put humans on Mars: By the 2030’s, the American space agency hopes to have humans walking across the surface of Mars, and hopes to have put humans on asteroids by 2025. These missions will be the first time a human has set foot beyond Earth’s lower orbit since 1969.

Alex Salmond to stand as an MP: The former SNP leader and First Minister of Scotland resigned his posts after Scotland voted to remain a part of the UK, but vowed to return to politics. Salmond is expected to contest the Aberdeenshire constituency, currently held by Liberal Democrat Malcolm Bruce who is not seeking re-election.

Spain backs eventual State of Palestine: The Spanish Parliament voted this week to pressure the Spanish government to recognize Palestine as part of an on-going two-state solution.

France backs eventual State of Palestine: The French Parliament voted this week to urge the Spanish government to recognize Palestine as part of an on-going two-state solution.

The legislatures of the UK, Sweden, and Ireland passed similar measures last month, putting increasing pressure on Israel.

  • Related: United Nations Security Council to debate Palestinian statehood resolution: The resolution, which calls for the cessation of Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories by 2016, has been supported by some European powers and the Arab League, and hopes to be the pre-cursor to a Palestinian state. The United States is a permanent veto-power member on the UNSC and has been hostile to a Palestinian state in the past.
  • Related: Binyamin Netanyahu seeks early election: The Israeli Prime Minister has fired two coalition cabinet members over their opposition to the proposed controversial “Jewish nation” bill and called for an election two years early. Netanyahu also warned that he would not tolerate any more opposition in his government.
  • Related: U.S. and Israel oppose UN resolution on space arms: The countries were the only two to vote against a UN resolution calling for the weaponization of space to be prohibited.

UK bans long list of sex acts in pornography: Under The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014, UK porn companies can no longer make explicit films that depict the following “life-endangering” acts: Spanking, caning, whipping, verbal or physical abuse, humiliation, watersports, female ejaculation, fisting, and face-sitting, regardless of whether they are consensual or not. The regulations have been criticized for targeting some acts which benefit female pleasure and for dictating to the British people what is and is not sexually acceptable. The regulations also leave ownership of pornography that depicts these acts in a legal grey area.

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