Weekly roundup: swarming nuns, Sharia laws, and a royal baby

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It's the dog-days of summer, and in case you've missed the news this week while trying to catch a breeze and drink your Mint Juleps, here is your Weekly roundup.

This week marked the beginning of World Youth Day, and it has been Pope! Pope! Pope! all the time. Pope Francis arrived in Rio De Janeiro on Monday to great tumult and excitement. When he arrived in Rio, the pontiff faced huge crowds of people that made his security staff nervous. He was even mobbed by nuns in a parking lot.

Though it was never detonated, a small pipe bomb was found in a public bathroom at the Aparacida Shrine that the pope was scheduled to visit on Wednesday. Fortunately, the device was removed, and no one was injured.

It's been a busy week in state legislatures, particularly in North Carolina, where a law passed the Senate last Friday that would ban "foreign laws" in family court matters. While the language addresses "foreign law," it is widely recognized as an "Sharia law" ban. North Carolina joins six other states in passing anti-Sharia legislation.

But the anti-Sharia legislation was not the only thing on North Carolina's agenda. On Thursday night, the House and Senate passed one of the most restrictive voting measures passed anywhere in the U.S. The bill includes requirements for photo IDs, but restricts the type of identification that may be used. While advocates of the legislation claim that it is to prevent voter fraud, Critics argue the intention of North Carolina’s bill, and similar bills under consideration in other states, is to disenfranchise certain demographics. This legislation is possible due to the recently gutted Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act. For further commentaries about voting restriction and the Voting Rights Act, see this blog post and this article.

In Clarksville, TN, a pastor decided to walk a mile in his neighbor's shoes. Willie Lyle lived for four days as a homeless man. He learned that “Generally speaking, people are not kind to the homeless.” (Read about laws that criminalize homelessness in our August issue here.)

This week, Simpsons co-creator Sam Simon announced that he has been diagnosed with terminal colon cancer, and he will be giving his extensive fortune away to charity after he dies. He told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview, "You know, I'm not married, and I don't have kids. I had an emergency operation when I was septic, and I really did come very close to dying." Simon has been a philanthropist, giving away millions and founding the Sam Simon Foundation, since he made it big as a young man.

It was not a good week for mayors and mayoral candidates this week, as sex scandals are emerging from the West coast to the East coast. Mayor Bob Filner has been accused of sexual harassment by at least eight women. The San Diego mayor has stated that he will not resign, but will undergo two weeks of extensive therapy. Meanwhile, on the other coast, Anthony Weiner has admitted to engaging in three online relationships with women after his resignation from Congress and supposed reform. Though the candidate is down in the polls, he has stated that he does not intend to drop out of the race.

And of course, in case you've been hiding under a rock this week, a new British royal was born this week: His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge was born to Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William on Monday afternoon.

Well, that's the roundup for this week. Let us know what happened in your neck of the woods!