🌏 Israel’s Top Court Strikes Down Law To Weaken Its Powers, Colombia Builds Giant Shakira Statue And More

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Israel’s top court has struck down a law passed by prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right government to weaken its powers.

In January 2023, Netanyahu’s government – the most right-wing in Israel’s history – proposed making a series of changes to the country’s judicial system, leading to unprecedented mass protests.

In Israel, the Supreme Court has always had the power to declare laws passed by the parliament – known as the Knesset – as unconstitutional.

However, the government proposed a bill that would weaken this power in 3 major ways:

The first is taking away the Supreme Court’s power to declare government decisions as unreasonable.

The second is allowing the Knesset to override Supreme Court decisions through a majority vote. The third is changing the committee that chooses Supreme Court judges so the government can control who is selected.

The government said these measures are necessary because the Supreme Court, which is made up of unelected judges, has too much power over elected politicians.

But protesters and critics say the changes weaken the supreme court’s independence and give the government too much power.

Protesters say this could allow the government to further its right-wing agenda, including constructing Israeli settlements in Palestine’s occupied West Bank.

In July, the parliament passed the first part of the reform – stopping the Supreme Court from declaring government decisions unreasonable – after the opposition boycotted the vote.

The decision was met with more mass protests.

The supreme court then announced it will review the new law by hearing appeals against it.

On Monday January 1, 2024, the supreme court struck down the law by a majority of eight judges to seven.

In its ruling, the judges said the law severely damages Israel's democracy.

The ruling could deal another blow to Netanyahu’s government, which is under pressure for its response to Hamas’ attack on October 7 and its subsequent failure to rescue all the Israeli hostages.

Also Happening Around The World

In a tribute to the iconic singer Shakira, a majestic bronze statue, standing at a height of 6.5 meters, now graces her hometown in Barranquilla, Colombia.

The statue, which was unveiled in front of Shakira’s parents and the mayor of Barranquilla on Tuesday, December 26, features Shakira in a maroon outfit, striking her signature belly dance pose, a homage to her timeless hit “Hips Don’t Lie.”

The statue was created by artist Yino Marquez and about 30 students from the District Art School in Barranquilla and finalized after five months.

“A heart that composes, hips that don’t lie, an unmatched talent, a voice that moves the masses and bare feet that march for the good of children and humanity,” the plaque under the statue read, paying tribute both to her singing career and philanthropy.

Taking to Instagram, the singer expressed her gratitude for the dedication and thanked the sculptor and his students for bringing the giant bronze statue to life.

“I am very excited for this tribute to the Colombian woman and the Barranquilleras inside and outside my land!” she wrote.

People on social media became obsessed with the statue, with some joking about doing a pilgrimage to the city just to see it.

Others compared it to the Statue of Liberty in the US, even daring to say that Shakira’s statue was better.

Shakira, 46, was born in Barranquilla, a port city of 1.2 million people that has long been home to many Colombian-Lebanese families like hers.

Even though Shakira now lives in Miami, she still maintains a deep bond with the city.

She visits several times a year, has funded multiple schools, and established a foundation to support early childhood education in Colombia called “Pies descalzos”, “Bare feet”.

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