The Week in Women: Terror in Nice, assault in Cologne, and Barbie gets a veep

A girl holds up a placard to show solidarity with the victims of the Bastille Day truck attack in Nice, at a school in Ahmedabad, India, July 15, 2016. (REUTERS/Amit Dave)

It’s been a difficult end to the week in news, with the terror attack in Nice casting a long shadow across the globe. But amidst the tragedy, there were some sunny moments. Let’s take a look back at both:

The truck driver who careened through a crowd of revelers after Thursday night’s Bastille Day fireworks in Nice, on France’s Riviera, appears to have deliberately targeted families. At least ten children have been reported dead since the attack, which killed more than 80 people and wounded hundreds more. “He had no pity, he went for women, and babies,” a witness said in an interview with French network BFMTV. But one family had cause to rejoice in the hours after the tragedy. A woman and her 8-month-old son, who were separated during the chaos, were reunited thanks to social media. Tiava Banner, the baby’s aunt, took to Facebook and issued a desperate plea for help locating her nephew after he went missing. The post eventually reached Joy Jostle, who had seen the baby on his own and taken him home. The child has since been returned to his parents.

A leaked police document reportedly shows the full breadth of the mass sexual assaults that occurred in Cologne, Germany, on New Year’s Eve. According to the document, which was published by Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, more than 1,200 women were assaulted by a total of more than 2,000 male suspects. Approximately 120 suspects have been identified thus far, and about half of those suspects are foreign nationals who had only recently arrived in Germany at the time of the attack. Last week, the country amended its sexual assault law so that victims can more easily file criminal complaints. The law is also expected to ease the process of deporting refugees if they are convicted of sex crimes—a policy that refugee advocates have criticized as excessively punitive.

And now for some news that might make you smile: Mattel announced this week that it would offer a vice presidential Barbie in addition to its presidential doll. Mattel has been selling a President Barbie during election years since 1992, but this is the first time an all-female ticket has run for the highest office in Barbie Land (beating the U.S., it seems).  The pair will sell for about $25 and can be customized in a variety of skin tones, hair colors, and face shapes. The set also comes with a worksheet designed to inspire girls to consider politics as a career. How far we’ve come since “poop and scoop” Barbie.

While we’re on the children’s toys/nostalgia kick, let us note that Mrs. White has been booted from the iconic board game “Clue.” In what is being hailed as a “feminist coup,” Hasbro is killing off the character, a housekeeper, from the roster of suspects that populate the game. She will be replaced by Dr. Orchid, who is “a biologist with a Ph.D. in plant toxicology, privately schooled in Switzerland until her expulsion following a near-fatal daffodil poisoning incident.” There has been no word yet as to how Mrs. White met her end, but our calculations suggest it was Professor Plum, in the office, with a candlestick. (Sorry, the joke had to be made.)


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