Hello, readers! This week, I’m a little short with International News. But I was able to find more diversified items and write a Commentary this week. But let’s get into the News Roundup!
Table of Contents
Here are the stories I have curated for this past week:
- Australian Refugees
- Trump’s Calls with Turnbull and Peña Nieto
- Effects of Immigration Order
- Sally Yates
- Neil Gorsuch
- Cabinet Picks
- Riot at UC Berkeley
- Arkansas Anti-Abortion Law
Health & Science
- Norovirus Outbreak
- Sleep Meds
Internet & Tech
- Snapchat IPO
Commentary: President Schwarzenegger?
Want to Contribute?
Social Media Links
In International News …
This week, I wanted to take a look at two topics that are often ignored: the war in Yemen and the Australia refugee crisis.
The war in Yemen is for all intents and purposes the forgotten war. During Barack Obama’s presidency, many drone strikes hit in Yemen, but that got little press attention.
Saudi Arabia and the United States Face Scrutiny for Actions in Yemen.
To refresh: The fighting in Yemen is mostly between Houthi rebels and loyalists to President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi. The Houthi rebels are often linked to Iran, but there is not proof.
The war in Yemen is said to have started in March 2015, Houthi rebels attacked the capital of Sanaa. Soon after, a Saudi Arabia-led coalition of Gulf States started fighting against the rebels. Taiz, the cultural capital of the country, had already seen heavy fighting since 2011.
The United States and the United Kingdom are both supplying Saudi Arabia with weapons. The U.K. is training Saudi Pilots and advising the Saudis in the war in Yemen.
For all appearances, it seems like the war in Yemen is a proxy war for Saudi Arabia. For the Saudis’ part, the war in Yemen costs $250 million (£200 million) a month, according to Standard Chartered Bank. This is despite the fact Saudi Arabia fails to properly pay construction companies within its own borders.
There is currently a humanitarian crisis in Yemen, which has a population of 28 million people.
By mid-January 2017, about 40,000 people in Yemen were injured during the fighting. Over 10,000 people have died in the fighting since it began in 2015. The U.N. reported that 4,200 civilians were among the war dead. Figures come from health facilities, but they might in actuality be much higher.
About 3 million people are displaced.
There are Yemenis suffering from outbreaks of diseases, like cholera.
According to U.N. estimates, about 370,000 children are as risk of starving and 2 million are out of school. According to the World Food Program, around 14 million Yemenis are classified as food insecure and half of them are severely food insecure.
By early January 2017, Yemenis became so desperate, that some began digging for scraps in dumps in order to find food. Alternatively, some forage for leftovers from restaurants.
It is unclear whether the government is crushing dissent.
Amat al-Aleem al-Asbahi was shot dead in the city of Taiz on December 25, 2016. She was a charity worker who fought to improve female literacy and to gain female emancipation in Yemen. There was a fatwa issued on her by Islamic scholar Abdullah al-Odaini in Sep. 2016 in order to ban women activists from mixing with men.
It was not immediately known who called for the attack, although the Popular Resistance group was blamed by several sources. The group is aligned with the Yemeni government and Odaini is affiliated with the group. Asbahi was related to Abdu al-Ganadi, the pro-Houthi rebel governor of Taiz.
Saudi Arabia Under Scrutiny
The U.K.’s Ministry of Defence has pointed out 252 possible violations of international humanitarian law carried out by the Saudi-led coalition. However, the government declined to say if the weapons it sent to Saudi Arabia were used in the logged attacks. The information was provided due to a Freedom of Information Act request.
Britain has sold cluster bombs used by the Saudi military. Since Saudi Arabia’s involvement in Yemen, the U.K. has sold £3.3 billion in arms to the country.
This month, the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) will take the U.K. Government to the High Court. CAAT is challenging the legality of arms sales to Saudi Arabia because according to U.K. law, arms must not be sold “if there is a clear risk that the items might be used in the commission of a serious violation of international law.”
Hitting Farms to Add to Food Insecurity
Many academics are piecing together information from Yemen and have concluded that Saudi Arabia is purposely targeting the Yemenis’ rural livelihood.
Yemen is the Middle East’s poorest nation. Before the war, Yemen imported 90% of its food products.
Targets bombed by Saudi Arabia in Yemen include: cows, farms, sorghum, and agricultural facilities. Sorghum can be used for bread and feed for animals. Poultry and beehive farms have been destroyed.
The Yemeni agricultural industry was already weak due to the import of cheap wheat from the U.S. in the 1970’s and food products being sent in from other nations. Yemen has 20 provinces and less than 3 percent of its land is even cultivated.
Martha Mundy, emeritus professor at the London School of Economics, says the data shows the Saudis are deliberately trying “to destroy the civil society” in Yemen. A report from the ministry of agriculture and irrigation in Sanaa details 357 bombing targets across Yemen. The targets include farms, animals, water infrastructure, food stores, agriculture banks, markets, and food trucks.
Saudi Arabia is one of the countries which signed up for the additional protocol of the August 1949 Geneva Conventions. According to the protocol, countries are barred from attacking, destroying, removing, or otherwise rending useless “objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population …” That includes “foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock …”
Attacks on a School and Civilians
Around 70 people in Yemen died amid fresh fighting two weeks ago.
A school just outside Sanaa was hit by the Saudi-led coalition, according to rebel news agency Saba. Four missiles were said to have hit the Guards School building, which is north of capital, on Sunday, Jan 22.
There were 45 strikes across Yemen in 24 hours. At least 2 civilians were killed.
Last year (in Oct.), bombing at a Sanaa funeral killed 140 people.
Trump’s Team Entering into the Fray.
Two weeks ago, a drone strike that may have authorized by the Trump administration hit in Yemen. Two suspected al-Qaida fighters were killed.
Last week, Donald Trump’s first authorized military operation was carried out in Yemen. The raid began with the drone bombing of Adbulraoof al-Dhahab’s home. Paratroopers were dropped at the house and everyone inside was killed, according to a resident. Gunman who shot at U.S. soldiers were hit by helicopter fire and other homes in the surrounding area were also bombed.
This was the first ground mission led by Americans since December 2014. During that previous mission, SEAL Team 6 attempted to free an American journalist held hostage by Al Qaeda. However, the journalist was killed, long with a South African man.
President Barack Obama was presented with plans to bomb the home of a senior al Qaida collaborator in central Yemen. However, he did not act because the Pentagon wanted to carry out an attack on a moonless night, which would only come after Obama’s second term ended.
Before Trump approved the dawn raid last Sunday, he was briefed by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and the leader of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr. over dinner. Vice President Mike Pence, National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn, top adviser Stephen K. Bannon, and adviser Jared Kuscher were also at the dinner.
Michael Flynn is the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency and he is a retired general who had experience in counterterrorism raids. He has said he wanted to speed up the decision-making on (counterterrorism) strikes by given more power to lower-level military officials. (GASP!)
SEAL Team 6 was going to carry out the assault on the home of the Al Qaeda collaborator. The goal was to take cellphones and laptops in order to gain more information about the terrorist network.
The assault force involved several dozen commandos, including elite soldiers from the United Arab Emirates.
Al Qaeda fighters were tipped off of the American advance. The drones may have tipped them off, since local tribal leaders said the aircraft was flying lower and louder than usual. Villagers also said before the attack, there were more drones than usual.
The troops advanced despite knowing their mission was compromised.
The ensuing firefight lasted for 50 minutes. Al Qaeda fighters took up positions in hospitals, schools, etc. and used women and children as human shields. Some women also took up arms and shot at the American coalition.
During the gunfight, a $75 million MV-22 Osprey aircraft was taken down. Three Americans on board were injured as a result.
Last week’s attack on the Yakla village in Yemen destroyed most of the village.
By the end of the dawn raid, about 30 people were initially reported to have been killed. Locals also say the death toll is closer to 57. Among the dead were 10 women and children, including the 8-year-old daughter of Anwar Al-Awlaki.
Reprieve, which often represents the victims of drone strikes and their families, reported that there may have been as many as 24 civilians killed in the raid. A newborn baby was among those killed. Reprieve arrive at its numbers by speaking to human rights organizations and by asking villagers.
The U.S. military said 14 Al Qaeda fighters were killed in the raid. The military also said two more fighters were killed via a drone strike in central Yemen later in the day.
An American commando was killed and three more were injured in retaliation. Chief Petty Officer William Owens died and his body was returned to the United States on Wednesday.
In-laws of Anwar al-Awlaki were among the named casualties in the raid.
The 8-year-old girl was the daughter of the late Anwar Al-Awlaki, an American-born lecturer and Al Qaeda sympathizer. Her death was confirmed by her grandfather, Nasser Al-Awlaki, who said she was shot in the neck and suffered for two hours before taking her last breath.
Anwar Al-Awlaki and Samir Khan were killed in the same 2011drone strike. Al-Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman, was killed two weeks later by another drone strike. In response to questions about the second strike, President Obama’s press secretary, Robert Gibbs said that the 16-year-old might have lived if he had “a more responsible father.”
Abdul Malik Al Mekhlafi, Yemen’s foreign minister, condemned the attacks as “extrajudicial killings” on his official Twitter account.
The U.S.’s Assessment
Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the disastrous raid in Yemen was “a very, very well thought out and executed effort.”
On Thursday, officials said the raid resulted in the U.S. gaining “actionable intelligence” on Al Qaeda. The Yemen affiliate is known as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)
Among the civilian dead, according to a statement by AQAP just hours after the shooting had stopped, was an 8-year old girl whose father was the Yemeni-American AQAP external operations leader and propagandist Anwar al-Awlaki. Presumably born in Yemen, she likely was considered a “U.S. person” but not a U.S. citizen under the law since her father’s American citizenship was never revoked.
The Pentagon acknowledged the raid in Yemen may have led to the deaths of civilians, including children.
In Nov. 2016, President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull finished working on a deal to transfer refugees detained by Australia. Under the agreement, 1,250 refugees being held in detention centers on the island nation of Nauru and Manus Island (of Papua New Guinea) would be transferred the U.S. The deal was in fact signed by Obama himself.
The refugees detained by Australia come from the Middle East and South Asia. Most arrived to Australia via boat, by people smugglers.
Operation Sovereign Borders (OSB) was launched in 2013 in order to bring down the number of people arriving to the nation by boat. In 2008, there were 161 such arrivals. The number exploded to 2,726 in 2009 amid relaxed immigration policies.
The concerns about human smuggling pushed Turnbull into power in the Coalition government. In 2013, he ran on the promise to “stop the boats.”
About 80% of those held in detention camps are legitimate refugees, according to Australian government figures.
Now, it appears that Trump will not honor that deal. In a call on Wednesday, Trump called the agreement “a very bad deal” and accused Australia of trying to send “the next Boston Bomber” to the U.S. Additionally, the majority of refugees detained by Australia are Iranian; Trump has halted the entrance of people from seven countries, including Iran.
Poor Conditions at Camps
There is pressure on the Australian government to move people from the camps namely because of the poor conditions there. The average length of detentions in the camp is around 469 days. In 2016, a U.N. committed reports that there were numerous suicide attempts and depression among children staying at the camps.
For all intents and purposes the “refugee processing centers” are prisons. Children are searched before and after leaving the camps and they live behind fences. People there are kept in line by security guards.
Refugees with accepted asylum claims are either settled in the poor Pacific island nations were they are sent or they are sent to Cambodia.
The Australian government said that 537 (including 68 children) were being held at the Nauru detention camp, which is run by the Nauru government with the help of the Australian government and private contractors. Many people in the camps came from Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and Syria.
The conditions at Nauru are particularly poor:
- Until October 2016, no one was allowed to roam the camp freely.
- There was a school for children run by the Australian government. It has been shut down and children have to enroll at a local public school.
- The island often has sweltering heat.
- The tents in the camps have air conditioning, but there is mold on the ceilings and rusty fans.
- People reported the presence of rats in their tents.
- There are also cockroaches in tents.
- There were reports of sexual and physical assault among detainees and by members of the staff.
Furthermore: It is very difficult for journalists to get direct information from the detention camps. Members of the media have to pay an A$8,000 (about $5,800 U.S.) fee per visa application. Even if allowed on the camp, journalists have to sign an agreement with the Australian government beforehand. Terms of the agreement forbid journalists from interviewing refugees, taking pictures, recording video, or recording audio.
In National News …
Much of the news coming out of the United States concerned the effects of the travel ban. However, there were important goings-on in Congress, including the Republicans’ flouting of the rules in order to move some of Trump’s cabinet picks forward.
Trump Had Two Talks with Australian and Mexican Leaders.
President Donald Trump got into heated talks with two U.S. allies, Australia and Mexico.
One source said the call between Trump and Turnbull was the fifth that day for the U.S. president, following calls with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzu Abe, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Russian President Vladimir Putin. During the Merkel leg of Trump’s “first bout with Diplomacy,” Merkel explained the Geneva Convention to him.
Turnbull declined to speak about the call he has with The Donald.
While at a prayer breakfast, Trump said the following about the talks:
When you hear about the tough phone calls I’m having, don’t worry about it. Just don’t worry about it. They’re tough. We have to be tough. It’s time we’re going to be a little tough, folks. We’re taken advantage of by every nation in the world, virtually. It’s not going to happen anymore. It’s not going to happen anymore.
Is the U.S.-Australia Refugee Deal in Doubt?
At first, it appeared that Trump will not honor that deal. On Saturday, Jan. 28, Trump had a call with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. The call quickly broke down and it was ended abruptly.
While on the call, Trump called the agreement “a very bad deal” and accused Australia of trying to send “the next Boston Bomber” to the U.S. He kept insisting that Australia was trying to send 2,000 refugees (despite 1,200 not roundup up to 2000 as the nearest 1,000) and ignored that stipulation that the refugees be screened first. (In the event that the refugees did not meet U.S. standards, they would not have to be seen to the U.S.)
Additionally, the majority of refugees detained by Australia are Iranian. Trump has halted the entrance of people from seven countries, including Iran.
Despite the heated nature of the call between the two leaders, Trump has told Turnbull the U.S. would honor the deal.
Trump Talks ‘Tough Hombres’ with Peña Nieto.
After Mexican President Peña Nieto cancelled a planned trip to the United States, he still tried to engage with Trump. However, the Mexican president was greeted with the prospect of U.S. troops carrying out a mission south of the border in order to deal with drug cartels.
This comes from an excerpt of the call between Trump and Peña Nieto:
You have some pretty tough hombres in Mexico that you may need help with. We are willing to help with that big-league, but they have [to] be knocked out and you have not done a good job knocking them out.
In an initial report by the Associated Press included a rough transcript that made it seem like Trump was threatening to send troops to Mexico. Afterward, the AP said Trump was trying to ease tensions between countries by offering to send troops to “help out” Mexico. But this can rightfully be seen as an insult.
The Rollout of the New Immigration Rules Was Poor, to Say the Least.
Here are a few cases in which immigrants and Americans were negatively impacted by the rollout of order.
A 5-Year-Old Was Detained at U.S. Airport.
Since Trump’s executive order placing a hold on refugees from 7 countries “of concern,” over 100 people were detained at airports across the country. In one such case, a 5-year-old boy was detained at Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C. for five hours. The White House said the boy posed a “security risk.”
The boy is a U.S. citizen who lives in Maryland with his Iranian mother. The boy’s mother waited in agony to be reunited with her son, who was flown in with another family
In defense of the policy, press secretary Sean Spicer said, “To assume that just because of someone’s age and gender that they don’t pose a threat would be misguided and wrong.”
An Iranian Scientist Is In Limbo.
Seyed Soheil Saeedi Saravi is a Ph.D. scientist and Harvard University fellow. He was recently accepted as a doctor to work at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he is poised to begin important research on heart disease in a few weeks. Senior Cardiologist and Harvard University professor Dr. Thomas Michel chose Saravi to begin the two-year project.
However, Saravi was also affected by the strict guidelines set out by Trump’s executive order. He is Iranian and his visa was recently revoked.
Saravi has to travel daily to the U.S. embassy in Dubail in order to check with officials. There is no United States embassy in Iran.
A Chicago-Area Doctor Was Allowed to Return to the United States.
On Tuesday, Amer Al Homssi was allowed to return to the United States after being stranded overseas due to the travel ban. Al Homssi is in a residency at Advocate Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn in Illinois. He works in internal medicine.
The Chicago-area doctor originally came the United States from his native Syria. The 24-year-old was held up after traveling to Abu Dhabi to get married.
When he barred from boarding a plane back to Chicago, he sued the Trump administration. On Wednesday, a court ruled in his favor, allowing him to return to the United States.
There are other cases pending in at least five other states regarding Trump’s order. The states include California, Massachusetts, New York, Virginia, and Washington.
Sally Yates Was Fired From Defying Trump’s Order
This week, acting Attorney General Sally Yates told Justice Department lawyers not to make legal arguments in defense of last week’s immigration order. On Monday, Trump fired Yates for her defiance. She was informed of her firing by a hand-delivered letter.
Sally Yates was appointed by outgoing President Barack Obama. Her opposition of Trump comes as no surprise, but she laid out the reasons for opposing the travel ban.
From the Statement by Yates:
My responsibility is to ensure that the position of the Department of Justice is not only legally defensible, but is informed by our best view of what the law is after consideration of all the facts. In addition, I am responsible for ensuring that the positions we take in court remain consistent with this institution’s solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right …
At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the executive order is consistent with these responsibilities nor am I convinced that the executive order is lawful.
Yates was promptly replaced by Dana Boente, who was a U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. Boente quickly promised to defend the immigration order.
Trump Nominated Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court.
Neil Gorsuch was nominated by Trump to replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. Gorsuch is currently a judge on the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, where he has served since 2006. He is 49 years old and a native of Denver, Colorado.
Gorsuch has been called “Baby Scalia” for his positions. In all honesty, Gorsuch says he would like to emulate the Supreme Court Justice he hopes to replace.
The late Antonin Scalia categorized himself as a strict constitutionalist. He held conservative views, often ruled according to support the concept of states’ rights, and sometimes revealed deeply prejudiced views (of blacks and gays).
It might not be immediately clear how Gorsuch would rule on some cases (he opposes assisted suicide, yet he has not revealed his views on abortion and gay marriage), but he would be expected to rule according to his own conservative views. But unlike Scalia, Gorsuch is known as a generally affable person; he has a courtly personality and multiple sources say he gets along with people on both sides of the aisle. Many of Gorsuch’s colleagues have positive things to say about him.
Environmentalists are among groups who are concerned he would rule in against their interests should specific cases reach the Supreme Court. He has ruled against environmental groups and the Sierra Club in the past (often on procedural issues), but he ruled in favor of the EPA in a 2010 case.
If confirmed, Gorsuch would be reunited with Justice Anthony Kennedy, a conservative Justice who Gorsuch once worked for as a law clerk. The 49-year-old credits the 80-year-old with bringing him up in the law.
At Least Three of Trump’s Cabinet Picks Were Advanced; Tillerson Was Confirmed.
On Wednesday, Rex. W. Tillerson was confirmed by the Senate on a 56-43 vote to become the 69th Secretary of State in U.S. history.
A few Democrats (Mark Warner from Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp from North Dakota, and Joe Manchin III from West Virginia) crossed party lines to confirm Tillerson, with one, Chris Coons, abstaining. Still, the vote was the most contentious for any Secretary of State.
As stated previously, Tillerson, a 64-year-old Texan, earned an engineering degree from the University of Texas at Austin. He had previously worked at Exxon Mobil from 1975 until now. He has no related experience as a secretary of state, but he has extensive international experience, which also took him to Russia.
Last week, the Democrats boycotted cabinet confirmation hearings for two straight days, but the Republicans waived the rules to move two of Trump’s picks forward. The Democrats refused to vote over ethics concerns. Multiple cabinet picks have still failed to disclose financial ties and address ethics concerns.
It was the Democrats’ strategy to thus hold up the vote. According to Senate rules, each party must have a representative in each committee conducting confirmation hearings and votes to move cabinets forward for a full vote.
On Wednesday, the Senate Finance Committee, under the instruction of Committee Chairman Orrrin Hatch (R-Utah), waived the rules in order to move the nominations of Steve Mnuchin, Rep. Tom Price, and Senator Jeff Sessions to full Senate votes. Mnuchin is nominated to be Treasury Secretary, Price was picked to head the Department of Health and Human Services, and Sessions is trying to be the next Attorney General.
The Republicans voted 14-0 in order to advance the picks. What’s more is they called a 9:30 a.m. hearing on short notice.
The Republicans might be in for a fight when it comes to nominating Trump’s Supreme Court pick(s), Neil Gorsuch. The Democrats’ near-record opposition to Trump’s cabinet picks might be symbolic since the Republicans need simple majorities in the Senate (they have 52 senators and only need 51 votes). But Supreme Court Picks need 60 votes to be confirmed.
In Regional News …
There was a riot on a college campus and Alabama passes a law in support of Pro-Lifers.
There Was a Riot at UC Berkeley.
Breitbart tech editor and general troll Milo Yiannopoulos was scheduled to speak at UC Berkeley on Wednesday night. However, his speech was cancelled due to a riot that broke out on the campus 2 hours before he was to address students. CNN captured some of the violence in an Instagram video.
Yiannopoulos was invited to speak at the campus by the Berkeley College Republicans. He is on a college speaking tour. His talk on Wednesday would have been about cultural appropriation.
There were around 1,500 people who gathered at Sproul Plaza on the campus to peacefully protest Yiannopoulos’ speech. Among the protesters, there was a group of people dressed in black and wearing masks.
The university said “150 masked agitators” had come onto the campus in order to cause the disturbance. UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof said they were part of the anarchist group known as “Black Bloc.” Mogulof said the group had terrorized Oakland for years.
At least six people on campus were injured. All of the injuries likely came from direct attacks by the agitators. Attackers threw “commercial-grade” fireworks and rocks at police officers. A group of 3-4 men attacked a young woman who was wearing a mock “Make America Great Again” hat that read “Make Bitcoin great again.
A video posted by CNN (@cnn) on Feb 1, 2017 at 6:56pm PST: https://www.instagram.com/p/BP_kSchDRch/
The agitators caused the following property damage:
- They tore down metal barriers.
- They smashed the windows at the student union center, the place where Yiannopoulos was to speak.
- Some threw Molotov cocktails, which caused fires on the campus.
- More fires were set near the campus bookstore.
- They damaged a construction site for a new dorm.
- Windows were smashed at local banks in Downtown Berkeley.
Trump threatened to cut federal funds going to UC Berkeley in a Tweet, of course.
Yiannopoulos called himself “the catalyst” for the change alluded to by Trump.
Putting Things in Perspective
The riot was ironic, when you think about it. UC Berkeley was where the Free Speech Movement was born. In 1964, students protested when administrators tried to restrict political activities on campus.
The violence at UC Berkeley follows an attack on White Nationalist Richard Spencer, who was punched in the face on Inauguration Day.
If these attacks were all committed by leftists, it would only serve to undermine and resistance to far-right groups and politicians.
Arkansas Passes an Anti-Abortion Law.
In Arkansas, the Republican-controlled legislature pushed through a bill to give a pregnant woman’s husband veto power in the case of an abortion. If passed, a husband could stop an abortion from happening even in cases of spousal rape.
Act 45, the “Unborn Child Protection From Dismemberment Abortion Act,” aims to do at a lot to inhibit abortions up to the third trimester.
- First, all second trimester abortions would be banned. Dilation and evacuation (D&E) methods, the safest method to perform abortions after the first trimester, would be banned.
- A man who is presumed to be the father of a child could sue a doctor who performs an abortion on the woman for civil damages. Or he can get an injunction to prevent the procedure.
- In the case of spousal rape, the man can sue to stop the abortion but he will be barred from being awarded any money.
- In the case of a minor, a girl’s parents can block an abortion.
The ACLU of Kansas has vowed to challenge the law, which would go into effect later this year. In past cases where similar laws were passed – in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and West Virginia – the laws were struck down when challenged in courts.
In Health & Science News …
A school in California might be dealing with a virus outbreak and there is news about the dangers of sleep medications.
There May Be a Norovirus Outbreak In the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District.
There is a possible norovirus outbreak at John Adams Middle School in Santa Monica, California. Nearly 200 seventh-grade students were potentially exposed to the illness. According to the school, students went on a five-day trip to Yosemite.
Since the illness was believed to have originated in Yosemite, there could be an even bigger spread of the illness. A few students showed symptoms of the illness while on the trip. If those students had siblings and children from other school districts were also present …
John Adams is working with the Los Angeles Department of Public Health. Any school dealing with an outbreak must be cleaned.
Those who have the norovirus will have symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever. Typically, people will develop any symptoms until 48 hours after exposure.
Be Careful with Over-the-Counter Sleep Medications.
Experts at Consumer Reports warn about the use over-the-counter sleep meds to help insomniacs.
One concern is the risk for dependency. While some packages may claim the pills are “non-habit-forming,” those who use it may become addicted to pills because of two chemicals. Diaphenhydramine and doxylamine, two antihistamines, are active ingredients in sleep meds, but users have been shown to have a psychological dependency on those drugs.
Another concern is the long-term side effects of the drugs. While serious side effects are often listed on packages, understated effects include dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
In Internet and Tech News …
Snapchat Is Going Public.
Snap, Inc. — Snapchat’s parent company — has filed for an initial public offering on Thursday. The company, co-founded by Evan Spiegel and Robert Murphy, is estimated to have made around $404 million dollars in revenue in 2016. That was up from $58.6 million in 2015.
However, the company has reported larger losses. Before 2016, which saw $514 million in losses, the company lost $373 million a year.
Still, Spiegel and Murphy need to convince buyers about the long-term viability of the company. The fact that they have delved into making cameras — Spectacles allow users who wear them to take pictures and make videos — might make buyers cautious.
Spiegel and Murphy will start with 21.8% shares of the company.
This week, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Donald Trump had a war of words.
Apparently, Celebrity Apprentice has suffered in the ratings with “The Terminator” as the host. That bothers Trump, and he made a point to say something about it.
In response, the Austrian-American made a Facebook post in which he offered to switch jobs with Trump.
I, for one, would be open to it. Too bad it’s not possible.
Constitutionally speaking, Schwarzenegger cannot be president. According to Article II, Section 5 of the Constitution, one can only be eligible for the presidency (and the vice presidency, thanks to the 12th Amendment) if they are a natural-born citizen, are at least 35 years of age, and have been a resident of the United States for the past 14 years prior to running. Schwarzenegger only meets the last two qualifications, but a constitutional amendment could change it.
Now, would I want to change that in order to get Trump out? No, not if that was the only thing I wanted. But there is the greater question of allowing naturalized American citizens run if they love the country enough to become a citizen.
To be honest, I don’t align ideologically with Schwarzenegger, but I feel he would be a better president. He is self-effacing and has already established himself as a macho figure through his movies and time as Mr. Universe (although he admitted to using steroids).
The point is, Arnold Schwarzenegger wouldn’t feel the need to “prove” his manhood. And he loved this country to become a citizen of it. He also has executive experience and experience working well with Democrats.
The question is would he be brave enough to rein in the far-right wing of his party?
Maybe I’m just desperate, but some sanity would be nice right now …
Would You Like to Contribute?
Would you like to share a short opinion about news items? Here are the parameters:
We will treat this like a commentary section in a newspaper. You can add your thoughts to any relevant news topic, but do your best to keep your word count to 300.
If your comment is approved, I might only edit it for spelling and grammar. Once that’s done, I will put your comment near the end of the News Roundup post and credit it to you.
If you are interested, please go to my new Contact Me page and leave a message. I will get back to you via email and we can discuss the details.
By the Way …
I can be found on Facebook and Twitter if you want to follow me there.
- Twitter Handle: @TheOtherShmaltz
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ShmaltzandMenudo/
(Likes for my Facebook page are very much appreciated. If you have a Facebook page, please let me know.)