Sunday, April 30, 2017

North Korea's missile test fails

This article details another missile test done by the North Koreans. The missile test was a failure, as the missile exploded soon after launch. In a tweet, Donald Trump chalked the missile testing attempt up to the Chinese. He said that North Korea disrespected the Chinese president by testing this missile. I do think that China plays an important role in the entire North Korean issue, seeing as they are one of the nation's only allies. The article goes on to say that news of this most recent failed missile test came just hours after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke at a United Nations meeting about the continued pressure needed to be imposed on North Korea. I think it is very important that this issue is solved diplomatically. However, I find it hard to believe that this administration can solve anything diplomatically.
Ben Goodell

Pope Francis, A Revolution of Tenderness

Recently Ted Talks released a recorded video of the Pope addressing an audience about life in our globalized world.  The main point of his Talk was, “We are all related and interconnected; scientific and technological progress must not be disconnected from social justice and care for the neighbor; and that the world needs tenderness.” (Faggioli)  The Pope used non theological language to appeal to a global audience and to address this issue as it being greater than the Catholic community. Also, his use of technology was a modern way of spreading his word, he is embracing the change and the modern technology. This Talk was a very liberal approach to better humanity. Many world leaders are choosing a side, pro-globalization versus pro-protectionism, and the Pope, being one of the most influential global leaders, made it very clear he is for the spread of human interaction and globalization because it can make humanity better. I hope that his influence will help support the movement for human rights and globalization as it is coming into question more often in more and more countries.

My favorite section of the speech was on solidarity. As an active political activist I really support people getting involved in politics and for standing up for what is important to them.

“Solidarity is a term that many wish to erase from the dictionary. Solidarity, however, is not an automatic mechanism. It cannot be programmed or controlled. It is a free response born from the heart of each and everyone. Yes, a free response! When one realizes that life, even in the middle of so many contradictions, is a gift, that love is the source and the meaning of life, how can they withhold their urge to do good to another fellow being?” (6:08)

Article link:

Emily Adams

Pope Francis Urges U.S. and North Korea to Step Away from the Brink

With all the international tension over the last few weeks, one figure finally decided to step up against the conflict.  On Saturday during a news conference, Pope Francis intervened in our relations with North Korea and said to step away before it escalates further.  He also notes the division occurring in France due to the recent election.  He clearly expresses his values as well as his belief of handling political and international matters in a more diplomatic manner and strongly urges other world leaders to do the same.  We are in a desperate need for peace among all nations.

Ally Bockay

Amid immigration setbacks, one Trump strategy seems to be working: Fear

In reviewing statistics of immigration and arrests at the border, many analysis on both sides of the immigration argument, agree to some degree that the fear of deportation instilled, and exemplified, by the Trump administration has contributed to the downfall of the number Mexicans trying to enter America illegally. They examine statistics from how many arrests are being made at the border to how many Mexicans are being deported, and under what causes. It is surmised by the intense words that Trump and his administration use in speech, and the heightened actions towards immigrants, that less people are trying to enter the country illegally.

Connor Smith

Opposition gains in British polls, but May's party keeps strong lead

In Britain, there has been a growing opposition of the Conservative Party lead by Theresa May. The rising support has been in favor of the Labour Party which hopes to win the elections in June. The upcoming election is critical in defining the conditions of Britain leaving the European Union. Although the data of public opinion is contensious, recently the value of the sterling has risen in the expectation of May's victory. Prime Minister May has portrayed her Conservative party as the stable and capable option for recieving  the most favorable outcome from Brexit. 

Sarah Obrist 

"Congressional negotiators reach deal on government funding through September"

After weeks of tense negotiations between Republicans and Democrats over the national budget, negotiators finally reached an agreement. Negotiators from both parties approved a massive spending bill late Sunday night. It still needs to be approved by the House and Senate. If it is, it would fund the government through the end of September. The majority of the spending would go towards adding billions of dollars for the Pentagon and border security. There would still leave no money for the wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Seeing how this affects Trump's promise to build a wall, and seeing how he still plans on funding it will be a very interesting situation to watch in the coming months.

-Matthew G. Mayes

US-led strikes against ISIS have killed at least 352 civilians, Pentagon says

352 civilians in Middle-East countries have died as a result of US-led strikes on ISIS, according to the Pentagon. The article states that there were 229 from the beginning of Operation Inherent Resolve to this past February, and the report confirms the death of at least 45 more. At least 42 unconfirmed reports are also up for review. There are groups such as "Airwars" that report that the actual number of casualties is higher than what the Pentagon says.

-Jason Keller

USA Government has reached an agreement on bill to avoid shutting down

The Congress have reached an agreement on a bill to keep the US government running until September 30. The bill is reported to be 1 trillion dollars and it needs to be approved by the law makers. According to this 1 trillion dollars bill: 15 billion dollars will go towards the military. 1.5 billion dollars is going to border protection, as for the wall the lawmakers did not agree, so no money is going toward the Trump's wall. 295 millions dollars will go towards Puerto Rico for their Medicaid burden, 2 billion funding increase for the National Institutes of Health. The house republicans supported the funding of private schools in Washington D.C, but in the article, it didn't say how much was going towards that. The bill also included $68 million to reimburse New York City and other local governments for costs involved in protecting Trump Tower and other properties. The bill also included fundings to combat the opioid abuse, also fund Pell Grants for summer school. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and other democrats, want to extend health care for 22,000 retired Appalachian coal miners and their families. Also this bill will cover day to day operation of the US government. It will be interesting to see what happens because this bill might get turn down, and the numbers might need to be revised and, also there is still more disagreements but this might do it for now until September.

"Homeland Security chief: Airplane terror threat 'keeps me up at night'"

Secretary Kelly expressed Saturday that commercial airlines being taken down by terrorist attacks is one of his greatest national concerns. I found this article a little ironic given our discussion last class; someone should tell Sec. Kelly that he is more likely to be shot by a toddler or to die falling out of bed. Perhaps then he could shift his focus to more pressing security concerns such as climate change.

Poor French Suburbanites may abstain vote in coming election

In France, many of the residents of the poorer, majority immigrants may choose to stay home for the May 7th Election in France. Despite the fact that one of the candidates, Marine Le Pen, has taken a strong stance against immigration, many french suburbanites are angry over the failure of past politicians to deliver on past promises, and thus many voters will refuse to vote for Macron, despite his open-handedness towards those working there. Ines Seddiki, a French Muslim living in Stains, a French suburb, stated that "Don't count on the working-class neighborhoods this year to save France," although stating that she would reluctantly vote for Macron. Many of the residents in the poorer Parisian suburbs turned up for Jean-Luc Melenchon, who they felt spoke for their anger in the french political system, while many of them simply chose not to vote, with much more appearing to do so. The failure of the poor Muslim suburbanites to vote in the upcoming election could eventually lead to a victory for National Front candidate, Marine Le Pen. This could possibly be a shadow of the American election, where many left-wing voters abstained from the election after Bernie Sanders failed to secure the democratic nomination, and in some viewpoints, unfairly.

-Bobby Gannon

Mystery Illness Kills 11 in Liberia One Year After End of Ebola Outbreak

This article published by nbcnews talks about the recent death of eleven and the hospitalization of five people of a mystery disease. March marks one year of Liberia being declared free of the active Ebola virus, which took more than 11,3000 lives. According to Liberia’s Chief Medical Officer, Kateh the recent deaths are not due to infection with the ebola virus, although the symptoms of fever, vomiting, and diarrhoea might suggest that, but samples taken from the deceased bodies tested negative for the virus. According to a preliminary  investigation by the World Health Organization (WHO), every victim seems to have attended a funeral of a religious leader before falling ill. Precautions have been taken to limit contact with hospital staff and contacts of the sick are being traced to the community to see if there had been any further infections. But until further testing, the illness will remain a deadlly mystery.

-Helen Majer

Immigrants rights groups push Denver city officials toward “sanctuary city”

Immigrants rights groups push Denver city officials toward “sanctuary city”

The amount of pushback from the Colorado State Government towards the Federal Government has been profound in the past, and is increasingly distancing itself as much as possible.  This moderately blue state  is reaping the benefits of state legislation in fear of things changing under the new Commander in Chief of federal government. In this article in the Denver Post, the details of the newest immigration rules in Denver are outlined.  Denver is a sanctuary city for immigrants, and are not bound to any federal government coming in to deport people.  This is an important topic not only in the state of Colorado, but also for our national relationship with Mexico.  From a third generation Mexican American such as mysef, it is great to see the place that my family was brought up to be pushing back on issues like this.  It will be interesting to see how else the state continues to distance itself from the federal government and take advantage of state laws.

The Denver Post:

Indian brides given bats to keep abusive husbands in check

Brides in India are being given bats to combat their abusive husbands, an article on reports.  The bats are typically used to beat dirt out of the laundry but are more commonly being used to "ward against drunkards".  This new practice will hopefully give women more empowerment when standing up to their abusive counterparts and will empower them to take a bigger role in their safety and equality.

Rachel Mecca Davis

National Security Chief Tells South Korea U.S. Will Pay for Defense System

For a few years, the U.S. has been trying to install a THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) missile system in the Republic of Korea, as negotiations have moved forward and tensions between China and North Korea have grown the U.S. has moved closer to the final installation date. The only problem left is who is paying for it? In an interview last week, with Reuters and the Washington Times, President Trump remarked that it would be more appropriate for the Republic of Korea to pay for the THADD system, this has since been countered with a response by White House national-security chief Lt. General McMaster who has announced that until the deal is renegotiation that the U.S. will pay for the system. The article further mentions the leading candidate, Moon Jae-inm, in the South’s election is opposed to paying for the system when South Korea is paying for both the land and the base for U.S. system. As this system marks a key part of the U.S. Asian strategy it will be important to see if money will become between friends, and how the May 9th election will effect negotiations.

Wall Street Journal: 
Nathaniel Dust

President Trump Invites Controversial Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte to White House

This article talks about how President Trump invited the Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte to the White House to discuss further relationship between the to countries. The conversation was very friendly between the two Presidents and they were discussing the philippine's regional security because of the missile tests that were launched by North Korea. Also President Duterte's brought up controversial war on drugs which seemed very important to Duterte.    

US troops patrol Turkey-Syria border after Turkish strikes on Kurds

after Turkish airstrikes killed some the united states close allies, the US forces have begun to patrol the turkey Syrian border. the attack is said to have added another layer of complication to the situation in the area and now the US is intervening to stop a conflict between its closest allies.

Calls Grow For Release of Tibet's Panchen Lama, Now 28

22 years ago,Gedhun Choekyi Nyima was detained along with his immediate family by Chinese authorities at the age of 6. Hailed as the 11th reincarnation of the the second-highest Buddhist monk, the Panchen Lama, by none other than the Dalai Lama himself, Nyima was poised to be a major religious and political figure at the time. After his capture by the Chinese Government, Nyima was held in isolation. Now age 28, there is still no update on his condition or whereabouts, and all attempts to gather further information have been swiftly halted or denied by Beijing.

This is part of an overarching trend of replacing high-ranking monks with pro-Beijing substitutes exhibited by the Chinese government. Nyima was quickly replaced by Gyaincain Norbu, a pro-China candidate upon his detention, and there are plans to install a similar replacement for the current Dalai Lama upon his eventual death.

In light of these "crimes against humanity", global support is mounting for Nyima's release.

Syria blames Israel for Damascus airport blast

On April 27, there was an explosion at the Syrian airport Damascus.  Syria believes that it was Israel who launched the missiles at the airport.  Israel won’t confirm or deny their responsibility in the explosion.  There was a statement put out by the Israeli government that said “the incident in Syria fits their policy on stopping weapons being shipped to Hezbollah.”  Two residents from Damascus city heard the explosion at dawn and described it as a thud noise.  After the noise was heard a fire broke out.  There is no report on whether anyone was hurt by the explosion.  Syria did say this would not stop them from fighting terrorists.  A term the government uses when referring to the Syrian rebels.  Israel’s Intelligence Minister Katz seems to believe Isreal was behind the explosion saying, “I can confirm that the incident in Syria is completely compatible with the Israeli policy of operating to prevent smuggling advanced weaponry from Syria to Hezbollah.” Right now Syria has three major conflicts one against ISIS, War against rebels against Assad, and the fight against Iranian and Hezbollah forces in Syria.

Potemkin Policy

We have officially reached Donald Trump's first 100 days in office. And, as honestly, many suspected, he has been unable to make as many changes as he had campaigned on. With his current policy proposals failing to make it to the floor, or even remaining unchanged, we can see cracks in his presidential power. What does that mean for his foreign policy though? His first 100 days have been littered with headlines about the U.S. and our interactions with other countries. Particularly, North Korea.We have made airstrikes on several foreign countries already, as well as welcomed a few foreign leaders here to the table. Notably, the chocolate cake story. Right now, its hard to evaluate whether or not his foreign policies have has any actually meat on them, or if it is all for show right now. Could Trump be using this as a way to show how powerful her really is?  Seeing as most foreign policy is mostly boring diplomatic, behind the scenes,  silent type of ruling, Trump has definitely gone against that and made a big splash. However, can his need to make is 'power' known have a negative return? As Tom Pepinsky said, "Weak leaders often try to talk loudly aout how strong they are, while strong leaders are much quieter about wielding their power.

-Kaitlyn Roybal

354 Civilians Killed During the Combat Against ISIS

Over the past three years, unfortunately, the combat against ISIS has taken civilians lives. The Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve has estimated at least 352 civilians killed from the US-led attacks against ISIS. The task force then states " We regret the unintentional loss of civilian lives resulting from Coalition efforts to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria and express our deepest sympathies to the families and others affected by these strikes" The casualties of civilians have significantly increased to a total of 229 civilian deaths, counted at the end of February--and that's not all. Recently, its has estimated an additional 80 civilian deaths--a number that continues to grow as the fight against ISIS persist.

North Korea crisis: Pope urges international mediation

This Article talks about the pope’s call for the international community to meditate on the growing hostility coming from North Korea. The article starts out by describing the recent events that have occurred in North Korea and the international community responses. The article then talks about North Korea’s past in missile development and how North Korea’s missile program has become more effective and are able to reach farther distances. Overall the pope’s call for international meditation is if anything another voice in a call for peace in the far east which in all honesty will result in no major improvement in the region and current tension will just continue on until something major happens.

Dan Worden


Dozens of Yazidis enslaved by IS in Iraq now free

This article talks about how dozens of Yazidis that were previously enslaved by ISIS are now free and are under the protection of the UN centers in Northern Iraq. The article does not mention if they were let free or if they were escaped, as it was classified info to protect those who had managed to get free. Under the impression of the article, it seems as though the dozens of Yazidis had fled and escaped rather than been freed, because it mentions that ISIS has enslaved and killed thousands of Yazidis in the northern part of Iraq since 2014. Many of the women and children that were enslaved were used as sex slaves for the entirety of their captivity. They've been reunited with their families after experiencing "the most horrific of atrocities" at the hands of of ISIS. Iraqi forces have recaptured the majority of the city of Mosul, but are still trying to push the group out of the Old Western District of which there still is a heavy presence.

- Brett Johnson

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Zoran Zaev, Macedonian Lawmaker, Is Bloodied in Attack on Parliament by Nationalists

On Thursday night, in the Macedonian Parliament building, tensions finally reached violent levels after head of the Social Democratic Party, Zoran Zaev, was allowed to form a government that would allow Albanians more representation. Albanians form only one quarter of the Macedonian population, thereby making them an obvious minority. Nationalistic protesters were seen punching and throwing chairs, as well as dragging Social Democratic party member Radmila Sekerinska out of the building by her hair. The government has been put into a kind of standstill after findings in 2015 revealing wiretapping claims to be true, exposing extreme "corruption, election rigging, and other criminal activities at the highest level of the government".  The conservatives have also been in a bitter state of being after elections in December basically found favor to be equally split for the most part between Social Democrats and conservatives. While they did eventually win, it was only by a sliver and thus they could not fill up enough seats to form their own government. The majority on Thursday night was in the Social Democrats' favor as they had voted for former defense minister and member of the Democratic Union for Integration, Talat Xhaferi as speaker. It is Mr. Xhaferi's agenda to advocate on Mr. Zaev's behalf by formally petitioning the president to allow him to form a government where Albanians are seen as average citizens, instead of a minority. This served as a trigger for many protesters, many in masks and waving the country's flag, to resort to violence. They labeled the vote for Mr. Xhaferi a "coup". Frederica Mogherini and Johannes Hahn of the European Union were in opposition to the violence and claimed the election of Talat Xhaferi "a positive note". Police reinforcements finally arrived and were able to tame the violence with the use of stun grenades and were able to evacuate the lawmakers.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Russia blames the U.S. after protesters storm Macedonia's parliament

Masked protesters stormed Macedonia's parliament in Skopje, the capital, Thursday evening in order to attack opposition lawmakers.  This event left more than 100 people, including the head of a small Albanian party and the leader of the Social Democrats, injured.  Russia's foreign ministry is placing the blame on the United States and the European Union for the political turmoil in Macedonia.  Moscow made a statement on Friday, accusing the West of "gross interference" in Macedonian politics with the aim of manipulating the citizens and removing the government from power.  Political observers, however, believe that Russia is simply trying to reframe the debate in their favor since it's more likely that the recent clashes in Macedonia are a result of a simmering domestic crisis.  There is also concern that Moscow is backing politicians and parties that are more friendly towards the Kremlin.  On top of that, Macedonia has been divided between supporters of the repressive conservative government and opposition groups.  The divide widened after the ruling conservative party, VMRO-DPMNE, was accused of repressing journalists and conducting illegal wiretapping operations to monitor up to 20,000 people.  The European Union attempted to calm tensions at one point, but the U.S. embassy in Macedonia has denied any involvement or support in the political tensions and debates.

Shannon McDonald

Chinese Hacks Causing Tension

As tensions rise around the North Korean borders, so does the tension amongst the surrounding nations. In the past years, the world has noticed how terrible North Korea is. Nations that normally don’t side with us, like China and Russia are clearly on our side against North Korea. It is only logical because it is on Chinese borders and Russia wants nothing to do with an immigration push towards their nation. However, it is important these nations are partners, not friends. This is portrayed in the article below dealing with Chinese hacks against America and South Korea. It appears Chinese, state-funded hackers looked into missile placements of America. Although common for China, director of cyber espionage John Hultquist says the hack was for information only. South Korea later confirmed Chinese hacking attempts. It is suspected these cyber attacks dealt with THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense), basically our missile launcher to shoot missiles. This is because China is not supportive of THAAD due to the belief America can and is monitoring them through it.

If you are interested in cyberattacks, below is a live feed of all cyber attack attempts:

Lucas Wittenkeller

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Marine Le Pen's Party Accused of Fraud

Recently, allegations against Marine Le Pen's Party, the National Front, has broken stating that her party may have taken up to 5 million euros from the EU illegally. Usually, MEP's, (Members of the European Parliment) are given money from the EU as a form of salary and in this case, the National Front was given money to give it's MEP's their salary, however, there is reason to believe that the National Front may have taken more money than the amount needed, in order to help the party's own interests starting from 2012 till 2017. Le Pen has publicly denied these allegations and refused to also come for summons, stating her parliamentary immunity as an MEP.

-Asfa Anwer

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

China launches its first homegrown aircraft carrier

The first aircraft carrier that was designed and built in China was launched Wednesday, amid streamers and champagne. So far it is unnamed. China has the second largest military in the world, its estimated that they spend about 148 billion dollars. The new carrier still does lag behind the US technologically but it is likely just a stepping stone to Chinas next generation of aircraft carriers. Sources believe that this was probably just designed to get China in the aircraft carrier game, and while it was a huge advance the next carrier deigns will be much closer to a US carrier and it will not be active until 2020.

--Jessie Birchall

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

This article dives into some data with the current French election. We have been discussing this election in class and why it is so important internationally. We are seeing a rise in populism and these extreme parties are on the rise. I think it is interesting to see how just like here in America in 2016, there is this frustration among constituents that the establishment has failed them. Same thing in France right now, and it explains how the moderate left and right dominate parties failed to get out of the first round. The difference in support from 2012 and 2017 is almost like pure opposite. We see polarization looks to be on the rise not only in America but other countries as well.

Thomas Semanic

Sunday, April 23, 2017

US tells North Korea to cease 'destabilizing actions and rhetoric'

In light of the tension building g up between North Korea and the United States, the white house released a statement Sunday night urging the communist regime to stop the provocation and threats and to focus on its international obligation. The announcement came after a North Korean newspaper published that, the country is ready to sink a United States aircraft carrier

USS Carl Vinson Fighter Pilot Ejects During Routine Flight

On Sunday North Korea threatened to sink an American aircraft carrier just off the coast of North Korea. The US carrier has teamed up with two Japanese destroyers to begin joint drills. In a state-run newspaper a North Korean stated that their country is ready to sink a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier with a single strike, provoking the US with violence yet again. In response to this Trump said that he would be sending "an armada" to Korean waters to deal with the constant threats from North Korea. During the training drills an F/A-18 pilot had to eject from the airplane while approaching the carrier for a landing. The pilot was recovered quickly and suffered no apparent injuries. The cause for the ejection is still unknown. Keeping an eye on military action between the US and North Korea over the next few weeks is going to be very interesting.

Matthew G. Mayes

Political polarisation has grown most among the old

In a shift of blame away from social media the article by the economist points to recent economic and political research that has reason to believe that polarization of American political ties is heavily isolated amongst American’s who are 75 and older. Additionally, the economic research aspect points to a connection between polarization and slower economic growth, citing that this decade we could see GDP growth slow by 1.2 then 0.6 in the following decade. One of the reasons for this diversion between age groups as they suggest is that elderly voting behavior is more concerned with cultural shift than they are with economic shifts, which is different from younger voters who are effected by the current economy. In conclusion, this article seeks to answer some of the rising questions about the changing political landscape across the U.S.

Nathaniel Dust

Australia Plans to Raise More Barriers to Citizenship

The Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull, just announced new citizenship requirements.  This includes stricter requirements for proficiency in English, a test on Australian values, followed by a four year waiting period.  The motivation behind this action is to limit migration into the country.  The Prime Minister holds the mentality that those who should be granted citizenship are those who prove themselves and demonstrate the greatest effort to adapt to the country's values.

I believe in meeting requirements for citizenship and going through a process of proper registration...however, I feel that with immigration systems such as Australia's or the United States', the steps leading to citizenship should be made more efficient and promising for those wanting to become citizens.  The system is corrupt, and many families wait years and years to come into the country.  Steps need to be taken to make the process smoother to ensure timely citizenship for immigrants while also ensuring safety and productivity for the country.

Ally Bockay

North Korea detains another American citizen, raising total # of detained Americans to 3

Tony Kim (Korean name Kim Sang-duk) was detained on Saturday, according to the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang. The article states that a possible reason for his detainment is his involvement in relief efforts. North Korea, according to the article, is known for holding foreigners on "dubious" charges in order to use them as leverage in deals with other countries. The U.S.'s relations with North Korea are more strained now than ever with Kim Jong Un still testing nuclear weapons, and the U.S.'s promise of using force to stop North Korea if necessary.

-Jason Keller

North Korea Detained a Third American Citizen Amid Rising Tensions With the U.S.

In this article talks about how North Korea detained a U.S. citizen. This is also not the first U.S. citizen that is now being held in North Korea. The man that was detained recently was Tony Kim and he was taken by officials while he was at Pyongyang's international airport trying to leave. The Swedish Embassy where aware of Korean-American citizens being detained but couldn't further speak on the matter.  

Early Elections

As politics around the Brexit heats up, there was never any talk of calling an early election by the current PM Theresa May when she was first elected. However, that promise was short lived as she has now called for an early election slated for June 8th. Although she had told the constituents that she would not hold an early election when she was elected last year, she can legally de so due to the type of government there in Britain. The parliament allows the majority leader AKA PM to call a reelection if need be. Well I mean there;s a little more details than that, but the point is, is that it was totally in her legal right to call this early election. She is calling this in hopes of being able to pass policy that will really benefit Britain in this time of exit from the EU. She needs to do this now rather than wait, because her opposing parties are also split which allows her now to be able to take advantage of the break up of support for her competitors.

-Kaitlyn Roybal

Taliban attack on a key Afghan army base

Kabul is an army base that was attacked by the Taliban on Saturday, being one of the deadliest since 2001. The Taliban members were disguised as military officials waiting for members to come out of a prayer session, shooting any one who was in their way. The attack lasted six hours causing 100+ deaths including two Taliban members to blow themselves up and seven of them killed. A spokesperson for the Taliban claimed responsibility but did not give a reason for the assault. it is said to believe it is for retaliation due to the Afghan government overthrowing them.

30 dead in largest surge of gang violence in Mexico since 2011

This weekend, 30 deaths related to gun-related violence occurred over the weekend in Mexico, the highest since 2011. Of the 30, 10 were killed in Sinaloa state on Sunday Morning in different accidents. This region has seen an influx of gang violence, after cartel leader Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, formerly head of operation in Sinaloa, was captured and extradited last year. Nine other deaths occurred in the Mexican state Michoacan in a battle between rival gangs in the village of Churumuco on Saturday. Five more bodies were found in Guerro on Sunday, while six more were found in Veracruz. In march, there were 2020 murders, second only to June of 2011. President Enrique Nieto is facing heavy criticism over his handling of the rise in violence.

-Bobby Gannon

Sessions: We'll fund the wall 'one way or the other'

In direct conflict with past statements made by Mexico's government that the country would not fund Trumps proposed border wall, Attorney General Jeff Sessions appeared on ABC's "This Week" in an effort to make it clear Mexico would still end up paying for it. This interview comes in the wake of several Tweets by POTUS, praising the wall and it's benefits towards preventing illegal immigration and gang violence. With the wall as one of his primary campaign points, Trump's determined pushes towards erecting the wall make sense.

In his appearance on "This Week", Sessions offered more insight into just how exactly Mexico would pay for the wall. Rather than being 'billed' directly into funding the multi-billion dollar undertaking, Sessions maintains that through trade and other actions at the border, the country would wind up paying for the wall indirectly.

Greener Trump?

After this past Earth Day, President Trump announced it was in his best interest to protect the environment. As he quotes "Rigorous science is critical to my administration efforts to achieve the twin goals of economic growth and environmental protection": this may seem promising to change his views on actions towards environmental concern, but, unfortunately, it has not. He then states "I am committed to keeping our air and water clean but always remember that economic growth enhances environmental protection. Jobs Matter!" In other words, President Trump claims he "cares" about the protection of the environment but does not plan on changing his budget cuts to agencies such as The State Department; Department of Urban Housing and Urban Development; and The Environmental Protection Agency. Funding will be lost by a third, potentially, eliminating other federal programs. While Trump may say his concerns are with the environment, his current policies for the environment do not support his position

Cameron Butler 

Germany AfD: Right-wingers set to move further right

This article talks about a protest that occurred over the weekend against members of the anti immigration party AfD or alternative for Germany. The reason people were protesting was that Frauke Petry who was the co leader of the party wanted to move the party into a more mainstream position which the party rejected. This article goes into detail about the protest in regard to how many people were there, and police interaction with the protesters.  The article then talks about the recent past of the party and what it has accomplished and why it has become popular among German citizens. Overall after reading this article it reminds that there is a rising populist sentiment among the native born people of Europe that seems like it won’t end soon.

Dan Worden



Le Pen faces Macron in final round of French presidential election

In the first round of the French presidential elections, it is apparent that the far-right populist Marine Le Pen and the novice Emmanuel Macron are the leading candidates for the next round of elections. Macron had a slight edge over Le Pen with 23.7% of the votes to Le Pen's 21.8%. The 2017 election is contrary to traditional French politics because neither candidate is a member of the dominant political parties. Many attribute this change in tradition to world events, such as Britain leaving the EU and the election of Donald Trump. Le Pen's anti-immigration and anti-European Union rhetoric have gained her many nationalistic supporters while Macron, a former banker, represents a sense of optimism for  the French to break away from the elitism of politics. The two candidates are set to compete in the second election for the presidential nomination on May 7th. 

Sarah Obrist 

US tells North Korea to cease 'destabilizing actions and rhetoric'

The situation between the United States and North Korea has greatly escalated in the recent weeks. While North Korea has always been seen as a dangerous nation, the increase in weapons tests by the nation has undoubtedly increased tensions with the country. There have been comments made by both the US and North Korea that demonstrate a willingness to use military action against the other. I see this as a very tough situation to resolve. You have both countries posturing and making these provoking comments. The situation is only escalated when an agitative statement is made. I feel that the best way to handle the situation would be for the US to back away from the authoritative position we've taken against North Korea, in order to let tensions subside for the moment. Yet, if the US were to back down slightly, it might provide the perfect window the North Korea to refine their nuclear technology, which could pose a very serious threat to the US.

Ben Goodell

North Korea threatens to sink US aircraft carrier

This article pretty much sums up the heightening tension between North Korea and the United States. A United States aircraft carrier was sent over to begin joint training exercises with two Japanese destroyers near the Philippines. North Korea had promptly responded that they would sink said aircraft carrier with "a single strike." It is worth noting that North Korea had just tried to show off their prominent military prowess by sending off a test missile which effectively blew up within seconds of takeoff. North Korea had also mentioned that they are capable of reaching "continental US and Asia Pacific Region" with their "absolute weapon", the hydrogen bomb. The actual intentions of the US aircraft carrier and Japanese destroyers were to join with the Australian Navy and continue joint exercises with them. After completing the training, the US Navy had announced that the carrier would be heading back near the Korean Peninsula "to provide a persistent presence." How this threat by North Korea will be followed-up, we may not know. Regardless, the tension between the two nations as of right now has very much been peaking.

- Brett Johnson