Friday, January 29, 2016

The Week of 1/25/16 in a Glance

Hey everybody! As February break gets closer and closer, these are toughest weeks to be a middle school student, so keep it up! We have three great stories for you this week, in addition to a brand-new "letterbox" feature where we answer questions about past stories. Comment and enjoy!

-The 'Glance editors

By Rose Gotlieb

A group of armed protestors have been occupying a wildlife refuge in Oregon for weeks. They started to support two ranchers convicted of arson, but the protest grew much bigger, and they started to argue about what they call government overreach when it comes to federal lands.
Earlier this week, seven of the protestors, including their leader, Ammon Bundy, were arrested during a traffic stop. During the whole deal, guns were fired and a protester - identified as LaVoy Finicum - was killed. Protest leaders had been going to a community meeting when the authorities attempted to pull them over. One vehicle stopped, but Finicum did not, and ended up getting shot.
In the beginning, the protesters who were still there were standing their ground.  but Bundy told them they should stand down, (through a statement from his attorney, as he is in jail).

The Zika Virus
By Maddy Art

We are now well into winter, and even though western Massachusetts has seen virtually no snow (see Owen’s entry for national snow news), many of us may have begun to dread and complain about the mildly cold temperatures. However, I can guarantee that nobody is missing the buggy-ness of summer. Right, our good old friends the mosquitos. Forget about them? Well, not for long - the pests are making international news. Recently, a mosquito-carried virus called Zika has been in the headlines quite a bit. Zika has affected mainly Central and South America, with cases also in the Caribbean and Africa. Specifically, Brazil has recently seen a jump in the number of cases reported. Several cases have been reported in the United States and in Europe, but these cases were all contracted in foreign countries. So what are the symptoms of this ominous virus? Well, in most people, the virus brings fever, vomiting, joint and muscle pain, red eyes, and rashes. Having said that, the symptoms worsen when seen in pregnant women. For instance, birth defects (such as abnormally small heads) are found in infants whose mothers passed the Zika virus along to them. Currently, there is neither a vaccine or a cure, but that is a top priority of health officials at the moment.

Let it Snow
By Owen Tucker-Smith

Remember that snowstorm you heard about last week that you got all excited about? You thought, “yes, finally! I can ski, I can sled, I can build a snowman in a winter wonderland!” Well, it was a lose lose for you, because you didn’t get to ski, and you probably had to watch and hear about destruction occurring all over the country.

What exactly happened? Blizzard Jonas happened. Jonas went over the east coast and caused death, floods, highway closures, flight cancellations, and more death. Among the most affected were Jersey Shore, (they seem to always be a target) New York City, Washington DC, Baltimore, West Virginia, and Philadelphia.

What was the effect? As I said, Jonas canceled flights, closed highways, and killed thirty people across America. The result was probably the worst on the Jersey shore, which received major flooding. Remember Hurricane Sandy? That hit Jersey shore like crazy. The mayor says that this was worse than Hurricane sandy. The effect wasn’t as horrible in NYC, Philly, Baltimore, and D.C., who received more than two feet of snow, but it certainly got in the way. In West Virginia, there was forty-two inches of snow! (That’s the record for this storm) In D.C. voting was put on hold by the House of Representatives. This snow didn’t stop the WVU swim team, who just swam in the snow!

Legacy?  So this was a pretty big snowstorm? Understatement. This could have been the worst in decades! Some spots on the coast got it worse than others, but overall it made a pretty big impact. Many cities are still cleaning up after it.

The Letterbox

Planned Parenthood Shooting Follow-up
By Maddy Art

So a few weeks ago I covered Robert Dear’s Planned Parenthood shooting. We have received a request to keep you updated on Dear’s sentence. On November 30th, Dear attended his hearing through video feed, during which he said four words. He replied that he understood his legal rights and the charge he was faced with (first degree murder). Later, he said that he had no questions. So, Dear was pretty much just ears at his first court appearance. He was sentenced to life imprisonment at the least, and the death penalty at the most. At the moment, it is still unclear as to which punishment he will receive. The police believe the cause for Dear’s actions is his hatred for Planned Parenthood and a desire to end abortions. Again, funny that he deals with being “pro-life” by committing murder.

Russian Plane Follow-Up
By Owen Tucker-Smith

After I talked about the Turkish downing of the Russian plane, we got a message with some questions, just as who were the known passengers, could a war with Turkey and Russia start, and whether people could make an investigation to see exactly where the plane landed. The passengers on the plane were two pilots and supposedly no more; this was a warplane, not your standard United Airlines plane. One is reported dead, and what happened to the other is unknown. We do know that a marine that tried to save the pilots was also killed. As for a war, it is unlikely. Turkey and Russia have always had a pretty tense relationship, this isn't the first time Turkey complained of Russia being in its airspace. This relationship will continue to get worse, but these countries aren't ready to go to war. Click here to learn more about that. As for the location, it was quite near the border. Nobody knows exactly where it crashed, but each side says something a little different, even if they are both using “reliable data.” And who are “people?”

Global Warming, The Kyoto Protocol, and the U.S.
By Rose Gotlieb

So what’s up with this “Kyoto Protocol”? To start this, I'm gonna give you the low down on the Kyoto Protocal. It's basically an international agreement that commits its parties to "internationally binding reduction targets". Because developed countries are mostly responsible for the current high levels of green house gasses (GHG) emissions in the atmosphere, the protocol places a bigger burden on developed nations. It was developed in Kyoto, Japan, and entered into force on February 16, 2005. It's first commitment period started in 2008 and ended in 20012.

During the first commitment period, 37 industrial countries plus the European Community committed to reduce GHG emissions to 5% against 1990 levels. During the second, parties committed to reduce them by at least 18% below 1990 levels in the eight-year period from 2013-2020.

I don't know if that answers your first question, but the parties - so far - are keeping up with the Kyoto protocol.

An Update in the Polls

Because we haven’t been talking about the election, we thought we should at least distribute the current primary polls to you for the Republicans and the Democrats. Here they are: (source: HuffPost Pollster)

REPUBLICAN (top ten)

  1.  Donald Trump 36.1%
  2.  Ted Cruz 16.3%
  3.  Marco Rubio 9.8%
  4.  Ben Carson 8.3%
  5.  Jeb Bush 5.5%
  6.  Rand Paul 2.8%
  7.  John Kasich 2.6%
  8.  Chris Christie 2.5%
  9.  Mike Huckabee 2.1%
  10.  Carly Fiorina 2.0%
  1.  Hillary Clinton 50.3%
  2.  Bernie Sanders 35.8%
  3.  Martin O'Malley 2.2%

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Week of 1/18/16 in a Glance

Hoping this week's news keeps you informed!
Never Let a Scientist Name Their Kid
by Rose Gotlieb

What’s new in the science world? Well, for all you pluto-lovers, sorry… Earth’s not only dumped Pluto, it’s found a whole new planet to replace it. You want to guess what this new planet is being called? Planet Nine. Yeah, there’s some real creative genius. Researchers realized there might be something there when they caught sight of a bunch of objects orbiting the same thing. According to those researchers, “Planet Nine” is ten times bigger than Earth and way past Neptune.

Flint Water Crisis
By Maddy Art

    Take a big gulp of delicious, clean, Massachusetts water as you read this - and feel lucky you aren’t being poisoned. Two years ago, Flint, Michigan was in a financial state of emergency. To spare water costs, Michigan decided to switch Flint’s water source from the Great Lakes (the largest collection of freshwater bodies in the world) to the Flint River. The process was scheduled to take a few years, but it would eventually cut down costs. However, the plan was not without (major) flaw. Citizens began to notice the peculiar taste and color of their tap water. The cause of the color? Iron. The Flint River has an unusually high iron content, and the water was not being treated correctly. If this isn’t bad enough, the lack of water treatment also allowed lead from service lines to intermingle with the water. In case you do not know, lead consumption or poisoning can be extremely dangerous, and lead to poor brain development. Lead poisoning is more of a risk for children, both because children are more susceptible, and because their brains are not finished developing. State officials have known since 2011 that the Flint River water would be unsafe unless treated, but did the people know this? No! Children’s blood tests show that lead levels have doubled since they made the switch. Now, people are suing the state government for keeping them in the dark, which led to the governour officially apologizing. Results and a solution to be determined, hopefully soon.

This Week in Immigration
By Owen Tucker-Smith

Most likely you already know about illegal immigration. And you probably know that in this day and age, it is happening a lot, way too much for many people’s taste. Undocumented immigrants have been spilling into America more than ever for the past few decades. To put it simply, Obama’s against deportation, along with many democrats, but many are for it. Obama wanted to throw away the current policy when he took the white house, but things didn’t all go as planned...

What is the current state of Illegal Immigration? As I said, illegal immigration is currently occurring a lot. In 2012, 11.4 million undocumented immigrants were living in this country. Of these 11.4 million, 52% were mexican, 15% Central American, 12% Asian, 6% South American, 5% from the Caribbean, and 5% from Canada and Europe. As more and more illegal immigrants came into the US, policies have been put in place to control these illegal immigration rates. Obama doesn’t like these policies.

What did he do?  More than one year ago, Obama realized that congress wouldn’t stand with him. He didn’t care. So he, alone, tried to use his own power to stop more than four million immigrants from being deported from the US. That’s where checks and balances come in. All those states that really wanted to deport those immigrants naturally got mad. They sued, and won. Since then, Obama’s really been wanting his actions to be saved. He doesn’t want these immigrants to be thrown out of the county, but to be able to work in the US legally.

Anything recent? Yes. Recently the supreme court decided to look back to last year and pick Obama’s case up. They will work to decide if Obama can or cannot carry out his plans in immigration, if lower courts made the wrong decisions a year ago. Most likely, the court will actually rule in June this year.

June? That’s pretty close to when we’re gonna elect another president! Very true. By the time the court rules, Obama will only have a couple of months to carry out his plans. His hopes are that a democratic president will rise into the White House and follow his footsteps. On the contrary, presidential candidates on the republican side naturally believe that even if the court rules in favor of Obama, a republican president will win and end these plans.

Reference 1: Liptak, Adam, and Michael. "Supreme Court to Hear Challenge to Obama Immigration Actions." The New York Times. The New York Times, 19 Jan. 2016. Web. 22 Jan. 2016.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Week of 1/11/16 in a Glance

Hi everybody! We hope you all are surviving the cold and the end of the semester. This week we have three stories in store for you. Comment and enjoy!

Thanks for reading,
The Greylock Glance editors

Terrorism Around The World
By Maddy Art

This week, two major terrorist attacks have occurred in Europe and Asia. First, an explosion in Istanbul, Turkey killed ten people and injured fifteen more. The explosion was the result of a suicide bombing by an Islamic State (ISIS) operative. Because the bomber had come from Syria, and because German tourists were the main target of this attack, speculation is occurring as to whether the attack’s purpose was to decrease the amount of refugees that other countries will take. (Germany pledged to take A LOT of refugees). By having ISIS members appear to be refugees or other Syrians, ISIS makes countries less likely to take refugees. Just what they want. Then, Jakarta, Indonesia was hit with attacks similar to last year’s Paris attacks. Seven people were killed, some of whom were attackers. Because the Jakarta attacks mirrored the Paris attacks, and because ISIS threatened to attack Indonesia, fingers are once again pointing to ISIS. If you haven’t gotten the message, ISIS is nonstop and dangerous.

Golden Globes
By Maddy Art

What do Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Kate Winslet have in common? Obviously, they are all actors, but they also each won a Golden Globe on Sunday the 10th! The Globes this year consisted of J-Law and Amy Schumer’s adorable friendship, Jamie Foxx pulling a Steve Harvey whilst presenting an award, and, most importantly, Leonardo DiCaprio’s now-famous glance at Lady Gaga. For all of your award-show needs, here is a list of seven of the awards and winners.

Best Motion Picture, Drama
The Revenant
Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
The Martian
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama
Brie Larson, Room
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion PIcture, Musical or Comedy
Matt Damon, The Martian
Best Motion Picture, Animated
Inside Out

Obama Talks Progress
By Owen Tucker-Smith

On Tuesday, President Barack Obama gave his last State of the Union speech to congress, explaining that as a president he has improved the nation a lot. Obama elaborated on five important areas: the economy, the climate, foreign policy, healthcare, and social progress.

What is a State of the Union Address? Every year, the president gives an address to members of congress, the Vice President, the House Speaker, the cabinet, (except for one member that stays behind with important numbers such as nuclear codes) and the Supreme Court. This year the “lucky cabinet member” was Homeland Security Sec. Jeh Johnson. The address covers the state of the union in addition to his “game plan” for being president. This year was Obama’s last State of the Union Address, so it was much directed at how far we’ve come. So how did he explain how far we’ve come?

Economy: Obama explained that America’s economy had just risen up since he had entered the white house. When he took office, he saw the country in a state of horrible depression. Now, the unemployment rate is actually lower than it has been in all seven years and more. In addition, Obama explained that 14.1 million jobs were tacked to the the job market in the past seventy months.

Climate Change: Well, first Obama talked about that huge global warming meeting you’ve heard about. He said that now America is in the most ambitious agreement ever to combat climate change. So the country is at the head of this fight against Global Warming. Also he explained that a plan is in place that will lower the rate of carbon pollution (via power plants) 32% by 2030.

Foreign Policy: In addition to the global warming meeting we mentioned before, Obama claimed that America has done well with foreign policy in many ways. Obama said that he ended two wars, and he stopped Iran from owning a nuclear weapon. Every method of them being able to access a bomb is blocked. Also. the president talked about how things with Cuba are pretty good. (Diplomatic relations restored)

Health Care: You can guess what Obama talked about when it came time to mention health care. The Affordable Care Act. He explained that because of the act, 90% of Americans, for the first time ever, have coverage. In the act’s six years of existence, almost 18 million Americans have gotten coverage. And, up to 129 million with previously existing conditions can’t be denied or made to pay extra just because of their conditions.

Social Justice: Obama also talked about how far we have come in terms of the social element. For one, Bisexual , Lesbian, and Gay workers are now able to serve openly in the army. Also, Obama claimed that LGBT federal workers can be discriminated upon no longer.

What did he say needed improvement? For one, Obama wanted a larger focus on education, specifically affordable college costs and universal pre-k. Also, get a cure for cancer and lessen oil and coal in transportation systems.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Week of 1/7/16 in a Glance

Hi everybody! Hope you all had a good holiday. Due to Wi-Fi issues, we only have two stories today, but they are good ones. This week we have covered protests in the Mideast, and news on the gun control issue. Remember to comment and check out our instagram! Thanks for reading.
-Your Editors

Protests in the Mideast
By Owen Tucker-Smith

Last weekend, an event occurred that caused many protests in Bahrain, Iran, and Pakistan. These protests included the burning of Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Iran and a revenge threat, as well as peaceful protests. What could have caused this mess in the Mideast? Well, to put it very simply, Saudi Arabia.

Background? Saudi Arabia and Iran have never been good friends. Saudi Arabia is a mainly Sunni nation, and Iran is a mainly Shiite nation. Sunni and Shiite are both different branches of Islam. Over the years, the two countries have argued about many things, taking different sides in middle-eastern events such as the war in Syria. So what started to happen this past weekend was not at all good for their relationship, but it was not all that shocking.

So what exactly happened? Nimr Al-Nimr was a Shiite cleric that represented the Shiite minority group in Saudi Arabia group. He was known for being an activist, actually standing up against Saudi Arabia’s royal family. While Saudi Arabia doesn’t really like Al-Nimr, he is extremely popular among other Middle-Eastern Shiites. The country attacked him first by giving him a terrorist charge. This charge was for the protests he did in 2011. And he was killed over the weekend. Al-Nimr was executed not alone but with 46 others. As you could guess, many Shiites were extremely upset by this.

What did they do? Protest. As we said earlier, some people burned down the embassy of Saudi Arabia in Iran. In addition, Iran stated that they would get some real revenge. But when Saudi Arabia heard this, they just sent another bullet flying right back by cutting all diplomatic ties, or any peaceful relations, sending all Iranian diplomats in Saudi Arabia out.

In a Glance? Last weekend two major countries in the Mideast decided to make their bad relationship worse. Saudi Arabia executed a popular man, and that never ends well. It certainly didn’t this time, with protests happening all over the place. The Mideast is already juggling with a lot of bad events right now, such as the Syrian civil war and ISIS, so adding one more thing to the plate doesn’t seem to be helpful.

Tightening Loopholes
By Maddy Art

On Tuesday, Obama decided to take matters into his own hands when he announced some executive action on gun control. Currently, the definition for a gun dealer is very loose and has blurred edges. This makes it easier for buyers to find someone selling guns (but not licensed as a gun dealer) and to purchase a gun without a background check. Under this new action, background checks are expanded and all gun dealers are required to perform them. In addition, more funding is going to improve mental health treatment. Republicans are acting like this is too strict. Democrats are acting like it’s not enough. But certainly it is a step forward in the fight to decrease gun violence.