Finding More Planets In Case We Mess This One Up
Space is so cool. It’s a reminder that we are dust in the wind. And that the cosmos holds so much out there. Planet-hunters have found seven Earth-size planets that might support life, and they are only 39 light years away! Perhaps our grandkids will be colonizing these planets. Onwards and upwards!
|IN A NUTSHELL: MUST READ|
Manufacturing Discontent on Transgender Rights, the EPA, and the Affordable Care Act: Meanwhile on Earth, we are still figuring out how to live with one another. A few events in the US highlight this political-cultural-social cage fight. To start with, the Trump administration will no longer allow transgender students to pick their bathrooms of choice. This decision divided members of the new administration–Education Secretary Betsy DeVos did not want the reversal, while Attorney General Jeff Sessions did.
Recently released documents indicate that Scott Pruitt, the new EPA head, has very strong ties with fossil fuel lobbying groups. Pruitt has also said he isn’t sure that humans are the main reason for climate change. If climate change is real, then good thing we know there are other possible habitable planets in case we mess up this experiment called Earth.
As congressmen return to their communities, they are being greeted with an upswell of anger from their constituents. People attending these rallies are especially worried about losing their healthcare under the Affordable Care Act. A similar groundswell of people voicing their displeasure to their representatives occurred in 2009 and was dismissed by the Obama administration. Fast forward to present day, and the Trump administration is describing the same type of voter anger as “manufactured.”
It’s Not Margarita Day in Mexico: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Head of Homeland Security John Kelly will hold talks with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto this week to try and resolve multiple disputes between the neighboring countries. Likely topics for the meetings include deportations and border control, the infamous border wall, the North American Free Trade Agreement, and drug trafficking.
Mexico condemned the Trump administration’s new guidelines on immigration that enforce a provision of the US Immigration and Nationality Act. Specifically, the new rules direct immigration officials to return individuals from any country caught entering the US illegally to “the territory of the foreign contiguous country from which they arrived.” However, it remains unclear whether or not the US can force Mexico to accept deported Central Americans who illegally entered the US via Mexico. Mexico’s foreign minister said that his country would not accept the new rules and that he was prepared to go to the United Nations to ensure that the rights and freedoms of Mexicans are fully protected under international law.
|NUTS AND BOLTS: SHOULD READ|
Rough Sailing on the South China Sea: The Chinese government issued a strongly worded statement in response to a US report alleging that China built two dozen structures on the Spratly Island chain in the South China Sea. These concrete buildings house missiles that, along with the military-length airstrips already there, “could be considered a military escalation,” according to US officials. China has denied any wrongdoing.
The report comes as the US and Southeast Asian countries are becoming increasingly wary of China’s buildup. The disputed waters carry a third of the world’s maritime traffic. On Saturday, the US deployed an aircraft carrier to the South China Sea as part of “routine operations.” At a Tuesday meeting of ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the group stated it was “unanimous in their expression of concern about what they see as the militarization of the region.”
|KEEPING OUR EYE ON|
A Hard Rain’s Falling in California: California is seeing record rainfall after five years of drought. Earlier in the month, the threat of an overflowing dam north of Sacramento forced the evacuation of more than 180,000 people. Floods yesterday in San Jose forced 14,000 people to evacuate.
The Short and Sad Life of Kim Jong-nam: North Korea is not happy that Malaysian authorities are trying to discern the cause of death (apparent assassination) of the estranged half-brother of North Korea’s “Dear Leader.” Malaysian investigators have identified eight people who they believe were involved in Jong-nam’s killing. These investigators also want to question a senior North Korean diplomat in Malaysia after attempts to break into the morgue where Jong-nam’s body is located. Jong-nam claimed en route to the hospital that a woman had sprayed chemicals in his face.
|ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT|
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