Feb. 25 – March 2 news stories
Hello and welcome to The Omitted by Freddy Brewster and T. William Wallin. We are journalism students at Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif. and decided to start a newsletter to provide our take on what is in and out of the news. The intention of this newsletter is to provide you with some of the headlines that fell through the cracks. We will mention a few big events and give some analysis, however we will mainly focus on what was left behind. We feel that this is important because these “omitted events” tend to influence our lives just as much as the mainstream announcements. Enjoy!
Monday Feb. 25
- Democracy Now! reported that the United Nations released a new report naming 2018 as one of the worst years on record for civilians deaths in Afghanistan since the War on Terror started. According to the report “the armed conflict in Afghanistan continued to harm civilians at unacceptably high levels in 2018, with overall civilian deaths, including child deaths, reaching record high levels.” The reported highlights that 10,993 civilians.
- According to Quanta Magazine, “computer simulations of clouds have begun to suggest that as the Earth warms, clouds become scarcer.” The article by Natalie Wolchover went on to suggest a global warming of nearly 54 degrees fahrenheit worldwide and highlighted that MIT climate scientist Kerry Emanuel called the prediction “very plausible.” This is very important to pay attention to because it is the first of such reports to suggest “a level of warming at which stratocumulus clouds break up altogether,” which are the type that “have by far the largest cooling effect on the planet.”
Tuesday Feb. 26
- San Francisco plans to wipe over 9,000 marijuana related convictions from the records as an “effort to rethink ‘the war on drugs,” according to the LA Times. The move could be ground breaking in setting a trend for undoing injustices that took place largely in minority communities. Los Angeles county alone has 40,000 felony convictions that date back to 1993 and California has been a model for other states to look towards for marijuana legalization and social justice surrounding the plant.
- Old news but recently reported on Democracy Now!, an Australian rodent called the Bramble Cay melomys has become extinct most likely due to climate change. News of the extinction came on Feb. 18 via an Australian government release. The report does not come right out and state the mammals extinction, but tucks away in a chart and only states “transfer from the Endangered Category to the Extinct Category.”
Wednesday Feb. 27
- Sacramento resident and Cambodian refugee Veasna Meth came to the U.S when he was less than a year old. Meth was deported in 2014 stemming from a burglary charge and was recently allowed to return home to Sacramento. Meth’s lawyer said he was only one of two other deported Cambodians to come back to the states since the Trump administration began visa sanctions on Cambodia in September 2017, forcing the country to take deportees. Over 700 Cambodian refugees have been deported from the US since 2002 according to an advocates report. While in Cambodia Meth worked ata T-shirt company which donates most its profits to Tiny Toones, a Cambodian charity run by another deportee.
- Axios reported that there have thousands of allegations of sexual abuse from minors in the custody of the U.S. government over the past four years. From October 2014 to July 2018, the HHS’ Office of Refugee Resettlement received 4,556 complaints, and the Department of Justice received 1,303 complaints. This includes 178 allegations of sexual abuse by adult staff. The documents were given to Axios by Florida Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch’s office. Deutch went on to say “it’s despicable, it’s disgusting, and this is just the start of questions that [Health and Human Services] is going to have to answer.”
Thursday Feb. 28
- A Saudi resident in Oregon hit and killed a 15-year-old American and Saudi officials helped him out of country via a private plane. A growing number of Saudi students who are facing serious criminal charges have been disappearing from the U.S. Federal agents are looking into whether or not the Saudi government is involved with helping them escape prosecution. Oregon is one of eight states in which Saudi immigrants have been accused of a crime, but snuck out of the country.
- Oregon governor Kate Brown signs the nations first statewide rent control law. The law will go into effect immediately and aims to “[cap] annual rent increases to 7 percent plus inflation throughout the state.” Pay attention to other states struggling with affordable rent looking towards Oregon as a model.
Friday March 1st
- Israeli soldiers may have committed war crimes in their response to Gazan protests, according to UN investigators. The UN report states that the commission found “grounds to believe that during the Great March of Return, Israeli soldiers committed violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.” The report goes on to claim that “more than 6,000 demonstrators were shot by military snipers, week after week at the protest sites by the separation fence.” Pay attention to how this unfolds because the US has routinely backed Israel’s right to “defend itself” from unarmed protesters.
- Tensions between India and Pakistan are escalating amid military escalations and suicide bombers. A recent suicide bomber killed 42 soldiers in the Kashmir region. The two countries are both armed with nuclear weapons and the back and forths are the deadliest conflicts between them in 30 years.
Saturday March 2
- Sacramento’s DA has announced she will not press charges on the officers that shot and killed Stephon Clark. Clark, a 22-year-old African American, was unarmed and shot eight times in the back in his grandmother’s backyard. The details surrounding the decision were released in a 61-page report by District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert. This case should be watched nationwide due to California state Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s decision to conduct his own investigation.
- Protests continue in Algeria with over 183 people injured and at least one person dead. This is the largest anti-government rally since the Arab Spring 8 years ago for Algerians. Tens of thousands are marching the streets calling for Abdelaziz Bouteflika to not run for re-election.
The big stuff
This week in major events featured former attorney to President Trump, Michael Cohen testifying before Congress, new sanctions on being issued on Venezuela, and a meeting between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
In a 10-hour long meeting with Congress on Feb. 27, Michael Cohen called President Trump “a racist, a conman, and a cheat.” Cohen, who worked for Trump from 2007 to 2017, went on to provide Congress with copies of checks he received from President Trump for reimbursement stemming from payoffs to adult film star Stephanie Clifford. Cohen also said that Trump knew about hacked DNC emails prior to their release by Wikileaks, and that President Trump directed Cohen to threaten journalists, high schools, and college boards to stop the release of President Trump’s school records.
Vice President Mike Pence announced new sanctions for Venezuela from Colombia on Feb. 25, aiming to “freeze the assets of the state-owned oil company,” according to NBC news. Pence told the unelected and self-proclaimed president Juan Guaidó that the US is “with you 100 percent.” The sanctions come after a shipment of aid into the country was blocked by President Nicolas Maduro.
President Trump and Korean leader Kim Jong-un met in Vietnam for the second time in just nine months for a two day summit. No nuclear deal was made between the two leaders and different stories ensued thereafter of what actually happened. Trump said Kim would denuclearize only a small amount for a complete lift of sanctions, Kim denies this. The first summit in Singapore between the two leaders went much smoother and had both sides signing an agreement that promised to work at denuclearizing the Korean peninsula. In Vietnam the two were unable to make any deals and called the summit off early. Trump also defended Kim who denies fault of the death of U.S college student, Otto Warmbier, who was killed while detained in a North Korean prison.