Emma Peterson 5/26
Obama’s Speech about Israel and Palestine Borders

On May 19, President Obama gave a speech promoting peace between Israel and Palestine. There has been a dispute between Israel and Palestine about land borders for many years. There has been conflict between these two areas ever since Israel became a state in 1948, because Israel took over part of Palestine’s land. In 1967, the Six Day War took place, which was a major Arab attempt to take over Israel. As a result, borders were realigned. Israel has been trying to take over the West Bank by creating settlements in the area, however Palestinians have been living there. So, their dispute is between who should claim the West Bank. President Obama’s speech said that Israel and Palestine won’t have peace until they agree upon each other’s existence and allow each other to be their own nations with permanent borders. He thinks that they could solve their problem by going back to the border of 1967 as a starting point for negotiations, then work out a different border. What President Obama said in his speech is a change, however, because the United States has been supporting Israel and not the Arabs. But with this speech, Obama is publicly recognizing Palestinians and their rights.

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Lili Beatty 5/12
Mississippi River Crests in Memphis

The river rose up to 47.8 feet early Tuesday, far above the flood stage, but 4 inches lower than the predicted crest of 48 feet and is a foot lower than the record crest of 48.7 feet in 1937. They believe that it is supposed to stay at that level for several days before receding as the crest moves downriver. On Monday, in spite of existence, many people was set out to the riverside to have a look on the flood. County officials encouraged the residents to take caution, offering the same advice of keeping your distance until it moves on. Bob Nations, the direction of the Shelby County Office of Preparedness emphasized that the real flooding concerns weren't necessarily with the Mississippi itself but with tributaries like the Loosahatchie Rivers that feed into it. The county emergency officials thinks that about 3,000 properties are likely to be affected by the flooding. And 2,000 more could be affected if the river rises more, said by the city officials. The authorities of Memphis have been asking hundreds of residents to move to a higher ground. By Monday, about 400 people were staying in three shelters in the area, though others have left their homes. As crest of the river roll into Memphis, it began to go down to other areas. Upriver in Tiptonville, Tennessee, the officials are waiting for the water level to go down so they can check up on the estimated 75 homes that was damaged by the flooding. Monday morning, the Army Corps of Engineers opened the Bonnet Carré spillway, allowing the river to flow into Lake Pontchartrain so it relieves pressure as Mississippi move toward New Orleans. However, that doesn't seem to be enough, and the corps officials have asked permission from the Mississippi River Commission, a federal advisory agency, to open the Morganza spillway in Louisiana. The Morganza spillway has been opened once before in 1973, and even if it was opening partially, it still will result in widespread flooding that could affect thousands of people in southern Louisiana. Also, the officials have been going door to door in communities that would flood, urging them to move to a higher ground. For instance, Cornelius Holliday, 62, who stills lives in the house on North Stonewall Street, where he was born and raised. He insisted on not moving out and the Wolf River has settled into his backyard, where it has swallowed an old Chevy Corsica. He said that if the Wolf River comes toward his house, he will box his things up and wait with his wife in the attic.

Mississippi River Crests in Memphis -

Mississippi River Crests in Memphis -


Hannah 5/6
Record Flooding in South and Midwest

High water levels in the Mississippi River are creating massive flooding in the South and Midwest, from Minnesota to Louisiana. On Monday night, a levee at Birds Point, Missouri (on the Mississippi River) was intentionally breached to ease flooding in other areas. Because of the breach, about 200 miles of farmland in Missouri is flooding at a rate of 396,000 cubic feet per second. The risk of flooding in Cairo, Illinois has been lessened by the breach, and water level in the Ohio River has dropped 1.7 feet since Monday before the blast. A second blast to a levee occured on Tuesday in New Madrid, Missouri, with a third planned for Wednesday near Hickman, Kentucky. These other blasts, which are downstream of Birds Point, are intended to allow the floodwater to flow back into the Mississippi. The blasts seem to be working as planned, as the level of the Ohio River has fallen where it joins the Mississippi. Despite this, record crests and continual water pressure still endanger people in the Mississippi and Ohio river valleys and the National Weather Service is still predicting record or near-record flooding in many states.
The decision to breach the levees was a controversial one. Missouri officials took the Army Corps of Engineers to court, who breached the levee, questioning their authority to do so. They argued that it would take years, and millions of dollars, to fix damage on hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland. The decision to breach the levees was made by Maj. Gen. Michael Walsh, who said that without the blast, flooding would continue to threaten communities throught the river valleys. Many Missouri residents were angered by the decision because of the destruction it would cause, with uncertain benefit.

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Zachary Messina's Newscaster: Death of Osama bin Laden

On May 1, 2011 a U.S Navy SEALs team infiltrated a compound near Abbottabad, Pakistan. Right before this invasion, President Obama and U.S defense forces had a strong hunch that terrorist Osama bin Momammed bin Awad bin Laden or simply known as Osama bin Laden was inside and operating in said compound. On April 29th, 2011, after deciding that there was enough data and evidence to conduct the operation, U.S President Barack Obama approved a attack on the compound. Before the information on bin Laden’s possible location was known it was well thought that bin Laden was hiding somewhere near the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, but in fact he was hiding in a million dollar three story mansion not even a mile away from the Pakistani Military Academy which is compared to be the Pakistani version of the American West Point Military Academy.

Between 20 - 25 U.S Navy SEALs stormed the compound arriving from two helicopters. These men then stormed the compound and began a “firefight” with Osama bin Laden and his men. Osama bin Laden, three men, and one woman were killed in the firefight, no U.S forces of civilians were harmed. The woman that was killed in the fight was one of Osama bin Laden’s wife, and at the time she was being used as a human shield by bin Laden to protect him self. During the firefight bin Laden was shot two times, once in the left eye which dismembered part of his skull, and once in the chest. DNA taken from bin Laden’s body was matched with matter from his deceased sisters brain to conform that it was in fact Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden’s body was buried in the NorthArabia sea. His body was buried within 24 hours of deathwhich corresponds with Islamic custom. Other reasons for an ocean burial was that finding a country that would house bin Laden’s body would have been impossible and that the grave site could have been a site for militants to meet and cause havoc.



Last Sunday, the Syrian army was shooting down people everywhere in Homs, even though there were no protests there. Now, people around the nation want a new president that can give them freedom, like Libya, Egypt, and Tunisia. But, unlike those the government has complete control of the military and is using the entire army force to crackdown on the protesters. Already 300 have been killed across the country and hundreds have been arrested. The Baathist party, which is the party of the Arab world for 40 years has been using a tactic used by former President Hafez al-Assad, father of the current leader, Bashar al-Assad, against opposition forces led by the Muslim Brotherhood in Hama in 1982. Some 10,000 Syrians died as the town, Hama was virtually flattened by elite government troops. Tens of thousands of people have challenged the authority of the Syrian government. Our government and the Obama administration has begun drawing up targeted financial sanctions against President Assad and senior members of his inner circle. Since Saturday, the Syrian government has now been paying thugs and mercenaries to kill off any other protesters, even though the protesting have not yet posed a serious threat to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. So the Syrian government isn't taking any chances now they have seen what protesters can in other countries such as Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt. One of the other advantages the government has is they are ready for an anti-government protest.


The FAA has been beset recently with a series of incidents involving air controllers. Since March, five incidents of sleeping on the job have surfaced.It has already altered rules governing air controllers' shifts to try to tighten safety.The incidents sparked new rules to help keep controllers alert during graveyard shifts.The Federal Aviation Administration acknowledged that there is a widespread problem with fatigue among controllers and that the organization must institute changes in work schedules.Controllers will now have a minimum of nine hours off between shifts, instead of the current eight-hour minimum, LaHood said. That will apply when they swap shifts as well. Controllers can no longer be put on an unscheduled midnight shift following a day off.

19 February - a controller in Knoxville, Tennessee, made a makeshift bed and slept for five hours while on an overnight shift
23 March - a controller was caught sleeping on the job in Washington DC and was unreachable while two jets carrying 165 people landed
11 April - a controller in Seattle, Washington state, was caught sleeping on a morning shift
13 April - a controller in Nevada was asleep and out of communication for 16 minutes while a medical plane was landing
16 April - a controller in Miami, Florida, was found sleeping on the job
17 April - a controller in Oberlin, Ohio, was suspended for watching a movie on DVD while at his post
18 April - a plane carrying First Lady Michelle Obama had to abort a landing near Washington DC because it was too close to a military jet


Situation in Japan

On March 11, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck Japan. The force of the quake created a huge tsunami which hit northeastern Japan. The official death toll has passed 10,000 people, with over 17,000 still missing and hundreds of thousands more homeless or living in shelters. Recovering from the damage done by these natural disasters is estimated to cost 300 billion dollars. Nuclear reactors at a plant in Fukushima have lost their cooling ability and the government has urged people still living in a 20-30 kilometer radius of the plant to evacuate. High levels of radiation in water have also indicated a leak. Two of the plant's workers were recently hospitalized for being exposed to high levels of radiation without proper protection. Also, because of the radiation levels, many countries, including the United States, have banned shipments of food products from the Fukushima area.

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Lastest Developments in Libya

A pro- democratic movement has been sweeping the middle east and it reached the African country of Libya in January. Protests are fueled by the anti- Gadhafi groups frustrated with their leader and high unemployment rates. Five days after the fall of Egypt, February 16th, 200 protestors took to the streets in Benghazi. Recent events in Libya haven’t hinted at a resolution any time soon. On, wednesday Gadhafi’s regime announced a reward of $164,300 for information and $410,900 for the capture of the top opposition fighter, Mustafa Abdul-Jalil. Just weeks prior he was the justice minister for Libya. Libyans are now headed into their 4th week of civil war and as it now stands, Gadhafi still holds control of the capital, but is losing control of the opposition stronghold in Benghazi and eastern Libya. The death toll is estimated to range from 1,000 to 2,000 people, with another 215,000 stranded at both the Tunisian and Egyptian borders where they are sheltered in bad conditions. In response the U.N. World Food Program has initiated a $39.2 million emergency operation intended to provide food to more than one million people in Libya, Egypt, and Tunisia over a three-month period.

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Egyptian Protests Update

Overview: Protesters oppose Mubarak's 30 year rule. Mubarak refuses to step down immediately but says that he will surrender power when his term ends in September. Protesters say that is not good enough; they want him out now. Violence has arrose between Mubarak supporters and protesters. Overall, the situation is difficult for the United States because although we support democracy, the consequences that might come with the change are severe.
February 1st:
-Mubarak announces that he will surrender power when his term ends in September.
-About one million Egyptians protest throughout the country for Mubarak to step down now
February 2nd:
-Army called for protests to leave the streets but the troops made no attempt to intervene as violence breaks out between anti-government protesters and Mubarak supporters. Officials say that 3 people were killed and over 600 were injured
-Anti-government protesters say the attackers were police in civilian clothes
-A foreign ministry statement rejects U.S. and European calls for political transition to start immediately
February 3rd:
-Gunmen fire on anti-government protesters in Cairo and kill 10 people and injure 830.
-United Nations estimates that about 300 people have died in the unrest
-Mubarak says that if he leaves, chaos will break out
-Mubarak also claims that Muslim Brotherhood are behind the uprising
-Mubarak ordered police to retreat and let prisoners escape in hope that they would go and protect their homes
-He used hired thugs and statue security and told them to attack protestors
-Most businesses and schools have been shut for over a week
February 4th:
-Thousands of protesters gather in Tahrir Square to, again, demand the departure of Mubarak. They call it the “Day of Departure”
-Obama urges Mubarak to step down and advises him to listen to the protesters
February 5th:
-Gamal Mubarak, son of the president, resigns from leadership of Egypt’s ruling party
-Also, top leaders of the National Democratic Party resigned
-Obama changed his mind and said "he should stay in office to bring about the changes needed for a democratic transition."
February 6th:
-Opposition groups including the Muslim Brotherhood talk with the government, chaired by the vice president
-Protesters say that the demand for the removal of Mubarak is not met and both sides agree to draft a "road map" for talks and a committee is organized to study constitutional issues
-Banks reopen after a week of being closed
February 7th:
-Protesters vow to stay in Tahrir Square until Mubarak quits. The hope to protest on the streets on until the 11th
-Stock market remains closed
-Obama believes that Egypt is making progress


Molly Maguire (2/1)

Terrorism Explodes in Russia

On December 31, 2010, a very harmful bomb was set off in a sleazy motel room just outside of Moscow near the Domodedovo Airport while the most people were ringing in the new year. Only one Chechen woman described as “dowdy and cold” was killed that night, and three motel associates went missing. Ever since the Soviet Union split, Chechenya has sought independence from Russia; they acquired it in the First Chechen War, then were overtaken by Russian control during the Second Chechen War. Now, periodic fighting takes place between the two peoples. On January 24, 2011, a bomb was set off in the Domodedovo Airport which killed 35 people and injured over 100 at the scene. To many, the December 31st bomb seems like an introduction to the Domodedovo incident that officials failed to explore. Russia’s Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin claimed that there are no Chechen connections in these bombing events. Although many still believe it was Chechenya trying to threaten Russia’s control, Russia’s president Dmitry Medvedev announced it was a terrorist attack and evidence points to the radical Islamist leader of Nogaisky Djamaat. Full story at BBC News and TIME




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Riots in Tunisia

Many riots have broken out in the city Tunis in Tunisia the past weeks. The president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali or also known as Mr. Ben Ali fled the country after 23 years of rule. His family also had to leave, they went to a hotel in Paris and were not welcomed. Some say that the riots started when a college educated street vendor committed suicide in the Western city of Sidi Bouzid on Dec. 17. He was frustrated by the lack of opportunity and that you still could not hold a job even with education. Even though the government has changed the problem like poverty have not gone away. Days after the president left the streets that were once full of violence are now full of happy people thankful for a new start.
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Caroline P. (1/13)
Gabrielle Giffords is Target in Shooting Rampage
On Saturday, January 8th, Democrat Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head while greeting supporters in Tucson outside a grocery store. She has been a representative of Arizona’s Eighth Congressional District since 2007. Six people were killed and twelve others were injured in the shooting. One of the victims who died was a federal judge named John Roll. Another victim was a 9 year old girl who had just been elected to the 3rd grade student council. Her interest in government led her to see Gifford speak. Tragically, this motivated student was shot and killed. The suspect of the shooting rampage is a man who is identified as Jared Lee Loughner. Loughner, 22 had displayed some irregular behavior before the shooting and was dismissed from college because of his strange and alarming communications. Lougher had met Giffords at a similar function in 2007. Giffords is at the University Medical Center in Tuscon in the intensive care unit. She is increasingly getting better and was able to give a thumbs up, which doctors were very pleased about. Obama dedicated a moment of silence to the victims on Tuesday and went to Tucson on Wednesday to speak at a memorial service for the victims of the shooting. Obama’s visit will hopefully bring words of comfort to this community and the country. Story from: New York Times




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David M. (1/7)
Problems with Snow in New York
On Monday, December 27 a major snow storm swept across New England hitting every single state. Some states such as New York, were hit worse than the others. New York City got over a foot of snow causing major problems throughout the city. When the roads were plowed much of the snow was put on the sidewalks. They became covered with snow making it impossible for people to use them to get around the city. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said that he was "extremely dissatisfied' with the cities management system because it took them so long to clear the snow from the roads and sidewalks. The city hired 1,200 day workers to help clear the snow away from bus stops and crosswalks. Mayor Bloomberg took full responsibility, but still acknowledged that the cities 911 dispatch was overwhelmed with calls during the storm. Services such as trash pickup were suspend while the snow was removed from the streetswhich only caused more problems. By the time that the city was done clearing the snow, trash piles grew higher than the snow ever was. There was one good thing about the trash, it actually helped to save a man's life. The garbage on the side of the road broke the fall of a man who was trying to commit suicide. He jumped out of the 9th floor of a building in midtown Manhattan and landed in a large pile of trash rather than on the street which saved his life. The police did not release the man's name, but did say that he that was in critical care. New York Times




Wes C. (12/14)

Conflict Between North and South Korea

North and South Korea are having another major conflict. They have not had a major conflict since the end of the Korean War in 1953, but they have had minor skirmishes since then. On March 26, 2010, a South Korean warship was sunk killing 46 sailors. Seoul, the capital of South Korea, blamed a North Korean torpedo attack on the ship, but North Korean President Kim Jong-il declined responsibility for that action. This was the start of the latest conflict and since then things have been going back and forth between these neighboring countries. On the 29 of October of this year, these countries exchanged fire on land across their borders. Since it is now a conflict, the world is starting to get involved, and the U.S. has not only looked at the problem, but investigated the nuclear ambitions and what North Korea is doing about that. They may be enriching uranium for making nuclear bombs, but that is still undeclared. The most recent thing that has happened since the uranium incident was on the 23 of November. On this day North Korea shot shells at the island of Yeonpyeong in South Korea. This attack killed four South Koreans soldiers and wounded others. The tension between the two countries seems to be escalating, and nobody knows what is going to happen next, since North Korea may be getting a new president. His name is Kim Jong-un, and he is the youngest son of Kim Jong-il. Stories from BBC and Ny Times.






Grace K. (11/23)

Controversial Full-Body Scanners Installed in Many U.S. Airports

The full-body scanners being installed in airports all over the country contain just enough radiation to see through clothes and check for weapons and explosives, but, federal officials insist, much too little to be harmful. The TSA, or Transportation Security Administration says that one time through the scanner is equal to three minutes in an airplane that is 30,000 feet in the air, and much less radiation than even a dental x-ray would contain. They say that to be even the least bit harmful, fliers would have to go through the scanners the maximum number of times, 1,000, which pilots don’t even do. Yet many people are worried that if something went wrong, these scanners could become very harmful to fliers’. Many are so concerned, they refuse to go through them. The alternative option is an intimate or personally invasive “pat-down,” by a TSA employee, which many fliers are also against. The resistance of these new security systems is causing slow-downs in security lines, which could cause major challenges as we approach the holidays, a busy time of year for air travel. Full stories at New York and


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Both editorial cartoons from
Grace O (11/5)

On November 2nd the Republicans ended up taking the majority in the House of Representatives with 237 representatives and 184 Democrats. However, the Democrats have maintained control in the senate with 52 and the Republicans at 46. Because of the differential in representatives from Republican to Democrat many people are questioning if we will have a divided government. One recent issue that has come up between the two parties is Obama’s health care law. One part of this law states that people with serious medical conditions can no longer be shut down by insurance companies and there is no limit on their lifetime coverage. Representative and republican John Boehner is most likely to be the next speaker of the House. He called the law a "monstrosity" that had to be repealed out of "common sense". Before this had been said, Obama had called Boehner to congratulate him and voice his hope on the two parties working together. Apart from all of the questions this issue has raised it is unlikely that it will be repealed because it has to pass through the senate before it can be made official.

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Senate Results

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Ihila (10/27)

Maine’s race for governor has come down to five candidates. According to the latest poles, Republican Paul LePage is in the lead with Democrat Libby Mitchell and Independent Eliot Cutler tied for second. Trailing far behind are Independents Kevin Scott and Shawn Moody. The main issues that each candidate is addressing are the economy and the size and cost of the state government. LaPage wants to require poor people who depend on the government to work in community service in exchange for benefits. Cutler proposes an education plan that establishes charter schools, extends the school year, rewards teacher performance, and merges the community and university colleges. Michell supports tax break programs that encourage businesses to grow, like the state’s Pine Tree Zones. To cut government costs, Scott would offer state workers a 32-hour week. Moody favors lowering the state tax on business equipment. Between now and November 2, each candidate will try to win over as many voters as possible.
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