Current Events

 

Navy to Name Carrier after Pearl Harbor Hero 'Dorie' Miller
January 20, 2020
Doris Miller The U.S. Navy will name a new aircraft carrier after Doris Miller, an African-American World War II veteran. Miller rose to the occasion during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, manning a machine gun until he was out of ammunition. He was a mess attendant aboard the battleship West Virginia. When a Japanese torpedo hit his ship, he was sorting laundry. Eight more torpedoes hit the West Virginia that day, and the ship sank. Miller helped his captain, Mervyn Bennion, who was mortally wounded, to safety and then took to firing the gun. As his ship sank, he jumped to safety.

Impeachment: Opening Arguments to Last 2 Days
January 20, 2020
The House impeachment managers and President Trump's legal team will each have a total of 24 hours divided over two days in which to present their opening arguments in the Senate impeachment of the President. The trial will begin at 1 p.m. Eastern Time each day. After the opening statements have finished, the Senate will ask questions for a total of 16 hours. Senators will not ask the question directly; rather, the presiding officer, Chief Justice John Roberts, will officially present the questions to whomever they are directed. At that point, the Senate will vote on whether to have witnesses testify during the trial. If the Senate does decide to call witnesses, then they will depose each witness before that witness will be allowed to testify.

Presidential Defense Team Calls for Swift Acquittal
January 20, 2020
Now that the U.S. Senate has taken up the trial of President Trump on charges of two articles of impeachment, the White House has named the lawyers who will defend the President during the trial. The team includes current White House officials and longtime Trump legal associates. In their response to the two articles of impeachment filed against Trump by the House of Representatives, Trump's defense team called for an immediate acquittal.

House of Lords Amends Brexit Bill, Forcing Commons Revisit
January 20, 2020
Brexit The House of Commons will again have to vote on a Brexit deal, as the House of Lords has added an amendment to the bill that provides details for the United Kingdom's plan to leave the European Union. In its debate on the bill that the Commons passed, the House of Lords voted 270–229 to amend the bill with a requirement that the U.K. government give citizens of the EU who live in the U.K. physical proof of their right to remain after the split. Proof can be granted online but does not result in any hard copy of the status and so anyone who wishes to check such status must go online. The concern is that the lack of a piece of paper proving citizenship status could be harmful to many people. Under the U.K. constitutional system, any amendments to a bill go back to the House of Commons for consideration and can be overturned by the lower house. Effectively, the amendments make an even tighter timeline for the delivery of a deal to the EU by the mandated January 31 deadline.

Presidential Impeachment Trial to Begin
January 16, 2020

The U.S. Senate will now conduct the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and other House leaders have delivered two articles of impeachment to the Senate. The trial is expected to begin next week and last a few weeks. Yet to be determined is whether witness testimony will be included in the trial. The House Intelligence Committee had conducted hearings to investigate claims that Trump had put pressure on the government of Ukraine–specifically President Volodymyr Zelensky–to announce that it was investigating Joe Biden, a former Vice-president and then a potential (since formally running for President) presidential candidate. The details of the pressure involved allegations of withholding aid until the Ukrainian government made a public announcement that it was investigating Biden and, specifically, his son Hunter's dealings in Ukraine. That was not the only investigation that Trump wanted Ukraine to announce, according to the impeachment articles. The other investigation was to be into the conduct of Ukrainian officials during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign and whether those Ukrainian officials interfered with the U.S. election, which was won by Trump. The second article of impeachment charged that the White House refused to comply with House subpoenas for information and/or testimony in connection with the impeachment investigation and, further, that the White House directed other agencies in the Executive Branch to do the same.

U.K. Parliament Finally Passes Brexit Bill
January 11, 2020
The U.K. House of Commons has voted to approve the deal put forward by Prime Minister Boris Johnson with regard to leaving the European Union. Assuming approval by the House of the Lords, the bill will become law in time for the planned January 31 exit. The vote was 330 in favor and 231 against, much more than enough to pass the bill and much of a majority than had been hoped for during previous debates.

N.Y. Public Library's Top 10 All-time Checkouts
January 13, 2020
The New York Public Library is celebrating its 125th anniversary in various ways, one of which is the release of a list of the 10 books that have been checked out the most. Topping the list is The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats, with nearly half a million checkouts. It's the story of a red-snowsuited boy named Peter who enjoys adventures on the first day of snow in the city. Other familiar titles on the list include To Kill a Mockingbird, 1984, The Cat in the Hat, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Notre Dame Scaffolding Removal Tricky
January 6, 2020
A project to remove the scaffolding surrounding the Notre Dame Cathedral may damage the iconic building further, a French official has said. Gen. Notre Dame Cathedral scaffoldingJean-Louis Georgelin, who is overseeing the cathedral's reconstruction, said that the removal of the scaffolding would take many weeks because of the meticulous and careful nature of the activity involved. The symbolic Notre Dame Cathedral suffered extensive damage from a fire earlier this year. In order to remove the scaffolding, Georgelin said, workers will enact another set of scaffolding around the existing set, then remove the inner scaffolding bit by bit, taking care that nothing falls on the already damaged stone vaults. The fire brought down the spire and much of the existing scaffolding with it. Georgelin said that the workers would not hurry through their task and, once the scaffolding had been removed, inspect each and every stone and piece of wood remaining in order to discover the true extent of the damage.

1,200-year-old Gold Coins Found in Israel
January 6, 2020
Israeli coin hoardA dig in Israel has turned up 1,200-year-old coins that archaeologists say might have been a secret stash kept for a specific purpose. Digging at the city of Yavneh, the archaeologists found the seven gold coins hidden in a clay jug at the site at which also were found pottery kilns. One of the coins dates to the 8th or 9th Century, according to an Israeli coin expert from the Israel Antiquities Authority, specifically to the reign of Caliph Harun al-Rashid, who is thought to have been the inspiration for the famous One Thousands and One Nights stories. Also in the hoard are coins made by North African peoples; such coins are not often found in Israel.

1,000-year-old Mayan Palace Unearthed in Mexico
January 5, 2020

Archaeologists have found a Mayan palace last used 1,000 years ago near the popular resort city of Cancun, Mexico. The 20-foot-tall building is 180 feet long and 49 feet wide and, according to authorities at the National Institute of Anthropology and History, was probably used during two overlapping Mayan periods, the Late Classic and the Terminal Classic. That would have been during the height of Mayan civilization. Researchers also found two homes, an altar, and a round oven.

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David White