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UK wages drop among worst in Europe

UK wages drop among worst in Europe | Summertime Newsroom | Scoop.it
Wages in the UK have seen one of the largest falls in the European Union during the economic downturn, according to official figures.
Jason West's insight:

Summer Assignment Week 9.2

 

Bittersweet news for Americans that are tired of economic downturns: we are not alone in our suffering. When one area of the world is stricken with financial hardship, the shockwave generally hits other places as well even across the globe. The European Union (EU) knows this all too well. With their economies so closely linked, each EU nation feels a crisis regardless of where it occurs in the continent. Economic hardships continue for many (but not all) countries in the EU.

 

The debt crisis among EU nations has forced people in most of these nations to suffer depressing declines in wages. The decline in wages for people in the United Kingdom is among the worst felt by any in the 27 EU nations. Figures compiled by the House of Commons library indicate that average hourly wages in the United Kingdom had decreased by 5.5% since mid-2010. According to the same figures, only Greece, Portugal, and the Netherlands had worse falls in average hourly wages; thus the United Kingdom places fourth in this regard. Average wages across the Eurozone as a whole fell by 0.7%.

 

A huge problem that EU governments face is, in the case of economic recovery, ensuring that as many people as possible reap the benefits of improved living standards and lower costs. If only a fraction of the people feel the economy is improving, then the government still has plenty of work to do.

 

Although Economics Honors gave me such a better understanding of the economic world, I still have no idea how worldwide financial problems can be solved. I surely hope that those with the knowledge and ideas are being heard, and that those doing the listening have the means to act.

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US issues worldwide travel alert over al Qaeda threat

US issues worldwide travel alert over al Qaeda threat | Summertime Newsroom | Scoop.it
The United States on Friday issued a worldwide travel alert to all Americans through Aug. 31 due to an unspecified al-Qaeda threat that led to embassy closures. “The Department of State alerts U.S.
Jason West's insight:

Summer Assignment Week 8.2

 

As many people feared, including me, the terrorist threat is like intangible. Though the world has made so many moves to diminish al-Qaeda’s presence, the militant group is still very much a problem. Despite America’s achievements in strengthening the security capabilities of Afghanistan and subduing al-Qaeda’s leadership in Osama bin Laden, the threat of terrorism lingers on in the world.

 

The United States recently issued a worldwide travel alert through August 31 due to an unspecified al-Qaeda threat that led to number embassy closings. The alert said, “The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the continued potential for terrorist attacks, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, and possibly occurring in or emanating from the Arabian Peninsula.” The frightening alert was given after the United States closed all American embassies and consulates in the aforementioned regions on the grounds of possible terrorist activity by al-Qaeda and affiliated organizations. The United States has specified that the threat of planned attack existed only at overseas diplomatic posts and not those within U.S. borders.

 

Though the worldwide caution remains, let us hope that it is ultimately unwarranted. I believe as necessary as it is to ready our weapons and security, it is equally appropriate to ready our hearts because they are terrorism’s true target.

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Benjamin Ginsberg's comment, August 13, 2013 9:20 PM
What an ending, dude!
Patricia Everett's comment, September 1, 2013 3:30 PM
George Washington once suggested, "The most effectual means for preserving peace is to prepare for war," but I think your closing sentiment is more eloquent. :~}
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Lab- Grown Retina Transplanted Successfully

Lab- Grown Retina Transplanted Successfully | Summertime Newsroom | Scoop.it
Scientists have now successfully restored retinal cells in blind mice by transplanting light-sensitive photoreceptor cells in the retina. The cells were obtained from embryonic stem cells and were grown in a lab.
Jason West's insight:

Summer Assignment Week 7.2

 

Vision impairment and blindness are universal problems for animals. For us humans, such conditions are common with diseases like age-related macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, and diabetes-related blindness; the most pedestrian eye maladies in the United States. The leading cause of vision impairment and blindness in these diseases is loss of photoreceptors in the retina. According to the National Eye Institute, “About 40 to 45 percent of all Americans diagnosed with diabetes are at some stage of diabetic retinopathy.” For these people and others affected by vision impairment, there may be hope for them yet.

 

A research team of scientists at University College London (UCL) has used a technique pioneered by Japanese scientists to culture embryonic stem cells. The UCL scientists developed stem cells into light-sensitive photoreceptor cells. These immature cells were then transplanted in the retinas of blind mice. Only three weeks after the procedure, the blind mice retina began looking like that of a normal mouse.

 

The prospects of this are very encouraging. This new therapy could yield a virtually limitless supply of good retina cells that could be used to treat blindness. The thought that the blind could be able to see again is a truly happy one. If all goes well and the new therapy is perfected and standardized, the ramifications could be revolutionary. I would love to see this pan out because it’s pretty awesome.

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U.S. Intelligence Confirms Latest Israeli Strike Inside Syria

U.S. Intelligence Confirms Latest Israeli Strike Inside Syria | Summertime Newsroom | Scoop.it
Israel has now struck inside Syria three times since the civil war there began in 2011, report Josh Rogin and Eli Lake.
Jason West's insight:

Summer Assignment Week 6.2

 

It seems like ever since the UN granted autonomy to the state of Israel on May 14, 1948, the Israelis have been fighting their neighbors. The day after the UN Partition Plan went into effect, Israel’s Arab neighbors in Palestine took up arms and started a war that would rage on for years.

 

More recently, Israel has focused on combatting the Bashar al-Assad regime and Russian influence in Syria. There have been claims that reluctance of the Obama Administration to more strongly assert America’s hand in the matter has left a security gap in Syria and the Middle East. The Israelis believe that they are responsible for filling the gap and taking action in Syria. Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu had said that his policy in the Middle East “is to prevent the transfer of dangerous weapons to Hezbollah and other terror groups, Hezbollah in Lebanon and other terror groups as well. And we stand by that policy.”

 

The Israelis have indeed taken action as the Defense Intelligence Agency has reported. A recent Israeli military air strike targeted a Hezbollah weapons depot containing advanced Russian-made weaponry within Syrian borders. This attack is the third Israeli strike inside Syria that United States Intelligence is sure of.

 

Despite the fact that plenty of action has been taken by multiple international entities to bring stability to the Middle East, I do not believe the wars will stop. The hatred and hostility in the hearts of the fighters cannot be eradicated with missile strikes and gunfire. It’s not as much a war over land or resources as it is a conflict between ideologies. The differences in ideologies between the combatants have festered into contempt for whole races and ethnicities. Sadly, such war cannot be ended by traditional means of combat.

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LOOK: Man From Iconic Boston Marathon Photo Walks

LOOK: Man From Iconic Boston Marathon Photo Walks | Summertime Newsroom | Scoop.it
Jeff Bauman, the Boston bombing victim who’s become the face of resilience since the attacks, recently took his first steps toward independence.
Jason West's insight:

Summer Assignment Week 5.2

 

Perhaps one of the most tragic events to hit the streets of Boston, or even in the whole country for that matter, the infamous Boston Marathon Bombing (as they will surely be known) broke millions of hearts and devastated families from all over. Certainly there is great sadness still surrounding the event and our hearts are still with all whose lives were so dramatically altered by what happened. Though I know the sadness cannot just be forgotten, let’s take a moment to check out what makes America and people in general so great.

 

Despite the physical and emotional scars of having his legs destroyed by the bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, Jeff Bauman walks again.

 

Resilience is a truly amazing attribute of the human heart and mind. In the hospital after having witnessed the tragedy on the streets of Boston, Mr. Bauman’s heart was probably filled with a lifetime of sadness and pain. Surely the thought of losing the use of one’s legs is a tough enough pill to swallow by itself. Alas, here Mr. Bauman is taking steps once again. Behold the strength of the human spirit, coupled with another’s ingenuity. This is all it takes to reopen doors that were once thought to be closed and barred forever. While we do grieve on, let us not forget that there is always more we can do than shed tears. Especially those who have been brought down so low in spirit, can still reach new heights.

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Chicago 'mayhem' prompts politician to call for National Guard

Chicago 'mayhem' prompts politician to call for National Guard | Summertime Newsroom | Scoop.it
The onslaught of gun crime in Chicago has spurred members of Congress to convene a  summit on urban violence and prompted a state lawmaker to demand the National Guard be called in to stop the “mayhem.”...
Jason West's insight:

Summer Assignment Week 5.1

 

Gun violence in Chicago has gotten out of hand. As state Representative Monique Davis said, “Every single day we wake up in the city of Chicago, some child, some young adult, some African-American male has been murdered.” This is a horrible crisis that would have continued to escalate had Governor Pat Quinn not called in the National Guard to help the epicenter of gun violence in the nation. The fact that many of the victims of gun violence are young, African-American males prompts people to label the mayhem as gang violence. Whether the violence be organized or unorganized does not matter, it must be stopped either way. When people fear going outside of their homes, in their own city, among their own neighbors, then whatever the threat may be must be eradicated. If such a fear exists on a daily basis, then drastic measures must be done. Security is not a privilege in the United States, it is a necessity and I even say it is a right.

 

I hate gun violence. How does one interpret the Second Amendment to mean that you can bear arms and shoot your neighbor? Your brother? Your lover? Gun owners should be lucky that I have no high seat of power because I would swipe every firearm out of their hands. With some conservatism of course, I understand hunting may very well require a firearm. I comprehend the difference between a hunter and a miscellaneous gun owner; one could be hunting dinner while the other could be someone looking to get the “final word” in on an argument. I suppose gun enthusiasts should be free to have their collections. Regulation is not only possible, but also mandatory. If the ownership of guns can’t be controlled, how about the ammunition? There are ways.

 

Bottom line: the law must change. Those who defend the Second Amendment defend a right that was originally granted when police forces did not exist. Sometimes I wonder how many police forces we could bolster using just some of the money spent on guns in this country. Time changes and as it does so, as it advances, so must the law. We see the problem of time outrunning the law in the widespread disputes about abortion and immigration reform. The law has to keep up or else we all might need guns.

 

So I ask you America, guns or butter? (Econ reference…)

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Venezuela, Nicaragua offer asylum to NSA leaker Snowden

Venezuela, Nicaragua offer asylum to NSA leaker Snowden | Summertime Newsroom | Scoop.it
The presidents of Venezuela and Nicaragua offered Friday to grant asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden, one day after leftist South American leaders gathered to denounce the rerouting of Bolivian President Evo Morales' plane over Europe amid reports...
Jason West's insight:

Summer Assignment Week 4.1

 

The Traitor. Weasel. The Revealer. The Voice. The Truth. “Snowdone.” These are all names I have heard in reference to the 29-year-old NSA leaker Edward Snowden. With the weight of covert operations being too much to handle, Snowden fled the NSA and the country with valuable information in his head. A host of countries throughout the world expressed interest in granting Snowden asylum within their boundaries. The likely reason behind the eagerness to welcome Snowden is that others want access to the information between Snowden’s ears. Two of those countries, Nicaragua and Venezuela, have just recently offered sanctity to the NSA leaker.

 

President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua offered Snowden asylum during a speech in Managua. Though Ortega offered asylum “if circumstances allow it,” he failed to explain what those circumstances might be.

 

In Venezuela, President Nicolás Maduro offered the American asylum during a speech honoring the anniversary of Venezuelan independence. Madura said, “As head of state, the government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela decided to offer humanitarian asylum to the young American Edward Snowden so that he can live (without) ... persecution from the empire,” (the empire being the United States).

 

If the common citizen knew every thing that the government does, whether good or bad, whether necessary or superfluous, the citizens would most likely be mortified. In order for a country to run as smoothly as possible, I believe the government needs to know things that the people don’t. The government must carry out certain actions that not every citizen would approve of. The superpowers of today’s world are in the Digital Age and are aging quickly (sadly, many countries are years behind). In this age, information is power and advancement is the key to retaining power. When citizens complain about the government “spying on their cell phones,” or whatever the case may be, I wish they would consider if they really want to know about it. With knowledge comes power; but many people forget the burdens and complications that come with such power. Espionage in the Digital Age is going to exist, as it has for thousands of years. It is the key to acquiring knowledge, and thus, power. I for one would sleep better at night thinking we are the most powerful country, rather than staying up late worrying that I do not know everything my government or other governments know. Ignorance is bliss!

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Official says Nelson Mandela on life support; Zuma cancels travel plans

Official says Nelson Mandela on life support; Zuma cancels travel plans | Summertime Newsroom | Scoop.it
South Africans lit candles outside the hospital where Nelson Mandela lay Wednesday as an official says the former president is on life support.
Jason West's insight:

Summer Assignment Week 3.1

 

From continent to continent, across the oceans, people all over have heard of Nelson Mandela; he who has lived in chains and been spat upon by his enemies all for the sake of saving his people. A remarkable man, Mandela has made admirable humanitarian efforts that have become world-renowned. Surely his actions and attitude have inspired millions around the globe. Mandela is hailed as the “founding father of South Africa’s multiracial democracy” which was built atop the ruins of the Apartheid regime.

 

The turmoil surrounding the life of Nelson Mandela continues, however, on a sadder note. The loyal South African supporters of the Great Mandela, whose actions and words gained the worldwide attention needed to end the oppressive Apartheid program in South Africa, have hosted a vigil in his honor outside of the hospital where Mandela is currently struggling for his life. Officials have reported that the 94-year-old international figure is on life support, but he continues living. A recurring lung infection has kept him hospitalized since early June.

 

Being of distant African descent, being a black progressive, and after reading the Power of One two years ago, the news that Mandela is in critical condition really hits home. It’s a sad day when any of our beloved leaders or models, many of whom have really struggled enough on their lives, must fight just to keep breathing. I wish him the best.

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'Day of honor': Afghans take over national security from US-led forces

'Day of honor': Afghans take over national security from US-led forces | Summertime Newsroom | Scoop.it
KABUL, Afghanistan – U.S.-led troops handed complete control of security to Afghanistan authorities Tuesday – an act of faith in country’s fledgling police and army in the face of near-constant insurgent attacks.
Jason West's insight:

Summer Assignment Week 2.2

 

For over a decade now the United States has shipped its sons and daughters across waters in an attempt to achieve stability in some Middle Eastern lands. Based on conversation and research, it seems that many Americans are increasingly frustrated with U.S. involvement in the war overseas; among such individuals are those who have personally entered the battlefield and those whose loved ones have experienced the combat. Though the believed necessity of the war varies from person to person, the bottom line is that Americans want their brothers and sisters to return home to them to be welcomed as heroes.

 

The reality of the whole situation is, we’re getting there. A huge milestone has been reached in terms of achieving America’s goal of eradicating Taliban influence in Afghanistan and surrounding countries. United States-led troops have granted the complete control of security to Afghan police and the Afghan Army of 325,000 strong. As said by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel regarding the day of the formal transfer of responsibility, “Today is a day for all Americans to take pride in the hard work our service members and their civilian counterparts are performing every day in Afghanistan.” I, of course, believe Americans should be proud in that they have expended great energy and ample resources in their attempt to better the lives of people in foreign lands, even though the process was no walk in the park.

 

I have no true experience of war; however if it truly is any worse than how folks at home feel when longing for their relatives and friends to return, then there is no place for it in someone’s heart, whether man or woman.  Any who have been involved in the war effort, from the active soldier abroad to the domestic active supporter, must be proud that such a day has come. We are closer to putting this whole mess behind us.

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The Supremes Get It Right, Naturally.

The Supremes Get It Right, Naturally. | Summertime Newsroom | Scoop.it
Yesterday the Supreme Court surprised all by delivering a sane, scientifically and morally sound decision on gene patenting. Sam Kean on the implications of the ruling.
Jason West's insight:

Summer Assignment Week 1.2

 

Sometimes, when all the stars are aligned, multiple entities within the United States government agree upon the course of action regarding an issue.

 

In the 1990s when Myriad Genetics achieved patents on two genes that they managed to isolate, scientists in cooperation with the American Civil Liberties Union took legal action against the patents. By traditional definition, a patent is a government-granted exclusive right to a manmade construction, whether physical or mental. This patent by Myriad Genetics has been just one of many to come about. In one sweeping motion, the Supreme Court ruled against gene patenting. This ruling, I believe, has enhanced the role that genes will play in the future of the medical economy by allowing for competition in the areas of gene testing and treatment.

 

The true beauty of this event, however, is that the Supreme Court’s ruling was in concordance with President Obama’s agenda. The Obama administration urged the elimination of such patents due to their detrimental effects on the economic and research aspects of medicine. Thus, beautiful things can happen when plural branches of the United States Government are in agreement.

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Surveillance Reforms: Obama's Specifics

Surveillance Reforms: Obama's Specifics | Summertime Newsroom | Scoop.it
President Obama called for broad changes to U.S. domestic surveillance policy on Friday, but what did he specifically propose?
Jason West's insight:

Summer Assignment Week 9.1

 

I’m sure everybody was expecting the Obama Administration to answer for Edward Snowden’s dissent with the NSA. The leakage of valuable United States intelligence (and methods of obtaining said information) can be extremely detrimental to a country in an age where information is power. Following Snowden’s masquerade with asylum suitors, it was time for the White House to make its move to reassure the disgruntled public. The People were most unhappy with U.S. domestic surveillance policy.

 

President Obama has laid out his specifics and answered the call to achieve “transparency” and public “confidence.” His proposals call for more information regarding surveillance programs to be revealed to the public. He plans to work with Congress to reform Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, which essentially is what has enabled the National Security Agency to act as the ultimate creeper on our cell phones and on the Internet. These among other things constitute the Obama Administration’s response to the now infamous NSA leaker’s escapade.

 

Although I believe that the government should be allowed certain privacies when it comes to federal actions, I truly hope President Obama’s surveillance reforms will ease the hearts and minds of the people. Obviously, it is important for the people to have faith in their government; but at the same time they must understand that not everything can be written out for them. There are things that go on behind the scenes that are better left unseen and unknown by the public. ‘Tis a tough pill to swallow, but a necessary one.

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Student abandoned in prison cell gets $4.1m payout

Daniel Chong faced no charges but was seemingly forgotten and endured four days locked up in isolation without food or water
Jason West's insight:

Summer Assignment Week 8.1

 

I have heard countless stories of blunders thus far in my life; some funny, others morbid. However I have never witnessed a blunder as this…

 

Daniel Chong, 23, and a few of his friends had been detained during a drug raid carried by the DEA that uncovered 18,000 ecstasy pills, other drugs, and weapons. After officers decided against pressing charges against Chong, they left him in the isolation cell and one said, “Hang tight, we’ll come get you in a minute.” Unfortunately, the next “minute” turned into a scarring ordeal that Chong had to face alone. I suppose the officers forgot about the young man because they didn’t return. Chong was left isolated in the cell without food or water. The urge to survive drove Chong to drink his own urine, as it was the best nourishment available to one forgotten in a prison cell. By the third day, Chong began hallucinating that the agents were trying to poison him by releasing gases into the cell through the ventilation system; hallucinating that the DEA officers were trying to carve a farewell message to his mother into his arm. Only after four days of such inadvertent torture was Chong discovered in his cell.

 

Recalling the event, the now 25-year-old Chong claimed that after the third day he accepted the possibility of death. He could tell he was losing himself. I admire him for lasting that long, truthfully. It’s cool how when humans are in extreme situations, their brain seemingly knows what the body must do to survive and dictates it to do so. I mean, to drink your own urine off of a metal bench? I can’t even imagine the mental and physical stresses required for one to resort to such a thing.

 

The court case that followed his rehabilitation was settled with a $4.1M payout and a formal, public DEA apology for the accident.

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American woman among 80 killed in Spain train crash; driver detained

American woman among 80 killed in Spain train crash; driver detained | Summertime Newsroom | Scoop.it
The driver of the train that crashed in Spain, killing at least 80 people including one American, was detained and put under formal investigation Thursday after security video showed the train derailed after speeding around a tight curve.
Jason West's insight:

Summer Assignment Week 7.1

 

Whenever tourists are concerned, public transportation is often the preferred method of traveling when in the new state or country. Countries in Europe like Spain and France have metro-like trains that are comparable to those that facilitate travel in many cities of the New England states and on the east coast of the United States. Generally, when tourists board such trains, they think little about who’s driving because they are so concentrated on where they are going (this is to be expected, I do it too). It is common to just have genuine faith in whoever might be driving; only rarely does a driver do something to jeopardize that faith.

 

In Spain, 52-year-old train driver Francisco José Garzón Amo recently sped his way into a disaster. "I should've been going 80 [49 mph] and I was doing 190 [118 mph]," he explained to the train operator’s emergency service. The train’s derailment and ensuing crash into a nearby wall cost 80 passengers their lives and injured dozens of others. Among those killed was Ana-Maria Cordoba, a Virginian woman who was vacationing with her husband and young daughter (both of whom are now in stable condition). Following the horrible accident, the train’s driver was detained and will be subjected to a formal investigation.

 

It’s wild how some of life’s saddest or hardest moments can be avoided by doing simple things like wearing your seatbelt, looking in two directions instead of just one, or following the speed limit. I’m sure there is an old adage that expresses how the little things can make a big difference. For the driver, I am sure it is difficult to think that the speed at which he took the turn was the difference between life and death for all of those people. I see this as a very tragic life lesson: even a 30-year veteran with the train firm and more than a decade of driving experience is capable of such costly blunders.

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North Korea to Panama: Release our ship carrying arms

North Korea to Panama: Release our ship carrying arms | Summertime Newsroom | Scoop.it
North Korea is demanding the release its cargo ship carrying rockets, missile parts and even a couple of Cold War-era fighter jets, which was seized by Panama. The suspicious cargo, loaded in Cuba, was found concealed under sacks of brown sugar.
Jason West's insight:

Summer Assignment Week 6.1

 

The aggressive nature of North Korea’s international relations under Kim Jong Un have gained the country very negative publicity. The threats the North Koreans have made have soured diplomatic relations with many countries, including the United States, to the point where countries have readied themselves for long-range missile warfare. Though many doubt the legitimacy of President Kim Jong Un’s threats, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

 

In this instance, Panama has seized a cargo ship headed through the Panama Canal. The ship departed from Cuba en route to North Korea. The Panamanian officials halted the ship in its wake on the suspicion of drug smuggling. The ship captain and crew (all 35 members) were all detained after a brief standoff. Though smuggling was taking place, no drugs were involved. Buried under 240,000 sacks of Cuban brown sugar was an assortment of combat technology and machinery: two MiG-21 fighter jets, two anti-aircraft batteries, 15 jet engines, and nine dissembled rockets. When asked about the nature of the shipment, Cuba claimed the small arsenal was headed to North Korea for repair. Even so, this shipment of arms to North Korea is in clear violation of U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1718 (2006) and 1874 (2009). These resolutions established an arms embargo on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Under them, all member states shall “prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer” to North Korea of such armaments.

 

I don’t think this looks good for Cuba at all. There is little the Cubans can do to make it look like they are not in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions. Attempting to supply the North Koreans could prove very detrimental to Cuba as far as international relations go. However, I don’t think the United States will take as firm of a stance against Cuba as it has against North Korea for the sake of improving the Cuban-American relationship. Improving this relationship has been an elusive goal over the past several years, but I would like to see it accomplished.

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Motorcyclist Saves Cup

Good deed accomplished!
Jason West's insight:

Having Fun With Summer Assignments

 

I will now take this time to praise the American citizen...what a bro

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Patricia Everett's comment, September 1, 2013 3:31 PM
:~}
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Obama urged to halt Ramadan force-feeding at Guantánamo

Obama urged to halt Ramadan force-feeding at Guantánamo | Summertime Newsroom | Scoop.it
Islamic leaders call on administration to rethink policy towards hunger-striking detainees during religious fast
Jason West's insight:

Summer Assignment 4.2

 

In 2002, the Bush Administration established a detainment and interrogation facility within the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba. The facility would hold individuals determined to be opponents in the Global War on Terror. Even those outside of Guantánamo Bay’s prison walls fear the detainment facility.

 

Most detainees in Guantánamo practice the Islamic faith. One of the Five Pillars of Islam is that Muslims must observe the holiday of Ramadan, which calls for day fasting and prayer. The practice in itself is normally harmless and non-problematic, unless of course those observing in Ramadan are among the detainees in Guantánamo who are participating in hunger strikes. Guantánamo Bay prisoners, like all other United States prisoners, have minimalized rights. The freedom of religion as granted in the Free Exercise Clause is no exception to this. Thus, force-feeding the hunger-striking inmates in Guantánamo continues even during the holy month of Ramadan when Muslims should be fasting.

 

This practice of force-feeding during Ramadan has been widely condemned by the leaders of the world’s Islamic community. Pressure has come from all corners of the globe to urge the current Obama administration to rethink the force-feeding policy during Ramadan. I echo the Islamic plea in this situation because I believe so incredibly strongly in respecting other cultures and religions. Ethics often go to the wayside when prisoners are considered; however having respect for the cultural practices of others is a must. I say during Ramadan, no force-feeding because it is central to honoring cultural differences. After all, it is only a month long.

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Brazil protests show cost of hosting major sports events - World - CBC News

Brazil protests show cost of hosting major sports events - World - CBC News | Summertime Newsroom | Scoop.it
One of the themes emerging in the protests in Brazil since mid-June is concern over the costs associated with Rio hosting the 2014 World Cup of soccer, as well as public enmity toward FIFA, the international soccer body.
Jason West's insight:

Summer Assignment Week 3.2

 

FIFA, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, has honored Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with hosting the 2014 World Cup of football. With Brazil’s long history of being one of the world’s football powerhouses, it almost seems fitting that they host the World Cup. Currently, the Brazilians are hosting the Confederation Cup, an international football tournament featuring Spain, Uruguay, Japan, and several other countries. Football fans worldwide know that Brazil is the hotspot for international football in 2013 and 2014. The revenue going to the Brazilian government and to FIFA for the 2013 Confederation Cup and the 2014 World Cup is in the billions, nearly four of them (costs of facilitation will detract from this). As Brazilians do love their football, most are ecstatic about all the action in their country; but as to be expected, there are some outside of the popular opinion…

 

Many Brazilians have erupted into protest. With the Confederation Cup underway and the World Cup to come to Rio next year, the major economic and social costs hit the Brazilians the hardest (not the government, but the people!). While millions of tourists come to Brazil to partake in these great football events and spend millions themselves, the cost of facilitating them is paid for by the Brazilian citizens through taxes and sacrifices. Taxes are mainly on public transportation, as the people complain about soaring bus rates and such. Sacrifices made by the Brazilian citizens come in the form of government spending cuts in education and public facilities. To the protestors, the economic benefits and recreation are outweighed by the social and economic stresses the events cause among the domestic population. I do not doubt that the protests around the Confederation Cup will rage on and, as the World Cup approaches Rio, will rage more intensely.

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17 Seconds, 2 Goals and a Victory

17 Seconds, 2 Goals and a Victory | Summertime Newsroom | Scoop.it
Bryan Bickell and Dave Bolland scored 17 seconds apart in the third period to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead for the Blackhawks, who won their second title in four seasons.
Jason West's insight:

Having Fun With Summer Assignments

 

What am I doing? The seriousness of my scoops is ridonkulous. I need to put it on hold. Wait, why am I even typing this? I should be tweeting this. Hold on…

 

Ok! Now picture this: the Boston Bruins (only hockey team I knew about) and the Chicago Blackhawks are tied in a series two games a piece, and the fifth game is being held at Boston Gardens just a couple miles away from where Jason and his friends are enjoying their camp. We’re all in our dorm suite tracking the game and attacking a feast-sized order of various foods from the nearby China Wok. I am not one to have an active interest in hockey normally, however when I was with friends as passionate as my camp friends were about this game their interest rubbed off on me.

 

I was caught up in the drama of the game, which turned out to be a miraculous win for the Chicago Blackhawks in the waning seconds of the last period of the game. In the final 17 seconds, the Blackhawks (down one goal to the Bruins’ two) launched a lightning quick offense that resulted in two goals and their second Stanley Cup in the last four years. The one and only hockey game I have paid attention to in my life turned out to be one for the history books. Many consider Chicago’s comeback victory against Boston’s finest, who were playing in their native land, to be the greatest comeback on the ice.

 

The game was extremely intense and seemed like the perfect game for a team to win a championship. There was much gloating from the few Chicago representatives at the camp the following morning. I for one could not take part in any celebrations or grieving because I had not supported either team, rather I rooted for a good game and so it was.

 

This was more “story time” than it was “scoop-it time.” Sorry. I hope you enjoyed my anecdote!

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In Partisan Vote, House Approves Ban on Abortions After 22 Weeks

In Partisan Vote, House Approves Ban on Abortions After 22 Weeks | Summertime Newsroom | Scoop.it
The House of Representatives approved a bill that would ban abortions after 22 weeks of pregnancy in a largely symbolic vote.
Jason West's insight:

Summer Assignment Week 2.1

 

The legality of abortion has been a raging issue in American politics for years because it requires any debater tackling the issue to assess how their religion, morality, and party allegiance impact the way they feel about the topic. There are those who could immediately outlaw abortion due to the conflict it presents with their ideological beliefs; those who would endorse abortion as a clear expression of personal inalienable rights; and those who are convinced that the legality of abortion means absolutely nothing to them.

 

Politicians do not have the same freedom as many people do: they have to decide when it’s time to discuss and vote. Legislation regarding abortion just recently hit the House. The proposed legislation bans any abortion after 22 weeks of pregnancy. Supporters of the legislation voted in favor on the basis that fetuses after the 22-week period can feel pain. Though the vote passed with a 228-to-196 vote, the division was mainly along party lines. The Republican dominion in the House gained the legislation House approval; however, the Democratic majority of the Senate will surely combat the legislation furiously.

 

To me, abortion is such a touchy topic when one truly considers all relevant information: rape; reason behind individual abortion cases; the economic impact of completely outlawing abortions. I am so very thankful I am not the politician required to vote YEA or NAY. According to my moral fibers, I agree with the House’s passage of the legislation because the thought of harming a baby, before it even truly knows what pain is, sounds unthinkable. I feel it’s one step in the right direction, considering the concept of life and the protection of a woman’s God-given capability to create life. However, when it comes to accidental or unfortunate cases like rape pregnancies, the birth of the baby could be far too devastating for the family of the mother, and the baby could face incredible hardships right from the start.

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Politicians dig in as immigration debate heats up

Politicians dig in as immigration debate heats up | Summertime Newsroom | Scoop.it
Debate over immigration reform is in full swing, and the political jabs are flying back and forth.
Jason West's insight:

Summer Assignment Week 1.1

 

When the first American system developed in politics, the two parties (Federalists & Anti-Federalists) emerged as representatives of two distinct political ideologies. The system was extremely successful. However, the party system has developed into a modern deadlock between Republicans and Democrats who fail to oversee their differences on even the most significant issues in the country. One such issue, immigration reform, has initiated heated debate in the nation’s capital and throughout the country. Victoria Ruiz, Julius Chavez, and Fernando Escoto, like many other immigrants from Mexico, worked to the best of their abilities to find success in the United States that was not available to them in their homeland.

 

The problem with such immigrants coming over is that many do not live their American lives legally. Failing to acquire proper residency or citizenship, these immigrants present the United States with a variety of problems that seem to downplay the great benefits they bring with them. President Obama announced in 2012 a plan for a childhood arrivals program that most GOP Senators and Representatives shot voted against without a second thought. The House crushed the alleged “Obamacare of immigration,” diminishing its already slim chances of success in the Senate. This growing trend of division and lack of compromise between the main political parties, which was also apparent when the country faced the “fiscal cliff” toward the end of 2012, could spell doom for the successful future of the current American political system. I feel the implications of this division grow ever more serious with each stalemate regarding the country’s issues both at home and even abroad.

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Benjamin Ginsberg's comment, August 5, 2013 7:55 PM
Use of AP United States History was a great start from my point of view. Stay Golden, Mr. West.