Jussie Smollett

Since Donald Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ presidential campaign first began in 2015, there has been an increasing tension regarding racial issues. So, when Jussie Smollett reported being the victim of a hate-crime, the Fox Network’s Empire star received a massive influx of support.

            Allegedly, on January 29th, Smollett was walking home in the early hours of the morning, when he heard a man calling out to him. According to Smollett, the man yelled raciest and homophobic slurs before he attacked him. The two exchanged blows until a second assailant appeared and the two overpowered Smollett, choking him, hanging a noose from his throat and pouring “an unknown chemical substance” on him. As both a bi-racial and openly gay actor, Smollett has long advocated for justice and tolerance increasing the sensitivity of the crime.

            However, the arrest of the two brothers who were accused of committing the crime brought new information to the case. The brothers, who have known and worked around Smollett, claim that the actor paid them to stage the crime. They told Chicago police they received a $3,500 compensation and presented the signed check as evidence. Two other unnamed sources have corroborated the story and Chicago Police Department’s Superintendent Eddie Johnson expressed his outrage during a press conference held February 21,2019.

“We just don’t have any room for hatred in this city and for somebody to use it for a personal gain is just shameful because what that does is take away the resources we could be using in other crimes,” Superintendent Johnson stated. Johnson also spoke of the repercussion cases like Smollett’s can have on similarly reported cases. “My concern is that hate crimes will now publicly be met with a level of skepticism that previously didn’t happen.”

Jussie Smollett was taken into custody and charged with felony disorderly conduct. He remains firm that his statement was not falsified. Influencers who initially responded with love and support are still holding out that this is so. Tyler Perry, best known for his character Madea, hopes for the case to end in Smollett’s favor. Ellen Page, starring in Netflix’s new Umbrella Academy, identifies as a lesbian and endorsed the Smollett case as an example of the hate still faced by members of the LGBTQ+ community. Since the Chicago PD press conference, Page wrote for the Hollywood Reporter stating, “I ask you not to question our pain, not to draw in question our trauma, but to maintain wholeheartedly, that hate violence exists.”

When Will the Crisis End?

Venezuela is in the midst of a drastic political shift with their president Nicholas Maduro as  people are rebelling his leadership. Juan Guadio was placed as the interim president who opposed Maduros’ dictator tendencies. Guadio is not alone on this, Venezuelan citizens are revolting. The United States made it known that they are against Maduro and have been pressuring the European Union to do the same.  Recently, the United States sent a U.S. Air Force C-17 cargo plane into Colombia with various resources, such as food and medicine, to help the suffering people of Venezuela. Currently, this is causing many to die of starvation. To tackle this issue, Guadio promised supplies would enter the country by February 23, which were flown into Colombia a neighboring country.

The United States does not plan to intervene in the Venezuelan crisis, however, they want a nonviolent resolution to end Maduro’s tyranic reign of terror. Guadio wants to do whatever he can to protect his citizens and restore order. Although it seems as the crisis may end soon, military intervention has not been ruled out.

Recently, on February 25, Jorge Ramos from Univision along with his news team were detained by Maduro at Miraflores Palace in Caracas as Maduro did not approve of the questioning about the countries lack of democracy. Confiscating their equipment, then interrogating them within a dark room in the palace for over two hours until detained. A continuation of events were then seen early Tuesday, February 26, when Telemundo reporter Daniel Garrido was kidnapped by unknown individuals forcing him into a vehicle. Removing his equipment without explanation keeping him captive for six hours until released. Grabbing the attention of the Committee to Protect Journalist (CPJ), verbally confronting the Venezuelan authorities to return the stolen equipment to the journalist teams. As tensions continue brewing so does the dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro.

Enough is Enough

 

Sexual abuse is among the most common types of violence in the United States but awareness towards prevention seems to diminish as President Trump sets the bar lower for those accused. As years pass, more than a dozen women have come forth and publicly accused President Donald J Trump of touching them in some inappropriate way. However, only one person has come forward since he took office and accused of the Republican of alleged unwanted contact during his presidential campaign.

In a newly surfaced lawsuit, Alva Johnson accuses Donald J Trump of kissing her against her will in 2016. Johnson, a mother of four, is a registered Democrat in the state of California but through her stepfather, she gained an interest in the Trump campaign. Johnson first met Trump at a November 2015 rally in Birmingham, Alabama, where according to the lawsuit report, the candidate looked her up and down while saying “oh, beautiful, beautiful, fantastic.” Nevertheless, Johnson chose to look past the comment and two months later, took a job as the campaign’s director of outreach and coalitions in Alabama. Three months before the general election, she was assigned to Florida where her primary responsibility was to manage the recreational vehicles that served as mobile campaign offices. According to the report, it was one afternoon in Tampa when Johnson brought volunteers into the RV to take pictures with the candidate and where she noticed he was attempting to establish eye contact with her. While exiting the bus, Johnson praised Trump for how well his campaign was going to which preceded to grasp her hand, thank her for her work and lean in. Terrified, Johnson turned her head to evade the kiss and was kissed on the corner of her mouth while Trump still held her hand. Humiliated, she stood there and watched as Trump walked out without saying a single word. According to Johnson, Pam Bondi, Florida Attorney General, and Karen Giorno, director of the Florida campaign, both spectated the abuse. After seeing what had happened, Bondi supposedly smiled at Johnson while Giorno grabbed her elbow and tugged at it. Nonetheless, both Bondi and Giorno claimed to have not witnessed the abuse and denied acting the way Johnson described.

Despite the incident, Johnson continued working for Trump even after she was offered a spot in the campaign headquarters in New York. Six weeks after the alleged kiss a videotape of Trump boasting about his sexual aggression to an ”Access Hollywood” host arose. In the video, he said “you know I’m attracted to beautiful – I start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.” Johnson said that as a result of watching the video not only did she feel stunned but she also felt “sick to her stomach.“

Three weeks before the election, Alva Johnson quit. Johnson desperate for justice sought the help of sexual abuse victim attorney, Adam Horowitz, who believed her allegations but did not take the case for business reasons. But Horowitz gave Johnson the name of a therapist to help her through her trauma. Therapist Lisheyna Hurvitz mentioned that Johnson was distraught and having constant nightmares as a result of the incident.

Without a shadow of doubt, being a victim of sexual is traumatic. And for that reason, Hassan A Zavareei, Alba Johnson’s attorney, says that Johnson is a “strong woman” who “feels it as a duty that she can’t remain silent.” Johnson feels responsible for putting a “sexual predator” in the white house, and now she is doing everything in her power to make things right and not allow him to victimize more women.

Bakery Catastrophe

On the morning of January 12,2019, an explosion occurred on the Rue de Trevise in Paris on the 9th arrondissement (street) in a bakery due to a gas leakage. The explosion injured dozens of people and killed four. In the previous year, Paris had an increase in terrorist attacks, which this originally may have been labeled as being.
Damage has been left within the neighborhood causing many residents to stay with their families or friends. Other services were provided such as clothing and meals by city hall for the families and individuals affected by the blast. Many of those injured contained injuries involving smoke inhalation, burns and broken bones due to debris. However, there were reports of a strong scent of gas by residents to the firefighters, which are still are still investigating the incident.
May hopes and prayers be with the families who have been affected by the incident, as further investigations are being conducted.

US Government Shutdown

The partial government shutdown blew through the record of the longest ever in U.S. history and is headed into uncharted territory. The impact is intensifying on both the government employees who missed a payday Friday — some of them forced to work anyway, some of them furloughed — and on other Americans who want to take an airline flight, visit a national park or eat FDA-inspected food.
With the political heat rising, now should have been the time when the White House and Congress would agree to some face-saving compromises to fund the government, at least for the short term. However, there are few signs that President Trump and newly empowered House Democrats are about to budge. Only if President Trump or Speaker Pelosi cave from all the pressure, Senate Republicans bolt, or the government declares an emergency, will the shutdown end.

The Groveland Four

On the night of July 16, 1949, Norma Padgett, a 17-year old white woman, claimed to have been raped by four young black men: Samuel Shepherd, Ernest Thomas, Walter Irvine, and Charles Greenlee. Seventy years after the wrongful incarceration of Irvine and Greenlee and the death of Shepherd and Thomas- at the hands of corrupt law enforcement, the case was revisited when on January 11, 2019, Florida’s new governor, Ron DeSantis pardoned the Groveland Four.
The South in the mid-twentieth century can often be connected to times of racism and injustice. Ms. Padgett’s testimony, regardless of the lack of evidence or logistics, was enough to permanently derail the lives of four African-Americans. She claimed that on that summer night, her husband and her had been stranded on the side of the road because their car had broken down. Allegedly, when the four men had come across them, they had taken advantage of the situation by attacking Mr. Padgett and then sexually assaulting her. Soon after, Shepherd, Irvine, and Greenlee (who was also 17), were taken into custody. Though each initially denied the events, police officers beat and tortured them until each signed a confession. Thomas attempted to escape after he was accused, and an angry mob followed him 200 miles, led by the sheriff Willis McCall. He was eventually caught and killed. Greenlee was given a life sentence while Irvine and Shepherd each received the death penalty. Two years later, the same sheriff who had chased Thomas shot Irvine and Shepherd while they were being taken to their retrial claiming they had tried . His actions were deemed justified by an all-white jury. Only Irvine survived and was still given a death sentence.
Greenlee and Irvine were each eventually paroled. Greenlee was released from prison in 1962 and died a free man in 2012. Irvine died in 1969, just one year after his release. At the Clemency Board trial, the Groveland Four’s families were present along with Ms. Padgett, now 87. After emotional testimonies from family members of the Four, Ms. Padgett was allowed to speak and remained firm that, “they did it.” Regardless, the Miami Herald reports governor DeSantis’s statement, “I believe in the principles of the Constitution. I don’t think there’s any way that you can look at this case and see justice was carried out.” In a unanimous vote, all four were posthumously pardoned.

A Rhino’s Best Friend

On January 10th, South African authorities were able intercept 256 lbs. of illegal rhino horns. The haul of 36 horns and their fragments were found tightly packed inside boxes alongside everyday items such as decorations and doormats. The eight boxes were prepared to be shipped to Dubai for unknown reasons, but custom officials at OR Tambo airport in Johannesburg said that Lizzy, a detector dog, was able to sniff out the haul. It’s worth is estimated to be $1.3 million, one of the biggest seized items in the country’s recent history. Despite activists’ continuous efforts to prevent poaching, between 2007 and 2014, rhino poaching rose by about 9,000% in South Africa; more than 1,000 rhinos are still killed in South Africa every year.

The Relics of Mortality

by Kaitlin Wright

As morbid as the Museum of Death gives off as an impression, it has a wide attraction. This infamous museum has been recognized for its goal of “making people happy to be alive” yet also “making people pass out” as a kept quote from Catherine Shultz, which in one way is done by revealing gory pictures, vivid autopsy recordings, and detailed letters directly written from notorious serial killers or their pen pals while serving time in prison. Much more is captivated within the museum such as belongings from the Heaven’s Gate Cult suicides, Manson’s mass murder exhibit & the cult that followed, war room consisting of graphic war deaths and newspapers of the time, the theatre of death which is a room of films playing that shows real on screen fatalities, and a specimen room! As much photographs and film related items are held in this $15 self-guided tour museum, the owners are extremely strict about photography, any and all pictures are prohibited.

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The Isolated World

by Irma Duran

Modernization has yet to stretch around the world, as there are still locations in which there are Natives isolated from modern humans. North Sential island located in the Bay of Bengal, India, and is home to the Sentinelese tribe. The Sentinelese is one of the last known isolated groups remaining in the world, which first made contact with the British in the 1880s, in an event that resulted in the capture of six tribe members. Four were returned to the island, along with infections and diseases that were foreign to them. This killed many of the Sentinelese and resulted in a decline of their population. According to a 2011 census, their population is only 15 people. Despite the protection and a promise of isolation given to them by the Indian law, missionary John Allen Chau ventured, onto the island by canoe on November 16 with the help of fishermen. Chau’s inspiration to undergo such a mission was due to a prior visit to the island. He told his friend he wanted to return to give gifts to the tribe. He returned with arrow wounds and was not seen or heard of after that. Fishermen reported seeing the tribe dragging the missionaries body around. His family were saddened by the news of his death, but they were able to forgive the Sentinelese tribe of their actions as they understood the mission Chau strove for.

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The Last Examination

When going to a hospital, we expect to be treated by doctors and nurses with proper care. Yet, that is not always the case. German nurse, Niels Hoegel, confessed to killing 100+ of his patients, in the span of 5 years (2000-2005). His lethal methods included giving the patients from the ages of 34-46, non-prescribed drugs, provoking cardiac arrest. Mr. Hoegel would get his patients as close to death, only to resuscitate the patient. He did this to impress those around him and boost his morale. Although he planned on saving the lives of his victims, many patients have died under his care. Hoegel now faces six charges of murder, and life in prison.