Around the country, an unusually high number of Jewish Community Centers are under bomb threats today.
According to The Daily Beast, the JCC Association of North America has reported at least 10 threats targeting their center today in places like Birmingham, Alabama; Buffalo, New York; Chicago, Illinois; Houston, Texas; Nashville, Tennessee; St. Paul, Minnesota; Tampa, Florida; and a few others. These threats have forced many centers to evacuate while officials investigate.
(1/2) We are aware of a number of bomb threats at JCCs. Js are working directly w/local authorities to make sure people & premises are safe.
This is turning into something of a trend. In 2017, some 1,372 “bias incidents” have been reported at Jewish centers (as of a couple weeks ago; that number has grown since), including a “wave” of bomb threats, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Discuss
Over the weekend, the United States sent an aircraft carrier, USS Carl Vinson, to patrol the South China Sea against Beijing's wishes.
The South China Sea is claimed by China, but those claims are contested by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei. The Navy explained that the patrol was just a part of the beginning "routine operations." According to the U.S. Defense Department, about 30 percent of global trade goes through the South China Sea, equaling about $5.3 trillion dollars. The sea is also the home to plentiful fishing, natural gas and oil reserves.
Last week, the spokesman for China's Foreign Ministry spoke out against the news of the patrol.
China has indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea islands and their adjacent waters ... China respects and upholds the freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea which countries enjoy under international law, but firmly opposes any country's attempt to undermine China's sovereignty and security in the name of the freedom of navigation and overflight.
He also asked the United States to "refrain from challenging China's sovereignty and security" in the South China Sea. China has also been creating islands in the sea and arming them with weapons and military-level airfields.
This isn't the United States' first time in the sea. Most recently, a Navy patrol plane and a Chinese surveillance plane flew just a thousand feet from each other in the waters.
New Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has been clear on his position on China's activities in the sea.
“We’re going to have to send China a clear signal that, first, the island-building stops and, second, your access to those islands is also not going to be allowed.” Discuss
Across the country, more than 100 individuals who participated in last week’s “Day Without Immigrants” protests have been fired according to severalreports. At Tennessee’s Bradley Coatings Incorporated alone, more than a dozen people lost their jobs, because, according to the company, they were warned not to join the strike and skip work.
According to additional reports, 25 people were fired at a restaurant and catering company in New York for joining the strike, along with 21 people at a boat company in South Carolina, 30 masonry workers in Denver and a dozen restaurant employees in Oklahoma. There were also other cases around the country.
The national boycott was a way of protesting the Trump administration’s crackdown on immigration and deportations. Discuss
The woman at the center of one of the most controversial Supreme Court cases in American history died this weekend at the age of 69.
When Norma McCorvey was 22 years old, she could not find a doctor in her home state of Texas to perform an abortion. At the time, abortion was mostly illegal (there was an exception if the mother’s life was in danger, which McCorvey’s was not).
Two lawyers took up her case, and in 1973—years after her child was born and placed up for adoption—the Supreme Court heard the case. Her lawyers used the alias “Jane Roe” during the trial in which they sued Dallas County District Attorney Henry Wade. Roe v. Wade made it illegal to prevent women from getting abortions, and has had a massive effect on American history. Since then, more than 58 million abortions have been performed in the U.S.
Decades after Roe v. Wade, McCorvey became a Christian and a pro-life advocate. She even went on to work for the pro-life group Operation Rescue. She once told NPR,
I'll be serving the Lord and helping women save their babies. I will hold a pro-life position for the rest of my life. I think I've always been pro-life. I just didn't know it.
The House of Representatives voted to halt an action that would keep states from defunding Planned Parenthood in their respective states. Given the makeup of the Senate and the executive branch, the effort is likely to succeed.
Right as now-former president Barack Obama left office, he signed a bill that wrapped up Planned Parenthood’s funding in Title IX legistlation, essentially keeping states from removing public family planning funds on the grounds of abortion. At the time, 13 states had defunded Planned Parenthood by keeping Title IX funds from going to the organization, which is the nation’s largest provider of on-demand abortions by far. Obama amended Title IX to take away state’s ability to do that.
Yesterday the House voted 230-188 to overturn the new Title IX rule using what’s called the Congressional Review Act (the act, according to Vox, lets Congress fast-track or disapprove of newly introduced federal rules). Now the “resolution of disapproval” will head to the Senate, where it requires a 51-vote majority, and then to president Donald Trump’s desk.
It’s likely that Trump will sign the bill, given his previous statements about defunding Planned Parenthood.
This isn’t a move to defund Planned Parenthood at the federal level, though those efforts are likely to follow. Currently, some $500 million federal dollars go to Planned Parenthood annually receives more than $500 million annually.
One of nature’s most famous animals may soon walk again. A team of scientist at Harvard is working on a “de-extinction” project, and say that within two years, they will be able to create a hybrid wooly mammoth embryo.
Technically, it would be a “mammophant”, because the DNA would be spliced into the DNA of today’s elephants, but would still have many of the traits we associate with the woolly mammoth: Cold-adapted blood, long fur, small ears, etc. The woolly mammoth hasn’t walked the earth for thousands of years.
Obviously, the prospect of creating a mammoth-elephant hybrid in a lab has raised some serious ethical concerns and the project, which will be discussed at this week’s American Association for the Advancement of Science, has it’s share of critics.