Stabbing at Texas University

By VICTORIA AVILES

On Monday May 1, 2017, Kendrex White, a student at Texas University at Austin, went on a stabbing rampage on campus, causing three injuries and one fatality.

According to Farmer, Mekelburg, and Jaramillo, authors of “Suspect in UT Austin stabbing charged with murder, had been committed before,” authorities revealed that White, 21, was committed to a neurologist for a psych evaluation not long before the incident; results deemed White normal.

Back at TU, students are appalled that White is the main suspect in this ongoing investigation. Witnesses of the fiasco described White as easygoing and always friendly, as stated by Farmer Mekelburg and Jaramillo. The journalists for the Dallas News captured freshman Rachel Prichett saying, “‘I heard people screaming. ‘I saw a guy standing there…holding a machete-type knife…He grabbed this guy by the shoulder who was facing him and stabbed him in the back, and so I turned around and started running away.’” More accounts of this atrocity have been documented as we wait to see what comes next at TU.

These appalling events have lead to a thorough investigation lead by the Dallas police, starting with White being held in custody on murder charges, without bail permitted.

 

Work Cited

Farmer, Liza, Madlin Mekelburg, and Cassandra Jaramillo. “Suspect in UT Austin stabbing

charged with murder, had been committed before.” The Dallas Morning News, Inc.,

https://www.dallasnews.com/news/crime/2017/05/01/multiple-people-stabbed-ut-austin-c

ampus.  3 May 2017.

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Don’t Use Your Inside Voice

By EMILY RUBINO

On Tuesday, November 8th, Donald J. Trump won the Presidential Election of 2016 and became the 45th President- Elect of the United States.

For some, his win was a success. It would cause change. It would help the economy. It would benefit all people.

But for others, his win signified the frightening reality of America. In the aftermath of the election results, the country feels more divided than ever. It seems that you either fully support Trump’s presidency or would do anything to get him away from the White House.

Despite your views, however, every person in the United States deserves a choice, a voice, and a way to be heard. All civilians deserve to be accepted, valued, and respected.

Although we, the American people, like to say that every citizen is given those things, we are not.

Minorities now have a leader who is endorsed by a KKK member, who has threatened to ban all Muslims from the U.S, and who has called Mexican immigrants rapists and murderers.

Women now have a leader who has openly bragged about sexually assaulting other females, and currently has over a dozen women accusing him of sexual harassment.

People of the LGBT community now have a leader who has the power to appoint conservative Supreme Court Justices, who can possibly repeal the same-sex marriage act, and a Vice President who believes in conversion therapy.

To most of the United States’ population, Trump’s plan for the country does not seem to be one that will “Make America Great Again.” Instead, it seems to be appropriating racist, sexist, xenophobic and homophobic thoughts instead of battling those outdated and shameful ideas.

But the election is over, and Donald Trump will soon be leading this country, whether we like it or not.

Maybe his stance on some issues will shift, and maybe they won’t, but all we now know is that the majority of America does not believe in equality for all. The people have spoken, and they have said loud and clear that certain people in the U.S should not be heard, should not be given equal rights, and should not be allowed the same opportunities as others.

In January, when Trump is sworn into office, do not let him and the Senate, Congress, and other government officials discriminate against the people of this country.

This election has taken away the voices of so many people in America. Instead of being discouraged about the results, instead of leaving the fate of this country in the hands of Trump, speak up against the prejudice flooding our home.

Help your community by raising awareness for climate change, volunteer at a children’s hospital, or simply show your support for those afraid to practice their religion freely.

Join a club that stands up to bullies at schools, bullies online and bullies in the White House.


If you are lucky enough to have a loud enough voice in this country, use it.

Some donation and volunteering opportunities include:

Health and Wellness Organizations

The American Foundation for AIDS Research

http://www.amfar.org-

World Health Organization

http://www.who.int/en/

Disability Organizations

Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation

https://www.christopherreeve.org

Autism Speaks

https://www.autismspeaks.org

Women’s Rights/Reproductive Rights Charities and Organizations

Planned Parenthood

https://www.plannedparenthood.org

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A Woman’s Fight For Equality: How Islamophobia and Muslim Stereotypes Have Changed Her Life

By EMILY RUBINO

Amani Al-Khatahtbeh is a 24 year old entrepreneur, writer, and activist. She has a new book out, runs a successful and popular website, and recently spoke at the UN alongside Gloria Steinem and other revolutionaries.

She also happens to be Muslim, which has made her the victim of stereotypes, Islamophobia, and prejudice against her Islamic faith.

Growing up in New Jersey, Al-Khatahtbeh was just a child when the attacks on 9/11 occurred, which, according to her, made her and her family the victim of constant discrimination.

Fifteen years later, the activist still receives “suspicious stares” and suffers from physical and emotional harassment by her fellow American citizens.

At the age of 17, Al-Khatahtbeh decided to put an end to this growing negativity towards Muslims, and especially Muslim women, by starting a website called MuslimGirl.com.

The site “seeks to de-stigmatize what it means to be a Muslim woman” and serve as a “safe space for women to ask questions about Islam, share inspiration, or discuss ‘random issues or girly topics,’” Sara Ashley O’Brien of CNN reports.

MuslimGirl.com has already logged 100 million hits in 2015, containing articles ranging from Donald Trump’s harmful influence on the Muslim community to “modest workout outfits,” Forbes Magazine captures.

According to O’Brien of CNN News, although Al-Khatahtbeh continues to inspire audiences, both Muslim and non-Muslim, around the world, she says that “it is mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausting to have to assert your humanity time and time again.” 

The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University reports anti-Muslim hate crimes rose 78% from 2014-2015, as Al-Khatahtbeh states she is “once again afraid to walk the streets of my American hometown,” captured in Time Magazine’s article.

Not only are Muslims a religious minority, but Muslim women are even more vulnerable to verbal and physical abuse, which fuels Al-Khatahtbeh’s fight for change.

“Our headscarves have become the lightning rods of anti-Muslim sentiment in our society,” the writer and entrepreneur explains.

Despite this astonishing reality, MuslimGirl.com and Al-Khatahtbeh seek to unite all religions, races and genders as they continue to reach new heights.

Her new book titled, Muslim Girl: A Coming of Age, aims to show people how Muslim women and all followers of Islam lead normal lives but face extreme hatred and intolerance on a daily basis. Al-Khatahtbeh dedicates her writing “to all the little girls who ever cried in the dark.”

With the success of her website, rising popularity as an activist figure, and inspirational fight for an end to Islamophobia, Al-Khatahtbeh aspires to forever change the way the world views Muslims.

Works Cited:

Al-Khatahtbeh, Amani. “I’m a Muslim Woman and I’ve Never Felt More Unsafe in America.”

Time. Time, n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2016.

English?”, “Do You Speak. “MuslimGirl.com Founder on Islamophobia and the Election.”

CNNMoney. Cable News Network, n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2016.

Forbes. “Amani Al-Khatahtbeh Is Shattering Muslim Stereotypes.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine,

n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2016.

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2016 Primary Elections

By NICOLE MUSIAL

Over 80 million people sat down to watch the first presidential debate of the 2016 election, held at Hofstra University in Long Island.

Republican candidate, Donald Trump, and Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, went head to head discussing three major topics: “America’s Direction;” “Achieving Prosperity;” and “Securing America.”

Polls suggest that the candidates were very closely matched; as of September 27th, there was only about a 2% margin between their respective poll averages.

Though Clinton seemed to be well-spoken and prepared, many of Trump’s supporters felt disappointed with his presentation. According to NBCNews, Trump’s campaign aids admit that he “did not do enough to prepare for the tedious, one-on-one environment against an experienced and well-prepared opponent.”

Despite the events that took place at this convention, tension continues to rise between the political parties, and the question of who will win the presidency remains a mystery.

 

Works Cited

“Trump Campaign Says Debate Two Must Be Better.” NBC News. NBCNews.com, 28 Sept. 2016. Web. 29 Sept. 2016.

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Zika: Next Stop the United States

By ISABELLE JOSEPH

The Zika virus, whose total detriments to the human body are yet to be learned, has spread from Northern Argentina to Southern Florida as of July 2014.

According to Maggie Fox of NBC News, currently, the locally acquired cases of Zika have been contained to three locations within Florida: Miami Beach, Pinellas, and the Wynwood neighborhood, north of Miami.

More specifically, “To date, as many as 2,300 pregnant women have contracted the virus during their pregnancies, the officials said. And 22 babies in the United States and its territories have been born with microcephaly and other birth defects after they were exposed during gestation to Zika,” according to Healy of the LA Times.

Furthermore, experts believe that more outbreaks will occur in the Gulf Coast States, such as Texas and Louisiana, since these locations are home to the Aedes Aegyptus mosquito, Fox notes. However, it appears that as of right now the remaining states are relatively safe from local transmission since the Zika causing mosquito “usually travel no further than about 500 to 600 yards in their lifetimes;” however, Fox contiunes, “People, of course, travel much further.” People are more likely to be inflicted with the disease by traveling to the infected regions and have the possibility of bringing it back to their home states.

While much about Zika is still unknown, Congress has granted 1.1 billion dollars towards Zika research, Healy reports. She adds that much of the money will go towards studies researching the long-term effects of the virus on infants, including those with no obvious birth defects.

It is presently known that the effects of the Zika virus include: brain abnormalities, risk of stillbirths or death within 24 hours of birth.

However, since Congress was so late in providing funding, research groups are far behind where they should be in developing a vaccine, as well as a test for people who have traveled to these locations.

All that is left for citizens to do is to follow the preventive measures set by the CDC and hope that a vaccine is being created to protect women of childbearing age and men who are preparing to be fathers.

Works Cited:

Fox, Maggie. “Expect More U.S. Zika Virus Cases, Experts Say.” NBCNews. NCBNews.com, 23 Aug. 2016. Web. 13 Oct. 2016.

Healy, Melissa. “With $1.1 billion in new funding, U.S. health officials outline plan for fighting Zika.” LATimes. tronc Inc., 3 Oct. 2016. Web. 13 Oct. 2016.

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EpiPen Outrage

By JOELLE ELHAMOUCHE

The pharmaceutical company Mylan has recently become the target of heavy criticism after allowing the price of the EpiPen to surge from $56.64 in 2007 to over $365 today, an increase of nearly 500%.

EpiPens administer epinephrine which can be used in emergencies to reverse the constricted breathing, hives, and other life-threatening symptoms resulting from severe allergic reactions. Approximately 3.6 million Americans were prescribed the life-saving allergy medication in 2015 alone.

Mylan CEO Heather Bresch, who has come under fire in recent weeks, defended the pricing of EpiPens in her testimony before the United States House of Representatives, stating that “recent Epipen price increases have not yielded the revenue to Mylan that many assume,” as recorded by The Washington Times. 

She continued, “I think many people incorrectly assume we make $600 off each pen. This is simply not true,” as noted in The Washington Post’s article, “Lawmakers grill Mylan CEO over EpiPen price hikes.”

The drug-making company also justified the price hike by stating that it invested over $1 billion dollars in product development. Meanwhile, experts argue that designing and manufacturing the upgraded EpiPen would not have cost nearly as much.

Additionally, politicians such as Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have denounced the drug company for its actions. “There’s no reason an EpiPen, which costs Mylan just a few dollars to make, should cost families more than $600,” Senator Sanders tweeted.

Price gouging is certainly not unheard of in the pharmaceutical industry. In fact, the EpiPen outrage is reminiscent of a similar incident last year when Martin Shkreli, CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, increased the price of the HIV drug Daraprim by more than 5000%. This scam elicited a similar response, with Shkreli ultimately resigning from his position as CEO after being charged with accusations of security fraud unrelated to Turing Pharmaceuticals

Shkreli weighed in on the controversial EpiPen price increase in a phone interview with NBC News, even he denounced the move, stating, “These guys are really vultures. What drives this company’s moral compass?”

Works Cited

Egan, Matt. “How EpiPen Came to Symbolize Corporate Greed.” CNNMoney. Cable News Network, n.d. Web. 04 Oct. 2016.

Howell, Tom. “Mylan CEO called before Congress, defends price hikes for lifesaving EpiPens.” The Washington Times. The Washington Times, LLC, 21 Sept. 2016. Web. 13 Oct. 2016.

Johnson, Carolyn. ““Lawmakers grill Mylan CEO over EpiPen price hikes.” The Washington Post. The WP Company LLC, 22 Sept. 2016. Web. 13 Oct. 2016.

Popken, Ben. “Martin Shkreli Weighs in on EpiPen Scandal, Calls Drug Makers ‘Vultures’.” NBC News. NBCNews.com, 19 Aug. 2016. Web. 13 Oct. 2016.

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Hope In Sight: Chibok Schoolgirl Found After Abduction by Terrorist Group Two Years Ago

By EMILY RUBINO

Tuesday, May 17, 2016, schoolgirl Amina Ali Nkeki was found wandering through the Sambisa Forest in northeastern Nigeria.

She was one of the 276 girls abducted by Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram from a secondary school in Chibok, Nigeria in April of 2014, Stephanie Busari and Tim Hume from CNN report.

Accompanied by a 4-month old baby and a man claiming to be her husband, 19 year-old Nkeki is the first girl to be found after the mass kidnapping more than two years ago.

After the initial raid, many girls managed to get away, either jumping from trucks or fleeing the school, but over 200 still remained captured. Ms. Ali was discovered by “the Civilian Joint Task Force, a vigilante group set up independent of the Nigerian army to assist in tackling the jihadist group” reports Adam Withnall of the Independent.

According to CNN’s Stephanie Busari and Tim Hume, when Aboku Gaji, a member of the task force, recognized the girl, she was taken to her mother in her hometown, Mbalala.

Ali stayed in her town, speaking with other community members about Boko Haram and her classmates.

“She was saying… all the Chibok girls are still there in the Sambisa except six of them that have already died,” noted in the BBC article, “Chibok girls: Kidnapped schoolgirl found in Nigeria.”

After Boko Haram’s pillage of the town, including various acts of violence, rape, and destruction of homes, the campaign “Bring Back Our Girls” spread around the world, informing those about the terrorist militant group and the missing 218 girls Will Ross from BBC News explained.

According to Busari and Hume, renowned advocators for female rights, such as First Lady Michelle Obama and Malala Yousafzai, have discussed the abduction of the Chibok girls and the lack of effort put in from the Nigerian government and military.

However, groups such as the Civilian Joint Task Force now understand the general location where Boko Haram has been keeping their prisoners with insight from Nkeki and her two-year experience with the terrorist group.

Works Cited:

Busari, Stephanie & Time Hume. “Nigeria: First missing Chibok girl found after 2 years as Boko Haram prisoner.” CNN. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., 8 May 2016. Web. 27 May 2016.

“Chibok girls: Kidnapped schoolgirl found in Nigeria.” BBC News. BBC, 18 May 2016. Web. 27 May 2016.
“Nigeria abductions: Vows to remember Chibok girls.” BBC News. BBC, 14 April 2015. Web. 27 May 2016.

Withnall, Adam. “First Chibok girl found pregnant two years after Boko Haram kidnap.” Independent. Independent Digital News and Media Ltd., 18 May 2016. Web. 27 May 2016.

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March 21 Debate Cancelled

By VICTORIA AVILES

The republican debate has not only turned bloody in the past few weeks, with an attempted assault on Donald Trump in Chicago, but the recent debate for March 21st was canceled a week in advance due to the fact that Trump and John Kasich refused to attend.

The article, “March 21 Republican debate cancelled after Trump and Kasich won’t go,” by Shellie Nelson notes,“Donald Trump said Wednesday morning he would not participate because ‘we’ve had enough debates.’ Trump said Wednesday on Fox News that he’s committed to a big speech the same night.”

Not only does this generic response sound like an excuse, but even more off-putting was Kasich’s response. According to Nelson, “Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s spokesman then said he won’t debate without Donald Trump onstage.”

These general responses leave one to wonder if the lack of information has anything to do with the relationship between the two men.

Nonetheless, in the race for the White House tensions have grown extremely high as the finish line comes closer.

 

Works Cited:

Nelson, Shellie. “March 21 Republican debate cancelled after Trump and Kasich won’t go.”W Quad. Tribune Broadcasting Station, 16 Mar. 2016. Web. 23 Mar. 2016.<http://wqad.com/2016/03/16/march-21-republican-debate-cancelled-after-trump-kasich-wont-go/>.

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The Zika Virus and Women’s Rights in Central and South America

By EMILY RUBINO

Over the past few months, the Zika virus has significantly impacted thousands of pregnant women in Brazil and other South American regions where neurological syndromes have been associated with children born to infected mothers.

 

Microcephaly, the birth defect linked with the disease, causes newborn’s heads and brains to be severely underdeveloped. Those who do survive after birth are extremely disabled, as many experience developmental delays, seizures, vision, movement, and or feeding problems as well as intellectual disabilities.

 

In addition to the effects of the Zika virus, the outbreak also calls upon the need for women’s rights in South America.

 

Emmanuelle Saliba explains that abortion is only legal in Brazil if a woman is impregnated because of “rape or incest, if it endangers the woman’s life, or if the fetus is developing anencephaly, a rare condition where the baby is missing parts of its brain and skull.”

 

According to a national survey, however, one in five Brazilian women reported they had at least one abortion; these abortions were allegedly not conducted in safe or sanitary conditions and most proved to be illegal, Debora Diniz reports.

 

The country’s government does not have any involvement with women in poorer areas and their health, and most of the medical attention given to women is for those living in neighborhoods of wealth.

 

According to Diniz, wealthy women are almost always the only ones who can afford safe abortions, while poorer women with more tendency to contract a virus such as Zika do not have proper medical facilities or funding available to them.

 

Although many women in South America are starting to ask for more government assistance, “last week, the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil said in a statement ‘that the increase in the number of cases of microcephaly in the country does not justify (abortion),’” Janet Tappin Coelho says.

 

However, others like Pastor Joel Zeferino of the Baptist Alliance of Brazil argue that the virus and lack of women’s rights even in this “desperate” time are urgent issues “that needs to be discussed in a very democratic and open way,”Coelho adds.

 

In contrasting beliefs with other and more conservative political figures in Brazil, Zeferino calls all citizens to “include women on the outskirts of our cities, black women and poor women in particular” while also empowering them “with voices so they have their say,” Coelho notes.

While Zika has traveled to more than 25 countries in Latin and South America, governments in those regions have sent a massive message urging females to refrain from getting pregnant for up to two years.

 

According to Saliba, other groups have petitioned for new regulations and laws that fairly assist women infected during their pregnancy. These requests include access to pre-natal care if a women is positive for the Zika virus “if she wishes to continue the pregnancy” as well a woman’s “right to choose whether or not they wish to continue their pregnancy,” Saliba adds.

 

Debora Diniz, also a leader of the pro-abortion petition, declares that “‘women do not have their sexual and reproductive rights guaranteed to confront this epidemic. That is the discussion that is going on right now.’”

 

The World Health Organization and other medical officials have reported the passing of the virus through sexual contact and blood transfusions.

The organization has now estimated that “as many as 3 million to 4 million people across the Americas will be infected with the virus in the next year” Sandee LaMotte and Michael Pearson of CNN report.

Currently, no more information has been released about how the Brazilian government will handle the abortion laws in the country, however, women who are thinking about becoming pregnant should question relocating to areas with few reported cases of the virus.

 

Works Cited

Coelho, Janet Tappin. “Zika virus: Christian churches split as epidemic sparks new abortion debate in Brazil.” Independent. Independent Digital News and Media Limited, 11 Feb. 2016. Web. 23 Mar. 2016. <http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/zika-virus-christian-churches-split-as-epidemic-sparks-new-abortion-debate-in-brazil-a6868046.html>.

Diniz, Debora. “The Zika Virus and Brazilian Women’s Right to Choose.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 8 Feb. 2016. Web. 23 Mar. 2016. <http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/08/opinion/the-zika-virus-and-brazilian-womens-right-to-choose.html?_r=0>.

LaMotte, Sandee, and Michael Pearson. “CDC issues new safe-sex guidelines around Zika virus.” CNN. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., 5 Feb. 2016. Web. 23 Mar. 2016. <http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/05/health/zika-urine-saliva/>.

Saliba, Emmanuelle. “Zika Scare Reopens Abortion Debate in Brazil.” NBC News. NBCNEWS.COM, 5 Feb. 2016. Web. 23 Mar. 2016. <http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/zika-virus-outbreak/zika-scare-reopens-abortion-debate-brazil-n512296>.

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Presidential Primaries and Caucuses

By ELAINE CAREY

Primary and Caucus season is upon us!

Many Americans do not pay close attention to the elections. But those who do will notice the importance of the early primaries and caucuses. Both are influential in determining who will continue and who will terminate his/her campaign.

Depending on how well candidates do in these early elections, they may decide that it is not worth it for them to continue in the campaign. Campaigning is very expensive so candidates may not see the chance to win and will withdraw for financial reasons. Since the first caucuses and elections, several candidates have withdrawn from the race, including Martin O’Malley, Chris Christie, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, and as of late, Marco Rubio, just to name a few.

Early primaries and caucuses can help narrow the field of candidates so much that there may be only a few candidates left by the time the last primaries and caucuses come around.  There are 3 major candidates left in the Republican race: Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich and 2 in the Democratic: Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

Early dropouts may allow for candidates to pair up early and run on a combined ticket. This may help the weaker candidates team up with a stronger one for a greater chance of winning.

It is important for candidates to win their home states and win primaries early on. Both will prolong their ability to stay in the race and boost their confidence.

The early primaries and caucuses can predict who will remain in the race and who will drop out.

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