This week in news: 10/19 – 10/26

Marist students have returned from their mid-semester breaks to finish up midterms and prepare themselves for the rapidly approaching finals season.  As students get back into their rhythms, they may have missed what has been happening outside of the “Marist bubble.” Thankfully, The Red Fox Report: Outside the Bubble is here to recap what students might have missed in the last week.

  1. Vice President Biden announces he will not run for President

Vice President Joe Biden announced Wednesday, Oct. 21 that he will not be running for president.  The sudden announcement has ended months of hopeful speculation among many Democrats and Obama policy supporters.

The decision, made less than four months prior to initial votes, could be seen as Biden’s realization that he has dropped too far behind his fellow democratic candidates too early in the race.

Biden’s major competition, Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, have gained a significant lead early in the polls.  According to RealClearPolitics.com, an online polling database, Clinton has a current +22.8 average lead against Sanders, who in turn is 8.4 average points ahead of Biden.  Biden’s dropout will mean his supporters will likely be torn between Sanders and Clinton, leaving the battle for the Democratic nomination primarily between the two.

Watch the announcement below

  1. Hurricane Patricia makes landfall: Mexico dodges bullet

Hurricane Patricia, declared the strongest recorded hurricane, made landfall along Mexico’s Pacific Coast on Friday, Oct. 23.  Less than a day later, the Category 5 storm was simmering down into a low-threat tropical storm.  With prior to landfall winds hitting an unprecedented 200 mph, the people of Mexico literally dodged a bullet, with few confirmed death reports.  The only other Category 5 storm to hit Mexico caused over 1,500 deaths.  As of now, there are less than 10 reported casualties.

The rapid weakening of the storm can be credited to the path the hurricane took: straight through the rugged heart of central Mexico.  Upon landfall, wind gusts were calculated ranging from 160-200 mph; by Saturday night Patricia’s winds had dropped to about 35 mph.  Heavy rain and winds did cause flooding and several mudslides, one of which injured two people.

  1. Los Angeles Police Department issues body cameras to every officer

The LAPD, infamous for issues of misconduct, is leading the initiative to equip officers with body cameras.  The LAPD’s initiative has been in the works for the past several years, with a trickle-in effect, slowly equipping different divisions with cameras since August of last year.  Now, the LAPD is moving to issue every one of its 7,000 uniformed officers with a body camera, costing an estimated $7 million annually, according to an initial LAPD report and subsequent statement provided by Los Angeles Mayor Galletii’s office.

The decision to equip each officer with body cameras coincides with the seemingly heightened violence between civilians and police, accompanied by the substantial public outcry calling attention to such incidents.  In theory, the cameras would provide a much needed, unbiased telling of events during cases that often rely on the testament of a single or few individuals who are often police.  Even with the implementation, there remains the question of who will be able to view the videos, and when.

  1. Deadly Earthquake strikes South Asia

A 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck a large area around the Hindu Kush Mountains, Monday morning.  Area affected include primarily Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as parts of India.  According to the Associated Press, the quake has killed at least 180 people.  A report published by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs lists the number of injured as at least 1,000.

Although initial reports are low in Afghanistan’s Badakhshan province, among the poorest provinces, it was particularly affected, and casualties are expected to rise as rural reports come in.  According to the World Food Programme, “Out of 1,851 villages (in Badakhshan), only 56 have a health centre or dispensary within their boundaries,” an issue for those injured stated.  The province has also been the victim of recent Taliban-led insurgencies.

Although not yet requested, the United Nations is taking steps to mobilize relief efforts and emergency supplies, and is ready to support those in need when/if requested.

  1. Hajj stamped death toll surpasses 2,000

Deaths are still being added to the total casualties of the Sept. 24 stampede that struck Saudi Arabia’s Hajj, the Islamic holy site near Mecca.  The death toll, now estimated to be at least 2,177, makes this the most fatal of any previous Hajj related disaster.  Less than a month prior to the stamped, a crane collapsed killing over 100 pilgrims.

Whereas individual country’s’ death tolls continually rise as more bodies are identified, Saudi Arabia’s death toll has remained at its initial estimate, around 750.  This, accompanied with accusations of a Saudi cover up, have increased tensions between Saudi Arabia and the 180 various countries of the victims.  Iran, without evidence, claims there are over 4,000 victims.  In a recent statement, Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani accused Saudi officials of attempting to cover up the deaths, asking, “Why did you hide (the magnitude of the incident)?”

6.  Governor Chris Christie asked to leave Amtrak quiet train

New Jersey Governor and hopeful Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie was allegedly asked to remove himself from an Amtrak quiet car Sunday morning.  Christie was allegedly yelling at one of his employees, as well as yelling into his cell phone.  According to CNN, after several passengers complained, the conductor was forced to ask Christie to leave.  According to Amtrak’s website, pertaining to quit cars, “Guests are asked to limit conversation and speak in subdued tones. Phone calls are not allowed.”

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