MASSIVE FEDERAL PRISON RELEASE—
Beginning Oct. 30, the U.S. Department of Justice will release 6,000 prisoners from federal prisons across the country. This is one of the largest releases in American history. The effects of mandatory minimums are longstanding and supersede this release, but many believe that this is just the beginning. The introduction of mandatory minimums into the justice system disportionately increased the sentence length for many nonviolent offenders. Bipartisan efforts to either reduce or eventually eliminate the old system gives many convicts a chance for resentencing or probation. One third of the convicts face deportation upon release. The rehabilitation of prisoners into society is a charged issue. Most of the released inmates will have shelter in halfway houses as they make their transition back into society.
BP REPARATIONS COSTS AT $20 BILLION—
The Justice Department reached a final settlement with BP, raising the cost of reparations to $20 billion this week. The BP oil spill in 2010 is often cited as one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history. If approved, the settlement will be the largest of its kind. BP owes billions in environmental damages and violations. In its current form, the settlement requires BP to pay reparations to Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas and Louisiana for environmental damage caused by the incident. BP also faces millions in fines for violating environmental acts, with those proceeds going to restoration efforts. The sum was calculated by estimating the worth of each barrel of oil that spilled into the sea. Doubt still lingers about the irreparability of the damages and their long term effects.
SCHOOL SHOOTINGS ON OCT. 9—
On Friday, Oct. 9, a freshman at Northern Arizona University killed one person and wounded three more. This occurred less than a week after the Umpqua Community College shooting in Oregon that killed nine people. Early Friday morning, an altercation between two fraternities escalated into violence when the suspected shooter introduced a handgun to the situation. That same day, another shooting occurred at Texas Southern University, leaving one student dead and another injured. Houston police are continuing to question two suspects who are now in custody.
THE RECIPIENTS OF THE NOBLE PEACE PRIZE—
The Nobel Peace Prize Committee awarded the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet with the Nobel Peace Prize last Friday. Founded in 2013, the leaderless civil society organization has tried to establish a peaceful democracy in Tunisia following the 2013 assassination of Tunisian opposition leader Mohammed Al-Brahmi, which led to threats of imminent social collapse. The group lends credence and gives a peaceful voice to the disparity of Tunisian society, most notably navigating the differences between Islamic and secular interests to create a better society.
RUSSIAN MISSILES IN IRAN—
Last Thursday, Russia launched four missiles, intended for targets in Syria, that touched down in Iran when the missiles erroneously ventured off of their determined launch trajectory. As of now, the U.S. is unsure of where the missiles’ path concluded. Russia refutes these claims and asserts that all 26 missiles impacted in Syria. The missiles were launched from Russian forces in the Caspian Sea. Russia recently began intervening in the Syrian civil war, aiding pro-government forces with bombing runs to the dismay of some members of the international community. Russia’s audacious strategy may turn the tide in the conflict and help the Syrian government retain some semblance of power, contributing to further divisions in
the Middle East.
SEARCH FOR EL FARO STOPS—
The U.S Coast guard announced last Wednesday the end of the search for El Faro, a missing cargo ship. The ship traveled from Florida and encountered the category four hurricane Joaquin en route to Puerto Rico. Debris fields from the ship and the recovery of an unidentified body point to the loss of the ship near the Crooked Islands. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) task force is currently investigating the incident, and hopes to recover the voyage recorder and black box, which may presently be sitting near a depth of 15,000 feet. The heartbroken families of the 33 crew members—28 of them American, five Polish—said they appreciate the closure given to them from the Coast Guard.
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