Seattle Citizens Protest Death of Che Taylor—
On Sunday, Feb. 21, a 47-year-old black man named Che Taylor was shot and killed by two Seattle police officers. Taylor had a handgun in possession at the time of his death, which was prohibited by law as he was a “convicted violent felon.” Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said on Feb. 22 that the police appeared to have acted appropriately, but Taylor’s family and other Seattle citizens have protested the death, calling it a murder. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) called it “an execution” and “cold blooded murder.” The officers involved in the shooting have been placed on paid administrative leave while the incident is under investigation.
Trump and Clinton Lead on Super Tuesday—
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton won the most delegates in their respective parties on March 1, “Super Tuesday,” when several states voted in their primary elections, including Texas, Georgia, Alaska and others. Trump came in the lead for the Republican Party with seven total wins. Sen. Ted Cruz won in his home state of Texas and in Oklahoma, and Sen. Marco Rubio won in Minnesota. Clinton led in the Democratic Party with wins in seven states. Sen. Bernie Sanders won in four, including his home state of Vermont. The next caucuses and primaries will take place on March 5.
Vermont to Legalize Marijuana—
The Vermont Senate gave final approval last week to a bill that will legalize recreational marijuana use, starting in 2018. Under the new law, Vermont regulators can begin issuing growing licenses in late 2017. Retail sales could begin as early as Jan. 2, 2018. Vermont will become the fifth state to legalize marijuana for recreational use; Washington became the second state to legalize it in 2014. Residents 21 years and older will be able to purchase up to half an ounce of marijuana for personal use, while non-residents will be able to purchase a fourth of an ounce. It will be legal to possess up to one ounce of marijuana at a time.
Guantanamo Bay Closing—
President Barack Obama announced plans to close the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay Cuba in a press release Feb. 22. The president originally signed an executive order to close the detention facilities in January of 2009, but plans for the closure have just now come into fruition. Human rights activists have repeatedly protested about the prison in Cuba, which has held 780 detainees since it opened in 2002. Plans include transferring 35 detainees to foreign countries, reviewing remaining detainees and establishing a stateside location to hold detainees that aren’t sent to foreign prisons. There are currently 91 detainees remaining in the prison, and each one costs about $4 million per year.
Gas Leak in California—
Scientists concluded that the massive natural gas leak in California now appears to be the worst accidental discharge of greenhouse gases in U.S. history. The leak, which was stopped only a week ago, produced a heat-trapping effect equivalent to the annual exhaust emissions of nearly 600,000 cars. The leak released over 5 billion cubic feet of natural gas into the atmosphere. About 1,700 homes were evacuated as methane gas poured into the Aliso Canyon area. Officials for the gas company made seven unsuccessful attempts to stop the flow before the well was finally sealed with cement on Feb. 18.
First successful Uterus Transplant—
Surgeons at a Cleveland clinic have performed the first successful uterus transplant in the United States. The operation was completed Wednesday using a uterus from a deceased organ donor. The purpose of the procedure is to allow women born without a uterus, or who have had theirs removed, to become pregnant and give birth. The recipient will have to wait a year before trying to become pregnant to allow her body to heal, and she will also have to take medication to prevent organ rejection. The 26-year-old patient will need in vitro fertilization to become pregnant.