Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Week in Review

    North Carolina passes anti-LGBT bill—

    On Wednesday, March 23, North Carolina legislators proposed and passed a bill against LGBT individuals. The law entails that they have little to no legal protection from discrimination in the state. A special session of their state congress was called to introduce the bill, and the vote was forced in only three hours. The public and members of both of North Carolina’s House and Senate were not given any time to review the bill, and it passed with unanimous support, signed by my Gov. Pat McCrory. Democratic state senators refused to vote on the bill. While North Carolina accounts for approximately five percent of the LGBT community in the United States, over a dozen other states within the nation are now considering similar laws. This bill’s successful passing may give a structure to how other states will proceed in enacting their own anti-LGBT laws.

    70-day campaign launched in North Korea—

    North Korean workers are aiming to “prove their loyalty” to their leader Kim Jong Un by subjecting themselves to more grueling work shifts for 70 days. From the coal mining industry to fisheries, Korean employees are aiming to eliminate any weaknesses throughout this entire campaign, pushing for more production. Propaganda posters and red flags have gone up throughout the country to promote these practices. Employees have taken to sleeping at their employment sites. Economists around the world doubt that the campaign will bring forth any lasting success. According to an editorial in the ruling party newspaper, “the campaign is aimed at combating indolence and slackness and making a clean sweep of outdated ideological hangovers such as flunkeyism, experientialism, self-protection and conservatism.” The United States and South Korea continue to work in conjunction with one another just outside the Demilitarized Zone.

    Obama attempts to improve relations with Cuba—

    President Barack Obama took a historic three-day trip to Cuba, making him the first American president to set foot there in almost a century. Joined by First Lady Michelle Obama and their daughters, the hope was that the visit would be significant in reestablishing diplomatic, cultural and economic ties. During his stay, Obama met with Cuban President Raul Castro and had a sitdown with dissidents and civil society leaders. While the intention was to improve relations, Cubans’ lives have yet to improve since the reestablishment of diplomatic ties in December 2014. It remains to be seen how Obama will push for the country’s communist leaders on issues such as human rights and economic reform. According to White House aides, Obama’s speech at the Grand Theater of Havana will “lay out a vision of greater freedoms and and economic opportunity.” While restrictions like travel prohibitions have been lifted, the U.S. trade embargo remains in place, with Congress refusing to lift it.

    Bombings in Belgium, Pakistan, Iraq andTurkey—

    On the morning of Tuesday, March 22, suicide bombers targeted Brussels Airport during one of the city’s busiest rush hours. Several bombs were detonated. A third explosion occurred at Baalbek Metro Station. The terror group ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks, killing dozens of people and wounding hundreds more. In light of these tragedies, Belgium has upgraded its alert status to the highest level. Security forces were already on alert since the bombings in Paris last year. Two bombings also took place in Iraq this week. The first killed 29 last Friday, March 25, and the second occurred Tuesday in central Baghdad, killing three and wounding 27. Earlier this month, sixty were also killed when a tanker lined with bombs crashed into a checkpoint. In Pakistan, at least 72 people were killed in a bombing targeting Christians on Easter Sunday. On March 19, at least five people were killed and 36 were injured in a bombing in Istanbul, Turkey. On the 13th, at least 37 people were killed and 125 injured in car explosions that targeted buses full of civilians.

    Pope Francis continues to encourage Christians in Easter message—

    Pope Francis, in the face of the tragedies affecting Europe this past week, advocated for hope in his Easter Vigil Service. Francis said “darkness and fear must not prevail and imprison the world with pessimism.” At the start of the vigil, Francis entered the dark basilica with only a single candle. Upon arriving at the altar, the basilica was flooded with light, symbolic of the Christian faith tradition that the light of the resurrection follows the darkness of Good Friday. The intent to relate this to the rest of the world— light following the darkness of the most recent events—was again emphasized in Francis’s homily. These insistent messages of ‘light’ were in sharp contrast to his condemnation of the horrific acts that had taken place in Belgium and other parts of Europe. Francis denounced the “terrorist acts committed by followers of some religions which profane the name of God and which use the holy name to justify their unprecedented violence.

    Supreme Court divided on birth control laws—

    There appears to be division among the Supreme Court over the Obama administration’s arrangement regarding birth control within faith- based groups. The current stance is that faith- based groups are not required to pay for coverage of birth control for women in their health plans. These faith-based groups have raised complaints claiming that the administration’s efforts violate their religious rights—an argument the court’s conservative justices seem to be in support of. Further accommodations will be voted upon to see whether this arrangement is upheld toward faith-based colleges and advocacy groups. Different rules would be applicable in different regions around the country. On the other side of the spectrum, more research and efforts are being geared toward a male birth control pill.

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