The Week in Review- March 14th

Former Russian Spy Intentionally Poisoned to Death—

The British police announced on Wednesday, March 7 that a former Russian spy and his daughter were poisoned in a murder attempt. There is no doubt from the British Government that Sergei V. Skripal, 66, and Yulia Skripal, 33, were targeted specifically and intentionally. Some suspect that the Russian Government and President Vladimir V. Putin are connected to the poisonings, though this has not been confirmed. In the past, known enemies of Putin were found dead in Britain under similar, strange circumstances. Britain’s Prime Minister, Theresa May, and her cabinet held a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the acts of violence occurring on British soil. The poison that was used is a type of nerve agent has a sophisticated and rare chemical composition. Its sophistication and rarity has led experts to believe a national government is more likely to be the source of the agent. A thorough investigation involving all possible Russian-involved incidents is expected to follow shortly.

New Gun Laws in Florida Teetering in the Middle of Bipartisan Expectations—

It looks as though Florida may finally lose its nickname as the “Gunshine State.” On Friday, March 9, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed into action gun regulations that will raise the minimum age for purchasing firearms to 21, extend the wait time to receive a purchased weapon to three-days minimum and restrict the possession of bump stocks—an attachment that allows for higher rates of fire. In addition to direct gun restriction, the mayor has created funding toward school police officers and mental health facilities. On a more controversial note, the Florida Senate—in a form of negotiation—made faculty such as librarians, coaches and counselors eligible to carry a firearm in a school. The negotiation excluded full-time teachers. A voluntary-based “marshal” program was created to allow superintendents and local sheriffs to work together to properly train and arm designated personnel on campus. Mixed opinions have been heard by school faculty.

Myanmar Continues to Deny its Ethnic Cleansing of the Rohingya—

The Myanmar government made a statement on Tuesday, March 6 that the country is ready to welcome back the Rohingya people who had fled to neighboring Bangladesh to escape ethnic cleansing in the Rakhine State. Despite this gesture, the government’s forces have continued widespread and systematic violence toward the Rohingya people. The United Nations says it is still not safe for the refugees to return to their home country. Government forces have been driving the Southeast Asian nation’s Muslim minority into Bangladesh since August 2016. The Rohingya have been terrorized and discriminated against by methods of blood-letting, mass rape and forced starvation. Six months ago, Myanmar’s military forces began a crackdown against the Rohingya. One month after the start, at least 6,700 Rohingya were killed. The Burmese government claims the crackdown was a response to a Rohingya rebel group that killed a dozen border police.

Trump Enacts New Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum in the name of National Security—

United States President Donald Trump imposed new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from all foreign countries except for Mexico and Canada on Thursday, March 8. Levies will be raised 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum. Trump created this large-sweeping trade order by using a provision that allows the president to act in the name of national security. In January, the Commerce Department affirmed through an evaluation that metal imports posed a threat and therefore the tariff is justified. Canada and Mexico were excluded because of their role as key metal importers and allies. The new order is likely to hit South Korea, China, Japan, Germany, Turkey and Brazil the hardest. Business professionals have warned that the tariff could affect the global supply chain and that the average consumer will see a rise in prices from appliances to automobiles.

Kim Jong-un Changes His Tone About Negotiation with the US—

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un informed South Korean officials on Tuesday, March 6 that North Korea is now open to negotiations with the United States on the issue of nuclear weapons. Jong-un stated that his country is willing to discuss the possibility of disarming the country’s nuclear defense systems and will stop testing weapons while negotiations are underway. North and South Korea also agreed to meet in April to hold a summit meeting at the two countries’ borders. The move is a drastic change in tone considering the fact that, prior to this interaction, North Korea had consistently stated that their nuclear weapons practices were essential to the country’s sovereignty. President Trump responded to North Korea’s statement and agreed to hold a meeting with the country. Political experts see the move as a good way to defuse the public’s anxiety over thoughts of war, but doubt any real negotiation will occur.

Martin Shkreli Sentenced to Seven Years for Pharmaceutical Inflation Fraud—

Martin Shkreli–the 32-year-old CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals—was sentenced to seven years in prison on Friday, March 9 for fraud that cost investors around $10 million. Shkreli was convicted of money mismanagement of his hedge funds. Shkreli is most well-known for inflating the price of the drug Daraprim—commonly prescribed to patients with AIDS and certain types of cancer to assist in fighting life-threatening parasitic infections—4,000 percent from $13.50 to $750. Shkreli was formerly the CEO of Retrophin, a drug company that he founded in 2011. However, he was fired and replaced after complaints of poor management. “He doesn’t think that he did anything wrong because he thinks he’s different,” prosecutor Jacquelyn Kasulis said in an interview with CNN Money.

Erika can be reached at
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