The Syrian government launched another chemical weapons attack, dropping poisonous gas onto its own citizens in the town of Douma. President Trump has promised swift retaliation for the attack, which is viewed as outside the bounds of conventional, or acceptable, warfare. The president cancelled a trip to Latin America, explaining that he wanted to monitor the situation more closely.
Dozens of people have been killed in what local medics said was a toxic gas attack on the
town of Douma near Damascus. Videos and images showed bodies of dead children and other family members, some foaming at the mouth.
- The Guardian (Apr. 8, 2018)
The corrupt former president of Brazil has turned himself in to begin serving a twelve-year sentence. What makes this story remarkable is that this man, "Lula" da Silva, was running for another term and was in fact leading in the polls at the time of his surrender to the police. Everyone complains about dirty politicians in the United States, but it's clear that from an international perspective, it's hard to compete with the level of corruption and bravado on display by some elected officials.
His imprisonment was an
turn in the remarkable political career of Mr. da Silva, the son of illiterate farmworkers who faced down Brazil’s military dictators as a union leader and helped build a transformational leftist party that governed Brazil for more than 13 years.
- The New York Times (Apr. 7, 2018)
North Korean sources have officially assured the United States that North Korea is willing to discuss denuclearization. This assurance paves the way for a summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump. It is unclear exactly when a summit would take place, but since the destruction of North Korea's nuclear arsenal would be a main topic at any such summit, the recognition that both parties are ready to discuss it is nothing but good news.
Hopes for a breakthrough that might end more than six decades of
on the Korean Peninsula were raised last month when South Korean national security adviser, Chung Eui-yong, told the White House that North Korea was prepared to engage in talks on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula and would refrain from nuclear and missile tests.
- The Wall Street Journal (Apr. 8, 2018)
A woman in Canada has become the first Canadian patient ever cured of sickle-cell anemia by the use of stem cell technology. The stem cells grew into bone marrow, replacing the marrow which produced the deformed red blood cells. This is not a treatment for this disease, but rather a cure; it is as if the patient was never sick in the first place.
Scientists in California have identified what they believe to be the gene that causes Alzheimer's disease. In addition they have managed to "turn off" the gene in human cells so that it does not produce the harmful proteins that cause the memory loss and cognitive impairment associated with Alzheimer's. The next step for this research is to use actual human test subjects rather than just human cells under a microscope.
Instead of experimenting on mice with
results, this team of researchers went straight to testing human brain cells – and their studies have been proven successful.
- goodnewsnetwork.org (Apr.10, 2018)
A vote will be held this week in the House of Representatives on the issue of the balanced budget amendment. This provision would amend the Constitution to require all budgets passed by the government to be balanced and therefore not increase the national debt. The amendment is unlikely to progress through Congress; it is however a symbolic gesture to address the concerns of those who think government spending is out of control.
The Republican-led House will vote this week on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, an effort to
anger from conservative activists who say the GOP-led Congress is presiding over a ballooning debt and out-of-control spending.
- USA Today (Apr. 8, 2018)
Patrick Reed won the Masters Golf Tournament this week. It is Reed's first major golf championship.
Testy is an adjective which usually refers to people, like a person frustrated with a homework problem who lashes out at others. To describe a golf shot as
testy means that it was tough and a source of frustration to the golfers all tournament long, not that the shot itself was easily irritated.
Reed pulled ahead of Jordan Spieth with an 8-foot birdie putt at the 14th hole Sunday, saved par with a 6-foot putt at No. 17 and pulled off a
two-putt at the final hole to win with a 1-under 71. His total was a 15-under 273.
- boston.com (Apr. 8, 2018)
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress this week. Zuckerberg addressed, and largely apologized for, the recent data breaches which Facebook has been involved in, as well as the scandal involving fake news and the Russian influence on the 2016 Presidential election. Congress is considering taking steps to increase the oversight of Facebook , saying it is a near-monopoly that needs to be regulated more efficiently.
Among other things, legislators will likely
whether Facebook violated a consent order with the Federal Trade Commission requiring the company to safeguard user data.
- The Wall Street Journal (Apr. 9, 2018)
The United States and China exchanged more harsh words over tariffs this week. President Trump called the way China and America trade with each other "stupid" before announcing more tariffs on Chinese goods, this time focusing on technology. This led to China threatening to impose tariffs on more U.S. agricultural products, aircraft and automobiles. President Trump said that he is confident that there will not be a full-scale trade war.
came Tuesday when the Trump administration announced 25% tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese technology products, especially targeting the country's aerospace, information and communications, and robotics sectors.
- USA Today (Apr. 9, 2018)
Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin has announced that he will not seek re-election. Ryan is Speaker of the House, one of the most powerful positions in all of government. Analysts are pointing out that Ryan's retirement could be a sign of a tough road ahead for Republicans in the mid-term elections. Ryan has served in the House for twenty years.
Mr. Ryan’s retirement will kick off a
battle for the leadership of the House Republican Conference, likely between the House majority leader, Kevin McCarthy of California, and the House majority whip, Steve Scalise of Louisiana.
- The New York Times (Apr. 11, 2018)