National News Explained: November-December

Sheila Gregory, Co-Editor

GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN
At the end of each financial year, congressional Republicans are required to sign spending bills that fund various government functions. However, the Republicans refused to sign any until Democrats agreed to defund or delay parts of Obamacare. Though Obamacare isn’t part of the bills, it was used as bargaining chip by conservatives. The Democrats wouldn’t revise Obamacare, so the government functions funded by the bills the Republicans wouldn’t sign were stopped, and many government workers went unpaid.
Why is this a big deal? Many necessary government activities, such as regular food inspections by the Food and Drug Administration, didn’t happen. Banks suffered because many loans for small businesses weren’t processed. National Parks and monuments closed. Along with this damage, it exemplified how politically polarized our country has become.

MARYVILLE RAPE CASE
In the small town of Maryville, Mo. back in 2012, freshman Daisy Coleman was raped by a senior from her high school. He invited her to come over and served her drinks until she was beyond the ability to give consent. After having sex with her and taping the interaction on a friend’s phone, he left her passed out on her front yard wearing little clothing. Her mother found her and took her to the hospital, where they determined it was rape, and the senior was arrested.
Why is this a big deal? Even with all the evidence, the charges were dropped against him since his grandfather was a powerful former state representative. This wasn’t reported until the “Kansas City Star” picked up the story on Oct. 13, 2013. This turned into a media firestorm for Missouri officials, demanding justice for Coleman. A new prosecutor will try the case, and the charges have been refiled.

NEVADA SCHOOL SHOOTING
On Monday, Oct. 21, 12-year-old student Jose Reyes came into a Nevada middle school with a 9mm handgun, wounding two students and killing teacher Mike Landsberry. Reyes then killed himself. Authorities are still unsure of the student’s motives. In an interview with CNN, Mason Davis, a student shot in the stomach, said he never saw any bullying and would’ve stuck up for Reyes if he had. Mason also said he had been friends with Reyes and had no idea he would’ve done anything like that. Reyes stole the unregistered gun from his parents. Landsberry saved several students by trying to talk to Reyes while they ran to safety.
Why is this a big deal? He was a 12-year-old boy who knew how to operate a gun his parents bought illegally and how to either break into where it was kept or it was out in the open. This speaks for itself.

TYPHOON HAIYAN
This massive rain and wind storm hit the Philippines Friday, Nov. 8. This was a Category 5, which can produce winds from 195-235 mph. Death tolls are currently 3,976. There are 1,598 missing, 18,175 injured and damages to their coconut and rice growing industries  — their main exports — are around $69 million. The typhoon destroyed 70-80 percent of structures in its path. Several relief services are underway. Italian bishops pledged 3 million euros, Pope Francis gave $150,000 and Catholic charities donated 100,000 euros. United States aid services have launched a multi-million dollar campaign. Not only that, but 21 countries worldwide have also pledged relief.
Why is this a big deal? It was the most powerful typhoon to ever hit the Philippines. According to officials, it makes Hurricane Katrina look like a mild storm.