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SPLASH! News: Migrants Die At Sea, Montana’s Special Election, Same Sex Marriage in Taiwan, and More

Dive Into the News for May 24, 2017

Photo Credit: Kiran Opal

SPLASH! News

At Least 20 Migrants Die at Sea, Rescues Ongoing: Italy Coast Guard

Reuters – At least 20 dead bodies have been seen in the sea some 30 miles off the coast of Libya, Italy’s Coast Guard said on Wednesday, as efforts to rescue some 1,700 people packed onto 15 boats continued.

“About 200 people fell into the water when one of the boats listed dangerously,” Coast Guard Commander Cosimo Nicastro told Reuters. “At least 20 dead bodies were spotted in the water.”

Co-founder of humanitarian rescue group MOAS, Chris Catrambone, said on Twitter that many corpses had been brought on board their ship, and that toddlers were among the dead seen in the water.

Republicans: Montana Special Election ‘Closer Than it Should be’

Politico – Republican Greg Gianforte’s closing motivational speech to voters ahead of Thursday’s special House election in Montana is the same thing GOP strategists are whispering in private: “This race is closer than it should be.”

It’s a recurring nightmare of a pattern for Republicans around the country, as traditional GOP strongholds prove more difficult and expensive for the party to hold than it ever anticipated when President Donald Trump plucked House members like Ryan Zinke, the former Montana Republican now running the Interior Department, for his Cabinet. Gianforte is still favored to keep the seat red, but a state that Trump carried by 20 percentage points last year became a battleground in the past few months.

Democrat Rob Quist, a folk singer and first-time candidate, has raised more than $6 million for his campaign, including $1 million in the past week alone as energized Democratic donors pour online cash into political causes this year. Quist hopes that enthusiasm also contributes to an outsized turnout — as it did in special elections in Kansas and Georgia earlier this year — for the oddly scheduled Thursday election, happening just before a holiday weekend.

New Budget Says Poverty Aid Doesn’t Work — is That so?

CBS News – Trump’s 2018 budget takes aim at a number of antipoverty programs, framing them as benefits that discourage Americans from working.

Released on Tuesday, the budget proposes cutting $1.74 trillion from social safety net programs including food stamps and disability payments. That will help offset lower taxes for businesses and top-earning individuals and spending on defense, although White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said the goal is to get “people to go to work.”

Mulvaney, who has previously said it isn’t fair to ask “the autoworker in Ohio” to pay taxes to support such programs, is hewing to the conservative view that providing government aid can dampen an individual’s desire to work. The conservative Heritage Foundation, for one, has come out in support of the budget, saying it will redirect tax revenue to “the most effective programs.”

Duterte Says He Had to Declare Martial Law to Fight ISIS in Mindanao

CNN – Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said his martial law declaration for the country’s restive south was necessary in order to fight militants there.

“I had to declare martial law in the Mindanao group of islands,” Duterte said at a news conference Wednesday. “It is our constitutional duty to enforce the law and provide security.”

Duterte’s order — which covers both the city of Marawi and the wider island of Mindanao, of which Marawi is a part — came after deadly clashes broke out between Filipino government troops and Islamist militants Tuesday.

Taiwan Sets a First for Asia with Landmark Legal Ruling on Same-Sex Marriage

TIME – Taiwan’s Constitutional Court has ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, making the island the first place in Asia to recognize gay unions.

The court on Wednesday said the current civil code that does not permit same-sex marriages was a violation of two articles of the constitution of the Republic of China, Taiwan’s official name.

It says authorities must either enact or amend relevant laws within two years, failing which same-sex couples could have their marriages recognized by submitting a document.

Why Colleges Already Face Race-Related Challenges in Serving Future Students

NPR – Today, more Americans graduate high school and go on to college than ever before. But as the country becomes more diverse — the Census Bureau expects that by 2020 more than half of the nation’s children will be part of a minority race or ethnic group — are colleges and universities ready to serve them?

“If you look at the past 50, almost 60 years, you see we have made a lot of progress as a country in terms of high school seniors deciding to go to college in the 1.5 years after graduating,” says Andrew Nichols, director of higher education research and data analytics at the Education Trust, a nonprofit. “And that isn’t just white students. It’s also for black and Latinos. You’re seeing that increase for everybody.”

Written by Pamela Getz

Pamela Getz

Writer and Activist. Follow Pamela on Twitter @goddesspamela.

Pamela Getz is a Senior Writer for Progressive Army and a member of its Editorial Board.

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SPLASH! News: Migrants Die At Sea, Montana’s Special Election, Same Sex Marriage in Taiwan, and More