News Briefs

Transgender Bathroom Repeal in WA
The issue surrounding the use of public and private bathrooms continues in Washington state. The beginning of 2017 was met with a group called I Just Want Privacy, filing a ballot initiative in order to repeal the previous bathroom rule installed by the Human Rights Commission in 2015. The previous rule allows people in public and private places to go the bathroom in accordance to their gender identity rather than the sex they were assigned at birth. I Just Want Privacy, whose slogan reads, “no men in the women’s locker room” is currently racing to get the 259,622 necessary signatures in support of their repeal before the November general-election ballot of 2017. This group has faced intense opposition from various public leaders, businesses, and community groups who value the current law. However, Privacy hopes to enforce a new rule requiring restrictive bathroom use in schools where people must use the bathroom that matches the sex on their birth certificate. They believe that businesses can regulate this issue themselves.

2016: Hottest Year in History
The year 2016 was likely the hottest year ever recorded thanks to temperature data from NASA and the UK Met Office. This past year’s temperatures trumped those from 2015 and marked the third year in a row in which the temperature record was broken. Although the differences are slim and within the margin of error, these trends are concerning and many scientists believe it is brought on by a mix of global warming and the greenhouse gas effect. Keeping up with this trend, 16 of the 17 hottest years on record have occurred since 2000, as recording started in the 1880s. Overall, temperatures across the globe were 1.1 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial average, putting us closer to the 1.5 degree warming goal set at the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.

Terrorist Attack in Jerusalem
On January 7, 2017 a terrorist attack occurred in Jerusalem, killing four Israeli soldiers and wounding at least 15 others. The attack was perpetrated by Fadi al-Qanbar, a Palestinian man in his 20s that had previously spent time in Israeli prison. Qanbar used a truck to plow through innocent soldiers and Israelites in a vehicle that may have been stolen. This attack occurred in the midst of high tensions between the Israelis and Palestinians after Donald Trump’s plan to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. On top this,  calls from Israeli ministers to annex parts of the occupied Palestine territories increased tensions. Still, no one has claimed responsibility for the attack that occurred at a scenic outlook looking over Jerusalem and the Old City.