CATHOLIC VALUES COLUMNIST
Supreme Court Rules On Transgender Bathroom Case
Supreme Court justices said Oct. 28 that they will hear an appeal from Gloucester County school board on the issue of transgender students using the bathrooms of their choice sometime in the next year. Student Gavin Grimm, a transgender boy who was born female, wants to be able to use the boys’ restroom at his high school. He was permitted to do so for many weeks in 2014, but the school changed its policy after complaints from parents. Currently, students are permitted to use the bathroom of their biological gender, or a gender neutral single-stall restroom. The Education Department advises against this ruling, saying instead that students should be allowed to use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify. The heart of the debate is centered on if this directive should be written into law. The Obama administration is in support of the Education Department’s advice. There are similar lawsuits taking place around the country in more than 12 states.
Clinton Email Case Reopened By FBI
According to FBI director James Comey, the bureau has reopened investigations on Hillary Clinton’s emails. The emails in question were discovered in a separate investigation into former congressman Anthony Weiner. Investigators will determine if these emails contain classified information. Mr. Comey said that he “cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be significant, and I cannot predict how long it will take us to complete this additional work.” He said in July that Clinton’s handling of emails was “extremely careless,” but not criminal. John Podesta, chairman of Clinton’s campaign, said that he was “confident” that the new investigation will produce the same results reached in earlier investigations. Many of Clinton’s critics say that this investigation should have taken place earlier, and that her handling of classified information makes her unfit for office.
Pipeline Protesters Arrested in North Dakota
Police arrested 141 protesters Oct. 27, some on horseback, after hours of tension at a riot over the Dakota Access Pipeline. The court allowed construction of the pipeline, and proponents say that it will help to make the US more independent. Critics of the project say that the pipeline will harm the environment as well as destroy Native American burial and religious sites. Construction and law enforcement on the morning of Oct. 28 moved protesters miles away from the actual site of the pipeline. The protesters lit debris on fire and destroyed construction equipment, requiring law enforcement to use pepper spray gas and a high pitched siren in an effort to disperse the crowd. Celebrities Shailene Woodley and Mark Ruffalo both support the protest.
US Says Putin Adviser’s Death Was Accidental
According to US officials the death of Mikhail Lesin, a former adviser to Vladimir Putin, was an accident. He was found dead in his hotel room in Dupont Circle Hotel with blunt-force injuries to his head, neck, torso, and upper and lower extremities. The US Attorney for the District of Columbia said that “acute ethanol intoxication” contributed to Lesin’s death. The US Attorney also said that his injuries were due to “days of excessive consumption of alcohol.” The investigation by Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department and the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia is now closed. Lesin’s death caused a good deal of concern over foul play. Lesin was very influential in Russia’s media market, and worked as an aid to the presidency from 2004-2009.
Yemen Faces Serious Starvation Crisis
The war between Saudi Arabia and Iran has caused an extreme shortage of food in Yemen. The UN World Food Programme has provided food for over 3 million people in Yemen since the beginning of February. The program’s director Torben Due said that “An entire generation could be crippled by hunger.” Beginning in 2015, the war has turned the country into a battleground. Saudi Arabia and Iran are fighting for control of the government of Yemen, and the fighting has caused the World Food Programme to struggle to meet the demands. The program focuses on treating those with acute malnutrition in 2,200 health centers across Yemen. In some areas of the country, malnutrition rates in children under 5 have reached 31%. The emergency threshold is 15%.
Calais “Jungle” Refugee Camp Closed
A refugee camp in Calais, France, known as “The Jungle” was closed Oct. 27. Officials planned to resettle the migrants, but many unregistered and unaccompanied children were found among the people there. The French Interior Ministry said that the UK agreed to transfer 274 unaccompanied minors from the camp, but, as of Oct. 27, 100 are currently without a place to live. The French government wants the UK to “welcome these minors who wished to be transferred to the UK.” Unregistered children would face arrest according to authorities, but aid groups say that no information had been provided in regards to registration. Calais officials said that no arrests have been made, but anyone who refuses to leave the camp will have to join a shelter or face arrest.