March for Our Lives held around country
In response to the Parkland school shooting last month, students across the country organized protests named March for Our Lives to rally support for gun control measures. The main one, held in Washington, D.C., was headlined by survivors David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez who repeatedly accused the National Rifle Association of being responsible for mass shootings across the country. About 800 similar rallies were held around the country in cities such as New York, Boston and Los Angeles. The students’ efforts received support from celebrities such as George Clooney, Miley Cyrus and Paul McCartney, many of whom joined the students in marching across the streets of cities. The rallies have been met with some criticism, as several conservatives and NRA proponents countered that the marches were largely symbolic actions with no legislative substance.
Congress passes $1.3 trillion spending bill
Congress passed a $1.3 trillion dollar spending bill on Friday, guaranteeing that the government will stay open at least through the end of September. The bill, which amassed 2,323 pages, failed to address several items that have conservatives across the country outraged. Planned Parenthood received more than $500 million, which pro-lifers saw as a slap in the face from the Republican majority Congress. Other issues that were central to President Donald Trump’s campaign, such as the controversial border wall with Mexico, received some funding but not nearly as much as some had hoped. Conservative reactions were quick and angry. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., called the bill grotesque and others called it an “embarrassing rundown of broken promises.”
MLB prepares to open regular season
Major League Baseball is set to begin its 115th season on Thursday when the Miami Marlins take on the Chicago Cubs in Miami. Opening Day concludes an eventful offseason that saw several high-caliber players switch teams. Most notable was the Marlins’ fire sale of almost every star on the team, including perennial All-Star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, who was traded to the New York Yankees for infielder Starlin Castro and prospects. The L.A. Angels will enter the season with new acquisition Shohei Ohtani, who will double as both a starting pitcher and occasional designated hitter – the first true two-way player in 99 years, according to MLB.com. In the league’s continued efforts to appeal to the international community, select major league games will be played in Mexico and Puerto Rico, with an additional special series being played in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, to coincide with the Little League World Series.
Russia faces diplomatic fallout following spy poisoning
Twenty-one countries joined the United Kingdom in expelling Russian intelligence officers after reports that Russia was behind the nerve-agent poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, in southern England. Sergei Skripal had become a British citizen since leaving Russia. More than 100 diplomats serving in various different capacities have been ordered out of countries such as the US, Canada, France and Germany as the countries support the UK’s decision. The Russian government, for its part, denies any involvement with the poisoning and has called the expulsions as a “provocative gesture.” BBC reported that the Skripals remain in critical but stable condition, and the event is being investigated as an attempted murder.
French officer sacrifices life for another hostage
A French police officer died after sacrificing himself for a female hostage during an Islamic radical attack in southern France. Lt. Col. Arnaud Beltrame, 45, was shot in the neck during the assault on a supermarket in Trebes. Police named the attacker as Radouane Lakdim, 26. Witnesses said that he had burst into the store shouting that he was an ISIS soldier before proceeding to open fire on those in the store. Lakdim was shot dead by police on the scene. According to police, Beltrame had offered to exchange himself for a female hostage and was shot upon entering the store. He died on Friday but was able to marry his fiancée on his deathbed. French President Emmanuel Macron mourned the death and called Beltrame a hero. Police have evidence that the shooter was connected to radical Islam but are not sure if he was in direct connection with ISIS.
Chinese space station to fall back to Earth
A Chinese space station launched in 2011 is plummeting back to Earth, according to an ABC report. The Tiangong-1 was launched in 2011 and has been decreasing its orbit ever since. Last year, China admitted that it no longer had any control of the space station. According to the report, most of the station will burn up upon re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere but that doesn’t rule out the small possibility that some pieces will hit the Earth. The report said that the space station is expected to re-enter the atmosphere as early as Thursday and as late as Monday. The area with the highest probability of getting debris is a small strip across the central part of the United States.