4 News Items You May Have Missed


Billy Graham with former President Barack Obama in 2010. Photo via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons license.

New Charges Filed in Russia Investigation

Special Counsel Robert Mueller levelled new court-sealed charges against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and former deputy campaign manager Rick Gates.

These charges follow the indictment of both individuals this past October. The charges they face include conspiracy to launder money and conspiracy to defraud the United States. Both have pleaded not guilty.

While Manafort has not yet cooperated with the investigation, Gates is reported to have entered a plea deal, according to several news organizations, such as the Los Angeles Times and CNN. Even Alex van der Zwaan, a lawyer who worked with Manafort and Gates in Ukraine, entered into a plea deal with the special counsel’s office.

Manafort remains under house arrest with no apparent intention of entering a plea deal.

Effects of Another School Shooting

After the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida,  students across the nation walked out of schools in support of survivors.

Stoneman Douglas students traveled to the Florida state capitol to demand bans on weapons like the one used in the shooting. However, their calls seemed to fall on deaf ears when state lawmakers voted 71-36 against the consideration of a ban on semi-automatic weapons.  

On Feb. 21, President Trump held a listening session at the White House that included not only survivors from the Stoneman Douglas shooting, but also families impacted by the Columbine and Sandy Hook shootings. At this meeting, Trump said that the nation is “going to be very strong on background checks” in response to this shooting.  

Whenever a shooting occurs, a heated debate on gun control is sure to follow. CNN hosted a town hall event bringing Stoneman Douglas students face-to-face with the National Rifle Association (NRA) and three Florida legislators. Students grilled NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) on gun control. Emotions rode high, with Stoneman Douglas senior Ryan Deitsch asking, “Why do we have to be the ones to do this?  Why do we have to march on Washington just to save innocent lives?”

Famed Evangelist Dead at 99

Billy Graham, famed Evangelist pastor and a counselor to every president since Harry S. Truman, died on Feb 21.  

Born Nov. 7, 1918, Graham’s first encounter with spirituality was at the age of 16, when he met temperance leader Mordecai Ham. Graham was later ordained in 1939.  

Best known for his humor and nonpartisan views, Graham made waves when he refused to follow segregation policies and also forced churches to integrate for his services. Martin Luther King Jr. considered Graham an ally stating, “Work in the civil rights movement would not have been as successful as it has been” had it not been for Graham. Graham also maintained a near constant presence in the media and wrote more than two dozen books.

After news of his death broke, condolences poured in from leaders, including Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Vice President Mike Pence and former President Barack Obama.

Photo caption: Billy Graham with former President Barack Obama in 2010.  Photo via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons license.

British Chicken Shortage

“The chicken crossed the road,” Kentucky Fried Chicken recently said on its website. “Just not to our restaurants.”

This play on the classic joke came after a supply chain issue forced KFC to close half of its 900 restaurants in Britain.  Restaurants that remained open ran with limited menus.

While many blamed KFC itself, KFC blamed the issue on its switch to a new delivery partner, DHL. DHL, though, blamed “operational issues” for the supply interruption. DHL managing director John Boulter said in a statement that the company does “apologize for the inconvenience and disappointment caused to KFC and their customers by this incident.”  

The humor of a chicken restaurant running out of chicken was not lost on people, with many on social media poking fun at the situation. On Twitter, London comedian Aurie Styla asked, “How can you be out of the one thing you are known for selling?!?” Others, like construction worker Steve Biswell, took a more serious approach, wondering how a global supply chain could have such a big problem.  

GMB, a trade union that advised against KFC’s switch to DHL, couldn’t help commenting on the situation with humor.  “We tried to warn KFC this decision would have consequences,” GMB national officer Mick Rix said in a statement.  “Well, now the chickens are coming home to roost.”