4 News Items You May Have Missed


Gene RRussell

David Shulkin’s Official Government Portrait. Photo via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons License.

Students March On Washington

Student demonstrators marched on Washington for tighter gun regulations on March 24. Many other cities held similar marches.  

The impetus for the march was the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. Stoneman Douglas students Cameron Kasky, Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, and others called for a march soon after the shooting.  

While all speakers at the Washington march were high-school age or younger, many older Americans and celebrities showed their support. Amal and George Clooney started a string of $500,000 donations in support. Paul McCartney, who joined a march in New York, told reporters how the issue of shootings was important to him, referencing the shooting of fellow Beatle John Lennon. Comedian Bill Murray stated that he was reminded of the students who protested the Vietnam War.

The march was not without its detractors, though. The NRA posted a video calling it “a carnival of a march.” Some Republicans, like former senator Rick Santorum, criticized the march and its attendees. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) called for protestors to attempt to find common ground with gun owners.

Kim Jong-Un Meets Chinese President

In his first foreign trip since assuming power in 2011, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un paid a surprise visit to Chinese President Xi Jinping.

This visit marked a shift from Kim’s past behaviors and his penchant for missile tests on the Korean peninsula. This is the first of three potential visits with powerful world leaders. Kim plans to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-In and could later meet President Donald Trump.  

Both Chinese and North Korean state media reported that Kim’s visit was at the invitation of Xi. Analysts said that the visit’s goal was to reform the ties between the two countries, who have traditionally been allies.  

According to Chinese state media, Kim said that “the issue of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula can be resolved if South Korea and the United States respond to the efforts with goodwill.” However, North Korean state media did not mention nuclear weapons in its coverage of the meeting.  

Former VA Secretary Pens Op-ed

The White House has seen the departures of many advisors over the past few weeks. Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin became the latest one on March 28.

While his departure may not have been a surprise due to the number of advisors leaving the administration, what may have come as a surprise is Shulkin’s critical op-ed in the New York Times.  

In the piece, Shulkin criticized those in the administration who want a privatized system that rewards “select people and companies with profits, even if it undermines care for veterans,” and vowed to “continue to speak out against those who seek to harm the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) by putting their personal agendas in front of the well-being of our veterans.”

An aversion to privatization seems to be what caused Shulkin’s ouster. The Trump transition team featured many conservatives who favor privatization, leading to an ideological divide between Shulkin and the other political appointees at the VA.

White House physician Ronny Jackson is set to replace Shulkin. Jackson, a medical professional, has not held a policy position, and his views on privatization are as of yet unknown.

Photo Caption: David Shulkin’s Official Government Portrait. Photo via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons License.

Would You Like A Warning With Your Coffee?

A California judge ruled that coffee sellers, including industry giant Starbucks, must place warnings on their coffee.

This ruling comes after The Council for Education and Research on Toxics sued the coffee industry over the inclusion of acrylamide, a cancer-causing chemical, in the drink. CERT says that the industry should either remove the chemical from coffee entirely or post warning signs in all coffee shops.  

On March 28, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle ruled that the coffee industry had not provided sufficient evidence “that consumption of coffee confers a benefit to human health.”

Scientific evidence on the effects of coffee have gone back and forth, but recent studies have found that drinking coffee confers health benefits. The cancer agency of the World Health Organization removed coffee from its “possible carcinogen” list in 2016.

According to CBS News, several coffee drinkers, like digital marketing technologist Jen Bitterman and lawyer Darlington Ibekwe, said that a warning would not stop them from drinking coffee.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons License.