National Spotlight

Obama Sasses Senate
President Barack Obama gave his seventh annual State of the Union address on Tuesday in which he stressed economically boosting the middle class, urged increasing the minimum wage and encouraged bipartisan cooperation for the new year. During his speech, he explained that he had “no more campaigns to run,” prompting a handful of Republicans to applaud before the president paused and replied, “I know, because I won both of them.” The hashtag #IWonThemBoth began trending on social media within seconds. (NBC News)

Rochester University Students Create Metal So Hydrophobic That Water Bounces On It
Student scientists at the University of Rochester in New York used lasers to transform metals into extremely hydrophobic, or water repellent, surfaces. The lasers create an intricate structure on the metal that is so hydrophobic that water bounces off the metal’s surface, eliminating the need for additional coating common to other water repellent surfaces. The patterns are intrinsic to metals, which could develop rust preventing, anti-icing or sanitation purposes. (Rochester Newscenter)

Community Colleges to Offer Bachelor’s Degrees in Pilot Programs
Education officials approved 15 community colleges to offer bachelor degrees that will cost around $10,000 in a pilot program on Tuesday. The program will go into effect before Fall of 2017 and will provide degrees in fields such as automotive technology, bio-manufacturing, emergency services, mortuary science and more. The courses are intended to boost the economy and to give students an alternative to expensive, for-profit programs. (SF Gate)

Traces of Montana Oil Spill Found in Drinking Water
A ruptured 12-inch steel pipeline spilled 50,000 gallons of oil into the Yellowstone River, contaminating the drinking water near Glendive, Montana, last Sunday. Health officials urge people not to drink tap water after finding traces of benzene, a chemical found in oil, in a water treatment plant. Though short term exposure to the water is not harmful, it smells like gasoline and is undrinkable, according to locals. Governor Steve Bullock visited the town and declared a state of emergency for the surrounding counties. The spill revived concerns about the Keystone XL pipeline, a large oil pipeline operating through Canada and the U.S. (NY Times)

International News

ISIS Demands $200 Million Ransom for Japanese Hostages
On Tuesday, the Islamic State released a video apparently featuring two Japanese hostages identified as Japanese war correspondents Kenji Goto, and Haruna Yukawa, and a figure in black robes holding a knife, demanding Japan pay a $200 million ransom for the hostages within 72 hours. Veryan Khan of the Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium noted that the video bears inconsistencies in wind and lighting. The video surfaced after the Prime Minister of Japan pledged $200 million in non-military aid to countries battling the Islamic State. (Reuters)

Meth-Carrying Drone Crashes in San Diego
Mexican police recovered a crashed drone containing illicit methamphetamine on Tuesday near San Diego, along Mexico’s border with California. The remote-controlled aircraft crashed in a supermarket parking lot, carrying six packets of drugs and weighing more than six pounds. On Wednesday, Tijuana police spokesperson Jorge Morrua said authorities are working to locate where the flight originated and who was controlling it. According to Morrua, other unusual efforts to transport illegal drugs, including catapults, ultralight aircraft and tunnels have been used to smuggle drugs. (CBS News)

A version of this story appeared on page 7 of the January, Thursday 22, 2015 edition of the Daily Nexus.