National News:

President Obama Introduces Executive Order to Reduce Gun Deaths

President Obama delivered an emotional speech this past Tuesday announcing his executive action on gun control. The speech brought him to tears as he recounted the emotions the nation felt after innocent children were killed in the Sandy Hook shooting of 2012. Most of the President’s new measures will serve to clarify and encourage enforcement of existing gun laws for federal agencies. Republican presidential nominees immediately fired back with complaints that the President’s actions violate the Second Amendment, while proponents of increased gun regulations have expressed thanks for the President’s new plan.

El Nino Hits California Coast Leading to Widespread Flash Flood Warnings

Heavy rains hit the California coast as a result of this year’s El Niño, leading to flash flood warnings along the California coast from San Francisco to San Diego. The storms are the result of rising temperatures in the Pacific Ocean between October and December of 2015. Many Southern California roads have been shut down as a result of the flooding. Los Angeles and San Diego might experience three to five inches of rain and mountain regions can expect two to four feet of snow through Thursday. This El Niño is tied with the one of 1997-1998 for the strongest on record.

Oregon Protestors Occupying a Federal Building Say FBI Planning Raid

The occupation of a federal building in Oregon continues as protesters seek to end the land appropriation policy that has shaped much of western land. The group is fighting over public land that they have been driven from and believes the government is abusing its power. Ammon Bundy, the leader of the protest, said he’d been told that the FBI obtained arrest warrants for the protesters and are planning to raid the building being occupied. The FBI has not confirmed Bundy’s claim, and says they’re working with local Harney County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon State Police and other local and state law enforcement agencies to bring a peaceful resolution to the situation.

International Spotlight:

North Korea Claims to Have Detonated Its First Hydrogen Bomb

North Korea claimed on Wednesday that it successfully detonated its first hydrogen bomb, a type of nuclear weapon that is much more powerful than conventional atomic bombs. South Korea doubts this claim, believing that the seismological data collected around the time of the alleged test was more consistent with an atomic bomb, which North Korea previously tested. The United States, Britain, France and China criticized the announcement, as the detonation is a direct violation of warnings from the United Nations.

Saudi Arabian Allies Weaken Ties to Iran Following Shiite Cleric’s Execution

Saudi Arabia announced on Saturday that it had executed 47 prisoners, including Nimr al-Nimr, an advocate for Shiite Muslims. Following the announcement, Iranian protestors led an attack on the Saudi Arabian embassy in Tehran, a mostly Shiite region. Shortly after this attack, Saudi Arabia severed ties to Iran, leaving many nations picking sides in the conflict. The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain were among the first to weaken their ties to Iran. Saudi Arabia suspended all flights to and from Iran, and has sent a letter to the U.N. Security Council that accuses Iranian officials of failing to protect the Saudi Embassy.

Hundreds Gather to Protest Sexual Assaults in Cologne, Germany

The German city of Cologne experienced a high number of pickpocketing and sexual and physical assault on New Yea’s Eve, leading to widespread protests in the city. Over 90 criminal complaints have been filed to the police. Some protestors and victims described the perpetrators as people of North African and Middle Eastern descent, leading many to blame the attacks on the refugees in Germany; however, German political leaders urge the nation not to jump to conclusions. Similar attacks happened in the German cities Hamburg and Stuttgart, and many protestors demand action from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has expressed outrage over the attacks.