National News

Obama Delivers His Final State of the Union

President Barack Obama was optimistic in the eighth and final State of the Union address of his term as President on Tuesday night. The President stressed that Americans cannot “scapegoat” other citizens as frustrations grow about escalating issues such as terrorism and gun control. He readily contradicted the Republicans’ pessimistic view of the State of the Union. People who represent national causes are generally invited to attend the speech, but this time Obama chose to leave one seat empty to represent victims of gun violence, likely in coordination with his recent executive actions on gun control.

Oil Prices Drop to Near 12-Year Low as Domestic Inventories Soar

Oil prices are down to around $30 per barrel after reports show that crude oil inventories were at 234,000 in the U.S. last week. That number was overshadowed by the 8.4 million barrel rise in gasoline and 6 million barrel rise in distillates such as diesel and heating oil last week. This surge represents a build higher than the seasonal norm. Gasoline production was at its highest levels since 1993. Analysts at Morgan Stanley warn that the rise in demand for crude oil may turn out to be lower than previously projected. In response to the surge, OPEC members are calling for an emergency meeting.

International Spotlight

U.S. Sailors Released Quickly After Tense International Incident

Sailors on two U.S. Navy boats drifted into Iranian waters off of Farsi Island and were subsequently detained by Iranian forces on Tuesday. The incident was resolved quickly and the sailors were released successfully and diplomatically. The incident was likely caused by a mechanical issue in one of the boats. In a statement by the Iranian military, they said that the incident was illegal, but also inadvertent and unintentional. An investigation by the Navy is underway to find out what exactly led to the boats drifting into Iranian waters.

Turkey Arrests Five More People in Connection with Istanbul Blast

The Islamic State (IS) was suspected to have been responsible for the suicide bombing in Istanbul that lead to the deaths of 10 German tourists on Tuesday. Over 70 suspected IS militants have been detained since. Turkish authorities have identified the bomber as a Syrian man who had recently entered Turkey. He is suspected to have links to IS, but the terrorist group has not claimed responsibility for the attack. There is no indication that the attack was targeted at Germans, and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that Germany wouldn’t make any further immediate changes to its travel advice for Turkish flights. Associated Press

United Kingdom Debates New National Anthem for England

England is considering changing its national anthem from “God Save the Queen” to its own unique song, an action that would reinforce its sovereignty and separate it from the four other nations in the United Kingdom. As of now, Scotland and Wales each have their own song played during victories at sporting matches, and England and Northern Ireland both play “God Save the Queen.” British lawmakers said that using a new anthem would establish that the United Kingdom is made up of four separate nations with their own identities. If this proposal goes into action, the song expected to replace “God Save the Queen” is “Jerusalem.”