National News

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder Apologizes for Flint Water Crisis
Residents of Flint Michigan are experiencing high levels of lead in their water supply as a result of using water from the Flint River. Officials say that this cheaper option uses pipes that leak lead into the water. Governor Snyder said in a public statement that he is sorry he let down the residents of his city. The Environmental Protection Agency said hours before his statement that the state has not responded to the crisis quickly enough. President Obama met with the mayor of Flint and signed an emergency declaration that will give five million dollars in government assistance to respond to the issue.

More Zika Virus Infections Lead To Concerns Over an Outbreak
Cases of the Zika Virus, a mosquito-borne virus that has been linked to birth defects, have been reported in Texas, Hawaii, Florida and Illinois. Although all of these cases have been related to international travel, there have been rising concerns that it may become a widespread epidemic. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has released a travel warning to many popular South American destinations for American tourists, including Mexico, Brazil and Panama. Since the virus is mosquito-borne, there is virtually no chance of contracting it if one is not bitten by a mosquito. There is no vaccine or treatment for the virus, although a British biotechnology firm is working on one.

The Dow Jones International Average Drops 500 Points Due to Declining Oil Prices
U.S. stock markets saw another sudden drop in oil prices on Wednesday, after a previous reduction in oil prices below $2 and crude oil prices dropping under $27 a barrel. This is a result of rampant sell-offs by investors. Energy companies have suffered the most, with BP’s index dropping nearly four percent and Exxon’s dropping nearly five percent Wednesday. Other international markets also suffered, with Japan’s Nikkei index down 20 percent since June and European benchmarks down three to four points. Experts say that oil production is starting to decline, which will result in oil price stabilization in the near future.

International Spotlight

Twenty-two Dead in Attack on Bacha Khan University in Pakistan
Four Taliban militants stormed a university early Wednesday in northwestern Pakistan, killing students and teachers. Security forces managed to corner the attackers and kill them before they could detonate their suicide vests. Syed Hamid Hussain, a chemistry teacher, was praised for bravely fending off the attackers with his pistol until he was killed. The attack took place 20 miles from a school in Peshawar, where 150 others lost their lives to a similar attack in 2014. Since the attacks in Peshawar, teachers in the region are now permitted to carry weapons. Taliban attacks have been at their lowest frequency in a decade as a result of a crackdown on militants.

Austria Says It Will Accept Fewer Asylum Seekers This Year
Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann said the country will accept 37,500 applications per year for the next four years, down from its 90,000 acceptances in the last year. With the migrant crisis causing problems throughout Europe, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, has called for a European Union summit on migration. Officials worry that this area will collapse if a migration solution isn’t implemented by March. Despite harsh winter weather, over 31,000 migrants have arrived in Europe this year.

Scientists May Have Found a Ninth Planet — Not Pluto
California Institute of Technology professors Dr. Michael E. Brown and Dr. Konstantin Batygin published a paper Wednesday in The Astronomical Journal that provided evidence for a potential planet located beyond Pluto. Pluto was declassified as a planet after it was discovered that it hadn’t cleared its orbit and, without a major gravitational force like other planets, was only a member of the Kuiper belt. Though Sedna, the potential ninth planet, hasn’t been directly observed, its gravitational force has been observed. Brown said the planet will likely be found within the next five years.

A version of this story appeared on page 7 of the Thursday, January 21, 2016 print edition of the Daily Nexus.