National News

Interlock Devices Have Stopped 1.77 Million Drunk Drivers, says MADD

Mothers Against Drunk Driving, a nonprofit organization that serves to educate the public on the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol, has released a report that ignition interlocking devices, which are used to prevent a drunk person from operating a vehicle, have kept over 1.77 million intoxicated individuals off the road. These devices are often mandated in the cars of people convicted of driving under the influence, some after a first offense in many states. MADD is continuing to call for more restrictive laws around drunk driving, especially in the 25 states that don’t require an interlock device to be installed after a first DUI conviction.


Supreme Court Blocks Obama’s Clean Power Plan

In a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court decided on Tuesday to block a major part of Obama’s clean energy plan, causing much uncertainty regarding the future of his plan and of the international climate agreement made last December in Paris. The White House said it will continue to take “aggressive steps” to reduce climate pollution in the nation regardless of the Supreme Court decision. The decision could affect the support of the global climate change agreement, as Obama’s clean power plan was a critical point in persuading over 200 countries to sign on to the deal.


Election Cycle Kicks Off with the Nation’s First Caucus and Primary

Iowa and New Hampshire recently held the nation’s first caucus and primary, respectively, for the 2016 election cycle. The Democratic races resulted in a very slim victory for Hillary Clinton (49.9 percent) in Iowa and a decisive victory for Bernie Sanders (60.4 percent) in New Hampshire. On the Republican side, Ted Cruz (27.6 percent) won in Iowa and Donald Trump (35.3 percent) won decisively in New Hampshire. The results prompted some candidates to drop out of the race, including Martin O’Malley, who dropped his bid for the Democratic nomination after getting only 0.6 percent of the vote in Iowa. Republican candidates Carly Fiorina, Rand Paul and Chris Christie, among others, suspended their campaigns after failing to secure a single delegate from either race.


International Spotlight

World’s Largest Solar Power Plant Opens in Morocco

Funded by the World Bank, Phase 1 of the Noor Concentrated Solar Plant (CSP) began operations last week in Morocco and will provide 1.1 million people with power while cutting carbon emissions by 760,000 tons a year. The $9 billion project’s next two phases will begin in 2017 and 2018. The plant generates electricity by heating up water using mirrors to reflect the sun’s rays to a concentrated point. It will create 1,600 jobs during construction, and 200 jobs when the plant goes into full operation. This is part of Morocco’s plan to have 42 percent of its energy coming from renewable sources by 2020. MIT Technology Review


U.S. Says North Korea has Increased its Plutonium Production

U.S. Intelligence Chief James Clapper said Tuesday that North Korea could have enough plutonium for a nuclear weapon. He also said Pyongyang, the capital of the country, has begun establishing an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile System. Last September, the capital released a statement that the nuclear reactor located in Yongbyon had reopened and returned to normal operations, and is now the location of plutonium for North Korea’s nuclear weapons. Experts say the reactor could make enough plutonium to make one nuclear weapon in a year.


Year of the Monkey Begins

Lunar New Year on Monday marked the beginning of the Chinese year of the monkey, which will last until Jan. 27, 2017. Celebrations took place worldwide, but the biggest celebration outside of Asia, will be this Sunday in London, England, where thousands of people are expected to flock to its Chinatown partake. The festivities will include a parade, along with music, acrobatics and pyrotechnics. Participants will also be celebrating the Chinese New Year with a Chinese Wishing Tree, a tradition for good luck and good fortune in the coming year.