News Briefs

The biggest local, national, and international news stories from the past month

by Isabella Franklin

Craig McCalla Named Outstanding Practicing Principal of 2017

Every year, Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association, or MEMSPA, presents the Outstanding Practicing Principal award to only one principal in the state. The winner for 2017 is Craig McCalla, the principal of Cornerstone Elementary School. McCalla was chosen for his leadership capabilities and respect of all students, along with his awareness of issues among students. In his nomination for the award, DCS Executive Director of Instruction Mollie Sharrar wrote: “Mr. McCalla is an advocate for all students and is a leader in Michigan for transgender students and social justice awareness in schools.” Former MEMSPA president Tom DeGraaf described McCalla as someone who has not only contributed to Cornerstone, but to the education community at large.

Four People Shot in Detroit During Noel Night

During Noel Night on December 2, a 45-year-old Detroit tradition in which many buildings open their doors to the public free of charge, four teenagers were shot, allegedly due to an argument that broke out between them and another teenager. The victims were wounded, but their wounds were not fatal. The incident occurred outside the Detroit Institute of Art, and the perpetrator was a 16-year-old boy with a handgun. Noel Night was ended early, and people were evacuated from the area after the attack. Detroit Police Chief James Craig is considering the addition of a curfew during Noel Nights, but organizers are considering canceling future Noel Nights altogether to avoid future issues.

Two American Monuments Reduced in Size

Two national monuments in southern Utah, Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, are being decreased in size by a total of two million acres under President Trump’s orders. This has faced opposition from environmentalists and Native American advocates, as this would open the land to drilling and mining. The administration’s reason for downsizing the monuments is to give the local governments control over the land and what happens to it.

Australia Legalizes Gay Marriage

On December 7, 2017, the Australian Parliament voted to legalize same-sex marriage in the country. After many years of strong opposition from Australian politicians such as Tony Abbott, the Parliament moved to legalize marriage equality with a surprisingly overwhelming majority; only four members of a 150-member parliament voted against the bill. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, an avid supporter of same-sex marriage and social reform, referred to this vote as a win for all of Australia.

FCC Votes to Repeal Net Neutrality

The Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal net neutrality—the idea that all data on the internet must be treated the same—on December 14. Without net neutrality, internet service providers will be able to charge certain sites more for faster service or block content. The FCC has faced opposition on this decision to remove of net neutrality, as it may hurt small businesses and limit the flow of information on the internet. However, the decision must still go through Congress before it is fully enacted.

Failed Pipe Bomb Attack in Manhattan

On December 11, an attack occurred near Times Square in Manhattan. The attacker, Akayed Ullah, strapped a pipe bomb to himself, but the bomb failed to fully detonate. The only person who was serious injured was Ullah himself. Ullah claimed that he did this in support of the terrorist group ISIS. This is the second violent attack in Manhattan in the past month.

Libyan Government Uncovers Active Slave Trade

The African country of Libya has been exposed as having an active, widespread slave trade of refugees. Undocumented refugees, often from West Africa, escape to Europe through Libya, making them a target for human traffickers. When the Libyan coast guard catches these refugees, they transport them back to Libya, stranding the vulnerable refugees in Libya. The UN has condemned the Libyan government for its failure to put a stop to the slave trade, prompting Libya’s ambassador to the UN, Elmahdi Elmajerbi, to investigate the slave auctions. Some European countries and other African countries have also agreed to help the Libyan government stop the slave trade.