CATHOLIC VALUES COLUMNIST
Chicago teacher strike continues after negotiations fall through
Chicago public schools will remain closed after negotiations fell through Saturday between the city of Chicago and the Chicago Teachers Union. Public schools in Chicago closed Oct. 16 and will likely remained closed past the seven–school-day stoppage mark set by a 2012 strike. The main point of contention between the groups is a gap of $38 million between what the city is offering and what the union is requesting for contract expenses. Both sides said they are willing to work together but worry that the gap between funding and other issues will be too much to overcome. About 25,000 teachers and roughly 300,000 students are affected by the stoppage.
California faced with more wildfire threats
Wildfires again struck Sonoma County, located north of San Francisco, two years after a fire in that area destroyed thousands and left more than 20 dead. This time, the so-dubbed Kincade Fire, which began the night of Oct. 23, is being fought by more than 3,000 firefighters and has forced about 180,000 people to evacuate — the largest evacuation in memory, according to the Sonoma County Sherriff’s Office. The New York Times reported that 79 buildings have been destroyed by the fire; however, no serious injuries or deaths have been reported. The Kincade Fire, as well as the Tick Fire in Los Angeles County and other smaller vegetation fires, have largely been fueled by harsh winds reaching as high as 93 mph. Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statewide state of emergency and called the conditions “unprecedented.”
Texas college party shooting leaves two dead, 14 injured
Two people are dead and 14 more injured after a gunman opened fire at a college party Saturday night in Texas. The shooting occurred 15 miles southwest of Texas A&M University-Commerce, a satellite campus in the Texas A&M University system. According to police, the shooter is believed to have been targeting one person at the party, which had roughly 750 in attendance, and that the others were shot at random. The party was not a school-sanctioned event and occurred during the university’s homecoming weekend. As of Sunday afternoon, police were looking for the suspect but had not identified him. The gun used in the attack had not been recovered yet, either, according to police.
Amazon synod final document calls for married priests
The controversial Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazonian region approved its final document Saturday, which includes a call for the ordination of married men to the priesthood, as well as a request for the continued consideration of a female permanent diaconate. In the 33-page document, the synod fathers spoke of their appreciation for the gift of celibacy but suggested that Pope Francis consider criteria for the ordination of “suitable and esteemed men of the community.” Additionally, the synod fathers asked for the Holy Father to include delegates from the synod to contribute to his commission examining the historical role of female deacons. Pope Francis created this commission in 2016. The three-week synod included 181 voting members as well as representatives of indigenous communities and other religious groups who work in the Amazon region.
ISIS leader, world’s most wanted man, killed
The leader of ISIS, who was seen by many as the world’s most wanted man, blew himself up after being cornered by U.S. forces in Syria. U.S. special operators had cornered Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the militant group’s leader for the last five years, in a dead-end tunnel, leading al-Baghdadi to detonate a suicide vest, according to President Donald Trump. With al-Baghdadi at its helm, ISIS continued to terrorize areas of Iraq and Syria despite diminishing forces. It was during his tenure that ISIS cultivated a reputation for beheading its captives, according to the Associated Press. According to Iraqi officials, al-Baghdadi’s location was discovered based on information from his brother-in-law and the wife of one of his aides.
39 dead people found in shipping container; four arrested
Four people have been arrested in connection to the deaths of 39 people found in a refrigerated truck trailer in Essex, England. The dead bodies were discovered Oct. 23, and British police said the eight women and 31 men were Chinese nationals, sparking concerns that the deaths involved human trafficking. Mo Robinson, a 25-year-old from Northern Ireland who drove the truck, was arrested on suspicion of murder. Three others, including a 48-year-old man from Northern Ireland and a man and a woman, both 38, were arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and trafficking-related offenses, according to CNN. The latter three were released on bail, but Robinson remained in custody as of Sunday.