News Briefs – National and International



Trump Calls Opioid a National Public Health Emergency

During an announcement made at the White House on Oct. 26, President Donald Trump said that the opioid crisis in the United States is officially a national public health emergency.” In his announcement, the president said that all executive agencies will be directed to use their authority to combat the crisis. This announcement will spur the Department of Health and Human Resources to direct its emergency funds to minimize deaths and damage caused by the crisis. According to an HHS spokesperson, the emergency fund at the agency stands at $57,000, but there are hopes that the president will petition Congress for more funds. According to ABC News, drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, and most of those deaths involve an opioid.

MLB Player Suspended for Racial Gesture in World Series

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred announced on Oct. 28, that Houston Astro first baseman Yuli Gurriel will be suspended for the first five games of the 2018 season. The suspension stems from a gesture Gurriel made towards Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish during game 3 of the World Series. Gurriel returned to the dugout after hitting a home run off of Darvish when cameras caught him stretching out his eyes in what many thought were a reference to Darvish, who is Japanese. Immediately, social media blew up in outrage at Gurriel’s action, with many calling for an immediate suspension. Gurriel told the media that he did not intend to offend the Dodgers hurler, but that it was a reference to the time he spent playing in the Japanese baseball league. Darvish accepted Gurriel’s apology and asked people to learn from the action.

President Trump Releases Files Tied to JFK Assassination

In a tweet on Friday, President Donald Trump said that he would release more documents related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. This comes immediately after the president release a limited selection of more than 2,800 files to the public. The documents were posted online by the National Archives and include information about a potential CIA-mafia plot to assassinate Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and an intercepted call from Kennedy killer Lee Harvey Oslwald to the KGB on the day of Kennedy’s death. The release of the documents is complying with a 1992 law that required their release after 25 years.


Kurdish President Steps Down

The president of Iraq’s semi-autonomous region is stepping down following political backlash related to a Kurdish independence referendum from September. Masoud Barzani released a statement on Sunday saying that he will not continue his presidency past Nov. 1, when his term is scheduled to end. In addition, Barzani suspended the position of president, delegating his executive powers to the other branches of the Kurdish Regional Government. In the month since a controversial independence referendum passed by a vote of 92 percent, the Iraqi government has made repeated efforts to loosen the powers of Kurdish leader’s government, which included taking control of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, among other areas.

Spain Takes Over Catalonia After Declaration of Independence

The Spanish Senate invoked Article 155 of Spain’s Constitution on Friday, giving the Spanish government complete control over Catalonia after the northern region declared its independence. The move enabled Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to remove the leader of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, and his cabinet. Rajoy additionally dissolved the Catalan Parliament and said that new regional elections will be held on Dec. 21. According to the New York Times, Spain’s attorney general is considering detaining Catalan leaders on grounds of rebellion. Other Europeans have been sympathetic to the Spanish cause, refusing to recognize the Catalan decision. Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, tweeted that “nothing changes” and that Spain remain the council’s only interlocutor.

Church Bell rings in Indian Parish After 5 Decades

The sounds of church bells at a small parish in India were heard for the first time in 50 years in the main city of the Muslim-majority region of Kashmir. Members of the small Holy Family Catholic Church in Srinagar came together to celebrate the installation of a new church bell. The church has been without a bell since 1967, when the bell fell victim to an arson attack by protesters demonstrating against the Mideast war. Also at the ceremony were Muslims and Hindus, which led the church’s pastor to say that all religions need to be known to the world because of the violence that has been caused in the name of religion throughout history.