News briefs-National and International



GOP Faces Frustrated Constituents in Town Halls

During their recess from Congress, Republican lawmakers have held town hall meetings across the country and have been consistently faced with angry constituents over the past week. Attendees have often grabbed hold of these meetings by strongly and often emotionally challenging their representatives with questions ranging from Obamacare to President Trump’s relationship with Russia. Representatives have often been booed by the agitated crowds and found it difficult to respond to their questions. President Trump has dismissed these angry crowds as planned activism against Republicans.


President Trump Reverses Obama-era Guidelines for Transgender Students

President Donald Trump has reversed guidelines regarding the use of public school bathrooms by transgender students on Wednesday, Feb. 22. The guidelines had been put in place by the Education and Justice Departments last year and said that transgender students should be allowed to use the restroom facilities that correspond with their gender identity. The Trump administration issued a two-page letter to schools falling under these guidelines, saying that the policy regarding use of transgender bathrooms should be left to each state to decide on. In reaction to this, some states and cities have said that this directive is a violation of discrimination laws. On the other hand, several conservative groups such as the Family Research Council have called the reversal a “victory for parents, children and privacy.”


Viral Videos Shows LAPD Officer in Altercation with 13-Year-Old

Several videos have gone viral in the past couple week concerning an incident between an off-duty police officer and a group of teenagers on Tuesday, Feb. 21. The videos show the officer, who remains unnamed, holding a boy by the shirt with several of the boy’s friends trying to intervene and pull the boy away. The confrontation allegedly began due to ongoing issues with teenagers walking across the officer’s property and escalated after he grabbed hold of the boy. Other teenagers got involved physically, with at least one punch thrown at the officer. The officer then pulled out his gun and fired a shot at the ground, causing most teenagers to run away. The incident is under investigation and has garnered much attention on social media.



Half-Brother of N. Korea Leader Killed

Two women are suspected of poisoning Kim Jong Nam, half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jung Un, using the nerve agent VX in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur. Officials stated on Wednesday, Feb. 22, that they believe the women coated their hands with the nerve agent before wiping them on his face. The incident occurred at a departure area of Kuala Lumpur’s budget airport. Officials have also stated that they believe that the North Korean government was behind the attack and are now searching for a North Korean diplomat in connection to the attack. Kim was on his way to his home in the Chinese territory of Macau when the attack, which led to his death, occurred.


French Presidential Candidate Causes Stir with Headscarf Refusal

French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen caused quite a stir by refusing to meet with Lebanon’s top Sunni Muslim leaders on Tuesday, Feb. 21, after being told that she would be required to wear a headscarf during the meeting. Upon being greeted at the door, Le Pen was handed a headscarf to be put on before proceeding to the meeting. She refused, saying, “You can pass on my respects to the grand mufti, but I will not cover myself up.” Le Pen was on a two-day tour of Lebanon in attempt to recruit French-Lebanese votes before the first round of France’s election on April 23.


Vice President Meets with World Leaders

Vice President Mike Pence, along with the secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security, attended the Munich Security Conference from Feb. 17-19 in Munich, Germany. There, they met with more than 30 heads of state as well as 80 foreign and defense ministers, according to a report by TIME. In his remarks, Pence vowed to hold Russia accountable for its actions, as well as affirmed the United States’ support for NATO. Leaders hoped that Pence would help clarify President Donald Trump’s stances on issues such as Russia, NATO and the Iran nuclear agreement.