Secretary of State declares ISIS acts as genocide, Defense Secretary nominates first female combatant chief, SeaWorld discontinues orca breeding program


Secretary of State declares ISIS’s acts genocide

Secretary of State John Kerry declared Thursday that the Islamic State is committing genocide against Christians, Yazidis and Shiite Muslims. The designation has only been declared once before in U.S. history and comes after pressure from lawmakers as well as a 393-0 House vote declaring ISIS actions as genocide, reported Fox News. Kerry said that ISIS has committed “crimes against humanity,” as well as “ethnic cleansing.” Only a day earlier a State Department spokesman said that no announcement would be made before the March 17 deadline, making Kerry’s decision a surprise.   Although this announcement does not require the U.S. to take any action against the group, Kerry urged others to hold ISIS “accountable” for its actions.

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Defense Secretary nominates first female combatant chief

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter nominated Gen. Lori Robinson on March 18 to lead the U.S. Northern Command. The position, one of the most senior in the U.S. military, has never been held by a woman, reported the BBC. The nomination must be confirmed by the Senate because of the responsibilities the position entails. Robinson enrolled in the Air Force in 1982 and is currently commander for the Pacific Air Forces. If she is appointed, Robinson would replace Adm. Bill Gortney, who has held the position since 2014. Carter said of Robinson, “We have, coming along now, a lot of female officers who are exceptionally strong. And Lori certainly fit into that category.”

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SeaWorld discontinues orca breeding program

Popular theme park SeaWorld will end its Orca breeding program, which has come under fire by activists, stated the BBC on March 17. The company has received heavy criticism regarding alleged poor treatment of captive orcas used in its live shows. Activists have asked SeaWorld to release the aquatic mammals into the wild, but the company says that the animals would have little chance of survival outside of the habitats in which they were raised. In addition to the discontinuation of the breeding program, the company also announced that it would abandon plans for a $100 million project that would have expanded the orca habitat in SeaWorld San Diego. The day following the announcement, the theme park’s stock rose as much as six percent.

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