Thursday, December 21, 2017

How Effective will the Cow Plop be?

Jennifer Abele
Features Editor

Jan. 11, the “Cow Plop”  will become a reality out on the New Hope-Solebury Football field at 2:30 p.m., where the community will find out which spot the cow will choose, and if it’s their spot.
  The spots are worth $25 each, and each student has to sell at least five to reach the goal of $33,125. After the goal is met, the spots the cow chooses will earn 15% of $33,125. The prize is almost $5,000. The catch is not only does the cow choose the spot, but the spots are randomized.
Alex DiGena, Junior, is anticipating success for Jan. 11.
  “Let’s make sure the cow  kills it,” Alex DiGena said. “Sell more squares!”
  The cow plop fundraiser was chosen this year as an alternative to several small fundraisers generating $800 at most. This large scale fundraiser is to support the Junior and Senior Prom. The individual that bought the spot does not need to show up to the event, but the student who sold the spots is required to show up. If the student does not attend, then there will be another winner selected.
  Good luck to anyone who bought squares!

Bitcoin surges, then falls dramatically

Peter Thompson
Staff Writer

After a recent surge in the value of bitcoin the prevalent cryptocurrency declined rapidly over the weekend after its peak of 19,500 USD the currency dropped to 16,000 over the course of ten hours. The volatile currency has attracted an investment frenzy in the past few weeks; however, the lack of stability has raised questions regarding its investment value. Recently, a major gaming platform Steam run by Valve corporation decided to drop the cryptocurrency as a form of payment stating that the transaction fees associated with the currency and its recent volatility made it unacceptable.
  However bitcoin’s decline doesn’t signal the end of the cryptocurrencies popularity rather a ‘healthy’ fluctuation according to Arthur Hayes, The CEO of the Hong Kong based Bitmex a bitcoin and virtual currency trading firm. A UK based market analyst echoed this stating in Reuters that the cryptocurrency frenzy is not over: “The initial bounce after this morning suggests that there is appetite for buying dips but that may not last if we don’t see the kind of rebound witnessed previously.”
  The recent surge has raised concerns that bitcoin may be a ‘bubble’ that may burst in a dramatic fashion leading big banks and hedge funds to invest reluctantly. Despite Bitcoin’s decline other cryptocurrencies such as XRP have helped the cryptocurrency market continue to experience growth.     

Another Year, Another Successful Adopt-A-Child

Another Year, Another Successful Adopt-A-Child
Kayla Paul-Koch
Staff Writer

Since 1995, members of New Hope’s Key Club have been donating their time, energy, and money to Adopt-A-Child for the holidays. In the first year of participating in this rewarding program only 50 children were sponsored and adopted, but this year that number has grown to over 240 children. 
  On Dec. 13, people in the community, including parents and students, dropped off their gifts for the children in need. Members of the Key Club helped to greet those making donations, checked-in gifts, bagged them, loaded them onto the truck, and dropped them off at Fisherman’s Mark in Lambertville, NJ. 
    “It’s extremely rewarding to see how involved the students are and how they enjoy helping children in need.” Mrs. Schwander, an adviser to the program, said. 
  In addition to Key Club helping, sports team like baseball also stepped up to help donate their time. Students worked well together to get the gifts ready with holiday music playing and cookies to snack on. 
  After the gifts were dropped off  and bagged, three full truckloads of gifts were brought to Fisherman’s Mark who deliver the gifts to the children. 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Five News Stories of 2017 That Show Unparalleled Upheaval

Claudia Kolinchak
Opinions Editor

In a poll sent out to New Hope-Solebury students on Dec. 11, you were asked to vote on the biggest news of 2017, and the results were troubling. Here are the top five stories that NHS believes to be the most pressing headlines from this past year:

One of the first news events of 2017, and voted by NHS students as the top news story of the year, was Donald Trump taking presidential office on Jan. 20, 2017. The result of an extremely controversial election, the presidency of Trump and the events surrounding it, have been hot topics for almost a year now. Fifty percent of respondents of the “Biggest News of 2017” survey, believed that this was the most important event to occur this year.

2017 was filled with unprecedented weather conditions, with arguably the biggest weather story being the long string of hurricanes that plagued the atlantic from late-August to mid-October. With ten hurricanes ranking between category 1 to category 5 and seven named tropical storms, this season was the fifth most active Hurricane season since 1851. 

Preceding and following the election of the 45th president of the United States, newspaper headlines revolved around possible Russian involvement in the 2016 Election. More recently, however, the investigation regarding their interference has been a consistent news topic. The FBI is still currently investigating various parties that have potential connections to this case. 

As terrorist attacks and mass shootings have plagued the United States for several decades, 2017 was no exception. On the night of Oct. 1, 2017, our country experienced the deadliest mass shooting committed by someone in the United States. 64-year-old, Stephen Paddock open fired at a Las Vegas music festival, killing almost 60 and injuring 546 concert goers. He was later found dead, in a hotel room full of 23 firearms,from a self-inflicted gunshot.

2017 had some devastating weather conditions, and this year’s wildfire season was one for the books. With the death toll at 44 in October alone, the fires that have continued to rage through December have been some of the most destructive that California has ever seen. Fires raged through the state, leaving thousands of structures and forests destroyed.

One thing all these stories have in common is that they are either controversial or devastating to involved parties. Let’s hope that 2018 has some positive headlines hitting the press. 

Under attack, the Mueller Investigation Trudges On

Riley Brennan
Editor-In-Chief

It has been about over a year since speculation about Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election began. Former FBI director, James Comey, was responsible for launching an investigation into the Trump campaign and its ties to Russia in relation to the 2016 election, in July of 2016.
 However, in May of 2017, President Trump fired Comey, effectively removing him from the investigation. The official statement issued from the White House on the matter said that Trump, “acted based on the clear recommendations” of the attorney general and deputy attorney general. In an interview with Lester Holt, Trump claimed that while he had met with the attorney general and deputy attorney general, he had already decided to fire Flynn.
 The decision to fire Comey was met with much backlash from Democrats who believed this was Trump’s attempt to halt the investigation.
 Following Comey’s removal on May 17, Robert Mueller was appointed by the Department of Justice to oversee the investigation. Mueller took over Comey’s responsibilities regarding the case, and then proceeded to expand the probe, in order to look into Trump’s firing of Comey, and whether or not it was to be considered an obstruction of justice.
 In August of this year, Mueller impaneled a grand jury for the investigation; which is helpful in gathering evidence.
 It was not until October that any charges were made. Former Trump campaign officials, including former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business partner Rick Gates were charged with 12 counts of financial crimes in relation to work they have conducted in Ukraine over the past 10 years. The charges against them include conspiracy against the U.S., conspiracy to launder money, unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading statements, and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts.
 However, Manafort and Gates pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges, and has been put on house arrest. Manafort and Gates were freed on a $10 million bond and  $5 million bond, respectively. They will not be required to pay said bonds unless they violate the terms of their house arrests. Terms include checking in with law enforcement daily via phone, and they are only allowed out of their homes for court appearances, meetings with lawyers, medical emergencies, and religious observance. Both men have surrendered their passports as they await their trial. Manafort faces up to 80 years in prison, and Gates faces up to 70. Their trials are set for May 2018.
 Manafort has requested to be released from house arrest every weekday morning and afternoon, for activities regarding bringing his children to school and then after school activities such as birthdays and other gatherings among classmates and friends. He also requested release on weekends and holidays, and for the ability to conduct his consulting business.
 Since making requests regarding his house arrest, the Justice Department Special Counselor Robert Mueller team has found that Paul Manafort wrote as a ghostwriter on an op-ed piece with a Russian who has ties to the Russian Intelligence Service. The piece relates to Manafort’s political work for Ukraine, and investigators have found him to have been working on the editorial as recent as last week. This violates the judge’s ruling in Manafort’s case, which ordered him to “refrain from making statements to the media or in public settings that pose a substantial likelihood of material prejudice to this case." A status conference has been scheduled for December 11.
 Trump’s foreign policy advisor, George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to charges of issuing false statements to the FBI, in relation to conversations he had with Russian professor, Joseph Mifsud. Papadopoulos conversed with this professor, who promised dirt on Hillary Clinton, and is the first to be charged within the investigation. Papadopoulos lied to the FBI in regards to his contacts within Russia, those which were connected to the Kremlin.
 In recent a development, Sessions can now recall a meeting that included Papadopoulos.. In a testimony to the Judiciary Committee, Sessions said, "I do now recall the March 2016 meeting at Trump Hotel that Mr. Papadopoulos attended, but I have no clear recollection of the details of what he said during that meeting."
 As reported by the Washington Post, court documents disclose that it was during this meeting in March that Papadopoulos mentioned his connections with Russia. In front of the Trump Campaign’s foreign policy advisors, Papadopoulos suggested he had the ability to orchestrate a meeting between candidate Trump and Vladimir Putin. Both Trump and Sessions were present at this meeting. Upon his recent jog of memory, Sessions has stated that reading a news report which included Papadopoulos’ plea, helped him to remember some aspects of the meeting. On recalling the meeting, Sessions has now said, "After reading his account, and to the best of my recollection, I believe that I wanted to make clear to him that he was not authorized to represent the campaign with the Russian government, or any other foreign government, for that matter.” Sessions has denied ever lying during a testimony, calling such claims themselves, a lie.
 In January of 2017 Sessions told the Senate he was not in contact with any Russians throughout the 2016 campaign. This statement contradicts information that was revealed later on, which confirmed he met with the Russian ambassador to the United States multiple times throughout 2016. In a Senate hearing this past October, Sessions admitted to meeting with the Russian ambassador, following the Republican National Convention, and a couple of times after that, but insists meetings were not related to the campaign or election.
 Former security advisor, Michael Flynn has taken steps to cooperate with Mueller. Reports have disclosed that Flynn’s lawyer met with members of Mueller’s team. These developments come a week after Flynn told White House lawyers that he would not discuss the investigation, which has hinted at the possibility of him working with prosecutors or negotiating a plea deal.
 Flynn has since has since pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I., due to statements he made regarding conversations had with a Russian Ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, last December. President Trump spoke about Flynn in a tweet, writing, “I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!”.
 Mueller has also zeroed in on Trump himself, specifically his ties to Deutsche Bank AG, a German global banking and financial services company.Mueller has issued a subpoena to the bank, requesting the submission of any files relating to business with President Trump. Trump’s lawyer, John Dowd, has since denied such claims about a subpoena being issued. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has called the Mueller subpoena reports false; “We confirmed that the news reports [that] the special counsel had subpoenaed financial records related to the president are completely false,”.
 The investigation now has the potential to face an early termination, following accusations regarding obtaining unlawful emails made by republicans. Accusations have been made by Trump’s transitions lawyers, that Mueller’s team received thousands of transition emails, without any authorization. Such lawyers also claim that some of the contained documents that they believe to be protected under attorney-client privilege. The transition emails were on a government domain, and required permission to access. However, the transition team claims that despite the “.gov” addresses, they were private.
A spokesperson for the Mueller team has denied these claims, though democrats and republicans alike now fear for the future of the investigation. Speculation regarding the possibility of Trump firing Mueller has circulated the country, leaving the future of the investigation up in the air. Reporters have asked Trump himself whether he is considering firing Mueller, to which he has responded, “No, I’m not”.
Despite Trump’s denial, his team has made numerous attempt to discredit both the investigation and Mueller. More recently, the Department of Justice shared with reporters text messages exchanged between two FBI agents, which contained criticism towards Trump; though they also contained criticism for his opponent Hillary Clinton and other democrats. One of these agents was removed prior to the publication of the messages, and the other has been moved to a different job post.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who reserves the power to fire Mueller, has also dismissed the idea of firing Mueller. When asked if he’d seen good cause to fire Mueller, Rosenstein responded, “No.” As reported in CNN, Rosenstein then went as far as to praise him:  “Director Mueller has throughout his lifetime been a dedicated and respected heroic public servant and I believe he was an ideal choice for this task.” However, Rosenstein was the one who appointed Mueller to his position, and has maintained a close oversight over the special counsel. Because of Rosenstein’s proximity and influence over the investigation, Washington has started to speculate that it will be Rosenstein, not Mueller that Trump fires. This would then allow Trump to appoint a new Deputy Attorney General, which could end up benefiting him in the end.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

2k18 New Hope Solebury Mini-THON promises to do it all FTK

Justin Horak & Devon Beacham
Staff Writers

With more than 90,000 student volunteers and 265 schools in 8 states, New Hope Solebury High School is contributing to conquer cancer. Mini-THONs are bringing hope to families in need and giving back to their community. During the 2016-2017 school year, high schools and colleges raised more than $6.46 million dollars for the Four Diamonds organization. This 2018, the high school’s annual participation in the Four Diamonds Mini-THON falls on Saturday, Jan. 27, from 7pm to 7am the next day. This year’s theme is based off the phenomenal Netflix series Stranger Things. Once again the school has teamed up with the Four Diamonds organization which amps it all up FTK-- for the kids. Every year, students raise money for childhood cancer and are a part of a team. Mini-THON begins with an exciting dance from 7pm to 10pm. After the dance, the doors are officially locked and teams are checked in for the night. From there until the morning, the teams compete against each other in a series of competitions to keep the night lively. Activities include games like handball, dodgeball, karaoke, bubble soccer, movie watching and so much more. Throughout the night, prizes will be rewarded to winners of games, the top fundraisers, and more! Prizes include gift cards to favorite restaurants, apple watches, and Four Diamonds apparel! 
  Last year even after a long twelve hours of activities, too much redbull, snacks, lack of blankets, and complete exhaustion, NHS’s Mini-THON 2017 was considered a total success. Over $16,000 was raised through student donations, businesses, and from friends and family. This 2018, the goal is $18,000 but it is always great to go above and beyond! The best way to make this Mini-THON a success FTK is to start raising money now! Get creative! One day we will dance in celebration. Until then, we dance for the cure.

Australia moves to ban foreign interference in their politics

Jen Abele
Features Editor

Australia will ban foreign interference in politics through financial or espionage laws on Dec. 12, due to the 2016 election in the United States and also China influencing Australian politics through campaign donations.
   The new law states that a person involved conduct with other foreign entities that will influence a political process or government that was formed through covert or deceptive operations. The “sister” bill will be a piece on legislation on electoral reform to ban foreign political donations. The law includes providing, possessing, and obtaining information from espionage. The law also includes soliciting or acquire a person to pursue espionage. The new espionage law will lead up to the penalty of life imprisonment.
  As reported in ABC News, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull stated why this espionage bill is essential: “Foreign powers are making unprecedented and increasingly sophisticated attempts to influence the political process, both here and abroad."
  Former President, Barack Obama, weighed in on Australia’s susceptibility to Chinese political influence during his presidency. He advised Australia to ban foreign donations from China.
  US Ambassador John Berry was also astonished by the Chinese influence over Australia with foreign donations.
  “We have been surprised, quite frankly, at the extent of the involvement of the Chinese government in Australian politics,” Berry stated in ABC News article; Australia to ban foreign interference in politics. “That, to us, is of concern. We cannot conceive of a case where a foreign donation from any government, friend or foe, would be considered legitimate in terms of that democracy.”