Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Chechnya’s government is rounding up gay and bisexual men

Lauren Walinski
Staff Writer

Gay and bisexual men in Chechnya, a Russian republic, are being arrested by Chechen authorities and sent to camps to be beaten and tortured. Men who have escaped reported being taken to camps where they were beaten. They have also reported being shocked repeatedly while being interrogated. Authorities reportedly wanted the names of other gay or bisexual men.
 Authorities are said to be posing as gay men online to lure out others, meeting with them in order to arrest them. The Novaya Gazeta, the paper which originally carried this story in April, reported that over 100 men had been arrested and at least three were dead. More recently, the death toll has risen to at least 26 with even more arrests. Many of these deaths have come from “honor killings” by families, where men are released only to be killed by relatives for their sexual orientations. These killings have been encouraged by authorities.
 When asked about the torture, Alvi Karimov, the spokesman of Chechnya leader Ramzan A. Kadyrov, claimed there was no were no camps because gay people did not exist in Chechnya. Kadyrov himself called these reports “libelous.” Dmitry Peskov, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Press Secretary, claimed the reports were false because no one had officially reported the attacks to Chechnya police, though human rights activists have pointed out people weren't likely to come out as victims to police for fear of arrest. Despite the denial by authorities, the truth of the reports has been confirmed by groups such as the Human Rights Watch and the United Nations.
 The Russian LGBT Network has been working on treating injured people and helping them escape Chechnya, but they do not have the funding they need to help everyone. The only action the United States government has taken in response to this violence has been to deny visas to gay men fleeing prosecution. President Trump has been silent on this issue, though a spokesman of the State Department released a statement saying the United States is “concerned” about the situation.


Monday, May 8, 2017

Senate receives classified briefing on North Korea

Owen Roberts
Staff Writer

In an unusual move on Wednesday, April 26, the White House hosted the entire Senate for a top secret briefing on North Korea. This comes after a time of increased tensions between the United States, North Korea, and China. North Korea has been increasing the speed and intensity of its missile production and missile tests since the inauguration of President Trump, who has promised to take a stronger approach than the Obama Administration.
 Senate briefings on important issues are common, but are not often hosted at the White House, which lacks the kind of secure conference rooms required for such briefings. The senators were bussed to the White House from the Senate in the morning. Key members of the cabinet, including Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson briefed the senators, and President Trump himself also made an appearance.
 Tensions with North Korea have been rising since the election. The new administration is moving away from what it calls the “strategic patience” of the Obama White House. After meeting with President XI Jinping and chinese officials, the president claimed they had talked about North Korea. The US and China seem to increasingly be finding common ground on China's longtime ally, with China stepping up sanctions on the rogue nation. Despite this, the DPRK is not backing down. It recently celebrated its seventieth anniversary since its founding with a parade and a massive artillery drill that included over 300 long range guns.
 Despite this, most senators coming out of the briefing were not impressed.

 "We learned nothing you couldn't read in the newspaper," said Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon.. Bob Corker, Republican from Tennessee, said it was “Okay,” while John McCain said: “Nothing New, but still very serious.”

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Students enjoy Q&A with Congressmen Brian Fitzpatrick

Riley Brennan
Features and A&E Editor

Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick came to visit New Hope-Solebury High School, Tuesday, April 18. At this visit he spoke to students about Congress, and the current political climate, before opening the floor up for a Q&A session. The questions asked by students from a variety of different classes, with varying political opinions, created a great conversation, and allowed everyone present to get a better sense of their congressman. Questions ranged from his opinions on government involvement, healthcare, “career” politicians, immigration, fake news, cutting welfare programs, the internet privacy repeal, and much more.
 New Hope students enjoyed getting to hear from their representative, as well as participating in a group selfie that was later posted to his personal Instagram.
 Junior Chloe Miller was pleasantly surprised by what he had to say: “Congressman Fitzpatrick was really interesting to listen to and his stances were much more moderate than I expected. I like that he talked about how Congress should focus on the bill at hand, not who proposed it and what party it came from.”
 During the Q&A, students were able to learn more about the man representing them in Congress and his own views. He really stressed the idea of focusing on ideas and solutions rather than focusing on political parties and voting to “fit a party.” This pleased Junior Bernadette del Prado, who said: “I like that he didn’t feel the need to use labels like Democrat or Republican for everything, and that his goal was to satisfy everyone’s political ideals and not just his own party. Especially because Bucks County is very mixed, politically.”
 Bucks County happens to be very evenly split between Democratic and Republican voters, making it one of the true swing areas in the U.S.  
 Fitzpatrick’s visit was written about in the Intelligencer, where New Hope students were quoted, as well as the organizer of the event, AP Government and Non-Western World teacher at New Hope, Mr. Nord.
 Not only did Fitzpatrick’s visit further inform everyone present, but hopefully helped to inspire students who make up, or will soon be a part of, the population of young voters; whether it be to get involved in politics/political science, to vote whenever they have the opportunity, develop stances on issues facing the country and become more informed about them, become an advocate for a party, candidate, or issue, etc.

Seniors prepare to leave for APEX

Alexandra Buchler
Staff Writer

On May 12 the seniors will depart the high school and begin their APEX projects. All of the seniors will begin doing things such as community service, volunteer work, or working at a small business in order to be exposed to work. Many of the jobs that seniors are leaving for include construction, pharmaceuticals, physical therapy, and entrepreneurship.
 “I am jealous that they get to leave school early!” sophomore Kelly Hauch said.
 Once the seniors have left, however, there will be some negative repercussions along with the benefits. Unfortunately, many classes will be soon emptied or nearly emptied with the lack of these seniors. Also, many of the sports team who have seniors on them may be missing key players at times. Due to their volunteer requirements they must meet, some seniors may not be able to make some of the practices and some of the sports events, which may be an unfortunate thing for some of our sports teams.
 On the flip side, the hallways and lunchrooms will be less crowded and teachers may be able to have more one on one time with students who are left in empty classrooms where seniors used to be. The seniors will return in June to give short presentations about their APEX experiences and share what they learned. Students will be able to sign up for which presentation they want to see. The underclassmen all wish the seniors the best of luck!

 Sophomore Claire Ullom says, “I'm glad the halls and cafeterias will be less crowded!” On the other hand, senior Dave Shonis claims, “It's sad that I get less time with my underclassmen friends, but I'm happy that I get to leave!”