In the Know: May 30, 2014

“One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.” – American author and poet Maya Angelou in USA TODAY (March 5, 1988). Angelou passed away this week at the age of 86.

Nation
Last Friday, Elliot Rodger, 22, ended his own life and the lives of six others in a killing rampage in California. Rodger left a 140-page manifesto about his life and frustrations about women as the reason for his actions near the University of California, Santa Barbara.

As the Veterans Affairs (VA) Hospital scandal continues to worsen, calls have grown louder for VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to step down. So far, though, the Obama administration has stood by his side.

World
President Obama announced that the U.S. will drop down to 9800 troops in Afghanistan in 2015, and remove all troops by 2016. The issue is a controversial one.

Former military chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s sweeping victory in Egypt’s presidential vote is set to widen an already gaping divide between the state and its opposition. Yet the landslide victory was tainted by few signs of a credible opposition and low voter turnout.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 isn’t in the area that was thought to be its most likely resting place. The search continues.

Politics
Snowden is back and talking. In an interview with Brian Williams that aired Wednesday, Snowden claimed that he expressed concerns about the legality of government surveillance programs to his superiors at the National Security Agency before he exposed the programs and fled the country last June. Not so, countered Obama’s administration. The saga continues.

Business
The U.S. economy shrank for the first time in three years during the first quarter, according to government data, but many analysts believe the recovery has already regained its mojo. The decline highlights the fragility of the nation’s recovery but is not likely to derail it altogether.

Health
U.S. measles cases hit a 20-year high this week, setting a new record for the post-elimination era. The largest number of cases have been reported in Ohio, California, and New York.

Women’s Affairs
A 25-year-old Pakistani woman was stoned to death for marrying against her family’s wishes. While so-called “honor killings” are not entirely uncommon in Pakistan, the very public nature of this one has drawn attention to loopholes in Pakistani law that often allow these killers to go free.

Harvard University’s women are taking a stand against the 12% sexual assault rate (and only 16% of those assault actually report) against women by withholding donations to the school. Lisa Paige, president of the Alumni Network for Harvard Women said, “We are encouraging a dialogue between alumni and college officials and in that way we believe solutions will emerge.”

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