In the Know: February 20, 2015

“Hollywood and film portray who we are as a people and what we value as a culture. When we fail to include diverse, talented faces, reflecting both today and tomorrow’s America, we send a poor message to our youth and the world.” Rep. Tony Cárdenas, in an open letter expressing his shock at the lack of diversity in this year’s Oscar nominations

Nation
A clerk in Texas issued a marriage license to a same-sex couple from Austin on Thursday (this is thought to be the first such legal license issued in the state since voters banned gay marriage a decade ago).

The University of Massachusetts Amherst has lifted a controversial ban barring Iranian students from graduate science and engineering programs. “It is now clear, after further consultation and deliberation, that we can adopt a less restrictive policy.”

Rudy Giuliani had a few choice words to say about the president this week.

Welcome to the big chill.

World
The ceasefire in Ukraine didn’t last long.

Following the beheading of 21 Egyptians over the weekend, Egypt launched airstrikes against the self-declared Islamic State in Libya.

Rome might need help coping with its migrant influx (Italy has been dealing with growing numbers of would-be migrants attempting the perilous crossing from Libya).

Politics
President Obama argued Wednesday that America must “discredit violent ideologies” in his keynote speech at the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki will become President Obama’s new communications director; she’s a “brilliant and effective communications director and trusted adviser,” Obama said.

Business
Here comes the Apple watch… with Samsung on its heels.

Health
A panel of nutrition experts appointed by the federal government has weighed in: less sugar, less meat, more water… but a little coffee won’t hurt a thing. (It might help.)

Science
Drug-resistant “superbug” bacteria may be responsible for deaths of two patients at L.A. hospital.

Seas are rising more than twice as fast as the global average in the Sundarbans (a low-lying delta region in the Bay of Bengal) which may cause a massive exodus of millions of “climate refugees” in the next 15 to 25 years.

Women’s Affairs
Kate Brown was sworn in as Oregon’s new governor Wednesday following the resignation of her predecessor, John Kitzhaber. Why this is big news.

Elmira Bayrasli and Lauren Bohn point out in the New York Times that in 2014, women made up just 22 percent of guests on news programs. Their new project, meant to amplify women’s voices, is called Foreign Policy Interrupted.

Afghanistan’s first lady made her first public appearance on Wednesday in Washington in the tumultuous months since her husband was inaugurated president in September. “I’m here to help women establish their own importance within the family.”

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