Stuff YOU Should Know

Edward Snowden Awaits Fate in Russia

Last month, btw reported on Edward Snowden, a former defense contractor for both the CIA and the National Security Association (NSA) who exposed questionable surveillance practices by the U.S. government by telling a British newspaper. Shortly after the story was published, Snowden fled to Hong Kong in order to avoid prosecution. On June 23, he boarded a plane for Ecuador where he had requested asylum, or protection in another country as a “political refugee.” When the plane made a stop in Russia, the United States revoked Snowden’s passport on grounds of his facing arrests on felony charges, leaving him stranded at the Sheremetyevo in Moscow.

Since then, Snowden has applied for temporary asylum in Russia, which could take up to three months to process. Russian president Vladimir Putin has said that he will not turn Snowden over to the United States. Putin instead hopes  Snowden will leave the country soon. Relations between the U.S. and Russia have been especially tense lately. In the meantime Bolivia, Venezuela and Nicaragua have all offered to grant Snowden asylum if he can manage to successfully leave Russia. Activist and journalist Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks has agreed to help Snowden reach Iceland, his preferred choice for living.

What Do You Think? Do you think  Snowden will reach a place of asylum before being arrested? Follow the story. Make a list of those who support him and those opposed. Do you think he should be tried for his actions, or be acknowledged for standing up for his principles Why?

Controversial Magazine Cover

Rolling Stone, the magazine best known for its coverage of pop culture and politics, has come under fire for its latest cover featuring Boston Marathon bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Some say the image glamorizes the man accsused of planting a bomb that killed three people and wounded more than 260 others. CVS Pharmacy, which is based out of New England, Walgreens and Stop and Shop have announced that they will not carry the issue out of respect for the victims of the bombing. Others feel as though the article by Janet Reitman should not be judged by the cover.

In a statement, Rolling Stone said that the story “falls within the traditions of journalism” and follows their commitment to covering the most relevant cultural and political topics. Because the bombing suspect is the same age as its readers, the magazine believes that it is important to examine the complicated elements of the story in order to more fully understand the tragedy. The magazine’s editors have praised Reitman’s ability to uncover so much detail and provide considerable insight into what happened.

What Do You Think? Have you seen the cover of this issue of Rolling Stone? Do you find the image glamorizes or appropriately depicts the Boston Marathon Bomber? Why? Find examples in history of magazines that have been accused of the same thing.

Egypt’s Leadership Struggles Continue

For almost thirty years, Egypt was lead by Hosni Mubarak. In 2011, major protests lead to Mubarak stepping down. Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood political party became the county’s first freely elected new leader. However, the generals of the military, whom many people believed to be actually running the country, remained in power. On the anniversary marking his first year in power, demonstrators took to the street once more and Morsi was removed from power by the order of General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi. Morsi and his administration were accused of making religion as a tool to run government institutions.

On July 8, the Egyptian Army appointed a senior judge, Adly Mansour, as Interim (or temporary) President. He said that new elections will take place some time before February of 2014. In the meantime, mass protests and violence continue, mostly in the cities of Cairo, Giza, Sinai Peninsula and Alexandria, which have left 180 people dead and thousands more injured.

Dig Deeper The unrest in Egypt is likely to continue for a very long time. Some are comparing it to the Iranian revolution thirty years ago. Others say the situation is closer to that of current-day Syria. Do a little research and decide for yourself.

Immigration Bill Passes Senate, Heads to House

crowd protesting immigration laws

Photo Credit: McGraw-Hill Education.
A crowd of young Hispanics protest what they think are restrictive immigration laws. Immigration is becoming a hot issue in today’s politics.


One of the biggest issues of the recent U.S. presidential election was immigration reform. On June 27, the Senate passed SB 744 Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, with a vote of 68-32, including the support of 14 Republicans. The bill, which was more than 1,000 pages, removes the threat of deportation for many undocumented workers. These workers make up approximately 5 percent of the United States’ workforce. The legislation also provides a path to citizenship, while calling for stronger border protection, including more agents, a longer fence, and stricter enforcements on employers to verify immigration status

The bill will now go the House of Representatives for approval. It is already expected to face opposition from House Republicans who are deeply divided on the issue of immigration reform. Those in favor believe that it will help boost the American economy. Those opposed fear that legalizing the close to 8 million reported undocumented residents would mean adding new voters who typically lean toward the Democratic party.

Dig Deeper Before HB 744 goes to the House, many Representatives will travel to their home districts, as is custom in the month of August. This is a time when constituents can have an impact on this issue. Follow this story as it progresses and try to determine if the House will likely pass this bill.