Jason Collins of the NBA has become the first openly gay active player
from a major American team sport. The 34-year-old, a center for the
Washington Wizards, came out in a story he wrote for the May 6 issue of Sports Illustrated.
“I wish I wasn’t the kid in the classroom raising his hand and saying,
‘I’m different,’” he said. “If I had my way, someone else would have
already done this. Nobody has, which is why I’m raising my hand.” He
said that the recent tragedy in Boston convinced him to come out now.
“Things can change in an instant, so why not live truthfully?”
In the rural deep South, racial segregation is dying a slow death.
Georgia's Wilcox County High School is helping fight for change, holding
its first-ever integrated prom this weekend. Although a "white prom"
was held, nearly half the school registered for this weekend's version.
The prom was spearheaded by a group of four girls who campaigned at
school and online (their Facebook group has 24,000 likes). They were
able to raise enough for a ballroom rental, gift bags, and food. DJs and
photographers from all over the country volunteered their services for
the night. The school board plans to vote soon on making proms official
school events, prohibiting segregation in the future.
Authorities estimate that close to 100 people were killed near
Bangladesh’s capital of Dhaka Wednesday morning when an eight-story
garment factory collapsed. Hundreds gathered at the site of the
accident—where officials fear more remain trapped under the rubble.
Health Minister A.F.M. Ruhal Haque reported that more than 600 people
had been rescued, and hoped that more will be added to that number.
Bangladesh has received harsh criticism for its factory conditions after
two other deadly fires at garment factories in the past year—one of
which left 112 dead.
The New York City Council is considering upping the legal age to
purchase cigarettes from 18 to 21, Council Speaker Christine Quinn
announced Monday. She’s counting on City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas
Farley, fellow City Council members, and health advocates to support the
proposed law, despite arguments from opponents that as legal adults,
18-year-olds should be able to decide for themselves whether they want
to smoke. If this proposal passes, New York would be the biggest city to
ban tobacco purchases for those younger than 21. “With this
legislation, we’ll be targeting the age group at which the overwhelming
majority of smokers start,” Quinn said.
An arsenal of weapons including at least six bombs, handguns, and a
rifle were found at the scene of the Watertown shootout between police
and the two Boston bombing suspects Friday. A lone police officer first
came in contact with Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev around one in the
morning, Friday, and before he could call for backup, the brothers
jumped out of their car and began shooting. Five other officers then
arrived to what Police Chief Edward Deveau described as "a very tight
area" to help in the shootout, during which an estimated 200 shots were
fired in a 5-to-10-minute period and one of the brothers threw a
pressure cooker bomb at the officers.
A letter sent to Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker was found to have
ricin or another poison in it, according to Senate Majority Leader Harry
Reid. The envelope was intercepted at an off-site Capitol facility
where it was tested and then sent to Maryland for more tests. "We were
told it's not as deadly as anthrax, but it's still very serious," said
Senate Majority Whip *** Durbin.
Two powerful explosions shook downtown Boston on Monday afternoon near
the finish line of the Boston Marathon, shortly after the winners of the
race were presented. By 10 p.m. Monday night, the Boston Police
Department had reported that three people died and at 140 were injured.
According to news reports and law enforcement officials, “small but
powerful” explosive devices were behind the explosions, and officials
have found at least five more devices
around the Boston area that they initially believed were undetonated
explosives, but later decided were likely not bombs. “We will turn over
every rock,” Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said at a press
conference Monday night.
North Korea has threatened to attack another North
American city, this time Colorado Springs, where the U.S. Air Force
Academy resides. North Korea, however, seems to have no idea where
Colorado Springs actually is. The bellicose country has released a
propaganda video showing the mountain city to be about 1,000 miles from
where it actually is, putting it somewhere in Louisiana. Despite reports
that the nation possibly has nuclear weapons, we don't think you should
be too worried just yet.
President Obama delivered his 2013
budget to Congress in a brief press conference, saying, “Our economy is
poised for progress, as long as Washington doesn’t get in the way.” The
$3.77 trillion spending plan looks largely the same as the deal
Republicans rejected during the “fiscal cliff” negotiations at the end
of last year, but with cuts to Social Security designed to get fiscal
hawks back to the table. It also calls for almost $250 billion in new
spending on public works and expanded preschool education and $800
billion in new taxes, including a new 94-cent tax on cigarettes. Among
the bill’s more unique provisions is $78 million for NASA to “pursue innovative approaches to visiting an asteroid.”
Former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher has died. Her spokesman,
Lord Bell, confirmed that the 87-year-old groundbreaking politician
passed away after suffering a stroke Monday morning. Thatcher became
Britain’s first female prime minister in 1979, leading the country and
its Conservative Party for 11 years with a notorious fierceness that
earned her the nickname the “Iron Lady.” It was a stroke that ultimately
prompted Thatcher to retire in 2002, after which she continued to
suffer strokes and kept a very low profile in the last few months of her
New details about the origins of the C.I.A.'s drone program are emerging following a New York Times
report Saturday. The report alleges that the United States got
permission to use airspace in Pakistan to carry out drone attacks in
exchange for deploying a Predator drone on Nek Muhammad, a Pakistani
enemy of the state in 2004. Pakistan's military took credit for the
attack. Terms of the secret deal reportedly included Pakistani approval
for each drone strike, and limiting American drones to only narrow
tribal areas. Pakistan presdient Pervez Musharraf allegedly told one
C.I.A. officer that the deal would not be difficult to keep up because,
"In Pakistan, things fall out of the sky all the time."
As a gesture of
solidarity with the federal workers whose income will be sacrificed as a
result of the sequester budget cuts, President Obama will return 5
percent of his salary—from March 1 through the rest of the calendar
year—to the Treasury. Not one to be one-upped by his own appointees,
Obama made the decision to cut a check to the Treasury after Defense
Secretary Chuck Hagel and Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter
announced they’d be doing the same. Five percent of 10 months’ worth of a
presidential salary—$400,000—comes out to $16,667.
Prosecutors are pursuing the death penalty for James Holmes, the man
accused of killing 12 people and injuring 70 at a screening of The Dark Knight Rises. “For James Eagan Holmes, justice is death,” the district attorney reportedly told
the courtroom. Holmes’s lawyers had offered to have their client plead
guilty in exchange for a life sentence, but prosecutors rejected the
offer, deciding instead to go to trial. Holmes’s attorneys are expected
to argue that he was legally insane at the time of the rampage.