Pirates Hijack Touring Yacht

By: Michela Gacioch

Reports surfaced Tuesday morning that all four Americans aboard a yacht hijacked by Somali pirates had been killed off the coast of Oman. Rally organizers told reporters Sunday that the crew had been traveling with yachts participating in the Blue Water Rally, a group cruising expedition, since its departure from Phuket, Thailand. On Feb. 15, the yacht, S/V Quest, which was owned by Jean and Scott Adams and worked on by Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle, decided to take an alternate route than the group after leaving Mumbai, India. A statement from United States Central Command revealed that gunfire erupted aboard the pirated vessel as negotiations for the captives’ release were underway.

“As they responded to the gunfire, reaching and boarding the Quest, the forces discovered all four hostages had been shot by their captors. Despite immediate steps to provide life-saving care, all four hostages ultimately died of their wounds,” said the statement.

Rahm Emanuel

By: David Cote

Rahm Emanuel was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1959. His father was born in Jerusalem and worked as a pediatrician. His mother worked in the Civil Rights Movement and owned a local rock ‘n’ roll club. Both of his parents were Jewish. Growing up, Emanuel attended summer camp with his brothers in Israel. While working at an Arby’s restaurant during his high school years, Emanul cut his right middle finger, which became infected and had to be partially amputated. He graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 1981 with a B.A. in Liberal Arts and then an M.A. in Speech and Communication from Northwestern University in 1985.

Mubarak’s 30-Year Regime Falls

By: David Cote

On Feb. 10, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigned from his nearly 30 years in office, a change precipitated by widespread protests throughout Egypt, which began Jan. 25.

“President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak has decided to step down from his post as president of the republic and has empowered the supreme council of the armed forces to manage the affairs of the government,” said Omar Suleiman, Egyptian vice president,  in a television broadcast last Friday.

The announcement was met with massive celebrations across Egypt as citizens took to the streets in high spirits for the first time in several weeks. Popular opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, called the moment the “greatest day of my life. The country has been liberated after decades of repression,” he told the reporters.

Chomsky Visits Robsham

By: David Cote

On Tuesday, Robsham Theater hosted a guest lecture by noted linguist, political activist, and professor at MIT, Noam Chomsky.

Chomsky’s lecture, “Struggle in the Promised Land,” gave an overview of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict while touching on numerous other Middle Eastern issues. The Muslim Student Association (MSA), which was restarted this year, hosted the lecture to raise proceeds for flood victims in Pakistan. Chomsky, a world renowned political dissident, posed his views along with a history of the conflict, often criticizing United States foreign policy.

U.S. – Cuba Travel Restrictions Alleviated

By: David Cote

In a move which partially reverses almost 50 years of American foreign policy, U.S. President Barack Obama recently eased restrictions on American citizens wishing to travel to Cuba. The changes are expected to be enacted in three weeks.

Obama told reporters that by changing the long standing embargo he hopes to encourage “people to people” contacts between Americans and Cubans in academic and religious contexts.  He further hopes that the increased contact will encourage “civil society” on the communist island.

Hu Jintao

By: David Cote

Hu Jintao was born on Dec. 21, 1942, in Taizhou, Jiangsu, China. His father owned a tea trading business in his hometown, and the family grew up relatively poor. When Hu was seven, his mother died and he was subsequently raised by his aunt. In high school, Hu excelled in singing and dancing, as well as succeeding in classes and demonstrating a photographic memory. After high school in 1961, he entered Tsinghua University in Beijing and joined the Communist Party. During his tenure as a student, Hu became chairman of the Tsinghua Student Union, and graduated with a degree in hydraulic engineering in 1965. While at the university, Hu met Liu Yongqing, who later became his wife. They now have two children, Hu Haifeng and Hu Haiqing.  Upon graduation, Hu elected to serve in Gansu and helped with the large construction project of the Liujiaxia Hydroelectric Station.


Sarah Palin

By: David Cote

Sarah Louise Palin was born Feb. 11, 1964. Palin was the third of four children to science teacher Charles Heath and secretary Sarah Sheeran. As an infant, Palin’s family moved to Skagway, Alaska, where her father found work as a teacher, then moved again to Eagle River, Alaska, five years later. As a student, Palin played flute and attended Wasilla High School. In her senior year, she captained the basketball team to the Alaska state championship.

Congress, Obama Repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

By: David Cote

As one of the most controversial federal laws in American history, the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy employed by the U.S. military has been the subject of intense debate since its inception, becoming a maelstrom during the term of President Barack Obama following his campaign promise to repeal the legislation.

    In two landmark votes on December 15 and 18, the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, respectively, voted in support of a statute which would repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. On Dec. 22, President Barack Obama signed the statute into law, ending the 17-year ban on openly homosexual servicemembers.

Pardon Strengthens Judiciary

By: David Cote

The distribution of the power of the government has been a significant issue throughout the history of the United States. Experience with the tyrannical (or perhaps just colonial) British Empire in the 1700s has left an everlasting stain on the American psyche in regards to concentration of power.

Billionaires Pledge Half Their Worth

By: David Cote

In a movement of almost unprecedented philanthropy, 40 of America’s billionaires have agreed to give up half their worth, a movement that will amount to a projected total of $600 billion.