Fidel Castro Dies, Reactions Mixed

When the news broke of Fidel Castro’s death, there were many reactions. Many people in Cuba flooded to memorials to pay their finals respects, while others in the United States were jubilant.

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“Fidel Castro delivering a speech during the commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Committees of the Revolutions,” courtesy of CNN.com

Fidel Castro was the leader of Cuba from 1961 until 2011. Castro is guilty of committing many atrocious crimes against his people, some of which include murder. However, many people who live in Cuba were sad about his death, even though many lived through his reign.

 

F. Castro’s brother Raul Castro announced the death on national Cuban television on November 25th. R. Castro announced that his brother’s death would be honored with nine days of morning, beginning the next morning at 6:00 a.m., according to an article written by Laura Wagner and Emma Bowman on NPR.org.

News of Castro’s death resulted in multiple reactions from many different people. Popular social media apps like Snapchat featured snaps from Little Havana in Florida of people in the streets cheering and parading. News coverage of Cuban residents showed a much different reaction.

Multiple news outlets captured the emotions of saddened Cubans as they gathered at memorials to pay their final respects. Multiple memorials were set up for Cubans to gather and pay their respects according to Patrick Oppmann, Madison Park, and Laura Smith-Spark in an article on CNN.com.

The difference in reactions between the people of Cuba and Cubans living in the U.S. were very puzzling.

In the days following Castro’s death, many tweets and statements surfaced in the U.S. regarding the ex-communist’s death.

“Tyrant + thug #FidelCastro is dead. We must work for a #Cuba that is free, democratic, and prosperous,” tweeted Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a congresswoman in Florida, cited by Laura Wagner and Emma Bowman in an article on NPR.org.

“’The dictator has died, but the dictatorship has not. And one thing is clear, history will not absolve Fidel Castro; it will remember him as an evil, murderous dictator who inflicted misery and suffering on his own people,’” Marco Rubio, a senator from Florida, said in a statement cited by Laura Wagner and Emma Bowman in an article on NPR.org.

“’Fidel Castro’s death cannot bring back his thousands of victims, nor can it bring comfort to their families. Today we remember them and honor the brave souls who fought the lonely fight against the brutal Communist dictatorship he imposed on Cuba,’” Ted Cruz, a senator from Texas, said in a statement cited by Laura Wagner and Emma Bowman in an article on NPR.org.

The statements provided by these lawmakers was a clear representation of how different the reactions have been by people living in the U.S. as opposed to people living in Cuba. During Castro’s rule, many people left Cuba in order to escape his rule.

Overwatch League Wants to Become NFL of Esports

Blizzard Entertainment is basing their new esports league after conventional sports leagues like the NFL and MLB. The league will start off only in the Americas and has plans to move to Europe, China, Korea, and the Asia-Pacific Region and will start in 2017. 

The Overwatch League is looking to bridge the gap between esports and conventional sports. Instead of having independent teams that can be from anywhere in the world, the league is planning on having teams stationed in cities around the world. The idea behind this is to make people get attached to a home team like they would in the NFL or NBA.

Another big advance for the league is that players will be given health benefits and a minimum salary. This takes away the risk of pursuing a career in the game because players are now guaranteed money and  health care, whereas before they only got money based off of performance and had no benefits.

The league is going to have a combine where they invite players of high-skill rank in the game’s competitive game mode to show off their skills and be evaluated for teams. Players have to get a special invitation from Blizzard to join the combine, and teams will sign the player they believe are best suited for their team according to the video Blizzard made explaining the league.

Existing pros have varying opinions on the league, but one thing is certain; they do not have enough answers.

“‘I’m not concerned as a [pro] player. I just like playing the game and everything seems good so far to me so we’ll see what happens,’” commented Lane ‘Surefour’ Roberts in an interview with Yahoo Esports. Surefour is one of the best pros in the game right now, playing for one of the best teams, Cloud 9, but not all pros share his openness to the idea of their teams splitting up.

“‘I just want to play with the people I like. I don’t like the idea of being forced to play for some other team. Even if I got paid triple what I got now I would simply still not do it,’” commented Timo ‘Taimou’ Kettunen in an interview with Yahoo Espots. Taimou played for the number one team in the world, EnVyUs, so it is understandable why he and his teammates would not want to change teams.

The Overwatch League seems to be an interesting experiment to bridge the gap between esports and conventional sports, which if done right, could change the way the world looks at sports, but if done wrong could destroy the Overwatch esports scene altogether.   

World Leaders React to New President-elect Donald Trump

Tuesday, November 8th, Donald J. Trump was voted the President-elect for the United States of America. Along with domestic reactions in the U.S., world leaders shared their opinions on the soon-to-be 45th president.

Like in the U.S., opinions from the world leaders were either very for or very against the election of Donald Trump.

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Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (wikimedia.org)

Trump’s victory sparked a surprisingly positive response from an unlikely world leader. According to The Guardian, the Prime Minister of Russia Vladimir Putin sent Donald Trump a telegram about the future of the Russia-USA relationship: “Russia wants and is ready to restore full-fledged relations with the United States…I repeat we understand that this will be difficult, but we are ready to play our part, and do everything to return Russian-American relations to stable and sustainable development track.”

This certainly caught many off guard and hopefully spells a peaceful future between the U.S. and Russia.

Israel also posed a positive reaction to Trump’s win. Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, stated that Trump is a “true friend to the state of Israel”, as reported by The Guardian.

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Prime Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (wikimedia.org)

With the hopefulness of Russia and Israel backing up Trump, future relations with these countries looks bright for the United States.

However, negative responses arose from some European countries about the new President-elect. According to Time Magazine, Prime Minister of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier called Trump a “Preacher of Hate” back in August. A poll by Infratest Dimap showed that only 4% of Germans would vote for Trump and 86% would vote for Hillary.

According to Vox, France’s ambassador to the United States took to twitter to express her opinion about Trump. “A world is crumbling before our eyes,” she tweeted. Some of the countries in Europe don’t seem to be as cheerful about the new President-elect as much as Russia or Israel.

Time Magazine stated that if Europeans were able to vote in the Presidential Election, Hillary Clinton would win by a landslide. It seems as though the European countries would rather cooperate with Clinton than Trump.

The bordering countries of the United States, Canada and Mexico, are very optimistic to work with Trump to enhance their current relationships.

According to The Guardian, the Prime Minister of Canada congratulated Trump on his election and expressed his feelings for the future of the U.S.-Canada relationship: “We look forward to working very closely with President-elect Trump, his administration, and with the United States Congress in the years ahead, including on issues such as trade, investment, and international peace and security,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated.

Also, President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico also expressed that he looks forward to tightening the bonds between the U.S. and Mexico and help with bilateral relations.

Founder of WikiLeaks Silenced by Ecuador

The founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, was speculated to have been assassinated, but in reality, he was silenced by the Ecuadorian government by cutting off his internet connection.

This speculation came after WikiLeaks released a series of code believed to be his dead man’s switch, which basically meant that if he were detained or killed, the codes would be released, according to yournewswire.com. “It is essentially a means of discouraging his assassination, an enormous trove of secrets will be automatically published if Assange is detained or dead.”

The group, Anonymous, who promote transparency of the presidential candidates, later gave a report that Assange was alive and that the cryptic emails were not a dead man’s code.

WikiLeaks is a company that has recently been releasing emails surrounding presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her surrounding campaign members. It has been trying to make her campaign as transparent as possible trying to expose corruption from the inside of her campaign.

However, this was seen as an attempt to boost Presidential Candidate Donald Trump by trying to incriminate Hillary Clinton and therefore was seen as disrupting the United States election.

“BREAKING: Multiple US sources tell us John Kerry asked Ecuador to stop Assange from publishing Clinton docs during FARC peace negotiations” was tweeted by @wikileaks in the days following. Instead of Ecuador independently stopping Julian Assange, John Kerry placed some pressure on them to do so.

Ecuador has stated that the internet ban is temporary: “This temporary restriction does not prevent the WikiLeaks organization from carrying out its journalistic activities.” Ecuador cannot prevent the WikiLeaks organization from carrying out its journalistic activities because the organization is not centered in the Ecuadorian Embassy; only Assange is there.

The silencing came at a very important time because according to thefreethoughtproject.com, “The Free Thought Project found the timing of the Internet cutoff in relation to WikiLeaks’ release of the factious Goldman Sachs transcripts so dubious, we posited the move akin to flagrant state-sponsored censorship of the press.”

The Ecuadorian Embassy accepted Assange and granted him asylum to protect him from persecution of his journalistic opportunities. Now they are attempting to censor his journalistic activities.

Even though the Internet of Julian Assange has been severed, the WikiLeaks organization has continued to release information even without the help of Assange. This has effectively shown that severing of Assange does not silence his company. Assange will eventually get his internet back, but probably not before the U.S. Presidential Election.

Is the UK Leaving the European Union?

The United Kingdom is going to be voting on a referendum on whether or not to leave the European Union on June 23rd. This is a hot topic in global news because it is widely debated among the UK’s citizens.

The referendum ballot will look like this:

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This is the extent of the vote: yes or no. The country is pretty much divided 50/50 on this issue according to recent polling conducted by the Telegraph, a British news company. It is of the UK’s best interest to really think about their choice because either way it has some large ramifications.

If the UK decides to stay in the European Union it could render them more vulnerable to terrorist attacks. This is because of the EU’s open border policy. This policy basically states that members of the EU must allow citizens of the other members to pass through with minimal to no restriction.

This idea that everyone can come and go as they please leaves the EU  more susceptible to homegrown terrorists or other followers to wage an attack against them. This policy is simply irresponsible and doltish. People against the referendum do not seem to be able to support this in all of the recent articles by Time.com, The Telegraph, and the BBC.

Supporters of this referendum say that the vote is about letting the UK be able to make its own decisions. In a recent article written by the BBC, Peter Bone, founder of Grassroots Out (an organization dedicated to getting the UK out of the EU), said: “We look forward to working closely and productively with all those who want to see the UK set free to determine its own destiny.”

Bone’s point is in correlation with the pro-referendum constituency.  Besides the obvious security benefits, the ability to be independent is of great value to Brittan.

The UK would be free to set its own travel restrictions and trade agreements with each individual member of the EU. Also, since Brittian does not use the Euro, it would not even need to rely on the European Central Bank for currency. The UK could be completely free in no time.

Look Out Canada! Fearful Voters Seek New Home Up North

After marginal Super Tuesday victories that saw Hillary Clinton (D) and Donald Trump (R) increase their delegate count, a significant spike in social media users threating to move up north has caused a trend. Massachusetts stood out distinctly after having both the aforementioned candidates win their coveted state.

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photo courtesy of Google Trends

The problem arises from Trump’s seemingly scary domestic policy of not allowing Muslims to enter as well as his proposed wall that will border Mexico. Many other issues have stressed voters, but their outlying plea for help has resulted in begging via Twitter. If one simply searches the terms “Trump Canada” into twitter, hundreds of thousands of tweets will show up.

This election has somewhat made Canada more relevant than it ever has been, with the department of immigration having more calls than ever. “Our phones, as of today, have literally gone crazy with Americans calling,” an immigration lawyer in Vancouver, David Aujla, said. “I used to say that George Bush was my best marketing ally. And I’m going to elevate Donald Trump to that position as soon as he becomes president,” added Aujla.

Canada’s tourism sites have been remarkably overflowing since this recent social media trend; reports suggest that the Canadian immigration site actually shut down momentarily because of all the users on the web page. Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, in particular, has been making the most of this trend by advertising a radio show entitled “Cape Breton if Trump wins.”  “We just weren’t expecting this, but I say it with a smile,” said Mary Tulle, the CEO of Destination Cape Breton in regard to the thousands of phone calls her office received after Super Tuesday.

This is not the first time Americans have threatened to leave their blessed country because of a potential president— recall the 2006 election when President Obama was running for the first time. Many celebrities and right-leaning political activists ‘promised’ to move if he was elected. Also, according to the figure by Google above, there was a significant spike in searches regarding moving to Canada during that period of time.

What makes Canada so attractive to these concerned Americans? For one, the proximity to the United States would make new citizens feel at home. Also, the recent left-leaning government is a Bernie Sanders’ supporter’s dream— enlaced with free healthcare and some great education.

There was also a considerable spike in similar Google searches, such as “Can Cruz beat Trump” (which increased 250%) and “John Kasich drop out” spiked 200 percent. And there was a 300 percent spike for “Chris Christie, Vice President,” according to Google Trends.

Historically, many promises made by celebrities to move to Canada have been broken. One famous incident was actor Stephen Baldwin in 2008 noting that “If Barack gets nominated, I will be moving out of the country.” The outcome: Mr. Obama received the Democratic nomination; Mr. Baldwin, who was apparently joking, stayed, and in 2011 suggested that he might run for mayor of New York City.

Whether one might seek to move to Canada, it isn’t always as easy as tweets make it seem. Since Canada’s recent immigration reform, one must try and get a work visa, fall in love with a Canadian partner, or attend school in the country.

SDLC Proved to be Powerful Experience

This year’s national Student Diversity Leadership Conference took place in Florida which included 1,600 participants. The main focus of the conference was to bring together all kinds of students to gain a better understanding of other people’s cultures. The biggest take away for many was that even though some behaviors are not accepted by society, these things should still be done because it is what makes the universe different.

Matt Luterman, a student at Boys Latin was a little unsure of the conference at first: “I wasn’t sure what to expect. I didn’t know whether I’d have fun or not considering it was a conference.” But after the conference was over, he said, “The conference changed me as a man and a person. I realize how important it is to be acceptable and willing to accept what other people are like.”

Victoria Bennett, a student at Garrison Forrest, had a different approach stating that she, “feared that I would get lost in the crowd, I wouldn’t make any friends, and that my voice would not be heard.” But by the time she left there she felt like she,  “could be raw and real around my group and other people. Because they were so accepting of me, I now aim to be that accepting of other people that I meet.”

Each group was lead by two adults that ranged from the ages of 19 – 50. In total, there were 32 groups with at least 50 students in each group which were also referred to as family groups. Within those rooms, topics ranged from race, sexuality, gender, religion, and culture.

Race, which is defined as the color of one’s skin, was a major a topic which fueled a lot of great discussions. Zaria Glover, a Garrison Forrest student, experienced race discussions with “a Fishbowl activity where everyone sits in a circle and when the race that you identify with is called, you move into the circle and have a conversation with other people in your affinity group. As individuals sit there, those who are not sitting inside of the circle are sitting silently as they take in what they are hearing to get a better understanding of that culture and the prejudice that they experience daily.”

Sexuality, on the other hand, had multiple labels which included gay, lesbian, queer, and heterosexual. After breaking up into groups based upon what one is identified as, the groups began to speak out on how independent schools deal with those who are not heterosexual. Many people felt as though they are not accepted if they attend a single-sex school while those who go to schools with both sexes don’t feel like they are ostracized as much as those of single-sex schools.

For the most part, what people liked most were the affinity groups that were broken down by one’s nationality. The biggest experience that was spoken about the most was the experiences that took place within the black affinity group which was described as being an everyday ritual where the black affinity group chanted I’m black I’m proud constantly at the top of their lungs that could be heard outside of the hotel.