SMCM Snapchat: A New Way to Connect to Students

Within the past few years, several social networking sites and apps have become popular among younger audiences, especially when it comes to college students. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as well as Pinterest and Tumblr are all apps you can expect to see on any college student’s smartphone.

What has become increasingly popular, however, is Snapchat, a photo/video-sharing app that allows for photos or videos to be sent to various friends for up to 10 seconds, at which point they are then gone and no longer accessible. According to a recent study, 77% of college students use the app at least once a day. Realizing its popularity, SMCM has jumped on the bandwagon and will now have its own official account.

Snapchat is used by colleges and universities around the country to reach three audiences: current students, prospective students, and prospective athletes. Utilizing Snapchat as a communication strategy keeps these audiences as well as alumni engaged with content that can be silly, educational, lighthearted and entirely unique compared to other platforms. It emphasizes a completely different method of promoting events, activities and general news, and offers a tremendous opportunity to build and maintain genuine relationships with the audiences—and to make an impact.

The Point News had a chance to interview SMCM Communications Specialist Gretchen Phillips from the Office of Marketing, Strategic Communications, and Web Services on the new school Snapchat account. She says, “Snapchat is a new and popular way to communicate directly with current and prospective students in a timely way.” For the goals and objectives for this account, she hopes that it will be a way for prospective students to see everything St. Mary’s College has to offer. She continues, “We look at Snapchat as a way to cover current events and news as they are happening, and also celebrate our different departments and faculty, landmarks, athletic teams, and campus life.”

As far as how the account will be regulated, the committee will meet monthly to plan out a loose schedule of what will be posted each day, making sure it is both entertaining and informational. The committee includes members of both Integrated Marketing and Communications and Alumni Relations, and also includes a current student. Phillips hopes that in the new year, the new account will mainly focus on what a day in the life at St. Mary’s College is all about, so prospective students can really get an idea of what it would be like to come here. The new SMCM Snapchat, “smcmsnap”, would love to hear from students on what they would like to see, so please snap them your ideas and feedback!

Dance Show: Photo Feature

Dear St. Mary’s Campus Community,

It has been brought to our attention that this week’s edition of The Point News did not accurately portray the diverse talent at the dance club’s show “You Can’t Stop the Beat.” We hope this photo feature better showcases a representation of the talent who performed this past weekend. We sincerely apologize for this oversight and promise that this mistake will not be repeated.

Sincerely,

The Point News Editorial Board
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“Wednesday, Dec. 7 Print Edition” Now in Circulation!

Print copies of The Point News’ most current edition have begun to circulate the St. Mary’s Community. Issues are currently scattered around campus. Pick one up from any St. Mary’s building. If you can not find our drop-off location near you, or would like to request the paper be delivered to a specific spot, please email Scott at Managingeditor@thepointnews.com. For those unable to access paper copies, either due to proximity or any other reason, take solace in this PDF of the newspaper available by clicking the link below. For the most part, articles in this issue have already been posted online. If there is an article which you would like to read in it’s webpage format, it is either already accessible on the website, or will be shortly. Click on the link below to view the PDF of the Wednesday, Dec. 7 edition of The Point News. 

Click here to view the PDF!

Winter Sports Season Begins

As the fall semester winds down at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, the winter sports begin to heat up. With men’s basketball, women’s basketball, and the swimming seasons already underway, there have already been some memorable moments. On November 17th the SMCM men’s basketball team traveled to College Park to take on the Division I University of Maryland Terrapins. While this game did not count for the Seahawks, it was an opportunity for the players to enjoy themselves playing against a fierce competition. St. Mary’s lost 93-45 in front of a packed stadium. Freshman guard Tre Mouton scored sixteen points to lead the Seahawk effort and junior captain Delaszo Smith added seven points and two rebounds in the game.

Despite losing their ensuing game in the opening round of the Dan Greene Memorial Invitational (November 19th) against Baldwin-Wallace (75-72), the Seahawks bounced back by winning their next three games against Spalding, Gallaudet, and Greensboro respectively. As the team now heads into the in-conference portion of their schedule, they look to build upon their success and continue to win games. The team is currently being led in scoring by junior guards Ochae Bynum (17.8 points per game) and Smith (16.2 points per game). In terms of defense, SMCM is being led by junior Lavonte Sanders who is averaging 7.6 rebounds per game. Coach Chris Harney is now in his twelfth season leading St. Mary’s.

The St. Mary’s women’s basketball team also has their season off and running. After dropping their first game of the season to Catholic, the Seahawks bounced back and won their second game at the Dan Greene Memorial Tournament. Here they defeated Delaware Valley 66-63 and advanced to the tournament’s championship game. Junior guard Kerri Kline scored twenty-one points, had four rebounds, and three assists and sophomore Kobe Chaney added thirteen rebounds and eight points in the game. Unfortunately in the championship game of the tournament, SMCM ended up falling to Messiah College 74-43.

Head Coach Crystal Gibson, currently in her sixth season at the helm of the Seahawks, believes that this team has grown significantly since last season: “The team has grown with added experience, we have several players in our program that have at least one year of college experience under their belt and that’s critical when looking to compete in such a strong league as the CAC. We have added depth at all positions which will be critical navigating through a very long and physical season.” Based on this growth of the team, Gibson also expects them to be quite competitive: “We have a lot of returning players as well as some very strong newcomers that are going to help take our program to a new level. We are aiming to finish in the top four in our league. Earning a home playoff game is one of the top goals for the season, this is helpful in the competition for a CAC championship.”

Under first year head coach Casey Brandt, both the men’s and women’s swim teams are beginning to gain momentum. While there were some early season struggles on both sides, both team’s defeated Ferrum as a part of a tri meet on November 19th. Both squads won rather handily as the men came on top 157-28 and the women were victorious 152-39. For the women it was a solid first victory of the year, while for the men it was their third victory as they also beat McDaniel (104-99) the same day and Frostburg (166-96) on November 12th. The men’s team is led by senior captains Andrew Braker, Andrew Braun, and Matt Walchuck while the women’s team is captained by Samantha Liming, Rachel Sonnenberg, and Lizzie Straathof.

Burlesque Club, “Risqué Business: A Cheeky Affair”

In the days prior to Thanksgiving break, one on-campus group saw the culmination of a semester full of hard work and rehearsal after rehearsal…as well as plenty of fittings for pasties. The Burlesque club, now in its fifth year of operation, put on its fall show, christened “Risqué Business: A Cheeky Affair”. The show took place in St. Mary’s Hall for three performances over three nights, Friday Nov. 18-Sunday Nov. 20.

The performances were full of exhilarating choreography, costumes, and confetti, as has become tradition for Burlesque. Mistresses of Ceremonies, going by their stage names Sweet Karma and Betty Bombshell, were charismatic to the point of show-stealing as they introduced each dancer, alongside the ever-present stage kittens. For those unfamiliar with the Burlesque show, the kittens perform stagehand duties (while in lingerie, of course) as well as serve as background or supplementary dancers in the main performances. The kittens also performed a halftime-dance at Intermission to Britney Spears’ “Toxic.”

Burlesque has become known for its performances that lean toward the serious, with subjects that step over into the realm of social commentary. This fall’s show featured some notable numbers like a dance set to Melanie Martinez’ “Dollhouse”, by Burlesque performer Full Force Stiletto, which portrayed the playacting of the traditional nuclear family as well as a blurring of traditional gender roles. Full Force Stiletto, while of course wearing killer heels, stepped in and out of an oversized picture frame that surrounded the large cast of dancers making up the gender-bending family portrait on stage.

Gender was also a key point in performer H2Ho’s number set to “Man! I Feel Like a Woman” by Shania Twain—H2Ho began the performance in long wig and skirt, following the lessons of an etiquette coach played by a fellow performer. They soon did a quick-change into a men’s suit, whipping off the wig to reveal short hair, before stripping into a final costume that ended somewhere in between on the gender spectrum.

But for the most part, this semester’s show veered towards the more lighthearted and playful, starting with the evening’s opening number by dancer Carnewhore, who performed a funny rendition of “The Sexy Getting Ready Song” from the CW TV show, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. (As Carnewhore got a match on Tinder, put down her barrel of cheese puffs, and sniffed a bra to make sure it was clean enough to wear out, those in the audience who could relate were cracking up.) Performer Moho Jojo’s skit was Grey’s-Anatomy-themed, involving a huge number of other dancers and kittens all in scrubs.

Overall the show maintained a high, high energy for its full two-hour runtime. “The show was exactly what we wanted it to be!,” said Burlesque co-President and performer, who goes by the stage name The Clam. “We got to share something cool that we made with friends and family, and we had a lot of fun together. We had great audiences all three nights and it was a super high energy show. We have so much creativity in the group and this semester’s performers had really unique ideas!”

Burlesque Club does a performance in both the fall and the spring, so if you missed this semester’s, you’re in luck. “Fall semester shows feature returning performers, and things usually go pretty smoothly with the pros!,” said The Clam. “I can’t wait to see what the new performers and seniors create in the spring!”

Right to The Point: December 4th, 2016

152,231

dollars raised during St. Mary’s “Giving Tuesday.” The 24 hour philanthropy event took place on Nov. 27th. SMCM’s Associate Dean of Academic Services Donald Stabile contributed the largest donation, pledging a $66,000 dollar-for-dollar match. Read more at the SMCM Newsroom.


4

dollars, the cost of a ticket to SMCM’s presentation of “The Marriage of Figaro” except for opening night, when students, faculty and staff can attend the show for free. Simply present your One Card to the Box Office by 7:50pm Wednesday, Dec. 7th. Tickets all other nights are four dollars for faulty, students and staff. General Admission tickets are priced at six dollars. Performances will take place Dec. 7-10th at 8pm. There will also be a matinee, final performance on Dec. 11th at 2pm. Visit the Theater department website for more information.


17,466

words in the upcoming print issue of The Point News volume 77, issue #5 will be distributed Wednesday, Dec. 7th. Other data points about this week’s issue: 387 copies, 103,153 characters, and 31 articles. This is the final installment of The Point News this semester. Look out for us to come back when we return from winter break.


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members of the Faculty Senate voted against the “Solidarity Resolution Letter.” In an all student email, they announced that the resolution passed unanimously. In the email, they stated “Unless compelled by law, St. Mary’s College of Maryland will not enter into any agreements with federal, state, or local law enforcement agencies for the purposes of enforcing federal immigration policy or forms of discrimination that contravene our values.”


470,000

barrels of oil a day which would have been transported by the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), had President Obama taken action against the project. The pipeline was being protested by activists who argued against the pipeline’s supposed encroachment on native americans land and the environmental impact of the project. Protesters, who set up camps in order to block construction had water cannons as well as rubber bullets used on them in attempts to disperse their presence. Read more at CNN or The Huffington Post. 



Note: This is a experimental article type. The Point News is attempting to provide more frequent updates on campus events. This is a style of reporting inspired by 538 Significant Figures. We are using their idea with their permission.

St. Mary’s College of Maryland Sanctuary Petition

Dear President Jordan and the College Administration,

We, the members of the St. Mary’s College Community, write to reaffirm the rights of all of our college’s community members, and our institutional responsibility to them, during a time of intense uncertainty. As part of this reaffirmation, we recommend that the College declare itself a “sanctuary center of higher education,” committed to protecting the members of its community from unfair deportation, investigation, or other forms of intimidation.

This is a moment for our community to reiterate the sentiment embodied in the SMCM Nondiscrimination Policy: “St. Mary’s College of Maryland does not discriminate or condone discrimination on the basis of race, sex, gender/gender identity and expression of color, religion, creed, age, genetic information, disability, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation or marital status.”

As stated in our college Mission & Values statement, we foster a “collaborative learning community” that values “the power of a diverse community; local, national, and global engagement; social responsibility and civic-mindedness; and civility and respect for self [and] others.” Furthermore, our current Strategic Plan reaffirms our commitment to “aim toward greater diversity among students, faculty, and staff” – including racial and ethnic diversity – because we believe that “diversity brings strength.” We want our students to “recognize and challenge injustice” and should be prepared to do the same ourselves.

In keeping with these commitments, we recommend that SMCM register its support for the safety and security of students, faculty, and staff who may lose legal protections for their immigration status or face other serious threats and forms of discrimination. We propose that the College promote sanctuary by the following means: not granting permission for the U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement to enter campus; instructing our Public Safety officers to refrain from being involved in federal immigration enforcement; and not sharing information about members of the College community for such purposes without a warrant.

When students, faculty, and staff join our community, we ask them to abide by the St. Mary’s Way, which includes “examining and shaping the functional ethical values of our changing world.” At this moment we should model what we seek to instill in our students as well as our teachers and support staff. By standing against the forces of nativism and xenophobia, we reaffirm our core values and show our support for the members of our community who have been, or might soon be, targeted.



The Point News does not support nor reject this petition. The petition is published here as a way for the campus community to read about what is discussed in an anonymous Opinion letter, published here.

Misconception of Seahawks: Local Radio Personalities Disrespect St. Mary’s in Condescending Rant

On Nov. 22, a local radio station (Star 98.3) broadcasted a show that focused on St. Mary’s campus events, yet the radio personalities’ lack of empathy and misunderstanding of the issues illustrates the overall problem our society is currently facing: college students are often treated as unintelligent, naive, and inexperienced. In addition, minority students are still facing verbal and anonymous attacks, yet conversations intended to alleviate these threats have not been as effective as I hoped they would have been. College students are faced with the overarching issue that our society lacks productivity in the sense that many do not have the ability to have respectful discourse in regards to students and campus issues.

The hosts of the broadcast, T-Bone and Heather, claimed to have received an email from a campus member that contained an audio clip of a professor’s controversial remarks made at the campus-wide forum last spring. Using this as a building block, the radio personalities posted the Sanctuary Petition to their Facebook page to open a discussion from the community on the letter.

I was frustrated, to say the least, by a majority of the comments on the Facebook page regarding the Sanctuary Petition. One of the most unsettling comments made was: “That college is nothing but a bunch of artsy fartsy freaks that live in their own little stoned world.” This type of comment is ridiculous and immature. If someone is truly interested in making a difference and creating a positive impact and change within the community, this type of response is pointless. Yes, it is just a Facebook page looking for comments on the overall situation concerning the petition, but calling students “freaks” demonstrates the lack of empathy, respect, and understanding of one of the true issues of our society: the safety of minorities.

Last semester, St. Mary’s held a campus-wide forum to discuss issues of race and safety among our community. The radio talk show hosts, T-Bone and Heather, described the forum as being a recent response to the campus-wide fire incidents along with the appearance of a confederate flag at a sporting event, both of which occurred last semester.

However, the campus-wide forum, A Time to Pause, took place in early April and was orchestrated by President Tuajuanda Jordan. President Jordan called for all students, faculty, and staff to attend so that the entire campus could come together as one united community. It focused on addressing the racist, sexist, and homophobic remarks painted on beer cans for the annual Natty Boh Hunt as well as the progress of the fire cases – which only occurred in one residence hall, not throughout the entire campus, a fact that T-Bone and Heather failed to clarify when evaluating the impact of these events.

The Natty Boh Hunt, an annual event where students organize and participate in a scavenger hunt of beer cans, was dishonored last year when a group of unnamed students wrote racist, sexist, and homophobic remarks on the cans and hid them around campus. These harmful comments created an unsafe and tense situation for minority students, and the forum aimed to address the overall concerns of those affected.

At the forum, a few alumni spoke to the importance of keeping campus traditions. I was pleasantly surprised at how many alumni attended the discussion, and even more pleased by the ones who spoke up. Their attendance proved to me that St. Mary’s is a tight-knit and caring community; alumni came back to the college to show their support, and I couldn’t be prouder to be one member of this family.

Alumni attendees said that despite the inappropriate behavior, St. Mary’s traditions shouldn’t disappear because of these incidents. It’s up to the students to keep these traditions alive, but they must be done so with respect and care for fellow students. The representations of hate and disrespect that the cans displayed cannot be ignored, which is another reason why the forum was held. Yet the radio show didn’t mention the event as one of the causes for A Time to Pause.

In addition, the show played an audio clip in which a professor stood up at this open forum and told “straight white males” to sit down and let others “who are truly suffering” speak. While I deem this behavior unacceptable and a contrast to the overall message of the open-forum, the way T-Bone and Heather covered the story was also inexcusable. They concluded that the entire campus felt the same way as this professor. A straight white male disagreed with coverage of the forum: “Initially, I was distraught. I felt oppressed based on my skin tone and gender identity. However, I realized this was an educational experience. This was the way many minorities felt in situations where their opinion is outnumbered. Everyone’s opinions are valid, but sometimes affirmative action is necessary to have an outcome of equality.”

T-Bone and Heather continued by claiming the professor intended to say that straight white males have nothing to suffer about, yet I think they misconstrued the point. From my perspective, the professor intended to say something along the lines of: Since minority students are the ones who have been targeted, the forum should give them priority to speak on a platform where most students, faculty, and staff will be able to listen to their concerns.

Statistically, there are more white students than minority students on our campus; according to St. Mary’s Student Diversity Statistics for Full-time Undergraduate Students report by the Office of Institutional Research, as of Fall 2015, 72.2% of students enrolled in full-time undergraduate studies were white, and only 25.3% were minority students. (2.7% were documented as an unknown race/ethnicity, and 0.9% were recorded as foreign.)

In my experience, the white students speaking up were not demeaning or disregarding the minority students who spoke; in actuality, everyone who spoke up at the forum seemed to be trying to be respectful and open to suggestions of how to help make the campus a safer place.

The forum’s goal was to give the entire community a safe place to connect and share their concerns, yet telling a certain group of students to “sit down” defeats the purpose of having an open and accepting environment for discussion. The meeting needed to bring all members of the community together, not suppress one group’s ability to speak. The professor’s comments were counterproductive. Yet, if we have learned one thing from these comments, I hope it would be that we should empathize more with minority groups. Some white males were shocked, even angry, when they were told their opinion didn’t matter, yet that is how most minority students are treated on a daily basis.

Having a community discussion subsequent to the forum should be encouraged, if not enforced, yet the radio show’s form of condescending, immature, and ignorant rant does nothing to help improve the overall issue the community is facing, which is a lack of understanding and empathy for minority student’s struggles on campus.

Too many times I have been in a conversation with an adult and they have said, “Well, you’re just a college student, so what do you know?” College students are often invalidated by people who don’t understand that college students have their own well-formed and intellectual ideas. The lack of respect and empathy people have for college students and campus issues doesn’t make sense to me. While some student’s ideas may be progressive and new, that doesn’t give outsiders the right to dismiss them. The comments made by the radio hosts show just one example of utter disregard and dismissal of campus activity and issues. T-Bone and Heather tried to name St. Mary’s students as unintelligent and lazy racists, which is simply not the case. The complete lack of understanding results in a miscommunication and it reflects worse on the hosts, not the college like they intended.

The St. Mary’s campus is infamously known for being in its own “bubble.” This, in part, is true: our primarily liberal campus is located in a very conservative community who, mostly, do not share the same viewpoints and opinions as we do. Therefore, I understand that the county community and college community will have varying outlooks on our society’s issues; however, if nothing else positive comes from the story resurfacing, I hope that these incidents have opened the eyes of members from each community to the ideas and beliefs of the other. The goal here is to be more empathetic and understanding of each other, and we won’t reach this objective if we tell any groups to “sit down.”

T-Bone and Heather continued to demean the St. Mary’s students with claims that they are too immature and incapable of making any positive progress, especially in terms of the Sanctuary Petition. Yet, various other college campus members around the country have been circulating their own Sanctuary Petitions, including Harvard, Yale, Brown, Johns Hopkins, Oberlin, and University of Wisconsin-Madison.

T-Bone and Heather asked for listeners to call into the radio show to comment on the recent petition, and expressed shock that no one from St. Mary’s administration had contacted them yet with any comments on the story. However, a Faculty Senate Resolution was passed unanimously on Dec. 1, stating their support for the petition through a solidarity letter.

The resolution recommends “that the College register its support for the safety and security of all students, faculty, and staff, including those who may lose legal protections. We propose that the College join the Sanctuary Campus movement by offering the following assurance: Unless compelled by law, St. Mary’s College of Maryland will not enter into any agreements with federal, state, or local law enforcement agencies for the purposes of enforcing federal immigration policy or forms of discrimination that contravene our values.”

The radio personalities suggested that the campus administration is condoning and supporting the petition and are even responsible for it. In fact, the college administration has neither condemned nor approved of the petition. St. Mary’s administration has not released a statement. The petition, available here, was distributed by students and other campus community members, not the administration, like the radio show claimed.

Considering my argument is focused on the way the radio personalities portrayed the campus, it makes no difference whether or not I support the petition. My intention is to bring to light the ignorance of the radio personalities and to offer my support to the campus. T-Bone and Heather were the ones who were disrespectful and uninformed about St. Mary’s, not the students.

T-Bone and Heather made accusations without fully comprehending the truth and reality of our campus. They made generalizations about our students that made my heart break; they said that all the students do is sail and say we’re going to change the world, but we don’t know anything because we’re lazy racists.

Another memorable comment from the Facebook petition post on T-Bone and Heather’s page was: “Idiotic. A word not used often enough for a generation teeming with stupidity.” Why is a generation who fights for societal changes coined as “idiotic”? There are numerous cases in history where positive changes have been made partly as a result of people rallying behind their beliefs and opinions because they disagreed with the policies and laws in place. Society moves forward due to new ideas. Having respect for one another is key, however. Progress cannot be made if an entire generation is deemed “idiotic” by the very people who raised it. This ignorant generalization of our generation is what I consider “teeming with stupidity.”

As a proud student of the college, it was frustrating to listen to folks who knew nothing about the true nature of the college convey information incorrectly. It was extremely unprofessional the way they mocked the students and deemed the entire campus community “racists.” By claiming we have “a completely racist campus” in a “more conservative community,” they deemed the college as an adversary.

I consider St. Mary’s my home, and I’m honored to be a part of the community. And since I know many others feel the same way, we need to stand united against comments such as the ones made on the radio show and on their Facebook posts; for example, this distinctive comment: “Somebody please educate these kids. Clueless, Progressive and Liberal is a recipe for disaster. Lord help us.” If T-Bone and Heather truly wanted to start a discussion about what is going on at St. Mary’s, they should not have been uneducated about the issues. My initial reaction to their coverage of our campus is the same reaction I had when I heard the professor telling straight white males they couldn’t speak: restricting conversation only hinders growth and impedes progress. Degrading the students is counterproductive.

My intention is to bring the campus’ attention to the remarks made, and I hope we can become stronger together, support those targeted, and prove these accusations wrong.

-Anonymous

Update on the French Presidential Election

On Nov. 27, former Prime Minister of France François Fillon, won the nomination for the French Republican party. Fillon was able to carry 69.6 percent of the vote versus the 31.4 percent won by his opponent, former Prime Minister of France Alain Juppe. The Republican victory marked the end of France’s first-ever conservative presidential primary. Alain Juppe was forced to concede.

Prior to Nov. 27, both Fillon and Juppe eliminated France’s former president, Nicolas Sarkozy, in the race for the nomination. Sarkozy carried 21.1 percent of the vote against Fillon’s 44 and Juppe’s 28.1 percent. After the election results in the first primary were publicized, Sarkozy chose to concede, dropping out of the race on November. 20. Sarkozy then prompted his supporters to vote for Fillon. Both Fillon and Juppe served as Prime Ministers under the Sarkozy Administration.

Fillon is running on a campaign that promises to “slash public spending, cap immigration, support traditional family values and reach out to Russian President Vladimir Putin,” as reported by the Associated Press.

Currently Fillon is set to be running against Marine Le Pen, presiding leader of the conservative National Front. Le Pen is running a campaign against globalism, uncontrolled mass immigration, Islamic fundamentalism, the French political elite and the European Union.

In an interview with CNBC’s Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, Le Pen stated, “I think that the elites have lived too long among themselves. We are in a world where globalization, which is an ideology, has forgotten, and put aside the people, the people’s interests, aspirations, and dreams.”

If elected, Le Pen plans to hold a referendum to enable the possibility of a French exit from the European Union.

Although the current French president, François Hollande, has not made an official announcement for re-election, he has repeatedly been reported saying that he will seek re-election only if he is able to reduce the unemployment rate that has remained around 10 percent over the past few years.

So far, Hollande is perceived as the most unpopular president in French history, as revealed by an Elabe opinion poll in May 2016 indicating a 7 percent approval rating.

The Socialist Party primary is expected to take place this coming January. Hollande has until then to place his name on his party’s ticket. If Hollande chooses to run, his opponents could include the current Prime Minister Manuel Valls, as well as ex-Premiers Arnaud Montebourg and Benoît Hamon.

Another candidate for the French presidency is Emmanuel Macron. Previously Macron served as a former Economy Minister to current president Francois Hollande. According to Time Magazine, “The former investment banker for Rothschild Ltd. is expected to run as the head of ‘En Marche!’ (roughly meaning On the Move!), a centrist political party he created in April as a direct challenge to the Socialist Party’s Hollande.”

There are also additional independent candidates that are set to run for the presidency, such as the extreme leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon, Greens nominee Yannick Jadot and other independent candidates.

The first round of elections will occur on April 23. If there is no clear winner to the first round of elections, a second election will occur on May 7.

 

Magnitude 6.9 Earthquake Shakes Japan

On Tuesday Nov. 22, a magnitude 6.9 earthquake hit northern Japan. The quake was originally recorded as having a magnitude of 7.3, but has since been brought down to 6.9 by the United States Geological Survey. The Japan Meteorological Agency has stated that the earthquake was positioned off the coast of Fukushima at a depth of 6 miles.

A small tsunami followed suit.

Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported that a wave of up to 4.5 feet high was seen at the city of Sendai, 45 miles north of Fukushima.

No fatalities occurred in the quake, although 15 were injured.

NHK stated that, “a woman in her 80s in Kashiwa City in [the] Chiba Prefecture broke her leg when she lost her footing and fell down stairs in her house. A woman in her 70s in Yabuki Town in [the] Fukushima Prefecture was injured when a cupboard toppled over. [And,] 13 other people were also injured in Tokyo and Fukushima, Miyagi and Chiba Prefectures.”

In response to the event, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stated that the Japanese government planned to put their best effort into emergency response. Abe said, “We will announce any information regarding tsunami or evacuation swiftly, and will quickly gather information regarding any damages, and will put in our best effort in responding to emergencies. We will also work together with local municipalities, and become united as a government to ensure safety and respond to disasters the best we can.”

This most recent earthquake, called for a reflection on the unembellished natural disaster that took place five years prior, also in Fukushima, that involved a massive earthquake, multiple tsunamis, and a nuclear disaster. The travesty of March 11, 2011 was so notorious that it has gone down in history as the Great Sendai Earthquake and Great Tōhoku Earthquake.

According to CNN, the Great Sendai Earthquake of 9.0 magnitude was one of the worst ever to hit Japan, killing more than 20,000 people and causing tsunamis of up to 40 feet that swamped the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, thus triggering a nuclear meltdown, the worst since Chernobyl.

Japan is susceptible to such devastating earthquakes due to its location in the Pacific Ring of Fire, a string of volcanoes and sites of seismic activity around the edges of the Pacific Ocean. Because of this, Japan accounts for 20 percent of the world’s earthquakes with magnitudes of 6 or more.

Since the earthquake in 2011, Japan has taken great safety precautions, ensuring that emergency systems be updated to spread warnings more quickly.