the damage report: May 12th, 2017

Welcome to the paper’s Damage Report!

In order to keep readers up to date with current events, we decided to start this biweekly feature, in which we present short, concise explanations of major topics that have occurred that week in the news. As well, we will link to other articles that will provide further information, as well as other articles we believe coincide with the story. This feature will be published every Tuesday – Friday.

Your News Editors,
Nick & Rachel


President Trump Fires FBI Director James Comey

On Tuesday, President Trump fired FBI director James Comey. Comey had been partially blamed for hurting the Clinton campaign, as his multiple FBI probes into her emails had lost her a good amount of support. Comey at the time of his firing was leading an investigation into possible allegations that the Trump campaign had worked with Russia to influence the election. The administration officially said that the Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein had pushed for Comey’s firing. Interestingly enough right before his firing, Comey had come to the Justice Department and asked to expand the FBI’s resources into the Russia Probe. President Trump in tweets and statements said that he fired Comey because “he wasn’t doing a good job”, further adding that he was planning to fire Comey anyway, regardless of whether or not the Justice Department would request it. Furthermore, he states that he was thinking of the Russia probe at the time of the firing, which contradicts his administration’s previous comments. Many reports have shown that the administration, in fact, scrambled to have a response for this sudden action.

On Friday, President Trump tweeted out what seems to be a threat to Comey, in which he hinted that he had recorded tapes of their conversations. Afterward, a spokesperson from the White House clarified the tweets, saying that they were not meant to be threats. Other information has leaked out over Comey’s firing. It was reported that in the beginning of Trump’s presidency, he had dinner with Comey and asked for his loyalty. However, Comey said he only offered honesty. Both sides of the political aisle have had a range of reactions to Comey’s firing.  Some are calling this a Nixonian move, wondering what the administration is trying to cover. Others have asked for the Russia probe to be headed up by an independent third party.  Leading members of the Republican party, including Mitch McConnell, have adamantly defended the President’s actions. This developing news story further complicates an already complex issue, as more and more information spills out.

Further Reading:

Trump Warns Comey and Says He May Cancel Press Briefings – The New York Times


Massive Ransomware Cyberattack Rocks the World

On Friday, a massive ransomware cyber attack simultaneously occurred all across the world.  It has been reported that as of this moment around 74,000 attacks, across 74 countries, have happened. Hackers allegedly used information of an exploit, which was stolen from the United States Government, in order to carry out this cyber attack. Ransomware is where a hacker locks their target’s computer system, forcing them to pay money, usually in a format such as bitcoin, in order to unlock their computer before all the user’s files are deleted. Originally, an attack was reported on a string of 16 hospitals in the UK, a number which was then extended to 25. Then, not too long afterward, reports started surfacing that this attack was not just in the UK, but was in fact global. As of right now, the origin and intent of the attack are unknown.  However, this is an extremely scary breach of cyber security, showing the vulnerability of our technological systems. 

Further Reading:

Hackers Hit Dozens of Countries Exploiting Stolen N.S.A. Tool – The New York Times


Far-Right Marine Le Pen Loses French Election

On Sunday,  Marine Le Pen, the candidate for far-right based group National Front, lost the French Presidency to Emmanuel Macron. Macron won by nearly 65% of the vote compared to Le Pen’s around 35%. Many wondered how the French election would turn out, as the recent wave of populist and far right politics has had success all across the world, as seen in the election of Donald Trump and Brexit.  However, this was not the case, as Macron won by a large margin. Macron had gained support from across the political spectrum, with a tilt towards the left. In the following week after the election, Le Pen’s party, The National Front, has come under a great deal of infighting, including one of Le Pen’s top advisors threatening to quit. Macron will be sworn into office this Sunday, May 14th.

Further Reading:

French election results: Macron’s victory in charts – Financial Times
French Election Proves to be Contentious and Divisive for Everyone – the paper

150910-homo-naledi-discovery-vinNew Information About Recent Hominid Discovery Published

Two years ago, a shocking discovery in South Africa found a new small-brained hominid called Homo Naledi. Recent discoveries published this Tuesday have, however, indicated that this species lived a lot closer in time to us than previously thought, existing at the time of early humans. H. Naledi was originally suggested to be about 900,000 years old, but now it appears that it is actually about 200,000-300,000 years old. This shows that there was a lingering presence of earlier hominids (this group) during that era as early humans began their development. In regards to their physical features, H. Naledi’s have small ape-like bodies, with tiny brains. However, some of their physical features have interesting human-like qualities. Furthermore, recent reports discuss H. Naledi as being much smarter than the initial discovery believed, as the study indicates they could have possibly buried their dead and used tools. This report furthers our look at the ancestry of the human race, a field which continues to get more and more interesting.

Further Reading:

Did This Mysterious Ape-Human Once Live Alongside Our Ancestors? – National Geographic


Nick Peters, News Co-Editor

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