Syria's ongoing crisis took a turn for the worse this week. For starters, a once-solid cease-fire fell apart when fighting broke out in Aleppo, the country's capital. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimates that around 75 people were killed in the skirmishes. Just yesterday, an air strike demolished a Syrian refugee camp, killing 28. The UN has asked for an inquiry into the attack as both Russian and Syrian forces are suspected of being at fault. In reaction the increasing turmoil, the United States and Russia — both key players in the conflict — have pressured a truce between Syria's conflicting parties.
"In life, there are people who travel with you just for a limited span of time. You enjoy their company, laugh and cry with them, but eventually you leave or they leave — and that’s okay. We move on."
The Liberty Project, Fleeting friendships and loving others: What I learned during a trip to the Amazon
Should we raise the national smoking age?
1. While smoking is not near as popular as it once was, America's youth seems to be taking up the bad habit at a surprisingly high rate. To curb the trend, California has raised its legal smoking age from 18 to 21. Furthermore, on a national level, the FDA has announced plans to regulate e-cigarettes and cigars much like they regulate run-of-the-mill tobacco products.
2. California's new law had its fair share of objections, namely from the tobacco industry. Despite intense lobbying efforts, California Gov. Jerry Brown says the law "sends a clear message." Those who helped push the law through California's legislature hope to continue their efforts across the nation.
3. What do you think? Should we raise the national smoking age?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.
"Take the time to grieve with them, to vent with them, to drink with them and to celebrate with them. Because when it feels like everything is just the worst, your friends will be there."
The Liberty Project, Truth: Friendships are harder to maintain than marriages
Donald Trump has all but clinched the GOP Presidential nomination. With yet another primary rout in Indiana, Trump's closest competitor, Senator Ted Cruz, suspended his campaign. This gives Trump an easy path to 1,237 delegates, the magic number needed to secure his spot in November's general election. Trump's victory speech took a turn towards Hillary Clinton as he sets his sites on national strategy. His remaining competition, Ohio Governor John Kasich, has won just one out of 39 primaries. With more than 1,000 pledged delegates under his belt, Trump needs just 223 delegates from the remaining contests in Nebraska, West Virginia, Oregon, Washington, California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota.
"While it goes against what has been thoroughly engrained in my mind, I now realize I deserve to have as much confidence as men. I deserve to proclaim, own and embrace my beauty, even if no one else agrees with me or would venture to call me attractive."
The Liberty Project, The modern woman's guide to accepting compliments and being confident
Was Ted Cruz and John Kasich's pact a mistake?
1. As the Republican Presidential primary eeks out its few remaining delegates, we're finally seeing the Trump versus Cruz face off we've been waiting for. At the end of April, John Kasich and Ted Cruz agreed to join forces and step aside in select races to allow a head-to-head contest versus Trump. As Indiana heads to the polls tonight, Cruz and Kasich will see if their risky pact pays off.
2. If polling is any indication of the public's reaction to the Cruz/Kasich compromise, things aren't looking good. Trump leads Cruz by more than 15 points, a result that could seal the nomination for Trump. The majority of likely votes, 58 percent, in Indiana disapproved of the Cruz/Kasich compromise.
3. So, did Ted Cruz and John Kasich hand Trump the nomination?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.
"Liberation for me is self-love in the most radical sense. People really feeling like they love themselves and that they have a greater purpose in life would result in organizations that would actually serve people's needs."
North Carolina, Mississippi criticized for bathroom laws
1. North Carolina and Mississippi have recently enacted laws that would require residents to use the bathroom that matches their gender at birth. Supporters, including Republican candidate Ted Cruz, say these laws are necessary to protect citizens from “predators” who might use open bathroom policies to harm others. Many argue that these policies are “political correctness run amok."
2. In response, Paypal has halted its plans to open offices in North Carolina, pulling 400 new jobs from the state. Target recently announced that its stores will be adopting an open bathroom policy. Caitlyn Jenner protested the laws and Cruz’s statements by using the women’s bathroom in Trump Tower. Trump has said the bathroom laws are unnecessary. The American Civil Liberties Union says there is no statistical evidence of violence in bathrooms, as supporters are claiming.
3. So, are these bathroom laws necessary?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.
Trump's Northeastern romp last week was unprecedented. Winning by more than 30 percent across five states was undoubtedly Trump's best moment on the campaign trail. Such success has the United States' immigrant population worried. Trump's concerning statements on mass deportations have immigrants flooding U.S. Citizenship offices in hopes of becoming naturalized citizens — which includes voting rights — before November's general election. In California, there are more than 2.2 million legal residents who have yet to make the transition to U.S. citizen, in part due to the $700 application fee.
DreamWorks Animation, the movie studio responsible for box-office juggernauts like Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon sold to NBCUniversal for a cool $3.8 billion. At the center of the deal is Jeffrey Katzenberg, the former Walt Disney executive who, in 1994, left the ears behind to start DreamWorks Animation alongside Steven Spielberg and David Geffen. Katzenberg personally pockets an estimated $420 million from the sale. For NBCUniversal, which is owned by media giant Comcast, the sale means it will better compete against rival animation house Walt Disney Pictures. Disney's 2016 is off to a great start with hits like The Jungle Book and Zootopia.
"If the path I have walked in life so far has taught me anything, it is that it is good for the soul to be a bit lost sometimes — because sometimes those instances lead to the most clarity."
The Liberty Project, Four years and $200,000 later: I quit my internship to pursue my passion
What was Bernie's goal in the first place?
1. Things aren't looking great for Bernie Sanders. After losing four out of five contests in Tuesday's Democratic presidential primaries, the senator from Vermont is laying off hundreds of campaign workers. With only a handful of states left to cast their primary ballots, Sanders' intentions are under a microscope. Did he ever want to be president? Or was his main goal to push the party left?
2. In all honesty, it's a little bit of both. Sanders has been clear that he's "in this campaign to win." However, recent Sanders rhetoric suggests that he's satisfied with his efforts to pull Hillary Clinton to the left. No doubt that he swayed Clinton from the center on a number of issues.
3. Do you Sanders should wrap up his campaign?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.
"Offering gratitude every day allows us to meet life’s difficulties with an open heart. Taking a moment to pause and offer thanks balances our tendency to lean towards the negative, and clarifies our understanding of life’s gifts."
The Liberty Project, How expressing gratitude can fill your heart and home with love and joy