The Food and Drug Administration is advising 11 states to begin screening all blood donations for the Zika virus. A previous advisory given February 16 limited this testing only to areas with active transmission of Zika. The states included in the recommendation are Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, South Carolina and Texas. They are near areas where the virus is actively spreading from mosquitos.
Frank Ocean return to music and UMG shuts down exclusives
1. After disappearing form the music world, Frank Ocean dropped two albums within a 48-hour period. The first, visual album Endless, was with Def Jam/Universal Music Group. The second, Blonde, was released as an Apple Music exclusive on Ocean's label Boys Don't Cry. Unfortunately for Def Jam, Blonde is overshadowing Endless. Ocean has already sold 225,000 of 250,000 albums in this week. He's also managed to get his freedom. Def Jam paid a reported $2 million for Ocean's recording costs. Ocean paid Def Jam back that amount. Boom, Ocean is a free wave.
2. UMG isn't happy. Chairman Lucian Grainge released a memo that Universal is done with streaming exclusives. With the popularity of Spotify, Apple Music and other streaming services, music labels are struggling with selling albums. Exclusives make it worse for labels, since it limits the audience the album can be sold to.
3. Are exclusives the only way artists can have freedom? Or are they a death sentence for music labels?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.
A new scientific study has confirmed the existence of a rocky planet named Proxima b. It orbits Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our sun. Proxima b is within the habitable zone of its star and may have liquid water on its surface. It is the closest planet that is potentially habitable to humans. The researchers hope its proximity will provide opportunities for "robotic exploration in the coming centuries."
Is Obama late to visit Louisiana?
1. When the devastating floods in Louisiana began, President Obama was on a vacation in Martha's Vineyard. He did not immediately end his vacation to visit the region. This disappointed many Republicans and some Louisianans. Now, several people are saying the President's visit to Louisiana Tuesday is too late. This group includes Donald Trump and his running mate Mike Pence who visited the state last week.
2. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has previously said that he hoped the President would wait to visit. When the President visits a city, many local police officers are often assigned to help protect the President. Edwards said that would have kept officers away from helping people affected by the flooding. However, Edwards also said that Trump's trip to the region was helpful because "it helped shine a spotlight...on the dire situation we have here."
3. So is Obama late to visiting the area?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.
The California Supreme Court let stand a lower court ruling that maintains teacher tenure and seniority-based layoffs. Teacher tenure in public K-12 schools has been somewhat controversial in the education policy debate. While teacher unions support keeping tenure, many education reform proponents say tenure is a contributing factor in failing schools. Without tenure, the process of firing bad teachers would be simpler and easier. This would give schools the opportunity to improve academic performance. The California Supreme Court didn't rule on the case, leaving the decision ultimately to the state legislature.
Florida officials announced five new Zika cases in Miami Beach — a popular tourist destination. The CDC has issued a travel advisory for pregnant women and recommends visitors wait at least eight weeks before trying to get pregnant. Most Zika cases often don't show symptoms and are relatively mild. However, the virus has been connected to microcephaly, a birth defect that results in abnormal brain development.
Two American Olympic swimmers were pulled from their flight out of Rio de Janiero to the United States. Their passports were also seized following their report of a robbery. Ryan Lochte was a part of the group that reported the robbery, but has already returned to the United States. Accounts surrounding the incident have been called into question. A Brazilian newspaper reported that the swimmers were involved in a fight and vandalized a gas station, according to security footage. The authenticity of the video has not yet been confirmed.
Univision is buying Gawker Media for $135 million. Gawker Media declared bankruptcy after Hulk Hogan won $140 million in court from the company for Gawker's publication of a sex tape. Univision is primarily a Spanish-language broadcast company and will own all seven of Gawker's websites. These include Gawker.com, Deadspin and Jezebel. The deal will go through once a bankruptcy judge approves.
Should burkinis be banned from the beach?
1. Three towns in France have now banned women from wearing the burkini, which is a swimsuit style preferred by Muslim women. The burkini — modeled after the traditional burka — covers everything on the body except the face, hands and feet. City mayors argue that the swimsuit does not follow French laws about secularism. Anyone wearing a burkini on the beach will be asked to leave and fined. Cannes city officials argued that the burkini is a "symbol of Islamic extremism." France has recently suffered from terrorist attacks, for which ISIS claimed responsibility.
2. However, some have argued that the ban infringes on fundamental rights. The Collective Against Islamaphobia in France said that associating all Muslim symbols with terrorism is illogical and would only lead to increased tensions between Muslim and Catholic communities. The group called the mayor's logic "shocking."
3. So, should the burkini bans in France continue?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.
A 10 p.m. weeknight curfew for teenagers will be strictly enforced in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The city has faced violent unrest over the weekend after the fatal police shooting of 23-year-old Sylville Smith Saturday. Smith was shot and killed by a black police officer. Saturday night, protestors set fire to six businesses, including a gas station. Cars were also burned and rocks were thrown at officers. In response, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker declared a state of emergency in Milwaukee.
Texas is taking the Obama administration to court. The issue is the administration's letter to public schools, which ordered schools to accommodate transgender students' bathroom needs. The administration said not following these rules is a violation of Title IX and could result in diminished federal funding. Texas is arguing in court that the letter oversteps the president's power.
DEA refuses to reclassify marijuana
1. In response to two widely-circulated petitions, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced that it will not change the federal legal status of marijuana. Right now, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act. This classification means it has no accepted medical use on the federal level.
2. However, half of the country has legalized marijuana in some capacity. Marijuana can be legally prescribed in 21 states and four other have legalized the drug for recreational use. These state laws are in obvious contradiction to the federal classification of marijuana.
3. So, should the DEA reclassify marijuana on the federal level?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.