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Friday, December 21, 2012

U.N. Helicopter Shot in South Sudan

A helicopter from the United Nations was shot down by the South Sudan army while on a peaceful reconnaissance mission today. Four crew members died in the attack, which took place in the state of Jonglei. “They were looking for dry landing areas so that we could bring in troops to protect civilians there. We lost contact with that helicopter,” Kieran Dwyer, a spokesman for the U.N. Department of Peacekeeping Operations, told Al Jazeera. “We had communications with the national army, the South Sudanese army … who told us that they had shot at a helicopter in the region.” The nation’s army denied the accusation, however, pointing to rebels led by David Yau Yau as the perpetrators. An investigation was launched.

NRA Calls for Armed Police in Every School, No Gun Control

Wayne LaPierre, CEO and executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, said today in a press conference that the solution to protect children from gun violence is to place police officers in every school. “I call on Congress today to act immediately, to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every school — and to do it now, to make sure that blanket of safety is in place when our children return to school in January,” LaPierre said, breaking the organization’s week-long silence following the Newtown elementary school massacre. “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” He proposed the creation of an “active national database of the mentally ill,” and blamed the media, Hollywood, and video games for encouraging a culture of violence. Connecticut House Representative Chris Murphy, whose district includes Newtown, described LaPierre’s speech as ”The most revolting, tone deaf statement I’ve ever seen.” Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell called LaPierre “whacked” and asked for his resignation.

Obama Names Senator John Kerry for Secretary of State

U.S. President Barack Obama will nominate former Presidential Candidate and Senator John Kerry, of Massachusetts, to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. The news comes after U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (U.N.) Susan Rice said she removed herself from the race after continued attacks by members of the Republican party, including Senator John McCain of Arizona, criticized her role government communication on the Benghazi consulate attacks of September 11. Kerry’s appointment to the State Department will free a Senate seat, setting in motion a special election in Massachusetts, the third in as many years. Scott Brown, the Republican senatorial candidate who enjoyed the vocal support of McCain and other Rice critics before he lost the race to Elizabeth Warren in November, will probably run again.

New Clashes in Egypt Ahead of Second Leg of Referendum Vote

Alexandria erupted in protests and riots again today after morning prayers as 17 of Egypt’s 27 provinces prepared to vote on a draft constitution written by President Mohamed Morsi’s Islamic backers. Police launched tear gas into the crowd as Islamists and demonstrators threw stones at each other. People in Cairo and Alexandria already voted in the first round of the referendum, held last week. The turnout was low and there were reports of irregularities, with women and Coptic Christians being prevented from accessing the ballot boxes. Morsi’s opponents say the draft constitution is too heavily based on Islam’s rules and does not ensure the interests of minorities.

World, Once Again, Does Not End

Despite multiple assertions that the Mayans prophesied the world would today, the Apocalypse did not happen. Archeologists and scientists rallied to reassure believers, explaining the “prediction” was in fact based on a misinterpretation of a Mayan document found in Tortuguero, Mexico. “The majority of the doomsayers cite a monument from Tortuguero, Mexico that mentions the 2012 date, but the main glyph that would tell us what they thought about the date is broken off,” said Anthropological Archologist Sonja Schwake. “We actually have no evidence that the ancient Maya predicted or wrote down any kind of apocalyptic world-ending event associated with the 2012 date.” NASA was so certain the world wouldn’t end it published a video explaining “Why the world didn’t end yesterday.”

Weekend Read: Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek

The New York Times uses photographs, interactive graphics, videos, and text to tell a story of skiers trapped under an avalanche.

The Evening Edition will be back on January 2nd. Happy holidays to all.

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