Friday News Bites, Part 2: Republican Malarkey, Tianjin Explosion + More

After covering what’s going on in Ferguson and the #BlackLivesMatter movement, let’s get to other news stories of note this week.

In Tianjin, China, a series of large explosions at a local port killed at least 44 people and injured hundreds more. The cause seems to come from chemical goods stored in a warehouse. [auto-loading video]

And in Kabul, Afghanistan, at least five people were killed in an explosion at the airport. The Taliban claimed responsibility.

After getting fires under control, now Glacier National Park has three new fires to deal with. It’s also been around 100 degrees outside, which certainly doesn’t help.

Amnesty International voted to decriminalize sex work, and offered up a Q&A on what their position means.

2016 Election

The first Republican debates were a circus as predicted, and none of them particularly had anything to say as far as foreign policy.

Also, Rick Perry might have accidentally said “Ronald Raven” instead of Ronald Reagan, and now I’m curious as to what that might look like. A raven named Ronald. [auto-loading video]

Donald Trump doubled down on stupid and answered Megyn Kelly’s questions about his misogyny with more misogyny.

Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders provided running commentary on Twitter throughout the debates.

Moody’s Analytics, which has predicted every race since 1980, thinks Democrats will win in 2016. Here’s hoping.

Bernie Sanders is getting larger and larger crowds at his events, reaching 28,000 at Portland’s rally on Sunday.

The Democrats have also increasingly taken up college affordability and debt as one of their causes. Hurrah!

And if you haven’t seen the Twitter account A Cat Named Bitches, just know that you’re missing out on one of 2016’s most FLUFFY candidates.

In Other Political News:

Congress is considering a bill that would require gun owners to buy insurance. Hell yes, I say. That’s one step in the right direction.

Former President Jimmy Carter announced he has cancer. His liver cancer has moved to other parts of his body.

DNA tests confirm that former President Warren G. Harding fathered a child outside his marriage. His relationship with a mistress had long been proven, but it was only recently that tests were conducted.

In Other News:

Navajo Nation is still asking for EPA help in cleaning up the Animas and San Juan Rivers after a mining spill has produced millions of gallons in toxic water. [auto-playing video]

Turns out $15 dollars per hour for minimum wage will only raise food prices very slightly. So settle down, fast food CEOs.

Google will now be part of a larger company called Alphabet. And if you’ve ever read Dave Egger’s The Circle, you’re probably slightly unnerved now.

Speaking of media behemoths, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has donated nearly a billion dollars to Planned Parenthood-supporting organizations. Somewhat predictably, anti-choice people are upset… and probably use Facebook to complain.

Target is moving away from gender-based signs in their toy department. Pour one out for the person who has to deal with angry comments flooding their social media pages.

Watch out! Mars may have giant space crabs. Y’know. FYI.

Frances Oldham Kelsey, the FDA scientist who kept thalidomide off U.S. market, died this week. She was 101.

Kiran Gandhi, drummer for M.I.A., ran the London Marathon without her tampon to promote awareness for women across the world who cannot afford menstrual products. Also:

Gandhi tells PEOPLE that she decided to run without a tampon to highlight the sentiment of period-shaming and the language surrounding women’s menstrual cycles. She wrote on her site that “on the marathon course, sexism can be beaten.”

In Entertainment:

In “Water is Wet” News: Cannabis was discovered in William Shakespeare’s pipe. COLOR ME SHOCKED.

THERE’S GOING TO BE A JUST KIDS MINISERIES. Showtime plans to adapt Patti Smith’s memoir.

Doctor Who has cast transgender actress Bethany Black in a role, though not as a trans character.

By the way, here’s a new teaser for the upcoming season:

And finally, if you’ve ever wanted to hear Edgar Allen Poe read by Basil Rathbone and Vincent Price, then do I have a treat for you.

Until next time!

By Sara Habein

Sara Habein is the author of Infinite Disposable, a collection of microfiction, and her work has appeared on The Rumpus, Pajiba and Word Riot, among others. Her book reviews and other commentary appear at Glorified Love Letters, and she is the co-manager of Electric City Creative.

3 replies on “Friday News Bites, Part 2: Republican Malarkey, Tianjin Explosion + More”

The Tianjin explosion is freaking me out so bad. I was looking at Facebook on my phone at lunch today and the video started playing and I was like… “I’m sitting in a plant full of chemicals right now. NOPE THE FUCK OUT!”

And then I had to take something to my boss a little while later and he and another manager where watching all the videos from different angles. And trying to guesstimate how much of the surrounding neighborhood we’d take out if the place caught fire. (Fortunately, while we have several metric shittons of flammable material, nothing’s terribly explosive.)

And apparently we do ship materials through that port, though not with the company that blew up. It’s a small damn world.

And FFS, now a chemical plant in Texas blew up. Rationally I know both of those explosions involved nasty shit that’s way more volatile than anything we have; Tianjin is possibly due to sodium cyanide, which is used in mining, and the place in Texas made chemicals for oil drilling. We just make flavorings and scent compounds for food and personal care items. But it’s freaky.

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