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Beyond the Hedges

4/7/11 7:00pm



Budget debate may cause government shutdown

The Democrats and Republicans have continued battling over the national budget on two levels – one regarding government funding for the next six months and the other regarding a long-term financial plan. This debate arose because Congress did not pass a spending plan for 2011 last year, leaving the government to run on short-term funding policies. Both parties remained at odds when President Barack Obama called a meeting at the White House on Tuesday during which House Speaker John Boehner increased his call for spending cuts to $40 billion, officials said. At that time, many legislators said they did not think a short-term consensus on the issue could be reached. If Congress does not make a final decision, a partial government shutdown will be enacted at midnight tonight. The administration has already advised government workers to prepare for such a closure.

Source: Wall Street Journal

"Honestly, this is the Republicans' fault. They stopped passage of the Democrats' original budget during the lame duck session and now have proposed extreme budgets which do nothing to solve the underlying problem and instead push a far-right social agenda, such as defunding NPR and Planned Parenthood, [which] they knew full well the Democrat-controlled Senate would not pass, and have refused to compromise, leaving the U.S.'s credibility in the balance."

– Humberto Gilmer, Martel College freshman



Leakage of radioactive water halted

Tokyo Electric Power Co. announced Wednesday that they have stopped the leakage of radioactive water from a cracked concrete pit in one of other reactors. They accomplished this by pouring 1,560 gallons of a compound called "water glass" around and into the pit. Before filling the gap, the outflow had supposedly caused a dangerous rise in seawater contamination around the building. The level of radiation – at 7.5 million times the permissible limit — spurred fears of poisoning Japanese fish, ruining their quality and taste. However, the Japanese government decided to dump 11,500 tons of low-level radioactive water into the ocean on Monday. Officials said they wanted to open space for the more toxic water currently blocking workers from fixing quake-damaged machinery at the complex.

Source: Wall Street Journal

"I got a real sense about how dire the circumstances ... were once I heard that the Japanese were basically forced to dump 11,500 tons of radioactive water into the ocean. We thought a gulf oil spill was hard to clean up but the ocean around this area of Japan will be affected for years to come, and this time there is no company to blame. The situation at times seems helpless but it makes me very pleased to see the Rice community come together to collect money and aid for them during this difficult time."

– Estevan Delgado, Duncan College sophomore

Violence continues in Libya with NATO airstrikes

The International Criminal Court announced that the Libyan government reacted to the fall of the Tunisian regime by making plans to kill protesting civilians before the national uprising even broke out. In response, NATO has promised to protect Libyan citizens – especially in the hard-hit city of Misrata, and officials are expected to request arrest warrants for Col. Muammar Gaddafi, his sons and close aides. They said that their warplanes hit Col. Gaddafi's military assets around Libya's third largest city on Monday, weakening his military power by a third, but Gaddafi retaliated by moving his weapons into civilian areas. Libyan rebels said that NATO has generally been responding too slowly to calls for air strikes, causing the unnecessary deaths of more people in Misrata. Two hundred deaths have occurred there since the beginning of the uprising on Feb. 17, and source say that number has probably risen in the past few days.

Source: BBC

Killings escalate in Cuidad Juarez

Ciudad Juarez has maintained its reputation as the most dangerous city in Mexico, sources say, with 41 homicides – including a 10-year-old boy accidentally killed – occurring in a recent four-day period. Prosecutors said they have not made progress on investigating these attacks.

Source: CNN

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SA drafts formal complaint against Chi Alpha after discrimination accusations

The Student Association executive board drafted a formal complaint against the Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship to present to University Court for violation of the SA Constitution nondiscrimination policy that every Rice organization is required to adhere to. This complaint comes in light of the recently published Thresher article, where several students shared their experience with discrimation within the club on the basis of sexual orientation. 


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