The Weekly Grind Oct. 29 – Nov. 5

Drink in the week’s most important stories — all in one place. In the time it takes to drink your first cup of coffee, we’ll help you get caught up.

UNL Chancellor, Ronnie Green, speaks at the Nebraska State of the Union. Earlier this week, he responded to claims from state senators criticizing the university’s treatment of conservative students. (Photo by the Lincoln Journal Star)

University leaders respond to state senators over free speech incident

UNL Chancellor Ronnie Green sent a letter to all 49 members of the Nebraska Legislature on Tuesday responding to an opinion piece by three first-year senators published in the Hastings Tribune.  In the letter, Green accuses the three senators, Steve Erdman, Tom Brewer and Steve Halloran, of using “falsehoods and distortions.”

The opinion piece was in response to an on-campus dispute in August involving a student distributing materials for a conservative group on the Union plaza and the response from UNL English faculty members. Sophomore Kaitlyn Mullen set up a table to recruit for the group and was confronted by a graduate teaching assistant and an associate professor from the English department. She was also told she must move to “a free speech zone” by university staff.

Green’s response was accompanied by an email response from NU president Hank Bounds. Both responses indicated policy changes within the university to prevent similar incidents in the future. (Lincoln Journal Star)

Services for Students with Disabilities asking for student fees 

A proposal from Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) will be presented to the Association of Students of the University of Nebraska’s Committee for Fee Allocations next week. Sam Goodin, director of SSD, announced this upcoming proposal at the ASUN meeting on Nov. 1.

Brian Shanks, associate director of housing business and fiscal operations, also attended the meeting on behalf of SSD and said the money from student fees will be used for hiring another staff member. According to Shanks, this will make the labor demands for the office easier to manage.

The budget proposal is not officially due until next semester, but Goodin encouraged senators to start promoting and explaining the change to their constituents. (Daily Nebraskan)

No violations found in Nebraska basketball internal review

After an internal review of Nebraska basketball compliance operations, the team found no violations, according to an email sent to the Associated Press last Wednesday from Teresa Paulsen, a University spokeswoman.

This review started after basketball coach Tim Miles told the AP that the program had not done an internal review when asked on Sept. 28. Nebraska was one of 84 schools the AP questioned after the arrests and charges of top Adidas executives and assistant coaches from various schools for bribing star athletes’ to influence their choice of schools, agents, and shoe sponsors. (Lincoln Journal Star)


New York City police work in Manhattan after a rental truck drove down a busy bicycle path. (Photo by CNN)

 New York truck attack suspect charged with federal terrorism offenses 

        On Oct. 31, the driver of a rental truck plowed down a bicycle path in Manhattan, killing at least eight people and injuring more than a dozen. The driver crashed the truck into a school bus, left the vehicle and was shot by police.

The driver, 29-year-old Uzbekistan native Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, was charged with providing support to ISIS, violence and destruction of motor vehicles.

        President Trump said he should be executed and tweeted, “NYC terrorist was happy as he asked to hang ISIS flag in his hospital room. He killed 8 people and badly injured 12. SHOULD GET DEATH PENALTY!”

        Saipov began planning an attack a year ago and told investigators he was inspired by Islamic State videos. He followed the structure of ISIS attacks and had lots of ISIS propaganda on his cellphone. The investigation is ongoing. (CNN)


Unemployment at 4.1%; the lowest since December 2000 

        The economy added 261,000 jobs this October. The job market has been down for the past couple months due to hurricane complications in Florida and Texas.

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma kept hundreds of thousands of people away from work, which affected September’s numbers. Only 18,000 jobs were gained in September. October’s numbers prove that the job market is getting back on track.

The job market is getting stronger and better and analysts project that the economy will only get healthier.(NY Times)

Here’s what the new Republican tax plan will do 

        The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would mean lower tax bills for most middle-class Americans, and large cuts for high-earners and small business owners. The tax cuts grow bigger and become more beneficial for higher earners and small business owners.

While this tax cut sounds like a great idea, it would add $1.5 trillion to the U.S.’s debt over the next decade. Many Democrats and some Republicans are against these changes. President Trump is passionate about this act and promoted it as “massive tax relief for the American people.” (Time)



Refugees in Greece sit in front of a banner announcing the beginning of a hunger strike in order to reunite with their families in Germany on Nov. 1. (Photo by Reuters)

Refugees protest for reunification of their families

Protests and hunger strikes began in Greece on Nov. 1 among a group of refugees. The refugees, who are mainly Syrian, have been stranded in Greece for over a year and demand to be reunited with their relatives in Germany.

Greek media reported Greece and Germany agreed in May to slow down refugee reunification, leaving families stranded in Greece for months after they fled Syria’s civil war. Greece denied this.

Over 60,000 refugees from mainly Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq have fled to Greece with many of their family members being sent to Germany. Applications to relocate from Greece to Germany have been filed but can take months to verify. Greece’s government hopes to relocate the refugee families to better accommodations such as hotels or apartments until their applications are accepted. (Reuters)

Trump cancels visit to North Korean border

President Donald Trump will not be visiting the border between North and South Korea during his tour of Asia next week despite tradition. Trump begins his 12-day trip on Sunday and a senior US administration official said Trump would be too busy for a trip to the demilitarized zone (DMZ).

This change of plans will be breaking an American presidential tradition intended to demonstrate Washington’s commitment to South Korea allies by standing on the border between the two countries. With the exception of George W. Bush, this has been a tradition since Ronald Reagan went in 1983.

Instead, Trump will be visiting Camp Humphrey, 90 miles south of Seoul to meet with US military personnel and their families. He believes this will still uphold the commitment to the U.S.’ South Korean allies. (The Guardian)

Bin Laden’s diary and video tapes released

The CIA released Osama Bin Laden’s personal diary and tapes. Included were documentaries about himself and videos of his son, Hamza Bin Laden’s wedding. Nearly half a million of the files have been released from his computer, which the government obtained during the 2011 raid in Pakistan when he died.

Before this recent release, only videos of Hamza as a child had been seen. Other senior al-Qaeda members are shown in the footage, according to analysts from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) who are studying the newly released files.The footage confirmed Bin Laden was still in charge of al-Qaeda until his death.

Also among the files released were a collection of animated films including “Antz,” “Cars,” “Chicken Little” and “The Three Musketeers.”  Several Youtube clips and computer games also were discovered. (BBC)



Kevin Spacey accused of sexual misconduct

Kevin Spacey has been accused by Broadway veteran Anthony Rapp and Mexican actor Roberto Cavazos of inappropriate sexual behavior.

Rapp’s allegations were first made public on Buzzfeed News and stated Spacey laid on top of him while the two were alone in a bedroom when he was 14 years old. Spacey responded to the allegations by saying he did not remember the encounter but was “horrified” and sorry.

“House of Cards,” the Netflix series starring Spacey, has announced that it would be suspending production of the series’ sixth season as it investigated these accusations.

Spacey said he is seeking treatment to address the consequences of these allegations. (NBC)



 Google’s Josh Ellis holds talks innovation in Lincoln

        Josh Ellis, customer engineer for Google Cloud Platform, will be talking on Nov. 6 at Fuse Coworking Space, 151 N. Eighth St., from 5 to 7 p.m. on the fifth floor.

        His talk, “Innovation for Tomorrow – But where do You Start Today,” will be followed by a collaborative discussion on how artificial intelligence, machine learning and public cloud platforms are transforming and enabling business. This event will be free and open to the public. (UNL Events)

Free Skate Night for UNL Students

UNL Campus Recreation is hosting two free Skate Nights, Nov. 10 and Dec. 8, from 8 to 11 p.m. for all university students.

Both skate nights will be held at the John Breslow Ice Hockey Center. UNL students will be able to present their N-cards for free admission. It is $6 for the general public. Skates will also be available to rent for $3 a pair. (UNL Events)

Curation by Sarah Berger, Jordyn Dixon and Sarah Troyer

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