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Dec 02 2016
by Karly Matthews

What Happened This Week in Politics: Fidel Castro, Trump's Twitter and Sanctuary Campus Controversy

By Karly Matthews - Dec 02 2016
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This week, Cuban-Americans celebrated in the streets of Miami with the news of former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro's death while more controversy erupted across the country regarding Sanctuary Cities and Sanctuary Campuses. Protests continue at Standing Rock against the Dakota Access Pipeline, and president-elect sent an extremely controversial tweet.

1. Fidel Castro died at 90, and Cuban-Americans celebrated.

Early Saturday morning, Cuban president Raul Castro announced his brother's death. Cuban-Americans in Florida and other parts of the United States celebrated the dictator's death, citing the horrors of his oppressive regime. The Prime Minister of Canada and Dr. Jill Stein praised the former president, and since his death, Castro has been a topic of discussion and argument in the United States. Fresh U caught up with Cuban-American students for their reactions to Castro's death.

2. President-Elect Trump tweets that flag-burning deserves "punishment."

Early Tuesday morning, president-elect Trump tweeted a criticism of flag-burning, suggesting that there should be some kind of "punishment" like "jail time." This idea goes against Supreme Court decision Texas v. Johnson, which gives citizens the First Amendment right to protest the country by burning a flag. Fresh U interviewed students across the country to get reactions regarding Trump's words.

3. Texas passed a new law regarding the treatment of fetal remains from abortions.

Going into effect on December 19, all aborted fetuses in Texas must be buried or cremated instead of being disposed as medical waste. Through edits since the bill was proposed in July, the passed law does not include miscarriages that occur in the home. Pro-choice activists argue that the law attempts to "shame" women who obtain abortions while advocates of the bill say that it "respects for the sanctity of life."

4. Jill Stein continues to head-up recount efforts in swing states.

With over $6 million raised, Jill Stein continues to push for recounts in swing states. Stein wants to conduct recounts in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, for all of which she has now applied. Politico explains that Stein believes election processes in these states were "tainted" and that Americans "deserve a voting system we can trust." 

5. Protests at Standing Rock escalate and demand results.

Veterans have rallied to support the Standing Rock Sioux and have formed a "human shield" for the protesters that remain despite orders to be evacuated. According to USA Today, veterans want to give protesters a break and show the violent treatment they have received from law enforcement during their protests.

6. Trump makes more appointments to fill his cabinet's vacancies.

In the past week, Trump named people to multiple positions in his cabinet including former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao as Transportation Secretary, former-Marine General James "Mad Dog" Mattis as Defense Secretary and Steve Mnuchin as Treasury Secretary. Mattis is Trump's pick for the position, but he may or may not be confirmed because he has not been retired from the military long enough to serve.

7. Nancy Pelosi retains Democratic leadership in Congress.

Veteran congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, representing California's San Francisco area, will maintain her status as minority leader in the House of Representatives. On Wednesday, Pelosi defeated Tim Ryan from Ohio in a landslide victory: 134 votes to 63. Pelosi has led the Democratic Party in the House since 2003 and was the first woman to be the Speaker of the House.

8. Ohio State University experiences tragedy on campus.

On Monday morning, OSU students found themselves in a dangerous emergency situation on campus. An attacker used both his car and a butcher knife as a weapon to hurt 11 people, one with critical injuries. Ohio State students returned to class on Tuesday after the attack, and the university is providing counseling to students.

9. Sanctuary Campuses - and lack thereof - make headlines this week.

Schools across the country are either announcing Sanctuary Campus status or refusing to adhere to these new policies that allow undocumented immigrants safety on campus. For instance, University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia will now be a Sanctuary Campus, but some schools in Texas remain in limbo.

10. Trump announces that he will leave business to focus on running the country.

This week, president-elect Trump announced that he will be loosening his ties to his business in order to focus on running the country during his term. He also stated that he wanted to avoid "conflict of interest" between his business procedures and his responsibilities as president. His tweets can be seen below:

With a shaping cabinet, president-elect Trump is continuing his transition period, which Fresh U will continue to follow until his inauguration on January 20. Moreover, there is more to American politics than just the presidency, so stay informed in all different aspects of your government.

Lead Image Credit: Alex Barth via Flickr Creative Commons

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Karly Matthews - Temple University

Karly Matthews is a political science and journalism major with a Spanish minor at Temple University. In high school, she was editor-in-chief of her school's online newspaper, a member of the yearbook staff, a Spanish Club officer and a dancer for 12 years. In her free time, Karly drinks too much coffee and follows politics with an obsessive passion. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @karlymatthews_!

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