Turkish newspaper protests government control
In the past week, Turkey’s courts ruled that the country’s largest newspaper, called Zaman, would be run by government-selected administrators. This occurred suddenly and without any clear explanation. The paper denounced the decision, resisting takeover until the last minute. On Saturday, they published their last edition just as police began raiding their headquarters. Following the decision some 500 people also crowded around the Zaman building chanting, “Free press cannot be silenced!” After a short time, law enforcement arrived and began firing tear gas on the crowds. The Turkish government has been criticized for some time by the international community for its attitudes towards journalism and for its handling of journalists both from and visiting Turkey. Among 180 countries, Turkey ranks 149th according to the Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index. There are more than 30 journalists currently imprisoned in Turkey.
Harvard Law School to change crest amidst concerns over legacy of slavery
The current crest of Harvard Law School is from the Royall family, which funded the first lessons at the law school back in the eighteenth century. It features a blue backdrop overlaid with three tied wheat stocks. Following student-run protests and sit-ins addressing the crest’s undertones of slave labor and the fact that the Royall family was indeed slave owners, the school committee has agreed to change the official seal. While names of slaveowners appear in many an academic setting in the United States, the school’s committee strongly urged an approval for the seal’s removal upon realization that Isaac Royall had also been a murderous slaveowner of “extreme cruelty.” The committee has stated that they will cease use of the word “master” in any academic titling and that the seal isn’t representative of the law schools morals and will thus be replaced. “We believe that if the law school is to have an official symbol, it must more closely represent the values of the law school, which the current shield does not.”
Missing Hong Kong booksellers reappear after five month disappearance
One of five missing booksellers from Hong Kong has returned to his home after nearly five months missing. This man, Lui Bo, was the general manager for the publisher Mighty Current. This publishing house was known to publish books that are at times critical of past and current Chinese Chairmen and leaders. Causeway Bay Books, which is the shop owned by the Mighty Current, closed up quickly after the disappearances. Liu Bo and the four other men who went missing after him all resurfaced in the custody of police on Sunday. They were shown on TV to announce that they were being held for “illegal book trading.” Mr. Liu went on to tell Hong Kong police that he did not need help from them or the city’s government. The UK in particular is taking note of these men’s disappearances because one man, a Mr. Lee was abducted from the city of Hong Kong and holds a British Passport. The UK believes that this means Mr. Lee was “involuntarily removed” which constitutes a major violation of the Hong Kong handover treaty. The other men can be expected to return to their homes soon.
As U.S. jobs increase, exports continue to drop
This past month, the United States economy added 242,000 new jobs to the economy. This is dramatically more than the 190,000 predicted. Despite these additions, however, the unemployment rate is unchanged from January’s measure of 4.9 percent. Also, the annual growth of average per-hour salary decreased from 2.5 percent to 2.2 percent. In the face of potential inflation, this improved job market and growth could lead the Fed to raise rates again, following its first raise in almost ten years this past December. While it is good news that the eight year low in unemployment has been maintained, there has also been a drop in U.S. exports of goods and services to the lowest point in five years.