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Hurricane Matthew, Killer Clowns, and Going to Mars: The Week in Review

Hurricane Matthew proves catastrophic, killer clowns are spotted across the nation, and Trump epitomizes rape culture. No wonder Obama wants to take us all to Mars.

We get it, Wednesdays can be tough to get through. In an effort to keep up with the world’s ever-changing news landscape, we’ve put together the top 10 headlines from the week so you can stay on top of things.

1. Hurricane Matthew kills over 1,000 and leaves a path of destruction in its wake


Hurricane Matthew formed near the Windward Islands in late September, and it’s moved destructively from the Caribbean to the Southeast U.S. over the past two weeks. Hurricane Matthew hit Florida, Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

The massive flooding has left more than 2,000 people stranded in North Carolina. More than 1,000 people died in Haiti, and at least 38 people in the US have died. The storm is estimated to have caused between US $4-6 billion in damages, making it the costliest Atlantic hurricane since Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

2. Obama plans to send humans to Mars by 2030


Does Elon Musk have a possible frenemy?

President Barack Obama has said that the U.S. will be “sending humans to Mars by the 2030s and returning them safely to Earth, with the ultimate ambition to one day remain there for an extended time.” in an op-ed for CNN.

He also fondly recaps NASA’s recent achievements such as the discovery of flowing water on Mars, ice on Jupiter, and being traveling by every planet in the solar system while simultaneously driving down cost of space exploration. He reiterated that the U.S. is working in earnest with commercial partners on new habitat modules; these would be vital in helping astronauts safely travel to, and be sustained during, long-term missions.

What’s the starting point of this pitch? The Frontiers Conference, hosted in Pittsburgh by Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh (and co-sponsored by the White House), will bring some of the best minds to discuss this interplanetary pitch.

Looks like Mars might be on its way to becoming a reality sooner than you think.

3.  Donald Trump epitomizes rape culture in a leaked video with Billy Bush


A video from 2005 of Donald Trump talking about kissing, groping, and having sex with women was leaked, presumably as a part of October Surprise. The video shows Trump in conversation with Billy Bush, who was then the host of Access Hollywood, “When you’re famous they let you do it. You can do anything, grab them by the “p**sy. You can do anything.”

The Donald has a response for everything: “This was locker-room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago. Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course — not even close,” Trump said in a statement. “I apologize if anyone was offended.”

Although that might be a sound-enough apology for his die-hard supporters, most Republicans have sharply criticized him, and Trump tweeted back fiercely, calling the Democrats more loyal than Republicans, and stating “the shackles have been taken off me and I can now fight for America the way I want to.”

4. Samsung will permanently stop production of Galaxy Note 7


After weeks of reports, complaints and incidents involving “exploding” phones setting themselves on fire, Samsung has finally decided to discontinue the Galaxy Note 7. Fireproof boxes and special gloves were sent to Galaxy Note 7 to return the obsolete device in.

Replacement phones were sent out last week; an alleged replacement Note 7 began emitting smoke on a US plane a few days after. The Southwest Airlines flight to Baltimore was evacuated after smoke was spotted while the plane was at the boarding gate.

To add insult to the injury, Apple’s stock has skyrocketed to a new 2016 high at $116 per share, while Samsung’s shares fell by 1.5% during the same day.

5. Clown sightings are linked to terror, murder, and attacks


Dozens of pranksters in clown outfits have been roaming the streets, some wielding knives to spread terror. More than 20 incidents have been reported in the past week itself. However, the one linked to murder has been in Pennsylvania, where a 16-year old boy was fatally stabbed after a confrontation involving someone in a clown mask. A 28-year old was also stabbed in Blackburn, England, by a killer clown, who sliced his right hand “down to the bone” with a ten inch blade.

6. Shailene Woodley gets arrested at a publicized Dakota Pipeline protest


Native Americans, environmentalists, and Shailene Woodley have been protesting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a project that would carry hundreds of thousands of barrels of crude oil a day from North Dakota to Illinois. Protesters argue that it would cut through the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s ancestral lands and run through the tribe’s only water source.

Over the weekend, an appeals court rejected the tribe’s request to block the pipeline’s construction.

Shailene Woodley Facebook was live-streaming the peaceful protest on Facebook. The 24-year-old actor said in the video that she was being arrested and showed herself being stopped by police on Monday.

7. Yahoo gave access of all users’ emails to US government

Source: Reuters
Source: Reuters

Last year Yahoo custom-built a software program to search all of its customers’ incoming emails for queries by U.S. intelligence officials, according to a Reuters report.

The company complied with a classified U.S. government demand, scanning hundreds of millions of Yahoo Mail accounts at the behest of the National Security Agency or FBI. Yahoo Chief Executive Marissa Mayer’s decision to obey the directive roiled some senior executives and led to the June 2015 departure of Chief Information Security Officer Alex Stamos, who now holds the top security job at Facebook Inc., according to two former employees.

The surveillance program has already been condemned by lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union and members of Congress, who have called the government order received by Yahoo unconstitutional.

Documents revealed by Snowden through The Guardian proved that Yahoo provided access to the content of users’ emails and other data through the NSA’s PRISM program, beginning in 2008. Yahoo who has been seriously struggling with cybersecurity – last month data from at least 500 million users was stolen by a hacker.

8. Facebook releases Workplace, a new platform for businesses


Facebook just made its new platform for businesses available to the public. The product, called Workplace, looks very much like the consumer version of Facebook, with a news feed and a chat app, but there’s a fee to use it.

This could possible give Slack a run for money. The Workplace adds a unique feature of a dashboard with analytics and integrations with single sign-on, in addition to identity providers that allow companies to more easily integrate Workplace with their existing IT systems. It also has a News Feed, Groups creation, sharing and, Facebook Live, Reactions, and Search and Trending posts. So basically a platform that meshes Facebook and work.

9. Google reveals its new phone, “Pixel”


Facebook isn’t the only one treading foreign waters. Google just announced its new phone, called “Pixel“. The 5-inch Pixel and 5.5-inch Pixel XL are officially called “Pixel, a phone by Google”

Unlike Google’s previous Nexus phones, this one might just be end up competing for a top-notch spot with the current dominating giants, Apple and Samsung. The phones will be the only ones to include Google Assistant, a new beefed-up version of Google’s a.k.a. Google’s rival to Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa. It’ll also store all photos and video in original resolution for the life of the phone, and use cloud storage for unlimited space. The phone will also have a 12.3MP camera and Virtual Reality (VR) features.

The phone is directly competing with the iPhone and Galaxy S7 price range with a starting price of $649 in the US. A bunch of great features and sleek minimalist marketing aside, the one thing Pixel does not come with is a pair of earphones (although they do have an earphone jack).

10. James Charles is crowned the first male Covergirl


Meet James Charles, the first ever male Covergirl. He’s a 17-year old New York-based makeup artist and YouTuber. He’s going to start out as the face/lashes of the brand’s latest mascara launch “So Lashy!,” and will be fully integrated into the ads and commercials. With over 532,000 Instagram followers, Charles initially started social media blogging with Instagram last year, and went viral with a fierce yearbook shoot.

“All of our COVERGIRLs are role models and boundary-breakers, fearlessly expressing themselves, standing up for what they believe, and redefining what it means to be beautiful. James Charles is no exception,” the beauty brand said in a release. “One year ago, he boldly chose to launch his Instagram to the world, using transformative, dynamic makeup looks to showcase the many facets of his personality, serving as an inspiration to women, men, guys and girls who might have been afraid to do the same.”


Until next week: