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Zika causing more problems

Recent scientific studies have found that the Zika virus, which has been gaining a lot of media attention this past year, is worse than previously anticipated. The current outbreak can be traced back to early 2015 to the northeastern region of Brazil.

It has gone from a few seemingly isolated incidents to a rash of infections across 23 different countries, including the United States, in a matter of months. The geographic range of the cases and the worrisome side effects of the virus caused World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan to declare a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on February 1, 2016.

For most healthy adults, the Zika virus is a relatively mild infection, causing symptoms such as a fever, rash, conjunctivitis (pink eye) and joint pain, which usually last about a week before clearing up, if they even appear in the first place.

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Game of Thrones reveals violence in the world

Ever since it aired in 2011, Game of Thrones, a television show based off of books by George R.R. Martin, has completely taken over the world. It’s hard to find someone who hasn’t heard of it or has managed to stay away from all of the show’s spoilers. However, recently Game of Thrones has gotten some heat, not from fire breathing dragons, but from the viewers themselves.

Game of Thrones is known for its vast amount of characters, each one more interesting and complex than the last. But critics have been complaining about the show’s apparent sexist nature, as it depicts an alarming amount of both physical and sexual violence against women. One of the major issues revolves around the way rape and sexual assault aren’t seen as a big deal and are just devices that can move the plot forward.

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North Carolina makes mistake

North Carolina Govenor Pat McCrery signed a controversial bill that restricts transgender bathroom use to the sex on their birth certificate. The law also prevents cities across the state from passing anti-discrimination ordinances in public places based on sexual orientation and identity.

Restaurants, hotels, stores, public schools, government agencies and public college campuses will be affected. The bill was passed by a Republican majority on Wednesday, March 23, with some Senate Democrats leaving and not voting out of protest.

The law was passed as a response to a Charlotte ordinance approved in February which allowed transgender individuals to use the bathroom associated with their gender identity. The ordinance also added protections to LGBTQ+ members in public places.

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Ghost town and squatters

“The streets became like a ghost town when the sun went down,” recalled the Chair of the Women’s Studies Department, Dona Kercher, as she quoted her daughter, Alisha Holland, who studied violence in El Salvador. “The gangs took over and the people even took the porch chairs in and locked the doors.”

Despite this experience, Holland’s passion for Latin American countries continues to flourish as she has conducted research in several areas including Chile, El Salvador and Venezuela to name a few.

On Wednesday, April 6, 2016, students and faculty members gathered in the La Maison Salon to hear Alisha Holland, Ph.D., discuss the housing issues that Latin American cities faced. Sponsored by the Assumption College Latin American Studies Program and the Department of Political Science, this event examined the politics of property law violations concerning squatting, street vending and electricity theft.

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CSL colloquium a success

On Wednesday, March 30, an audience gathered together in Kennedy 112 to hear about the remarkable accomplishments of students concerning community service learning.

Students filed into the lecture hall, greeted by Professor Mike Land and were welcomed with a variety of pastries at the front of the room.

The 7th annual CSL Student Colloquium shed light on the many projects and milestones that students are accomplishing in their disciplines. Every day, students are creating new experiences that Land can never predict.

“It is always interesting to see where the adventure will lead us,” he tells the audience.

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Poetry reading opens students' imaginations

The evening of March 29, at around 7:10 p.m. the small auditorium room in Kennedy 112 was greeted with the presence of poet Henry Walters. This special event was sponsored by the English Department, and hosted by Professor John Hodgen.

Henry Walters was born in 1984 in Chicago, but grew up in Indiana and Michigan. An alumni of Harvard College, where he obtained his degree in Latin and Greek literature, he also studied beekeeping in Sicily and falconry in Ireland. Currently, Walters is a teacher and Writer-in-Residence at the Dublin School in Southern New Hampshire.

Walters began the talk with an unusual metaphor: the soft-spoken, six-foot tall slim man joked as he compared himself to a woodcock. The woodcock is an out-of-the-ordinary bird that pokes its beak into the ground in search for worms. He compared this to his writing process in which he, like the woodcock, will poke and prod at topics, hoping to strike the right cord and create a great poem.

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Terrorist attack in Brussels unites countries against ISIS

On the morning of Tuesday, March 22, the country of Belgium experienced the worst terrorist attack in its history.

Armed with explosives, three men stormed the Brussels airport in Zaventem and detonated the explosives, killing 35 people and injuring over 300.

According to CNN, one man involved in the attack was Salah Abdeslam, who is said to have orchestrated the terrorist attacks in Paris back in November. A Belgium native, Abdeslam was taken into custody on March 15, just a week before the attack in Brussels, for his involvement in the Paris attacks.

Unfortunately, Abdeslam had already set the plan for the Brussels attack in motion by the time Belgian officials got ahold of him.

In the early hours of Tuesday, three men were picked up in Schaarbeek, where the bombs were apparently made. The taxi driver later told investigators that the men had brought so many bags that one of them had to be left behind.

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EgyptAir hijacked for bizarre reason

On Tuesday, March 29, EgyptAir Flight MS181 was hijacked on a flight from Alexandria to Cairo. Airbus 320 was carrying 70 people onboard when it was forced to take a premature landing in Cyprus.

The hijacker was identified to be 58 year-old Seif El Din Mustafa, who claimed to be wearing suicide belt with explosives attached. He has a criminal record that, according to the Interior Ministry of Egypt, includes “forgery, impersonation, burglary and drug dealing.”

However, Mustafa surrendered upon the plane’s landing and revealed that the explosives were fake; the explosives with wires sticking out of them turned out to be mobile phone cases.

His reasoning for hijacking the plane had to do with issues involving his ex-wife, rather than terrorism.

The hijacker was “unstable” according to the director of the Cyprus Ministry of Foreign Affairs Crisis Management Center, Homer Mavrommatis.

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How Castles Work lecture

On the evening of Tuesday, April 5, a sizeable audience gathered in the Kennedy building’s lecture hall to experience Dr. Matthew H. Johnson lay siege to the topic of castles. The lecture was entitled “How Castles Work” and was made possible by Assumption’s Department of Art, Music and Theater in association with the Archaeological Institute of America.

The lecture was part of the HumanArts series at Assumption and represented the five-year anniversary of the partnership between the school and the AIA.

“It [the lecture] is a way to look into the depth and the degree of human life as we look at the archaeological remains above ground but below ground as well,” said Barbara Beall-Fofana, the program coordinator for the AIA as well as a professor of art history at Assumption.

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Construction demolishes scenery on campus

For the past three and a half weeks, if you’ve noticed perimeter fencing in the areas between the Information Technology Building, Fuller Hall and the Switzer Building and were curious as to what is in the works, there is a good reason.

In an email sent to the Assumption community by President Francesco Cesareo on Thursday, March 10, the College’s Board of Trustees has approved the construction of a new 60,000 square foot academic building, which will have a projected completion date in fall 2017. The first phase of this project is currently underway as construction crews are preparing the site for the building’s foundation.

Despite having to battle another snowy day and frigid temperatures, construction crew members and college staff were more than dedicated to hold a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday, April 4.

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