Spotlight Thursday: May 13 - May 19

Spotlight Thursday: May 13 - May 19

This week’s Spotlight Thursdays features updates on the 2016 presidential race, including President Obama’s indirect hits at Trump at a commencement speech. In international news, the article highlights China’s “war games”, and an up and coming environmental threat.

by Kathleen Wang

The 2016 Presidential Race Update: (May 18, 2016) Trump releases list of potential Supreme Court nominees

Just yesterday, on May 18th, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump releases a list of potential new Supreme Court nominees. Among the list are people such as Dianne S. Sykes, a favorite of conservative legal scholars, and Steven M. Colloton of the Eighth Circuit Appeals Court. All 11 candidates on Trump’s list are white, and 8 are men.  

This unusual move comes as Mr. Trump looks to unify the Republican Party behind him, as well as to win over critics who remain skeptical about his candidacy. However, the list so far has seemed to generate more criticism than praise, specifically on the cultural and gender natures of the candidates. Yet, Mr. Trump’s actions are reminding citizens once again that the future of the Supreme Court, as well as of future cases, are at stakes, and this notion might be enough to get voters who would sit out the election that choose Clinton or Trump to vote in November. Who they’ll vote for? That remains to be seen. 


The 2016 Presidential Election: (May 15th, 2016) President Obama’s commencement speech to the Rutgers University’s Class of 2016 indirectly targets Trump and the election. 

Monica Colino – While addressing Rutgers University’s Class of 2016, President Barack Obama gave clear advice to the graduates about what is and isn't acceptable. Offering words of wisdom, President Obama warned against accepting ignorance as a virtue, as well as valuing qualities of reason, logic, and understanding in policymakers. As the Class of 2016 goes out into the world as members of a working society, President Obama desires to instill these same qualities in the graduates, who will be a great influence in electing a new president this fall, as well as to further convey who he believes should be his successor. 


International Relations: (May 18, 2016) China stages large scale “war games” along its East Coast facing Taiwan

In an unexpected twist, China is seen to stage large scale joint war games along its border with Taiwan, complete with mock beach landings, helicopter assaults and tank battles. According to the government, the drills “were not aimed at any specific target and relevant persons.” Yet, these “games” come just days before the inauguration of Taiwan’s new independence-leaning President, arousing suspicion from international forces. For a country as powerful as it is determined to stay in power, it’s clear that China’s war games are much more than just games, but rather an indirect threat to Taiwan’s new president, warning him not to defy the “One-China” policy which has existed between China and Taiwan for decades. It certainly isn’t below China to resort to military force to keep its hegemony: in 1995, China launched similar large scale military “exercises” aimed at intimidated Taiwanese voters and politicians. 


Environment: (May 18, 2016) Scientists have discovered a new ice mass in East Antarctica, the biggest of its kind in the world by far. 

Published in the Nature journal Wednesday, scientists confirmed the existence of the Totten Glacier, an ice mass in East Antarctica that, at 90 by 22 miles, is the biggest ice mass in the world. This discovery will not only provide new material for the Guinness World Records, but, and more importantly, have significant impacts on our deteriorating environment. 

Due to global warming, warmer waters around the glacier could, and ultimately will, result in a rise in sea levels by as much 13 feet. The glacier is already thinning quickly, and its grounding line, where the ice shelf descends and meets the seafloor, has retreated by over three kilometers, just a further indication of the glacier’s fast paced threats. This glacier just contributes to the urgency and necessity for the international community to come together and fight global warming.

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