Briefly Speaking — week of 1/16

Divya Jagadeesh, News/feature editor

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An avalanche in central Italy buried a ski resort and has left nearly 30 people missing. The avalanche is believed to be the result of four earthquakes that hit the region Wednesday. Rescue workers are still looking for the missing. Three bodies were recovered along with two survivors, and the workers have said there is “no sign of life” in the hotel building; children are reported to be among the missing.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s annual State of the Climate report says that 2016 was the hottest year since scientists began tracking climate in 1880. For the past three years, the planet has reached record-breaking temperatures, and the news comes during Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s Senate hearings for head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Pruitt has routinely defended fossil fuels and challenged the EPA for their greenhouse gas regulations.


On Tuesday former President Barack Obama commuted the sentence of former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, who was convicted of leaking classified and sensitive military and diplomatic documents. Obama also pardoned retired Marine general James Cartwright after he pleaded guilty for lying to FBI agents about a classified information leak regarding cyberattacks on Iran’s nuclear program. Manning had already served seven years out of her 35-year sentence, which was the longest sentence given in the United States for a leak conviction.

President Donald Trump’s administration will not have important administrative posts filled by Inauguration Day. His team announced late Thursday that 50 State Department and national security officials that were part of the Obama administration will keep their jobs temporarily until nominees for the jobs are confirmed. According to the Partnership for Public Service, who has been tracking the incoming administration’s transition, Trump has named only 29 of his 660 executive department appointments.


Allen ISD’s newest elementary school was officially named Dr. Jenny Preston Elementary on Jan. 9 after former Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Jenny Preston. Preston was the Superintendent at Allen from 2000 to 2006, and she served as the interim Superintendent after Dr. Lance Hindt left the post last year.

The Fine Arts Department’s “Once Upon A Mattress” will be presented Jan. 26-28 at the Performing Arts Center. Showings are at 7 p.m. each night, and there will be another performance at 2 p.m. on Jan. 28. Tickets are available online at for $7, $12 and $17, or at the door for $10, $15 and $20.

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