Friday Spotlight – May 5, 2017

Each Friday, Torchlight Media will publish a summary of the major news that happened for that week: the announcements and events, the twists and turns of ongoing stories, and all of the other highlights in between. Our goal is to give you a big-picture look at the week’s news so that even if you can’t follow everything yourself, you can have a general sense of where things stand. We hope, too, that seeing the highlights laid out will help you separate the small, pointless stories that crop up over the week from the more impactful, ongoing stories.

Here’s what’s in the spotlight for this week:

  • On Wednesday, three protesters were sentenced to up to 12 months in prison for disruptive conduct during Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearings. Two of the protesters were convicted for parading on capitol grounds. The third, Desiree Fairooz, laughed at a positive comment about Session’s record on civil rights, was asked to leave, and caused the hearings to halt when she asked the officer why she was being removed. Her conviction was for disorderly conduct.
  • On Wednesday, the House passed a spending bill funding the government through September. The Senate passed it on Thursday. The bill contained neither significant spending cuts nor funding for President Trump’s proposed border wall. President Trump still needs to sign the bill to prevent a government shutdown.
  • On Wednesday, the head of the Norwegian Refugee Council, Jan Egeland, stated that Yemen was facing a catastrophic famine brought about by its two-year-old civil war. The conflict has received little attention because journalists and humanitarian groups have not been able to enter the country. Egeland urged several nations, including the United States, to step in, put a stop to the conflict, and prevent mass starvation.
  • On Thursday, the House passed the American Healthcare Act, marking the second attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act since President Trump took office and the first time such an attempt has passed the House. The bill passed narrowly and after much legislative back-and-forth during the week. It significantly reduces protections for people with pre-existing conditions, cuts subsidies for low-income Americans, and rolls back funding for Medicaid. The bill was pushed forward rapidly, and did not have its likely financial impact scored by the Congressional Budget Office. A vote in the Senate has not yet been scheduled; several Republican Senators have already voiced concern with the bill, and changes in the Senate could require another vote by the House. Torchlight founder Josh Kyu Saiewitz has an overview of the bill and Adam Lavigne offers an editorial perspective.
  • On Friday local time, a poll was released showing that Emmanuel Macron had increased his lead over Marine Le Pen in the French Presidential race. The poll followed a heated debate on Wednesday. The Presidential election is on Sunday, May 7, to be followed by Parliamentary elections in June.