National News Recap for the Week of May 20, 2013


130520195628-01-oklahoma-city-tornado-0520-horizontal-galleryThe week began with a great deal of destruction, and sadness on Monday, as a powerful storm system moved through America’s Heartland. The most severe part of the storm struck Oklahoma City, and its surrounding communities.

At around 3PM CST, a powerful tornado began forming near Newcastle, OK. The tornado rapidly gained strength and size, as it continued moving in an easterly direction. By the time that the tornado made its way through Moore, OK; a suburb of Oklahoma City with a population of 50,000, it had become an EF5 tornado.

An EF5 tornado is the strongest category of tornadoes on the Fujita scale, with sustained winds of 260mph or greater. According to meteorologists, this particular tornado released energy that was 8 to 600 times greater than the energy released in the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.

The tornado completely leveled the town of Moore, leaving thousands of people homeless. The tornado also caused a total of 24 deaths, including 9 children at Plaza Towers Elementary School.

Preliminary reports by federal officials estimate that the cost of damage caused by the tornado will exceed $2 billion.

The cleanup process has begun in the town of Moore. Locals plan to rebuild their homes, their lives, and the physical and mental backbone of the town.


JAMES_ROSENOn Monday, the Washington Post reported that the Department of Justice (DOJ) secretly seized the phone records of three Fox News employees, including the infamous James Rosen. The DOJ also obtained the phone records of Rosen’s parents as well.

A court approved search warrant was also issued, which allowed the DOJ to search Rosen’s personal emails. According to the affidavit obtained by Fox News, Rosen was listed as a potential “criminal co-conspirator”, citing the wartime Espionage Act as the legal doctrine for the potential charge.

The documents filled in 2011 also displayed exchanges that match the specific location of Fox News’ White House, State Department, Pentagon, and other operations.

The search and seizure of Rosen’s emails and phone records came after a published story in 2009, regarding North Korea’s planned actions to respond to U.N. sanctions.The information was leaked by a federally investigated government official to Rosen.

Fox News announced that it will stand behind Rosen. In a written letter to Fox employees, Fox News President Roger Alias stated that “The recent news about the FBI’s seizure of the phone and email records of Fox News employees, including James Rosen, calls into question whether the federal government is meeting its constitutional obligation to preserve and protect a free press in the United States”; and that “We (Fox News) will not allow a climate of press intimidation, unseen since the McCarthy era, to frighten any of us away from the truth.”

More information regarding the DOJ’s secret searching of Fox News is continuing to surface. On Thursday, it was revealed that Attorney General Eric Holder personally signed off on the search warrant for Rosen’s emails.

The White House, and the DOJ are expected to be further questioned on the matter in the weeks ahead.


abc_arias_jury_hung_130523_wgAfter months of testimony, cross-examinations, and deliberations, the jury in the Jodi Arias case failed to render a decision in the penalty stage of the trial.

The judge sent the jury back to re-deliberate after the jury stated to the court that it could not make a decision as to whether Arias should receive the death penalty, or life imprisonment. Just hours after the new round of deliberations, the jury yet again failed to render a decision.

The judge has ordered the state to select a new jury, to rule on the penalty stage of the trial. The court case is expected to resume in mid-July.

Due to Arizona law however, the prosecution could drop the death penalty charge, and strike a deal with Arias to receive life imprisonment with no chance of parole. This decision must be made by late-June, when the judge will ask the prosecution how they would like to proceed.



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