News Briefs: March 14


Students across the country walked out of class in the middle of the day Wednesday in protest of gun violence after last month’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The Associated Press reports that students in elementary school through college left class at 10 a.m. in remembrance of the 17 students and faculty members who were killed in the Florida shooting. The demonstration lasted 17 minutes and students carried signs with various messages in support of gun control.

Physicist Stephen Hawking died in Cambridge at the age of 76. BBC reports that people around the world have shared their condolences with the Hawking family. Hawking, who was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a neurological disease that causes the nerves in the muscles to stop working. Hawking became famous for his work regarding black holes and served as the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, a title he shared with Sir Isaac Newton.

Rex Tillerson was fired from his position as United States Secretary of State, effective March 31. The New York Times reported March 13 that Tillerson found out he had been fired via Twitter and that will be replaced by current CIA director Mike Pompeo. White House officials are reporting that the shift was intended to strengthen U.S. foreign policy before the planned talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Director Pompeo will be replaced by Gina Haspel, CIA deputy director.

The White House blocked the Broadcom acquisition of Qualcomm for national security purposes. According to CNBC, the U.S. Treasury’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States took issue with the deal because of Broadcom’s reputation for cutting research and development. The White House wrote in a recent letter that budget cuts to such programs would be a treat to the country’s ability to compete in the semiconductor industry. After the Trump administration’s action, shares of Qualcomm have dropped roughly five percent while Broadcom shares have climbed about one percent.

Texas officials said they believe recent package bombings are linked attacks. According to an ABC News report, a series of three package bombings have rocked a local Austin neighborhood killing one and, on Monday, injuring two black residents. The first bombing on March 2 took the life a 39-year-old black man. Austin police have warned residents against opening any unexpected packages and asked them to call authorities immediately if should one arrive. The FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Austin Police Department are and investigating the attacks.