Straight from the Headlines (2013 Edition)


News & Politics

Symp Tax Introduced to Congress

Washington (RFN) – Congressman Dave Dingleberry of Washington, D.C. introduced a bill to Congress April 1 that would allow taxpayers who favor increased revenue for the Federal Government to withhold additional income tax voluntarily. In a speech delivered on C-SPAN, Dingleberry told viewers that if enacted, the Spend Your Money Publicly (SYMP) Act would add up to $84 million in additional revenues to the Federal coffers. The Congressman stated, “It’s time to give Americans the chance to give back to their country. It’s time for those who want to pay higher taxes to show their support through a symp tax.”

Poll Finds ‘The Onion’ Losing its Sense of Humor

New York (RFN) – A public opinion poll conducted in March by The Onion and Al Jazeera found that a majority of The Onion’s readers believed that the amount of humorous content in the satirical new source’s articles has declined substantially since 2008. Results from the poll of 1,000 respondents showed that more than half thought it was “less humorous” while another quarter thought it was “not funny at all.” A spokesperson for The Onion stated, “I’m sorry, but we just don’t think this president is as funny as the last one. Beside, half of our writers went to work for the Administration after the 2008 Election.” The Onion is a subsidiary of Al Jazeera.

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Business

Company Announces Asteroid SlingShot

Spaceport America, New Mexico (RFN) – Private space exploration company Romulan Ventures announced April 1 that it had developed the “Asteroid SlingShot,” a prototype designed to catch and deflect asteroids on a potential collision course with Earth. Made from heat-resistant, elastic materials, the device pulled by two aircraft successfully deflected the flight paths of more than 100 migrating birds in a limited test near Spaceport America, New Mexico. Romulan spokesperson Kirk James told reporters that more tests would be needed to determine whether the Asteroid Slingshot could be scaled up to deflect asteroids bound for Earth. He estimated that the device would cost approximately $1.2 trillion to build and deploy and added, “When it comes to saving the Earth from destruction, it’s worth it.”

Entertainment

Call Center Set Up to Field ‘Star Wars 7’ Inquiries

Los Angeles (RFN) – Sources in Hollywood are reporting that a call center has been established in Bangalore, India to field inquiries from thousands of actors interested in joining the cast of Star Wars Episode 7, the most anticipated film in recent years. With reports that Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford are set to reprise their roles as Luke, Leia, and Han Solo in the epic series, thousands of actors have clambered to join the cast. Sources stated that so many had demanded roles in the new movie that the movie’s studio opted to outsource the high call volume to a call center. An unidentified casting agent close to new Star Wars director J.J. Abrams told RFN that, “The last straw was when Ahmed Best called to ask if he could reprise his role as Jar Jar Binks.” Star Wars Episode 7 sans Jar Jar will be released in theaters everywhere in 2015.

Survivor to Film on Location in North Korea

Los Angeles (RFN) – Producers of the reality show Survivor announced that the show has settled on North Korea as the location for its 15th season after receiving permission to film in the country. During his February 2013 visit to North Korea, former NBA star Dennis Rodman reportedly received personal assurances from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on behalf of the show. Rodman said, “Oh yeah, my buddy Kim loves that show. He even wants to be a contestant.” The North Korean leader declined requests to allow filming at Yoduk prison camp but approved the production at the Ryugyong Hotel in the capital, Pyongyang. The show’s producers did not confirm whether Kim would be a contestant. However, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), North Korea’s official news agency, released a statement confirming that Kim had added “Survivor Winner” to his list of official titles.

Sports

World Baseball Cricket (WBC) Tournament Ends in Turmoil

New Delhi (RFN) – Game one of the World Baseball Cricket (WBC) tournament ended in confusion April 1 when the American baseball team and the Sri Lankan cricket team came to blows in a bench-clearing brawl over scoring issues. The Americans claimed that they led the Sri Lankan team by a score of 2-0 on home runs by Greg Smith and Joe Johnson. The Sri Lankan team countered that they were ahead 220/6 to the Americans’ 200/3. Umpires have not yet sorted out the final score.

ACLU Seeks an End to April Fool’s Day

Los Angeles (RFN) – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), citing possible civil rights violations on April Fool’s Day, set up a hotline to help end the practice of perpetrating practical jokes on unsuspecting fools the first day in April. The ACLU asks those who are potential victims of April Fool’s Day pranks to contact the April Fool’s hotline at their earliest convenience. The ACLU will prepare cases for eligible claims in an effort to combat this offensive practice. If you believe you have wrongly duped by an April Fool’s Day joke or prank and seek redress, contact the ACLU at 968-3665 (YOU-FOOL).

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clip_image001M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, and a short story collection called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. He also wrote and illustrated Alexander the Salamander and Ellie the Elephant, two books in the World Adventurers for Kids Series. His books are available in e-book and print from Amazon.com and other booksellers. Edwards graduated from the University of Washington with a master’s degree in China Studies and a Master of Business Administration. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2013 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

Martin Luther King, Jr.–A Lifetime of Change


A reader, Allison Miller, read my previous pieces on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and contacted me to share an infographic she developed to honor his legacy. It’s a wonderful visual timeline of some key moments in his life and how it changed the United States. This year, I want to honor Dr. King’s legacy by sharing with you her work and insights behind her project. I could not have said it better myself. She wrote:

After all the celebrations that come with the month of December, it’s easy to feel like the rest of winter is empty of special occasions or reasons to celebrate. One important day to commemorate, however, falls in the middle of January and is certainly a cause for thanks and remembrance: Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. People honor and celebrate the life of Dr. King for many reasons, but most importantly, for his role in working to achieve race equality in America. Dr. King had arguably the greatest impact of any single person during the fight for racial equality, and the fact that his life was cut short causes people to wonder what he may have gone on to achieve in his lifetime. History is full of important, memorable figures, but for those individuals who have helped influence equality, it’s especially important to honor their achievements. Most children learn a bit about Dr. King in schools today, but it’s vital to continue that conversation outside of the classroom and in the world, where equality issues are still pressing. The following infographic presents a timeline of the life of Martin Luther King Jr., to honor his legacy and fuel the conversation about his battle for equality.

Thank you, Allison, for sharing your work and reminding us of Dr. King’s legacy and the importance of racial equality not only in the United States but throughout the world.

MLK-small

Special thanks to Allison sharing this infographic. The work is protected under a Creative Commons license and can be reposted with attribution.

More About Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the U.S. Civil Rights Movement

Thinking of Jeddah


I was going to write today about my personal computer woes, but the terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah today dampened my enthusiasm.  Problems I thought were big seem so trivial compared to that.  No matter where your opinion falls on political issues, you probably agree that this incident was very tragic.  I worry for my colleagues there.  Fortunately, they’re all safe.  No Americans were killed, injured, or taken hostage during the attack.  I’m very sorry to hear that some of the local employees were killed and injured.  My heart goes out to all of them.  Jeddah is a very tense place now.  In fact, the entire Kingdom is very tense in the run up to their first nationwide elections to be held between February and April of next year.  The Consulate had been on evacuation status earlier this year, and just when things seem to get back to normal this happens.

I am very glad that I will be heading to Seoul instead of Saudi Arabia.  Granted, I will be about 30 miles from one of the most dangerous places on earth, the Korean DMZ.  Seoul itself is very safe despite the DPRK mortar shells within range of the city.  War is for the most part out of sight, out of mind–until incidents like these attacks occur.  The road between Seoul and Kaesong reopened on December 1st for the first time in over 54 years.  It’s part of a new endeavor by the two Koreas to establish an economic zone in Kaesong and promote economic cooperation.  Perhaps this will lead the two countries to work closer together and decrease tensions in the region.  I remain hopeful.  I hope that what happened in Jeddah today or far worse never happens in Korea.

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