Alaskan legislators have revealed the bills they’ll be working to push through in the upcoming legislative session, and only a handful address the budget crisis. Some of the proposed measures include banning genetically modified fish and allowing “ballot selfies” to be posted on social media. Only a few of these are likely to be passed. George Rauscher, a Republican from Mat-Su, wants to amend the state constitution to place a $4 billion cap on the state operating budget. Senator Click Bishop, a Republican from Fairbanks, wants to institute a graduate “employment tax” that increases with income. The proceeds would go towards education. Some say that this is basically an income tax. Other proposals include increasing the state’s deficit to give Alaskans a second 2016 PFD, mandating that workers get at least six days of paid leave a year and getting Gov. Bill Walker to create a system for tracking sexual assault examination kits.
On Friday, criticisms made by civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) of President-elect Donald Trump led to a spontaneous feud between the two. Lewis appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Friday, saying that he did not regard Trump as a “legitimate president” because of allegations that Russian cyber-operatives interfered in the election on Trump’s behalf. Trump responded in the early hours of Saturday morning on Twitter, writing “Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (Not to mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results. All talk, talk, talk — no action or results. Sad!” Trump followed up with more tweets later that day, saying Lewis should “finally focus on the burning and crime infested inner cities of the U.S. I can use all the help I can get!” Many commentators saw Trump’s statements as tinged with racial undertones and disrespectful, particularly going into the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. The conflict has served to remind others of Trump’s often strained relations with African Americans and other minorities.
In Myanmar, chaos and bloodshed has errupted. The Bhuddist government of Myanmar has been persecuting the Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic group residing in the country’s Rakhine State, since at least the 1970s. The government says that the Rohingya are not a genuine ethnic group, but a Bengali migrant group leftover from colonial times. Motivated by this discrimination, militant groups have formed among the Rohingya. The conflict finally exploded late last year, when the military of Myanmar began entering Rohingya villages, shooting people at random, systematically raping girls and women, and razing villages to the ground. So far the government has denied any wrongdoing, but international rights groups have accused it of genocide. The situation has led many observers to refer to the Rohingya as “the most persecuted people in the world”.