Culture: Several Injured and Arrested at U.C. Irvine Pro-Palestinian Protest

47 people were arrested by police officers for protesting at the University of California, Irvine, on Wednesday, May 15, 2024. ABC News reports that several hundred pro-Palestinian protesters surrounded the lecture hall, and officers began arresting demonstrators after they refused a dispersal order. According to the “New York Times,” one student was injured and three police officers were hospitalized. Howard Gillman, chancellor of the university, wrote in a letter addressed to the community that what could have been “a manageable situation that did not have to involve police” escalated into a situation “that required a different response” through protestors surrounding the building. The “New York Times” reports that UC Irvine moved all classes on the following day to be taught remotely, and resumed in-person instruction on Friday.


War/Conflict: Slovakian Prime Minister Undergoes Emergency Surgery Following Attempted Assassination

Robert Fico, Prime Minister of Slovakia, was sent into emergency surgery after an assassination attempt on him last Wednesday. According to the “New York Times,” Slovakian news has identified the suspect as a 71-year-old man who was “radicalized” after the recent presidential election. Fico was shot in Banikov Square after he held a government meeting. According to “CNN,” the suspect was a writer and poet who disagreed with the government and the reforms made, pushing police to believe that the attack was politically motivated. The “New York Times” reports that the shooting increased polarization between the political landscape, with some global leaders such as Vladimir V. Putin and Joe Biden “condemning” the act.


Health: F.D.A. Approves Tarlatamab: A Breakthrough in Small-Cell Lung Cancer Treatment

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized a new treatment targeted at small-cell lung cancer patients with a life expectancy of about four to five months on, May 16, 2024. The drug, tarlatamab, claims to be able to triple the life expectancies of its users. According to the “New York Times,” small-cell lung cancer affects approximately 35,000 Americans each year, and most individuals live only eight to 13 months after initial diagnosis, even if they undergo treatment such as chemotherapy and immunotherapy. In an interview with the “New York Times,” Dr. Anish Thomas, an oncologist at the federal National Cancer Institute, stated that the recent approval of tarlatamab indicates a sign of further development in the field. Despite the benefits of tarlatamab, the drug also bears a few harmful side effects. The “New York Times” reports that an intake of tarlatamab could result in cytokine release syndrome, leading to symptoms such as a rapid heartbeat, low blood pressure, and difficulty breathing. According to “CNBC,” the company that developed the tarlatamab, Amgen, will be marketing the drug as Imdelltra.

Natural Disaster: Texas Hit by Severe Storm and Intense Heat Waves

A severe storm swept across Texas on May 16, 2024. The “New York Times” confirmed that at least four were killed in the incident, two of which were due to fallen trees, and that multiple organizations have been physically damaged. The storm carried winds of up to 100 miles per hour, bursting windows, blowing trees over, and disrupting power and service lines. According to the “New York Times,” Houston’s public school district announced the closure of all schools on Friday. Emergency responders also urged residents to remain indoors due to the “impassable” condition of many roads and the widespread disruption of traffic lights throughout the city. Looking ahead, weather forecasters predicted that Texas will suffer from uncharted heat extremes for the rest of the month, according to Axios.


Politics: Biden Administration Proposes Marijuana Reclassification

The Biden administration proposed elevating marijuana from a Schedule III to a Schedule I drug on May 16, 2024, signifying a shift in federal perspective on its medicinal value and potential for abuse. The “New York Times” classifies Schedule III drugs to be all medications that pose a mild to moderate risk of abuse, such as Tylenol, testosterone, and anabolic steroids. However, Schedule I drugs lack any currently acknowledged medical utility while also presenting a substantial risk for abuse. Current Schedule I drugs include magic mushrooms, heroin, and ecstasy. The Schedule categories are controlled substance classifications and dictate production quotas, accessibility, research opportunities, and legal disciplinary responses. “CBS News” reports that the proposal will take 60 days to be observed, at the end of which officials will make a final decision before legislation is published. According to the “New York Times,” Biden applauded the proposal, stating that “far too many lives have been upended because of a failed approach to marijuana,” and that “[he’s] committed to righting those wrongs.”