Returning with the news

Ximena Bejarano, Staff Writer

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. For many of us, 2016 has been a year like no other. From Leonardo DiCaprio winning his first Oscar to controversial political changes transpiring within our nation, it has certainly been a year to remember and, at the same time, permanently erase from our collective memories. As we head into 2017 with better hopes for what is to come, this week’s edition of “Keeping it Current” looks back on the headline-making news you may have missed over the break.

Terrorism rises in Berlin (12/19)

On Monday night, a terrorist attack at a busy Christmas market in Berlin, Germany, left 12 dead and more than 48 injured. While crowds of shoppers searched for last minute gifts, a speeding tractor-truck deliberately crashed into the marketplace. Reports confirmed that the culprit had fatally shot the original driver and took control of the vehicle so he could carry out his plans.

ISIS has taken responsibility for the attack. Amis Amri, a 24-year-old Tunisian man who had previously sworn allegiance to the active terrorist group, has also been identified as the perpetrator. A brief manhunt ended when policemen shot Amri. The criminal, declared the most wanted man in Europe at the time, had been in Milan, Italy, when he was killed.

Pop superstar George Michael dies at 53 (12/25)

The music world received a harsh awakening Christmas Day with announcements regarding the sudden death of English singer-songwriter George Michael. Widely known for his vocal abilities and past musical success altogether, Michael’s death impacted those who grew up hearing his seemingly nostalgic tunes successfully capturing the essence of the ‘80s. Whilst the cause of his heart failure remains undisclosed to the general public, family members have reassured the media that the “Last Christmas” and “Careless Whisper” singer quietly passed away in the comfort of his own home in Oxfordshire, England.

Hollywood icons Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds pass away (12/27 and 12/28)

Days after falling into cardiac arrest on a United Airlines flight, Hollywood star Carrie Fisher passed away at the age of 60. Fisher had been on the way to visit her mother, Debbie Reynolds, for the holidays when she unexpectedly went into cardiac arrest approximately 15 minutes before arriving in Los Angeles. Fisher was given CPR during the remainder of the flight before being rushed to the UCLA Medical Center upon the airplane’s landing. She was temporarily placed on a ventilator until her death Tuesday morning.

Less than 24 hours after her daughter’s death, Reynolds passed away at the age of 84 after experiencing a stroke in her son’s home. The two had reportedly been planning Fisher’s funeral when Reynolds required medical attention. Reynolds was immediately taken to the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she died several hours later.

Both Fisher and Reynolds are remembered for their remarkable talents and contributions to the Hollywood industry. While Reynolds is renowned for her exceptional acting in “Singin’ in the Rain” and other classic films, Fisher has not only left her legacy as Princess Leia from “Star Wars” but also as a distinguished author and advocate of mental health.

Nineteen states raise minimum wage (12/30)

After years of protests demanding higher pay, 19 states are set to raise minimum wage starting in 2017. The states planning to directly implement this change include Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, South Dakota, Vermont, and Washington.

The increment in minimum wage will vary from state to state. While the minimum wage in Arizona is set to increase by nearly two dollars, for instance, the minimum wage in Montana is expected to rise by a mere 10 cents. Regardless of the differences, members of the Democratic Party and other individuals who have previously served as advocates for higher pay consider the increased minimum wage to be a positive change, especially for those who depend on every lone penny they earn to support their families. Statistics reveal that more than four million workers in the United States will significantly benefit from the change.

Attackers open fire at Istanbul nightclub (1/1)

While New Year’s Day typically provides a valuable opportunity to spend quality time with family, friends, and loved ones, a man in Turkey took a different approach to the widely-celebrated holiday. Reina, an elite, high-end nightclub and tourist hotspot in Istanbul, was the target of a massive shooting on Sunday night. Before entering the nightclub, the armed man, dressed as Santa Claus, did not hesitate to shoot a bystander and policeman guarding its doors. He proceeded to shoot more than 180 bullets in the lively crowd dancing inside the nightclub, leaving 39 dead and at least 70 injured. Press reports reveal that 11 Turks and 27 foreigners were killed during the massacre.

The shooter has been successfully identified by Turkish authorities, although authorities did not immediately release his name. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack.