March News Update


Olivia Giangeruso

Bipartisan Bill That Could Ban TikTok 

This week, a new bipartisan bill was introduced by 12 senators. The bill, named the Restrict Act, aims to ban technology coming from US adversaries: China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, Cuba and Venezuela. If voted into law by Congress and approved by President Biden, apps like TikTok (which is owned by a Chinese technology company), could potentially be banned due to national security risks posed by these data collecting apps. Federal officials say that the United States does not currently have a “holistic, interagency, whole-of-government approach” for dealing with foreign applications, and this act could solve this issue by having federal agencies look into potential threats coming from these technologies. This bill is still in the beginning stages of becoming a law, and has to pass the House of Representatives, the Senate, and be signed by President Biden. 

Americans Killed and Kidnapped in Mexico 

United States and Mexican officials are currently investigating the kidnapping of four Americans in the Mexican city Matamoros. After the group of four from North Carolina were initially reported missing and security cameras captured footage of the group being pushed into a truck at gunpoint, they were found in a house in Mexico. Two individuals were found deceased, while the other two survivors are now being treated at hospitals and are back on US soil. Federal officials say that the four friends traveled to Mexico for one of them to undergo a medical procedure, and got lost as they were driving to a medical clinic. It is believed that the group was mistaken for Haitian drug smugglers by the Mexican Cartel. This comes after the State Department issued warnings in October for dozens of regions in Mexico that Americans should not travel to, reconsider traveling to, or have increased caution when traveling over the border. 

Norfolk Southern Train Derailment 

Norfolk Southern, a transportation company, has had three of its trains carrying cargo and other materials derail and cause damage in various locations over the last month. The first derailment took place on February 3rd in East Palestine, Ohio. The train was carrying flammable, hazardous materials, and caused concern due to the materials that were now polluting the water, air, and soil. Residents in East Palestine and in surrounding areas were evacuated as officials tested the water and air quality as well as the threat of an explosion. Once officials deemed it was safe for residents to return, many started complaining of odors in the air and feeling different symptoms of chemical exposure. Residents have been outspoken in their outrage for the lack of answers from Norfolk Southern and the safety precautions that could have prevented this kind of disaster. In the following weeks, two more Norfolk Southern trails have derailed, causing the company to issue a ban on trains over 10,000 feet. During the beginning of March, Norfolk Southern officials will be on Capitol Hill to face questioning from senators about the failures that have led to these disasters and how these problems will be fixed. 

Lori Lightfoot Loses her Reelection for Chicago Mayor 

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot lost her reelection on February 28th. Lightfoot, the first black woman and openly gay person to be elected Chicago mayor, was seeking a second term as the leader of the nation’s 3rd largest city. No sitting Chicago mayor has lost reelection since 1989, as Lightfoot ended the race capturing 17% of the vote and ending in third place. Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson ended the race in first and second place, with neither of them securing 50% of the vote, triggering a runoff race on April 4th. Lightfoot’s loss comes after strong criticism for the crime spike that has occurred while she’s been in office.