By Erica Lee
In December, Park Geun-Hye, the 11th president of South Korea, was impeached by the national parliament with an overwhelming majority of 234 votes out of 300. About four months remain until the country’s constitutional court decides whether to accept or reject the impeachment notion.
Park’s impeachment was based on a political scandal that revolves around Park and her confidante, Choi Soon-sil, who is charged with abusing her connections with Park to influence political affairs and to force business conglomerates to donate several millions to her personal foundations and businesses.
These revelations outraged the Korean public, perhaps because Choi’s father was the founder of a Shamanistic-Evangelical cult. Many were ashamed and furious that a “phony” was controlling their president and accessing confidential documents. It has also been confirmed that Choi has read and edited Park’s speeches, which explains the president’s use of unusual language in political settings. For example, Park, at a cabinet meeting regarding government-approved history textbooks in 2015, stated that “one’s soul inevitably will become abnormal if one does not properly learn their history,” which people saw as inapt and strange phrasing for the occasion. After Choi’s connections to Park were exposed, many citizens, remembering the occasionally strange phrasings in Park’s speeches, came to link the cause of the Park administration’s incompetence to Choi’s influences.
Further speculations regarding Park and Choi have continued to spring up, such as the one that suspects the cause of Park’s absence and slow response to the sinking of the Sewol ferry in 2014 and resulting deaths of 325 high school students to be the president’s preoccupation with a cult ritual with Choi. Coincidentally or not, the ferry owner Yoo Byung-eun also turned out to be a leader of a different Evangelical cult called “Salvation Sect.”
Why would the president of a nation willingly be influenced by cult leaders? Choi’s father comforted and mentored Park since her early 20s when her mother was assassinated, claiming that her mother spoke to him in a dream to help Park. With her traumatized mental and emotional state and stressful responsibilities as the substitute First Lady, Park likely found the Chois’ support invaluable, which also resulted in profound influence of the Chois during almost 40 years of Park’s life.
The public surely was not very fond of such relations, as protests prior to the impeachment lasted months and etched the largest national protest yet onto South Korean history. With investigations and court sessions still ongoing, the Korean citizens continue to wait for a better government.
Information from this article was taken from: CNN, New York Times, Al Jazeera, NPR, Quartz
By Bryan Guan
Both the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have officially released reports confirming the evidence regarding the Russian hacking of government protected information. Here are the basics of the situation:
What exactly did the Russians do?
The CIA and FBI accuse a Russian Spy Military Agency (and various other Kremlin sponsored groups) of hacking the Democratic Party and providing websites, such as WikiLeaks, confidential information- such as political plans, emails, and other forms of digital information. The investigation for additional information and traces of Russian interference is still ongoing.
What have the Obama Administration and the federal government (USFG) done about it?
The Obama Administration has issued a full investigative report of the hacking. The report has recently been released to the public but has offered little besides confirming already known speculation. Federally, United States-Russian relations have deteriorated significantly. The USFG has currently expelled a total 35 Russian diplomats in the name of national security.
How have the Russians responded?
Allegations against Russia first went out during the election season, which the Kremlin denied and in turn accused the USFG for being “overly aggressive.” The Russian government still denies any responsibility for infiltrating USFG databases.
What else do the Russians have access to?
Government intelligence has also confirmed digital trails of hacking in federal and private sector entities. The full extent of how much the Russians have access to is still uncertain.
How has the political community reacted?
Donald Trump staunchly denies any suspicious dealings with the Russians and Vladimir Putin (who is known to have good relations with President Trump) and has called for the public and investigators to “get on with their lives.” He has repeatedly stated that the Russians “have had absolutely no impact on the results of the election.” The Republican National Convention has denied any interference by the Russians in their digital systems. Democrats, however, protest and have further challenged Donald Trump, solidifying their beliefs that the election was “rigged.”
What is the impact?
The hacking definitely holds certain implications and raises important questions about the authenticity of President Elect Donald Trump’s victory, the deteriorating state of US-Russian relations, and perhaps most importantly, politics in an era of increasing digitalization.
By Joshua Rhee
Denise Pope, a founder of Challenge Success, spoke to the La Cañada community on January 17th at the LCHS auditorium. LCHS has recently partnered with Challenge Success and Stanford University to help students “mature into resilient, caring, and purposeful adults,” which is becoming increasingly difficult in “our current fast-paced, high-pressure culture” (challengesuccess.org).
LCHS teamed up with the Challenge Success program this year, joining the other 120 schools that have already been participating in the program. LCHS hopes to reform the current system in small ways for big impacts. This explains the past few mandatory surveys that asked students about their daily workload and average hours of sleep per night. After careful analysis of the data, the researchers from Stanford have reached a (rather obvious) conclusion: La Cañada High School students are stressed.
The reasons behind students’ stress are multifaceted, however. The common causes for stress range from impossibly high expectations to dealing with many common high school obstal. Challenge Success, however, aims to try and alleviate the negative effects that come with the constant anxiety of failing. The fear of not meeting our expectations, whether it's getting into a specific college or university or having a certain grade point average, stems from the fear of failure. When it comes to extracurriculars and grades, students are overburdened and forced to cut corners. The most common solution to this is focusing more on the grades than actually absorbing information. To Challenge Success, this is an issue that must be addressed, because a school system that forces kids to cut corners on academics ultimately fails as an educational system.
J.K. Rowling summed it up perfectly during her Harvard Commencement Address. “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all - in which case, you fail by default.” Students ultimately benefit in the long run when they are taught to roll with the punches rather than to completely avoid any possibility of failure.
If you'd like to know more, you can visit the Challenge Success website at www.challengesuccess.org.
By Joshua Rhee
Many people, from documentary buffs to sea life enthusiasts to simple Seaworld fans, were surprised when Tilikum, the infamous orca in Orlando, Florida was announced dead on January 6th. Although the 35 year-old orca caused quite a lot of controversy, everyone can agree that his death was a sad one.
In March 2016, Seaworld announced that Tilikum was dying of a lung infection. Nine months later, with fluctuating health patterns, he succumbed to the pneumonic infection. The death of Tilikum marks the end of not just this particular performing whale, but the end of captive killer whale shows in Seaworld altogether.
Tilikum was the center of attention for quite a while after the release of the famous documentary Blackfish featuring Seaworld’s very own Tilikum. The documentary brought to light the astoundingly terrible living conditions that captive killer whales and Tilikum, in particular, had to deal with. There was a specific emphasis on Tilikum’s early life and for a good reason. He was kept with other captured killer whales who abused and bullied him. Furthermore, his teeth were whittled down to small stubs from constant chewing on steel bars surrounding his enclosure. The terrible living conditions led to stress and, what many speculate, mental and physical health deterioration.
The inhumane and stressful environment that Tilikum lived in his entire life is one of the most prominent factors to blame for his far-from-clean record. In total, there have been 4 human deaths related to captive orcas, 3 of which have been due to Tilikum’s aggressiveness. The most famous case involves his former keeper, Dawn Brancheau. During a show where she was supposed to interact with the killer whale, she was grabbed and pulled into the water. Despite there being a large crowd, there was no clear witness who was able to tell the exact details of the incident. All that was known was that she was pulled into the water and kept below the surface. An autopsy showed that Brancheau was killed with a combination of drowning and blunt force trauma by being thrown against the enclosure underwater. This clear showing of aggressiveness immediately eliminated the chances of it being a playful accident. The whale continued performing after a year long break following the incident.
On the day of Tilikum’s death, PETA, the People for Ethical Treatment for Animals, publicly tweeted, “R.I.P. Tilikum dead after 3 decades of misery”. While quite blunt, PETA is not wrong that Tilikum lived a life devoid of joy since his capture in Iceland in 1983.
By Stefan Markarian
On January 27, President Donald Trump furthered to diminish former president Barack Obama’s environmental conservation efforts, as he signed executive orders that seek to revive the construction of the controversial Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines. White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, told reporters that “the president is very, very keen on making sure that we maximize our use of natural resources to America’s benefit.” He then related that “It’s good for economic growth, it’s good for jobs, and it’s good for American energy.” Former president Obama had halted the construction of both pipelines during his second term, amid serious protests from environmental groups and Native American tribes.
The Dakota Access Pipeline, owned by the Energy Transfer Company, still has about 1,100 miles of pipe left before it’s completed. The pipeline would transport oil from reserves in North Dakota down to refineries and other networks in Illinois. Project developers assure that this pipeline will permit the United States to tap it’s own oil, rather than relying on destabilized regions for oil, and in the process, create jobs. When the pipeline was being constructed during the Obama presidency, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe heavily protested the project, as they were worried that, should the pipeline rupture, it would contaminate their only supply of water. They also stated that the pipeline was trespassing on sacred ground. The tribes braved the harsh winter to camp in the way of the construction. They were joined by hundreds of people from across the world who stood in solidarity with the Native Americans.
The Keystone XL pipeline, owned by Canadian company, TransCanada, would carry oil from Alberta, Canada to refineries and oil farms in Illinois, Oklahoma, and Texas. Opponents of this pipeline claim that it would further climate change because this pipeline would carry tar, sands, and oil, which requires massive amounts of energy to extract, and thus being greenhouse gas intensive. The potential for oil spills could also be devastating to the environment.
Should construction begin once again on these pipelines, President Trump can surely expect large protests across the country from environmentalists, Native Americans, and a wide variety of Americans, as various surveys report that Americans are largely divided on whether these pipelines should be constructed.
Information for this report was taken from the nytimes.com and washingtonpost.com
By Andie Chung
How would you define success? It can be defined in a multitude of ways, but most students at La Cañada label themselves by their GPA, SAT scores, or what college they get accepted to. This builds up the unnecessary pressure and anxiety that students face, and as colleges become more competitive, so does the drive to “succeed.” But can we really say students are succeeding if it comes at the expense of their mental stability? We need to challenge the definition of success, so that it can allow students to become more than a simple number on a 4.0 grade scale.
The Challenge Success program has seen nationwide success ever since its founding in 2003. The program was developed by Madeline Levine, Ph.D., Jim Lobdell, M.A., and Denise Pope, Ph.D.. It partners with schools and families to provide kids with the social, academic, and emotional skills they need to succeed in the future. It has served over 800,000 people in over 130 school communities, inspired schools to reduce homework, change school schedules, and modify assessments.
At the beginning of the school year, our school sent two juniors, Averi Suk and Ryan Chen, and team of teachers, parents and administrators to Stanford University so that they could understand more about the program and implement it at our school. 8th graders Josh Fung and Ellaney represented the Middle School team.
Both Averi Suk and Ryan Chen attended intensive conferences where they designed action plans to implement in focal areas, such as testing, homework, school schedule, and an overall healthy school climate. Although the program is still relatively new at our school, we hope that its effect will allow students to develop a better lifestyles and a healthier perspective.
“It was extremely inspiring to see all of these schools which have been able to institute programs to help the students be less stressed, especially because so many students at this school suffer from high levels of stress and anxiety from the academic stress and competition,” Averi commented.
When talking about our school, Ryan claimed, “This program focuses on everything for our students. I personally think that many of our students struggle with stress and anxiety in their life, and that is due to pressures from students, teachers, and parents alike.”
Currently, there is a group of teachers, parents, and students who are dedicated to helping the students of La Cañada High School. As representatives, the students relay their personal stresses as well as the problems they see throughout the student body in order to provide an accurate description of the issues LCHS students face and endure.
So why the surveys?
Over the course of the past two weeks, all 7-12 students at La Cañada High School participated in a survey that was created by Stanford University. The thoughtful responses are given to Stanford University, and researchers there send back information and strategies that our school can use in order to create a more academically balanced life.
“I have the wonderful opportunity to travel with a team of administrators, counselors, and parents to Stanford twice a year to identify strengths and weaknesses of our school and to help develop an action plan to improve the school climate,” Ryan Chen said.
By Andrew Chae
Ever since the media hyped-up the increased seismic activity, the fear of an earthquake still lingers, which brings up the question of what LCHS should do in the case of an emergency.
Aside from the ‘Big One,’ an earthquake with a 7.0 magnitude or greater that is supposed to occur on the San Andreas Fault, there are also concerns with another fault line that is much closer to us. The Sierra Madre Fault, which runs right through JPL and the Paradise Canyon neighborhood, is more dangerous to us if a moderate-to-severe earthquake occurs there.
Mr. Traeger, who teaches geology among other sciences, stated that, “It isn’t the fault that is the biggest that is going to get you. It is the one that is the closest.”
A shock from the Sierra Madre Fault could potentially create a similar outcome to that of the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, in which buildings collapsed and billions in property damage occurred; fifty-seven deaths occurred along with 8,700 injuries. However, that earthquake had a 6.7 magnitude, so the impending one could be more calamitous. It also occurred on a federal holiday (Martin Luther King Jr. Day) during the early morning, which resulted in less casualties due to the collapse of only a few commercial buildings.
Although an earthquake on the Sierra Madre Fault could cause catastrophic damage, the threat of a ‘Big One’ from the San Andreas Fault is still substantially dangerous, as it is more or less 50 miles away from us.
As for the direct effects of an earthquake, Mr. Traeger explained, “If you look upon a map, the school is built upon unconsolidated sediment. Basically, that’s floodplain deposit from the Arroyo Seco. When the earthquake waves pass through this material, it will be amplified. So the energy and size of the wave will become bigger. So we will sustain some more shaking due to the ground type.”
The soundness of the building is another factor for our school in the event of an earthquake.
“I was told by Dr. Leininger, a past facilities manager and superintendent, that at some point, the A and B buildings were retrofitted. However, I can tell you that both of these buildings along with the North Gym and also, I believe, the South Gym were all built in 1963,” stated Mr. Traeger.
The significance of this date is that it was before the Alquist Priolo Laws, which were passed in 1972. These laws changed building codes to create greater safety in preparation of an earthquake and restricted buildings from being built within a certain distance of a known fault. The school’s original buildings, therefore, could be at risk during a devastating earthquake. Even though the A and B buildings were reportedly retrofitted, it could still be insufficient. Therefore, the status for those buildings is unknown.
“We all know what the drills are, but how that goes down in a real earthquake is yet to be seen,” said Mr. Traeger. “Any time after a major earthquake, you are going to have aftershocks that could weaken the building, which can be potentially devastating. To say that what is going to happen after that in terms of our evacuation is going to be another story. We don’t know what stairwells or bridges that will be compromised. There are too many unknowns as to how this building is going to fare in a magnitude of 7.0 or greater.”
Although we had the Great Shakeout recently, continuous preparation for earthquakes is necessary.
By Bryan Guan and Kevin Kim
Shayna Goldstein, the Homecoming Queen, joyfully claimed the throne on October 15th. Out of a pool of La Cañada’s most talented and gifted senior girls, she was crowned queen during the Homecoming “Blackout” football game against South Pasadena this past Friday.
During STEP classes in the weeks before the game, students from all grade levels cast their ballots. Nineteen girls were originally nominated before they participated in an interview process conducted by ASB and school club representatives. Five girls were eventually selected: Stephanie Musso, Lauren Trujillo, Carlin Hardy, Audrey Hsu, and Shayna Goldstein.
“I honestly never expected to be a princess; I didn't even expect to get nominated. It was a really nice surprise, and I'm really grateful to have had the experience,” said Carlin Hardy. “It was so much fun with all the princesses; riding in the parade and going out at halftime was really fun to do with them-especially since I was friends with them all previously.”
“I didn't know exactly how to react to all the people talking to me about it, telling me they'd vote for me, or when they congratulate me or what not,” fellow nominee Audrey Hsu said.
At the end of the first half on Friday night, each of the girls’ names were announced as they walked down the “red carpet” with their fathers by their side. As each princess strutted down the carpet, their accomplishments and achievements were read by the announcer. As Shayna’s name was proclaimed, fireworks lit up the sky while band played congratulatory music.
“Half time was fun even though we didn't really know what we were doing until the few moments before we walked onto the field. And although we missed the fireworks because everyone be taking pictures of us with the lights in the background, I enjoyed the sound of the explosions,” commented Audrey.
By Joohan Kim
From Haiti to North Carolina, Hurricane Matthew has wreaked havoc across scores of cities and left many wondering how they will ever recover from this major disaster. One of the most calamitous storms in over a decade, the hurricane left a considerably devastating impact in North America and was
“I want everyone to be safe,” Paul Kim (12) said. “I am just wondering what made the hurricane so strong.”
How does a hurricane become so strong? Warm ocean water is one of the ingredients for a powerful, destructive hurricane. It provides the energy that fuels a growing tropical storm—the higher the water temperature, the more energy the storm can tap into, and the faster its winds can blow. Another important factor that fuels hurricane strength is an abundance of moist air. While hurricanes form in the Tropics—where moist air is generally abundant—dry air from Africa and western Europe frequently finds its way into hurricanes and weakens them.*
After causing the death of hundreds in Haiti, Hurricane Matthew moved north and spiraled parallel to the U.S. coast, from Florida to the Carolinas. The most catastrophic impact in the United States occurred inland in North Carolina, where the area is still inundated with stormwater. At least twenty people died in North Carolina in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, bringing the U.S. overall death toll from the storm up to at least thirty-six people. North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory warned residents to “stay away from the water.”
According to CNN, the federal government has declared disasters in thirty-four of North Carolina's hundred counties. Through this declaration, federal aid can supplement state, tribal, and local recovery efforts. However, the flooding in North Carolina is far from over, as the stormwater has yet to recede, with the state struggling to clean up after the hurricane.
In addition, the economic damage is just as harrowing. North Carolinian emergency officials have estimated that the destructive and deadly Hurricane Matthew caused $1.5 billion worth of damage to more than 100,000 homes, businesses, and government buildings in the state. Officials say with floodwater still in some areas, cost estimates will likely fluctuate. Hurricane Matthew may be one of the most expensive and devastating storms in recent American history.
*The information is obtained from Live Science.
By Erica Lee
What would happen if La Cañada students were eligible to vote? In a poll distributed throughout the social science department, the majority of the 179 students surveyed voted for Democratic presidential and vice presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine.
Of the 41 seniors, 48 juniors, 60 sophomores, and 30 freshman, 68 students (38%) considered themselves Democrats. 120 students (67%) chose Hillary Clinton as president, and 117 (65%) preferred Tim Kaine for vice president. This contrasted with the results of the official school state election, which revealed that participants voted around 50% for Clinton and 30% for Trump overall and for each grade. The percentage of votes for either candidate slightly varied between grade level and gender.
Notably, male freshmen had the highest percentage of Republican votes for both the presidential and vice presidential candidates. 6 of 11 freshman males voted for the Republican candidates, and 6 students also expressed that they are not interested in politics.
The poll also showed that the males in each grade varied in their party identifications more than their female counterparts, with 25% supporting the Libertarian or Green Party. Only 9% of the overwhelmingly Democratic female population voted for the minority parties’ candidates.
Of those who participated in the survey, 45 students (25%) were not interested in politics or political parties, while 103 people (57%) expressed their desire to vote in the next election they were eligible for. Interestingly, an exception to the overwhelming “yes” trend was present among the tenth graders, whom, regardless of gender, were just about as ambivalent as they were eager to vote, answering “maybe.”
This is not to say that this survey and its interpretations are completely accurate. A sophomore, James Yim, expressed that ¨there should be a ‘none’ or ‘neither’ choice for the candidate of choice question because some people don't believe that the presidential and/or vice presidential candidates are fit for their specific duty.¨ However, the survey certainly shines some light on the civic participation of future voters.
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