News briefs

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Sandy may implement restrictions on adult shops

The Sandy City Council may issue a zoning ordinance to restrict the location of stores selling alcohol and tobacco. The council will limit the distribution of permits to adult shops in an attempt to steer them away from areas highly populated by children, such as near schools. This ordinance has been stimulated by residents who have been complaining about a new tobacco shop near Union Middle School and are calling for its license to be revoked. The Planning Commission is currently reviewing how other cities have regulated tobacco and alcohol sales. They will thereafter submit their findings to the council and additional suggestions will be made and considered.

Nuclear waste not welcome in Utah

EnergySolutions Inc. is trying to import large amounts of radioactive waste to eventually be discarded 70 miles west of Salt Lake City. The estimated 20,000 tons of waste would be the largest amount ever imported by the U.S. if approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The state of Utah has been offered 50 percent of the company’s revenues if an agreement is made. Utah leadership has denied these requests in the past and has pledged to maintain a firm stance against the disposal of nuclear waste in the state. EnergySolutions claims that the waste would represent less than one percent of the state’s standard yearly acceptance.

Harsh punishments for partying

The Salt Lake City Council is reviewing an ordinance which would punish citizens for a first-time offense in disruptive partying. Currently, an officer must visit a home twice within 10 days to justify ordering a citation. This new implementation is being considered because minimal results have been produced under the current law. The new law would issue $300 fines for each visit. If the location is a rental, the property owner would be required to pay an additional $100 fine after three visitations. If there is underage drinking on the premises, a penalty of $250 may be issued as well.

Obama calls for Congress to face health care challenge

President Obama made a call for Congress to fix the nation’s ailing health care system on Wednesday, Sept. 9.

Obama told a joint session of Congress that the “time for bickering” over health care is over, and in a joint speech to congress he offered a detailed outline for legislation. He also called for proposals from both Democrats and Republicans to address health care problems and rising costs.

“I will not stand by while the special interests use the same old tactics to keep things exactly the way they are,” Obama said. “If you misrepresent what’s in the plan, we will call you out. And I will not accept the status quo as a solution. Not this time. Not now.”

Harvard says Holocaust denial ad published by accident

Harvard University has caused a commotion by running an advertisement in its campus newspaper questioning the reality of the Holocaust.

Recently named as the No. 1 school in U.S. News & World Report rankings of American colleges, Harvard is known for its rigorous scholarly standards and prestigious reputation.

However, on Tuesday, Sept. 8, The Harvard Crimson ran an advertisement questioning the reality of former Birkenau death camp in Germany, which had been rejected by the paper over the summer.

Who will fill the place of Paula Abdul?

Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres will join the judges’ panel on the immensely popular show “American Idol” for its ninth season beginning in 2010.

Paula Abdul, who announced she was leaving the show in August, will be giving way to popular comedian and entertainer DeGeneres, who said that getting the job was “a dream come true.”

Guatemalan food crisis grows

Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom has declared a state of national calamity because the majority of the country’s citizens do not have food or proper nutrition.

Colom believes this declaration will make it easier to get food to thousands of Guatemalan families by giving them access to resources from the international community. Such resources are offered in this type of situation and national resources are mobilized more rapidly.

The United Nations’ World Food Programme says Guatemala has the fourth highest rate of chronic malnutrition in the world and the highest in Latin America and the Caribbean. According to the U.N., chronic undernutrition affects about half of the nation’s children under the age of five.

According to the World Bank, about 75 percent of Guatemalans live below the poverty level and almost 58 percent of the population have incomes below the extreme poverty line.

Uruguay passes same-sex adoption bill

On Wednesday, Sept. 9, Uruguay became the first Latin American country to allow same-sex adoption.

“It is a right for the boys and the girls, not a right for the adults,” Sen. Margarita Percovich said after the vote. “It streamlines the adoption process and does not discriminate.”

Last year, Uruguayan lawmakers approved a measure allowing children aged 12 or older to change their names, a measure aimed at transgender or transsexual youths. The country also authorized same-sex civil unions last year, setting the stage for the current adoption law.

Skin whitening ads considered racist

Cosmetic advertisements in Asia are targeting men with campaigns aimed at altering skin color.

In one television commercial, two men, one with dark skin, the other with light skin, stand on a balcony overlooking a neighborhood. The dark-skinned man turns to his friend and says in Hindi, “I am unlucky because of my face.” His light-skinned friend replies, “Not because of your face, because of the color of your face.” In the end, the darker-skinned actor is shown several shades lighter and he gets the girl he was after.

Many men in Pakistan and India feel that the commercials are sending a blunt message:

get whiter skin and you’ll get the girl and the job of your dreams.