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This Drone Footage Puts Into Perspective The Scope Of The Syrian Refugee Crisis

Sometimes it is hard to get an actual handle on the massive humanitarian crisis gripping Europe as hundreds of thousands of refugees pour into the continent from war torn Syria.

But this drone footage from Channel 4 in the UK does a pretty good job of giving us a clear idea of the immenseness of the crisis.

Take a look:

Drone footage shows migrants and refugees crossing farmlandThis drone footage filmed near the Croatian border shows thousands of migrants and refugees crossing through farmland on foot.Slovenia has complained it lacks manpower and equipment to handle the recent influx of people crossing through the country.

Posted by Channel 4 News on Monday, October 26, 2015

Cover Photo Credit: Screenshot/ Channel 4 Video (Facebook)

H/T to BuzzFeed

Gunman Down, At Least Seven Dead At Oregon’s Umpqua Community College Shooting

A shooter opened fire Thursday afternoon at Umpqua Community College, killing several students at the campus in southwest Oregon.

According to the local KGW News, there have been 7-10 fatalities and at least 15-20 people injured, while one female was shot in the chest. Police say that the shooter is now dead.

This is the 45th school shooting in 2015, according to Huffington Post’s Political Editor Sam Stein’s Twitter account. 

This is a developing story. Check back to Rise News for updates.

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Edward Snowden Is Now On Twitter

Welcome to Twitter, Edward Snowden.

Snowden has become a household name after revealing top secret documents from the U.S. government to the public, ousting them for spying on millions of U.S. citizens.

Though the whistleblower is currently in exile in Russia (he was granted asylum in Moscow), he has continued to lead public conversation about privacy, surveillance and the NSA through video interviews and streaming speeches. According to The Intercept, the handle @snowden was taken by someone who hadn’t used Twitter in three years, so Twitter agreed to give the handle to Snowden.

Snowden’s only follow? @NSAGov.

Why We Should Embrace Sports Gambling

By Sean Moran

Now that football is back, we can expect to see several things this fall: the enormous amount of tailgating before the games, grown men using Twitter to bash analysts who criticize their team and now, the embracement of gambling and fantasy sports.

It’s hard to watch a football game on TV without seeing commercials for daily fantasy sports sites, or DFS’s, such as FanDuel and Draftkings. These sites offer competitors the chance to win millions of dollars by playing weekly fantasy sports. The premise is simple: place a small deposit online (sometimes as little as $3), join a contest and use a generated salary cap to select players who you think will perform well. Your players score points based on their individual performances in stats such as reception/rushing/passing yards and number of touchdowns scored. The player with the highest team score then collects his winnings.

On September 14, New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. (D), the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, asked that the legal status of fantasy sports for the professional leagues be re-evaluated. “These sites are enormously popular, arguably central to the fans’ experience, and professional leagues are seeing the enormous benefits as a result,” Pallone said in a statement.

Pallone said he would like to see an amendment to the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act that currently has a “fantasy carve out” that allows wagers to be placed as long as fantasy teams do not reflect actual team rosters. Essentially this means that fantasy players are choosing and betting on specific players rather than teams. In addition to closing this loophole, Pallone Jr. would also like for all sports gambling to be legalized and regulated.

It doesn’t appear that Pallone is alone either. Back in April while talking on the Boomer and Carton radio show, NBA commissioner Adam Silver expressed support for legalizing sports gambling, saying “it’s good for business.” Silver believes that legalizing sports betting would allow the leagues to monitor “irregular activity…like insider trading on the stock market.”

Even if pro sports betting were legalized, where would that leave college athletics? For the first time, ESPN had its College GameDay crew pick football games against the spread during opening weekend. This was accompanied by special “cover alerts” that notified viewers of spread beating scores. ESPN has since dropped these features, but their use has raised questions about the relationship between the sports giant and DraftKings.

College athletes are still considered amateurs and would be unable to reap any of the benefits from legalized sports betting. Recognizing this, the PAC-12 Network has reportedly refused to further air commercials for DFS giants Fanduel and DraftKings (per SportingNews). The NCAA has also chimed in on the debate, saying that student-athletes who participate in daily fantasy sports will automatically receive a one-year ban from competition. Whether this policy is fair or not is another debate.

Right now, the sports world faces a serious dilemma. What was once seen as one of the greatest threats to sports, gambling is now embraced. In the past, gambling was dismissed as a moral issue. As societal norms have changed, gambling is now an exciting way to enhance the social culture of sports.

People are beginning to notice how much revenue legalized sports gambling could generate for local communities and governments. Unlike Deflategate, daily fantasy sports and sports betting are serious issues that ought to be dealt with sooner rather than later.

Cover Photo Credit: Moazzam Brohi/Flickr (CC by 2.0)

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Fresh Faces of Feminism: Why You Should Listen To The Teen Women Of Color

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 11.09.36 AMFeminism is both simplistic and complex, which lends itself as a concept to be inaccurately conveyed or misunderstood. In truth, ‘the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of the equality of the sexes,” as defined by Oxford Dictionaries, is an advocacy which takes into account the contexts of the time.

In this sense, the evolution of the theory of feminism, from the 19th century to Third-Wave and beyond, is seen as natural progression. In focusing on women’s suffrage, gender neutrality, reproductive rights, sexual harassment, autonomy, and equal pay, it aims to address every facet of the female struggle.

Yet modern feminism lacks awareness about race issues and the nuances of the gender spectrum. These are important issues within our society, seen as part of feminist theory due to their influence. Modern feminism treads a difficult line, one which desperately needs to consider the concept of intersectionality – the inclusion of race, gender and class in feminism discourse – when following the example of prominent feminist celebrity figures.
For Lena Dunham, Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus and Emma Watson, the label given to the feminism they practice is a reflection of their privileged positions: White Feminism.

White Feminism addresses the issues of only those who are straight, cis-sexual, white and middle-to-upper-class. Though not all white feminists practice White Feminism, it refuses to place emphasis on anything but issues which are reserved for those who fit this standard. It is a sheltered, inaccurate movement which has not only bred a dissatisfaction with this definition of feminism, but which has emphasized inequality between lives of women.

One example of the struggle of feminists of color can be found in the words of Sandra Cisneros in her book Chicana Feminist Thought:

“I guess my feminism and my race are the same thing to me. They’re tied in one to another, and I don’t feel an alliance or an allegiance with upper-class white women. I don’t. I can listen to them and on some level as a human being I can feel great compassion and friendships; but they have to move from their territory to mine, because I know their world. But they don’t know mine.”

From the fact that white women make more money than women of color, to the appropriation of different cultures and the objectification of the black body and black culture, our society is one which features a multitude of oppressions. The feminism of these privileged white women, then, is not cutting it.

But what is surprising is just who is now championing the need for a feminist discourse which does not casually discriminate, which calls to attention the flaws of White Feminism, which attempts to fill in the gaps of all the disparities. 16-year-old Amandla Stenberg, actress and activist mostly known for her role as Rue in The Hunger Games, and 13-year-old Rowan Blanchard, star of Disney’s Girl Meets World, can both be recognized as trailblazers in noting that there is more to feminism than blanket statements about equality and the lives of the privileged middle-classes.

Two brilliant young actresses, Amandla Stenberg and Rowan Blanchard, dispel the myth of the apathetic teenage voice, as they champion the need for intersectionality and articulate oppressions faced by women of color.

From Stenberg’s school-project video on cultural appropriation ‘Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrows,’ to her using social platforms like Twitter and Tumblr to offer insights on police brutality, America’s relationship with the black community, essays on representation and more, comes a keen awareness in youth feminism which has a pulse on social justice. To scroll through her Instagram is to come face to face with the thoughts of someone who refuses to let her age hold her back from being vocal. An example of one of her posts:


For this 16-year-old, race issues and being aware of the nuances of social oppressions are not only a valid component of feminism, but should be integral to one’s practices.

Similarly, when 13-year-old Blanchard answered a question by a fan on intersectional feminism, posting it on her Instagram later, she joined Stenberg’s crew of progressive, young, clued-up female voices:



So what does it mean when teenagers are showing up their adult contemporaries in recognizing the facets of social justice and the depth of intersectionality paired with the practice of feminism? It reveals a shifting of tides and the acceleration of social justice in our modern world. As Stenberg noted for Dazed:
“I think people discredit teenagers and how wise they can be. Sometimes I meet teenagers who are much wiser than many adults I’ve met, because they haven’t let any insecurities or doubts about themselves get in the way of their thoughts.”

Blanchard and Stenberg seem to understand the need to open up dialogues through the social medias which are open to them, utilizing their fame to further causes. This also suggests that within the fractured nature of our society, of race issues and power structures which have manifested themselves in shows of police brutality, appropriation of cultures in the music industry, one does well to learn about these things and speak up on them than to stay enclosed in the protective bubble fame could trap.

Stenberg and Blanchard have shown this to be true. The pair sit comfortably along the likes of 19-year-old Rookie Mag creator Tavi Gevinson, Willow Smith and Kiernan Shipka under the label ‘youth feminism,’ using the influential nature of their age to their advantage by refusing to stay silent about issues close to them and choosing to remain open to that which they can educate themselves on.

The fact is, their feminism is intersectional and so the truths they dish out are aligned to not only their age, but their intelligence. The face of feminism they portray is inspiring because it exists with little ego, and perhaps this is a trademark of youth: it posits the desire to continue to learn, to listen, and to grow. It is refreshing in its honesty, compassion, accepts the existence of flawed feminist theory, but aims to change it. It’s something many would do well to learn from.

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White House Promises Increased Support In Europe Refugee Crisis

By Zoe Fowler

President Obama and his administration announced on Thursday that the U.S. will be accepting at least 10,000 Syrian refugees seeking asylum over the course of the next year.

Josh Earnest, The White House Press Secretary, said the U.S. gave $4 billion to humanitarian aid organizations to support efforts of the refugee crisis in Europe but “Obama has decided that admitting more Syrian refugees would help boost the US response,” according to The Guardian.

Secretary of State John Kerry said at a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill that the total of Syrian refugees admitted could increase from 70,000 to more than 100,000, according to The New York Times. However, officials said not all of 30,000 of refugees would include Syrians.

The resettlement of Syrian refugees in the U.S. won’t be immediate. The State Department said in a statement last week that the process could take up to 18 to 24 months for the Department of Homeland Security to decide if a refugee is eligible to resettle in the U.S.

The reaction to the U.S. accepting Syrian refugees has been mixed. GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio said he doesn’t oppose the U.S. welcoming refugees, but caution needs to be taken into effect.

“We’d always be concerned that within the overwhelming number of the people seeking refugee, someone with a terrorist background could also sneak in,” Rubio said at a town hall meeting last week in Charleston.

Republican presidential contender Donald Trump who has advocated for tougher immigration laws said the refugee crisis is a humanitarian issue that needs to be dealt with.

“It’s a serious problem,” Trump told FOX News. “We haven’t seen anything like it since the second world war, and it’s getting worse and worse.”

Meanwhile today, British Prime Minister David Cameron was in Lebanon and Jordan where he toured camps built for displaced Syrian refugees.

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Photo Credit: Freedom House/Flickr (CC By 2.0)

New Human Ancestor Discovered in South Africa

By Kyle Jones

Scientists have discovered 15 partial skeletons belonging to a new human-like species in a burial chamber deep inside a South African cave system.

The discovery of so many partial skeletons is the single largest discovery of its type in Africa.

Researchers have named the newly discovered species naledi, and have classified it within the grouping, or genus, Homo. This is the same genus to which modern day humans belong.

The skeletal remains have not yet been carbon dated, but Professor Lee Burger who led the exhibition believes that Homo naledi could be among the first species within our genus. This means that the species could have lived up to 3 million years ago.

H. naledi was exceptionally tall, standing at around 150 centimeters (5 Feet) with well-muscled joints. Its skull is similar in shape to modern day humans, except for a pronounced brow and a much smaller brain cavity.

The large number of skeletal remains found in the cave has led the scientific team who discovered the new species to believe that the cave was used by H. naledi for ritualistic burial. If proven true, than this would be the earliest known example of ritual burial.

Further study of the fossil remains is required. Researchers agree; however, that the discovery is a significant finding in the scientific understanding of ancient human ancestors.


Cover Photo Credit: Mark Thiessen/National Geographic

ICYMI: Apple Unveils 3D Touch


By Kris Mitchell

These days Apple press events happen so regularly you can set your Apple Watches to them. Sept. 9, The Cupertino company announced new gadgets that will surely bring a little joy to any enthusiastic Apple fan. The event introduced new additions for the company’s smartwatch, a 12.9 inch iPad Pro, a new Apple TV model with Siri voice control; a touchpad remote and upgraded models of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

If the timing of Apple annual events are becoming easier to predict then the same can be said for the Apple rumor mills. For months, tech websites reported, with increasing certainty as the Sept. 9 event drew closer. The iPad Pro has been a persistent rumor with some predicting that the larger device would also launch with a stylus to take advantage of its new features. The substantial rumors turned out to be true, which comes as a surprise from one of the world’s most secretive companies. Apple has been having some difficulty keeping details of its production line a secret from scrupulous bloggers and journalists.

The headline new feature of the iPhone 6S is 3D Touch, which allows the touchscreen of the new iPhones to register the pressure of a touch and gives users new dimensions to interact with apps. For example, an iPhone 6S user could hold down on a message in Apple’s Message app and see it at a glance without leaving their current location. But, holding down on the message for longer could bring up the message in full. Apple demonstrated similar technology named Force Touch earlier this year with its new MacBook computer that featured a remodeled touch pad with haptic feedback and pressure sensitivity.

The iPhone 6S includes a 12 MP camera capable of shooting 4K video; a new FaceTime camera with a focus on taking high-quality selfies. The new iPhone is also made of a custom aluminum alloy designed by Apple that the company says is “the strongest [Apple] has ever used in a smartphone.” Given the stories of bendable iPhones that Apple battled since the original iPhone 6’s debut last year there will likely be considerable scrutiny behind the company’s claims.

The Apple TV had its chance to shine today with Apple’s little box getting faster hardware, an all new interface and access to the App Store. There have been stories about Apple failing to gain the licensing permissions that it needed to premiere an all new subscription service rivaling that of current cable providers such as Comcast. Apple has yet to comment on the details of any talks, but the absence of such a subscription service comes as bit of sour news for fans.

63 Years, 217 Days: Queen Elizabeth Becomes UK’s Longest Reigning Monarch

By Kyle Jones

As of 5:30 p.m. yesterday BST, Queen Elizabeth II officially entered history as the UK’s longest reigning monarch, surpassing the reign of her great grandmother Queen Victoria.

Queen Elizabeth ascended to the throne in February 1952 following the death of her father, King George VI.

The queen has avoided any formal ceremony and instead spent the day by marking the opening of the new Borders to Edinburgh railway with her husband, Prince Philip. In a short speech the queen stated, “Inevitably a long life can pass by many milestones – my own is no exception – but I thank you all and the many others at home and overseas for your touching messages of great kindness.”

In a special address to Parliament, Prime Minister David Cameron paid tribute to the queen’s many years of service stating-

“I do think it is right that today we should stop and take a moment as a nation to mark this historic milestone – and to thank Her Majesty for the extraordinary service she has given to our country over more than six decades.

Her Majesty the Queen inspires us all with her incredible service, her dignified leadership and the extraordinary grace with which she carries out her duties.”

Queen Elizabeth II has been on the British throne for 63 years and 217 days.

Cover Photo Credit: Michael Gwyther-Jones/Flickr (CC by 2.0)

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