Local

According to Providence officials, the City Council is introducing an even more restrictive ban of cigarette use in public. Just this year, Council President Michael Solomon and Majority Leader Seth Yurdin have implemented a strict no-tolerance policy for the handling and sale of cigarettes in all parks, playgrounds, and recreation areas in Providence. This ban also includes a hefty $50 dollar fine for any violation of smoking in these designated areas. The new City Council president, Luis Aponte, and Councilman Terry Hassett are trying to continue this ban by restricting the entire downtown Providence area. The bill prohibits any smoking downtown and will only be allowed in private businesses with special permits or private residences. This new bill will also have a more severe fine of $50-$250 dollars in tickets depending on the number of offenses. Providence is among about 1,000 cities across the United States limiting smoking in public places.

Rhode Island is still facing the struggles and consequences of the major financial crisis back in 2008. The recession sparked a dramatic decline in employment rates all around the state that are affecting individuals still to this day. While Rhode Island has made progress over the years, according to new statistics by the U.S. Bureau of Labor the state ranks 16th nationally and remains as one of the lowest employment rates in New England. In comparison to the last poll taken in May 2015 and the new September 2015 rates, Rhode Island has only dropped a meager 0.8 percent in unemployment and falls at just below being 5.5 percent overall. Residents are calling for action among officials and even nationally to try and fix this huge gap in employment.

 

National

Vice President of The United States, Joe Biden has finally announced publically that he will not be running for office in 2016. The decision comes after speculation that Biden would not run due to the circumstances surrounding his son Beau’s death in May from brain cancer. Instead of putting efforts in campaigning for presidency, Biden continues to show his support for democratic candidates and will be involving himself in research surrounding treatments for cancer. This decision will end Biden’s long career in politics of which he served for over 40 years. While remaining in office, Biden will continue to focus on issues surrounding the economic instability in America that is primarily due to inequality issues of the upper and middle class.

New evidence and studies conducted on marijuana show a rise in use among adults in The United States. With over 23 states allowing the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes and four for recreational use, about three in every 10 Americans are smoking around the country. Some researchers warn against this upwards trend stating there are many consequences to using marijuana both medically or recreationally. Scientists who disagree with these initial perceptions see marijuana as a non-addictive and harmless drug that is necessary for prescribing to patients dealing with anxiety, chronic pain or cancer. While the legalization of the drug is still a sore subject for most states, marijuana is seen as a drug with a low risk for users. With more adults and legislators changing their minds about cannabis in general, marijuana continues to become more popular among users in America.

Global

Syrian President Bashar as-Assad has visited and discussed with Russian President Vladimir Putin.  While thousands of Syrian residents have fled their homes in order to escape ISIS militants, Russia has now taken the initiative to strike back by using air force attacks. Assad praised Putin for the contribution and military efforts to resist these threats and actions against the Syrian people. While most countries are opposed to sending troops on the ground, including The United States, Russia is one of the first nations to use force in order to put an end to the dangers of ISIS. Motives for Russia’s involvement are met with skepticism because of claims that Russia is targeting areas in Syria that are not threatened by ISIS. Even with this accusation, Assad still backs Putin’s choice to enter Syria and take a role in the war against terrorism.

 

The path of destruction in the Philippines continues to grow due to the devastating results of Typhoon Koppu. Thousands of people are left stranded without homes or access to shelters due to major flooding and damage throughout the Philippines. The estimated costs of repair, reaching over $100 million, also continues to grow since rescuers are still unable to reach provinces that were severely damaged by the storm. As a result, 18 people were pronounced dead and hospitals continue to be flooded with injured residents. Typhoon Koppu has dumped enough rain in the Philippines to cause a number of landslides around the surrounding areas, which in turn caused most deaths in the country. In the upcoming weeks, officials plan to devise a way of sending rescuers to all areas harmed by the storm and begin the process of reconstructing the city.