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The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

Column: An overview of October News

Mike Johnson was elected the new Speaker of the House of Representatives on Wednesday, October 26.
Via Gage Skidmore, (CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED)
Mike Johnson was elected the new Speaker of the House of Representatives on Wednesday, October 26.

New Speaker of the House

After three weeks without a Speaker, the House of Representatives elected Mike Johnson as the new Speaker on Wednesday, October 26. The Speaker’s role is to be the parliamentary leader in the House. Johnson, former chair of the ideologically conservative Republican Study Committee, was the Republican Party’s fourth nominee for speaker and was the only one to gain the support of all 220 Republican representatives. Johnson, a far-right conservative, supports a national abortion ban and opposes gay marriage. He was a key figure in attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

A potential government shutdown, a result of the government almost running out of money, has become the House’s next problem to solve. A 45-day bill halted the shutdown and was passed in October under former speaker Kevin McCarthy, but the bill’s funding expires on Friday, November 17. Johnson told Senate Republicans on Wednesday, November 1, that he will push for a resolution to provide government funding until mid-January, giving more time for lawmakers to agree on long-term appropriation bills.

Donald Trump Civil Trial

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A civil action trial against former President Donald Trump, filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James last year, began in early October. The lawsuit accuses Trump, his company and two of his adult sons of inflating Trump’s net worth by billions of dollars. James seeks to fine Trump $250 million and permanently bar him from conducting any business in New York state. Once the case went to trial, Justice Arthur Engoron determined that Trump had committed fraud by exaggerating the price of his properties. As punishment, Engoron ordered the cancellation of business certifications filed by Trump, his company and his sons. If Engoron’s ruling stands, it spells disaster for the Trump Organization, which operates multiple businesses in New York.

Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, the eldest sons of Trump, began testifying on Wednesday, November 1. Both denied being directly involved with falsifying business documents. On Monday, November 6, Trump testified that he had a role in valuing his properties, but placed the blame on consultants and lawyers.

The civil case is separate from the four indictments Trump is facing for his alleged attempts to overturn the 2020 Presidential election, withholding secret documents, and conspiracy, which are expected to start next year as Trump runs for President in the 2024 election.

Israel-Hamas War

An armed conflict between Israel and Hamas broke out on Saturday, October 7, sparked by previous conflicts since 2005. Hamas is designated as a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union. Tensions rose when Hamas launched rockets at Israel on Saturday, October 7, followed by a ground infiltration around Israel’s border with Gaza. In retaliation, Israel has cut off electricity, water and other resources from the Gaza Strip, which is governed by Hamas, and conducted airstrikes on strategic targets in Gaza. President Joe Biden visited Israel on Wednesday, October 18, to lower tensions and to stand in support of Israel. 

Sam Bankman-Fried Trial

Almost one year after he was arrested by Bahamian authorities, Sam Bankman-Fried, former CEO of the fraud-ridden cryptocurrency exchange company FTX, has been found guilty on seven counts of fraud and conspiracy. Bankman-Fried was accused of orchestrating a scheme to funnel money away from FTX customers and towards political donations, venture investments and real estate purchases. The case is considered one of the biggest financial frauds in history.

Last year, when customers attempted to withdraw their money, the company had a run on deposits, where customers simultaneously withdrew money in fear that FTX would go bankrupt, causing the company to go $8 billion in debt. Following this, FTX filed for bankruptcy, and it was later revealed that Bankman-Fried had spent customer money on unrelated projects and personal expenditures.

Three of Bankman-Fried’s close colleagues, former Alameda CEO Caroline Ellison and two FTX co-founders, pleaded guilty to fraud charges, agreeing to cooperate against Bankman-Fried. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for Thursday, March 28, 2024.

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Paavo Lahdesmaki
Paavo Lahdesmaki, Staff Writer

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