Navy Seals rescue two captives from Somali pirates
A team of roughly two dozen Navy Seals participated in a covert mission to free two hostages from Somali pirates around 2 a.m. yesterday, January 25. The Navy Seals who carried out the operation were from the same unit as the Seals who carried out the raid on Osama bin Laden.
The two hostages, American aid worker Jessica Buchanan and her Danish colleague Poul Hagen Thisted , were captured by Somali pirates last October after giving a workshop on land mines.
After a meeting between President Barack Obama and Danish official revealed Buchanan’s deteriorating health, Obama and top Pentagon officials put together a clandestine operation.
“As commander in chief, I could not be prouder of the troops who carried out this mission,” Obama said in a statement on Wednesday. “The United States will not tolerate the abduction of our people.”
Representative Gabrielle Giffords resigns
Gabrielle Giffords resigned from the House of Representatives yesterday, January 25.
Giffords, who attended the State of the Union address and received a standing ovation upon entering, was shot in the head during an event in her home state of Arizona last year and left to focus on her recovery.
When she formally resigned, many of her colleagues from both parties spoke in praise of her and her service to the nation.
Giffords said in a letter, read by Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, that she “will recover and will return.”
Gingrich wins South Carolina Primary
During the South Carolina republican primary on Saturday, January 21, Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich won with 40 percent of the vote. His closest competitor was Mitt Romney, who received only 28 percent.
This was a big win for Gingrich, given that in a recent CNN/Time/ORC International poll conducted from Friday, January 13 to Tuesday, January 17, Gingrich trailed Romney 23 percent to 33 percent.
Rick Santorum placed third with 17 percent, while Ron Paul finished fourth with 13 percent.
Before the South Carolina Primary, Santorum won the Iowa Caucus and Romney won the New Hampshire Primary.
For full results, see here.
President outlines plans in State of the Union
President Barack Obama gave his State of the Union Address on Tuesday, January 24. The speech, which is given annually to Congress, focused on the current condition of the economy and Obama’s plans to create more jobs and stop outsourcing.
In terms of tax policy, Obama stressed the importance of having the wealthy pay what he considers to be a fairer amount, and stated that the marginal tax rate for the rich should not be less than 30 percent.
In addition, Obama emphasized the need for public school’s to retain good teachers and promote creativity.
On the subject of foreign policy, Obama mentioned the “huge stake” the United States has in Middle Eastern revolutions, and praised other countries for putting sanctions on Iran.
Supreme Court rules warrant-less GPS tracking illegal
The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the police violated the Constitution when they placed a Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking device on a suspect’s car in the petition of US v. Jones on Monday, January 23.
Though the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the United States Court Appeals for the District of Columbia, they specified different reasons. The appeals court ruled that GPS tracking violated the Fourth Amendment; however, the Supreme Court argued that the physical act of using a GPS constituted a search.
Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the majority opinion that the violation that had occurred rested with the installation of the device without a warrant, calling it a trespass and therefore an illegal search.