News on the go: March 2, 2014

Elaina Sauber

Russian forces surrounded a Ukrainian army base after the country began to mobilize its military in response to Russia’s recent occupation of the Crimean Peninsula. Numerous leaders have spoken out against Russia’s takeover of the peninsula, including Secretary of State John Kerry, who called on President Vladimir Putin to pull back from “an incredible act of aggression.” World leaders rushed to seek a diplomatic solution to cease Russia’s capture of the Crimean Peninsula Saturday. (Read full story here.)

Hundreds of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews rallied in the streets of Jerusalem Sunday to protest a bill that would cut their community’s military exemption, forcing them to serve in the Israeli military.  The widespread dissent with the compulsory draft contributes to current challenges in the country, which is currently struggling with a cultural war over the position of the ultra-Orthodox in Israeli society. 

After over a decade of allowing states to determine if inmates are mentally disabled, thus, capable of receiving the death penalty, the Supreme Court is hearing a new case testing whether states can rely solely on the result of an intelligence test to conclude if a death row inmate is mentally disabled. In arguments Monday, a Florida inmate is challenging that state’s use of a strict IQ cutoff to determine mental disability.  Florida is one of few states that uses a threshold score of 70, as measured by IQ tests, to conclude an inmate is not mentally disabled, even if other evidence suggests he is. (Read full story here.)

Legal experts claim double-amputee runner Oscar Pistorius will still be vulnerable to a homicide conviction even if he is acquitted to murdering his girlfriend, stating he violated the most basic tenets of gun-use when he shot into a closed door without knowing who was behind it, and therefore faces a “steep hurdle” of getting off without any convictions.  

Information is from the Associated Press Elaina Sauber is the opinion editor for the Daily Kent Stater.