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News Brief: Week of Feb. 23-29


First coronavirus death in the U.S.

An American man has died from the coronavirus, marking the first death from the virus within the United States.

The Washington man in his late fifties died on Saturday, Feb. 29, in Seattle. According to the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the man had no travel history or close contact with an infected person to explain his illness, which means he could have contracted it through community spread.

President Trump addressed the issue during a press conference on Saturday and also instituted travel advisories for Italy and South Korea. The countries now are under a Level 4, the highest level of advisory. 

Three more patients have tested positive in Washington, including a high school boy and a traveler from South Korea. As of Sunday, Mar. 1, 73 Americans have tested positive for coronavirus.

Over 87,000 individuals have tested positive for coronavirus worldwide, with over 7,000 of those cases outside of mainland China and a presence in 61 countries. Over 2,900 people have died due to the virus. 

Italy now has over 1,600 confirmed cases, primarily in Milan and surrounding areas. Many schools, including those affiliated with the Churches of Christ, have suspended study abroad programs for the semester.

U.S. signs peace deal with Taliban

After years of fighting the longest war in American history, the United States and the Taliban have signed an agreement which will pave the way to the end of the war.

According to the agreement, U.S. troops will begin leaving Afghanistan, and the Taliban will be restricted from terrorist attacks.

“The Taliban will not allow any of its members, other individuals or groups, including Al Qaeda, to use the soil of Afghanistan to threaten the security of the United States and its allies,” the agreement says.

American soldiers will begin leaving Afghanistan, reducing from 13,000 troops to 8,600 within three to four months. If the Taliban maintains its side of the agreement, U.S. forces will be removed within 14 months.

U.S. special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and the Taliban’s chief negotiator and one of its founders, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, signed the agreement after over a year of negotiation.


OU students stage sit-in outside of administrative offices

Dozens of students at the University of Oklahoma staged a sit-in outside of the school’s administrative offices in response to racially-charged incidents occurring within the last few weeks.

Members of the Black Emergency Response Team (BERT) organized the three-day sit-in after two professors used racial slurs in separate incidents. 

The sit-in ended on Friday, Feb. 28, with some of their demands being met. The school will create a student advisory committee to give insight to the senior president and provost.

The BERT also demanded Provost Kyle Harper resign; OU Interim President Joseph Harroz Jr. rejected this demand.

The sit-in occurred in response to two incidents: a journalism professor who equated the n-word to the word “boomer” in class, as well as a history professor who read from a historical document and said the full n-word multiple times while reading from the document.


OC admissions counselor dismissed following inappropriate activity

An Oklahoma Christian admissions counselor was dismissed last week after asking students at a local high school to line up based on skin color and hair texture.

As previously reported by the Talon, the admissions counselor visited Harding Charter Preparatory Academy on Monday, Feb. 24. During an assembly, he asked students to separate according to skin color or hair texture. 

President John deSteiguer identified the counselor as Cedric Sunray during a public meeting on Sunday, Mar. 1. The school has parted ways with the counselor and administrators plan to visit Harding Charter on Monday, Mar. 2, to apologize to its students and faculty.

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