Home News Roundup News Roundup: November 29, 2013

News Roundup: November 29, 2013

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Giving Thanks
Consumerist provides a useful round-up of ideas for what to do with all those leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner.
The Rasmuson Foundation announced $9.7 million in grants to 17 Alaska nonprofits supporting a variety of capital improvements and strategic projects.
A student at Duke University wrote a compelling story for the Huffington Post about her experience as a poor student at an elite private school.
Local News
A large coalition of social service organizations in Interior Alaska is planning a community forum to discuss  shortfalls in the region’s mental health services.
Jim West, the star of reality TV show “Wild West Alaska,” faces numerous criminal hunting charges resulting from a two-year investigation by state troopers. Most of the alleged violation occurred on Ahtna lands in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, which West was banned from in 2011 after insulting elders in a meeting with Ahtna, Inc.’s land committee.
Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield has announced intentions to offer one-year extensions of health insurance plans that would otherwise have been cancelled at the end of this year due to noncompliance with the Affordable Care Act.
A four-year project is under way to digitize vital records in the State Archives, which will eventually result in the documents becoming searchable online. The initiative is the result of a partnership with FamilySearch, a Utah-based nonprofit with close ties to the Mormon Church, and appears to come at no cost to the state.
U.S. Politics
The IRS has released a first draft of proposed new rules to restrict the ability of non-profit organizations to influence elections without identifying their donors, in response to the sweeping changes to campaign finance regulations under the Citizens United decision in 2010.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel reasserted the United States’ intentions to expand its presence in the Arctic, especially as other countries like Russia and China have expressed interest in the region for purposes such as oil and gas development.
International Affairs
Italy’s former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, was expelled from the Italian Senate after being convicted of tax fraud.
Kenya launched a $13.8 billion rail project to connect Nairobi to the port city of Mombasa. Funded by the Chinese government and built by a company owned by the Chinese government, the railway is expected to eventually extend into Uganda and connect with proposed rail lines to Rwanda and South Sudan.
The Pope has issued a “mission statement” for his tenure at the Vatican, calling for sweeping reforms to the way that the church and the papacy function.