January 2016 Current Events: U.S. News

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Here are the key events in United States news for the month of January 2016.

  • Alabama Beats Clemson in College Football Championship (Jan. 11): Second ranked Alabama beats number one ranked Clemson, 45-40, to win the NCAA College Football Playoff championship. It is the fourth title for the Crimson Tide in seven years. It is head coach Nick Saban's fifth title overall, winning one in 2003 with the LSU Tigers.

  • State of Emergency Declared in Flint (Jan. 16): President Obama declares a state of emergency for Flint, Michigan, after a two year water crisis in the city receives national attention and the state's governor, Rick Snyder, asks for help. For the last two years, the city's 100,000 residents have been using water from the local Flint River because a state-appointed emergency manager could get that water cheaper than the supply previously used from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. However, the water from the Flint River smells and tastes bad. It looks dirty. Since the switch in water, Flint residents have developed rashes, lost hair, and had other health issues. For months, state officials maintained that the water was safe to drink. However, independent studies have found high levels of lead in the water and elevated lead levels in the city's children. (Jan. 19): At his State of the State address, Gov. Rick Snyder says, "To you, the people of Flint, I say tonight as I have before, I am sorry and I will fix it." (Jan. 21): With protesters calling for him to resign, Snyder releases 274 pages of emails related to the water crisis in Flint. However, the first email released includes two and a half pages of blacked-out text. Meanwhile, Susan Hedman, an Environmental Protection Agency official, resigns. Hedman oversees the region that Flint falls under and has come under scrutiny for being slow to act on the findings in Flint. Calls for Gov. Snyder to resign continue. (Jan. 29): The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issues a warning to all Flint residents that lead levels in some locations are testing higher than 150 parts per billion (pbb), the lead level that water filters can treat. People with lead levels over 150 pbb will be notified. So far, 26 sites out of approximately 4,000 have leads levels higher than 150 pbb.

  • Artists Call for Oscar Boycott (Jan. 18): After the Academy fails for a second consecutive year to nominate any African-American actors in the major Oscar acting categories, many artists speak out. Director Spike Lee and actor Jada Pinkett Smith call for a boycott of the 2016 ceremony. At a gala honoring Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, actor David Oyelowo says, "The Academy has a problem. It's a problem that needs to be solved. For 20 opportunities to celebrate actors of color, actresses of color, to be missed last year is one thing; for that to happen again this year is unforgivable." (Jan. 22): The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announces that it will make changes to its governing, recruiting, and voting requirements in an effort to increase diversity. The Academy's board sets the goal to double minority and female membership within four years.