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Our View – Redo: Learning about a culture begins with language

Editor’s note: Since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, there has been a major divide between Muslims and other religions in the United States. Much of it is caused by misunderstanding and ignorance, which is why we applauded Washington State University in this April 23, 2007, editorial for offering a class exploring Middle Eastern traditions, geography and history. The class is still being offered, and it is still clearly needed.

Our country’s foreseeable future is linked to that of the Middle East, and not just because of the ongoing war in Iraq. America is tied to the region through oil and business interests that are vital to our economy.

Furthering those interests—and helping restore peace—will be made easier if we are better able to understand Middle Eastern cultures and its dynamics.

A new class at Washington State University will help some college students toward that end.
Arabic 101 is being offered for the first time this summer through the Department of Foreign Languages and Cultures at WSU. The idea for the class came from Saad Alshahrani, a Saudi who arrived in the United States two years ago.

Alshahrani, who is seeking his doctorate in economics, isn’t teaching the class for the money—he won’t be getting paid. Instead, he’s using it as a venue to teach language, and Middle Eastern traditions, geography, history, sports, business and current events as well.

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Moscow-Pullman Daily News

EPA busy scuttling rules, planning cutbacks, amid pro-business shift

The day after Trump’s inauguration, Don Benton reported for duty as the agency’s newly minted senior adviser to the White House. The same Don Benton who consistently earned some of the lowest environmental ratings of any Washington state lawmaker when he represented Vancouver.

In a remarkable turnaround, less than a year since his forced departure from Clark County, Benton was advising President Trump and earning nearly $180,000 a year.

Mark Stephen

“He put all his chips on Trump early, and he’s been able to run the table since then,” said Mark Stephan, a political science professor at Washington State University in Vancouver. “It speaks to his acumen, that other people didn’t take him seriously when they should have.”

But where Stephan saw a shrewd politician with a talent for landing on his feet, environmentalists saw foxes being put in charge of the henhouse.

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The Oregonian

When death comes, survivors cope with digital afterlife

As more of our lives exist online, the need to plan for an online legacy becomes vital.

Digital accounts—known in the legal world as assets—include online banking, photos, email and social media profiles. When family members or other executors don’t have access to the deceased’s digital assets, and no instructions are left behind, complications arise.

Grigar“If you die without a will, you’re leaving a mess for your family,” said Dene Grigar, director of Washington State University Vancouver’s Creative Media & Digital Culture Program.

The problem is that online users are not taking care of their digital afterlife. People need to make arrangements ahead of time for handling their digital assets, just like they would for their physical belongings.

Last year, Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law the Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, outlining the process of handling someone’s digital assets upon their death or if they become incapacitated. A fiduciary is someone appointed to manage the property — now to include digital property — of another person.

“People can’t just do what they want with your stuff when you die. And they shouldn’t be able to in the virtual world either,” Grigar said.

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The Columbian


WSU student announces run for Congress: Sutherland pushes for newer, younger voices in the Democratic Party

A student of political science and physics at Washington State University will run for Congress next year, pushing the message that anybody can run for office, no matter his or her age.

Matthew Sutherland

If Democrat Matthew Sutherland, 24, were to unseat Republican incumbent Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers in Washington’s 5th Congressional District, he would be 26 when he takes office.

His campaign revolves around a grassroots-centric movement called the New Blue – an effort to re-organize and re-energize the Democratic party by getting newer and younger people involved in the party, putting them in leadership positions and turning the party’s focus to the interests of people rather than elites.

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Moscow-Pullman Daily News

Honoring a 100-year legacy: WSU professor receives ROTC award; audience commemorates the ‘war to end all wars’

Ray Sun

Dr. Raymond Sun, an assistant professor of history at Washington State University, received an Honorary Cadet award from WSU’s Reserve Officer Training Corps on Thursday evening as part of a small ceremony to commemorate 100 years since the U.S. formally entered World War I on April 6 , 1917.

“It feels wonderful,” Sun told the Daily News after the event with the framed award in hand.

As it was being reported by national news sources that the U.S. military had launched approximately 50 cruise missiles at a Syrian military airfield – the first direct U.S. assault on President Bashar al-Assad’s government in six years – Sun spoke to a small audience in the WSU library atrium about what was supposed to be “the war to end all wars.”

Army ROTC member and WSU history student Ian Melendez had been organizing the event since the first of February, coordinating participants and studying the war. “It’s been a very emotional study because the war is so depressing,” Melendez said.

To him and others, World War I made America the power it is today, ending years of European dominance and leading independence movements across the globe.

He said it also paved the way for future conflicts.

“We’re fighting in the countries we are now because of World War I,” Melendez said, citing the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916, often credited as creating borders in the Middle East that have resulted in conflict.

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Moscow-Pullman Daily News