Midday Roundup: Federal judge upholds North Carolina voter ID law
by Leigh Jones
Posted 4/26/16, 11:56 am
Legal limits. A federal judge ruled yesterday that North Carolina’s law requiring voters to show a picture ID at the polls is constitutional. “In sum, plaintiffs have failed to show that any North Carolinian who wishes to vote faces anything other than the ‘usual burdens of voting,’” U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder wrote. Challengers backed by the U.S. Justice Department argued the law put an unfair burden on minority voters, who are more likely than whites to lack ID cards. Republicans in several states who favor voter ID laws say they are necessary to prevent fraud at the polls. “This ruling further affirms that requiring a photo ID in order to vote is not only common-sense, it’s constitutional,” Gov. Pat McCrory said. Democrats claim the laws target voters who typically don’t vote for Republicans. The plaintiffs plan to appeal.
Remembering Chernobyl. Ukrainians marked the 30th anniversary today of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, with ceremonies near the haunting disaster site and in towns and villages that took in evacuees. “It’s with an everlasting pain in our hearts that we remember those who lost their lives to fight nuclear death,” said President Petro Poroshenko. The April 26, 1986, explosion at the then-Russian facility is the worst nuclear disaster the world has ever seen. Casualty figures are still only estimates, but at least 9,000 people are thought to have died as a direct result of the accident, according to the World Health Organization. Many more suffered long-term health problems from exposure to high levels of radiation. In a message to the roughly 600,000 people who helped clean up the disaster, Russian President Vladimir Putin called Chernobyl “a grave lesson for all of mankind.”
Activists murdered. A terror group linked to al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility for killing two activists in Bangladesh on Monday, including one man who worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development. Ansar-al Islam, the Bangladeshi branch of al Qaeda on the Indian subcontinent, took to Twitter today to laud the “blessed attack.” The militants said the men were killed because they were “pioneers of practicing and promoting homosexuality in Bangladesh” and were “working day and night to promote homosexuality … with the help of their masters, the U.S. crusaders and its Indian allies.” Xulhaz Mannan worked for USAID and also published Bangladesh’s first gay rights magazine, Roopbaan. His friend, theater actor Tanay Majumder, also was killed. According to witnesses, at least five attackers posed as courier service employees to gain access to Mannan’s apartment building. No one has been arrested in the attack.
Not an improvement. Frito Lay is taking its iconic Cracker Jack brand into the 21st century, and not all fans are happy about it. The company announced Monday it would phase out the prize inside the red-and-white-striped bags and boxes of caramel popcorn in favor of a QR code that can be scanned to access a downloadable mobile game. “The new Prize Inside allows families to enjoy their favorite baseball moments through a new one-of-a-kind mobile experience, leveraging digital technology to bring the iconic Prize Inside to life,” the company said in a statement. Fans aren’t buying it—literally. “People check out your local popcorn company, they might have something similar,” one fan wrote on the Cracker Jack Facebook page. “Give your business to them. I know I will, and in my house popcorn is the #1 snack.”
Leigh is the news editor for WORLD Radio. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate who spent six years as a newspaper reporter in Texas before joining WORLD. Leigh also co-wrote Infinite Monster: Courage, Hope, and Resurrection in the Face of One of America's Largest Hurricanes. She resides with her husband and daughter in Houston, Texas.