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The Week in 5

Voters in Hollywood line up as the polls open at David Park Community Center Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. (Susan Stocker/Sun Sentinel/TNS)

By Jack Hervela

Along with Halloween, this past week saw trials, murders and promising reports. The Department of Justice uncovered Chinese State outlets stealing trade secrets, threatening the positive employment and payroll report released by the Department of Labor. While Kent County is estimating high voter turnout, Native Americans in North Dakota remain locked in debate for the ability to vote. Aside from the elections, the end of a not-so-glamorous saga culminated when a notorious Boston crime boss was found dead in his prison cell.

Chinese companies indicted by Department of Justice

One state-run Chinese company, three individuals and a Taiwanese corporation were indicted with economic espionage Thursday by the Department of Justice.

“I am announcing that a grand jury in San Francisco has returned a multi-defendant indictment alleging economic espionage on the part of a state-owned Chinese company, a Taiwanese company, and three Taiwan individuals for an alleged scheme to steal trade secrets from Micron, an Idaho-based semi-conductor company,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions while announcing the indictments.

Micron has remained an international leader in semi-conductor research and advanced memory storage devices, most notably dynamic random access memory, or DRAM for short.

According to a Department of Justice press release, the People’s Republic of China did not previously produce any DRAM technology, even claiming it to be, “a national economic priority.”

All criminal defendants are innocent until proven guilty, albeit 15-year prison sentences and $5 million in fines face each party if found guilty.

For an updated account with links to Sessions’ statement, head over to Fortune.

Economic upswing supported by new unemployment report

According to data released this week, American workers saw payroll increase by 3.1 percent from last year while the unemployment rate holds steady at 3.7 percent.

The unemployment rate reflects a 48-year low, reflecting a growing economy and workforce.

According to a Bloomberg Business report, “Nonfarm payrolls rose 250,000 after a downwardly revised 118,000 gain,” with an additional Bloomberg survey estimating 200,000 new jobs to come.

Heading into midterm elections, these numbers bolster Republican promises made toward helping the economy, a cornerstone of President Donald Trump’s campaign.

Native Americans fight for voting equality in North Dakota

With midterms looming ever close, Native Americans in North Dakota find themselves scrambling for equal representation.

Under a law stating North Dakota residents must hold a residential address to vote, Native Americans find difficulty considering most reservations do not hold such addresses.

Federal Judge Daniel L. Hovland rejected a lawsuit filed by the Campaign Legal Center and the Native American Rights Fund Thursday.

The lawsuit expressed that while those living on reservations can obtain a residential address through local bureaucratic steps, most still found difficulty having these new address respected and upheld when registering to vote.

“Federal courts are unanimous in their judgment that it is highly important to preserve the status quo when elections are fast approaching,” Hovland said, turning down the lawsuit due to it being filed Tuesday, Oct. 30, a week before elections.

Hovland did remain open to re-visiting the case after the elections, yet remained firm in his decision to alleviate otherwise, “mass confusion.”

The New York Times published an in-depth article on the lawsuit along with further sources for understanding the issue, found here.

Record voter turnout expected in Kent County

Kent County expects 70 percent of registered voters to engage in Tuesday’s election, rivaling a 69 percent voter turnout during the 2016 presidential election.

This would account for around 315,000 people, far ahead of the 43 percent turnout from the 2014 midterm elections.

“If the turnout is as expected, it would be unmatched by any Kent County gubernatorial election in recent history,” statedan article published Wednesday, Oct. 31 on MLive.

Voter turnout around the state is also looking to be high, again rivaling an over 3-million person turnout in 2006.

“I think there’s certain proposals on the ballot that are igniting people, and it goes along with the political landscape,” stated Kent County elections coordinator Gerrid Uzarski in the same MLive article.

Additional information for voting can be found online through Michigan’s Secretary of State, here.

Notorious mob-boss dead at 89

Infamous 89-year-old Boston crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger was found fatally beaten in his prison cell early Tuesday, Oct. 30.

Bulger was being housed in a West Virginia prison, still serving the first of two life sentences.

For 16 years Bulger outran authorities, ending up on the FBI Most Wanted list and was finally captured in 2013.

Committing heinous crimes in South Boston near the end of the 20th century, Bulger headed an Irish mob, garnering him notoriety and legends exploited through movie, television and books.

Bulger was convicted of 11 murders, although urban legend skews the number more towards 20.

Through backhand informant deals against the mafia, Bulger was able to stay in relatively good standing with authorities while providing back to his South Boston neighborhood.

Two fellow inmates are now under investigation for the murder of Bulger. Updated information surrounding the murder and Bulger’s history can be found here.  

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