The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

Oil futures crash in unprecedented plummet, pump prices stagnant

The coronavirus pandemic, which caused a global lockdown and caused the global economy to take a hard hit, has also contributed to a crash in oil prices. The slash in global oil cut prices so low that prices closed negative in April and sellers holding U.S. crude contracts were facing -$37 a barrel pricing.

Signs indicate that the oil market may not stabilize for months. American companies are now seeing that the market they are supplying is deflating at a rapid pace. Frank Verrastro, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said, “The supply-and-demand balance for oil is so out of whack that global demand cannot grow fast enough and suppliers can’t cut supply quickly enough to put things back in order.”


Relief coming to undocumented immigrants

California is the first state in the nation to launch a $125 million grant for undocumented immigrants during the coronavirus. Governor Gavin Newsom announced the $125 million relief effort on April 15. The proposal is to offer $500 cash grants to individuals who live here illegally, and the measure provides up to $1,000 for families.

Gov. Newsom said, “California is the most diverse state in the nation. Our diversity makes us stronger and more resilient. Every Californian, including our undocumented neighbors and friends, should know that California is here to support them during this crisis. We are all in this together.” Newsom stated that undocumented workers make up 10% of the California workforce, and they are overrepresented in providing essential services such as healthcare, food, and construction.


Fewer resources, same tuition

Since the coronavirus epidemic, colleges and universities across the nation have shifted classes online or closed campuses. Students are now hoping for some sort of refund and a discount toward tuition, however, some colleges and universities have other plans.

More than 200 institutions of higher learning have closed in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus. In addition to Sonoma State, some of the colleges that said they will refund students for unused room and board on a prorated basis include Harvard, Smith, Tufts, and Duke University.


Essential employees on the front line of pandemic protest unsafe conditions

With more coronavirus cases rising, a number of workers in grocery stores, delivery services, and warehouse operations have participated in a strike to demand better working conditions during the coronavirus pandemic.

Instacart, Amazon, and Whole Foods are gradually becoming essential resources by consumers due to the current situation. On March 30, Instacart workers conducted a national strike to demand hazard pay and better health protections.


CARES Act: cui bono?

Congress is set to bail out corporations that have avoided taxes and safety regulations with a $500 billion aid package. Airlines, hotels, cruise lines, coal mining companies and others that are tangled up in the coronavirus shutdowns are in line to receive aid packages, all included in a $2 trillion bill funded by taxpayers.

Many of these companies operated in ways before the current economic crisis that caused their current predicament, yet taxpayers are being asked to pay the price.


CIA ‘Vault 7’ leak trial ends in hung jury

A jury in New York has failed to reach a verdict on determining whether a former CIA employee, Joshua Schulte, gave hacking tool secrets to WikiLeaks.

John Schulte was a former CIA software engineer who allegedly leaked thousands of secret documents to Wikileaks. This leak is described to be the biggest in the CIA’s history. The documents appear to contain and describe the agency’s practices for hacking.


Record-breaking fine for generic drug maker

On March 2, the Department of Justice announced that Sandoz, a major generic pharmaceutical company, will pay a $195 million fine to the federal government for conspiring to fix prices and rig bids to curb competition for generic drugs.

The Justice Department says this is the largest fine they have imposed in a domestic antitrust case. Sandoz was charged with four counts of felony charges for conspiring to allocate customers, rig bids, and fix prices for generic drugs.


Unused gift cards piling up across America

Gift cards are an easy go-to gift with no hassle and are considered a win-win for both the buyer and recipient; however, many people have unused gift cards in their possession. According to a recent survey conducted by Bankrate Credit Cards, half of the population in the U.S. have unused gift cards with a combined value totaling more than $20 billion.

A survey of 2,600 Americans found that the average person is carrying around $167 in gift cards. Most people are quick to use the cards, as the survey indicated that 70% of all gift cards are redeemed within six months.


Monsanto held liable for cross-contamination

Salvador Fernandez, Staff Writer February 26, 2020

On Feb. 15, a federal jury determined that Monsanto and BASF were responsible for damages to a peach farm in Missouri, and the verdict ordered the companies to pay $265 million, including $15 million to Bader Farms and $250 million in punitive damages.

Bader Farms is one of the largest peach producers in Missouri. It is owned by Bill and Denise Bader who sued the giant companies for causing extensive damage to their orchards. The Baders argued that the weed killer dicamba drifted over to their orchards from neighboring farms, causing deterioration of their trees.


Sacred land being destroyed to build Trump’s wall

Salvador Fernandez, Staff Writer February 19, 2020

After much talk, Trump’s border wall is becoming a reality, even if it means destroying sacred Native American land in the process. Just this past week signs bearing “Blast Warning Signals” began appearing for the start of Trump’s border wall. Sacred Native American burial sites in the Arizona Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument are being threatened with destruction.


Less sleep causes more problems in college life

Salvador Fernandez, Staff Writer February 12, 2020

Getting enough sleep can be crucial for college students to succeed. Not getting enough sleep could potentially affect one’s lifestyle negatively. Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota introduced a program called the “Sleep Well Initiative” with the goal of helping students understand the importance of, while also providing tips for getting a better night’s rest. According to research, many college students do not consistently get a full eight hours of sleep each night. Students tend to stay up late usually because they like watching television, or they have to do homework.


Recycled roads: the new norm?

Salvador Fernandez, Staff Writer February 5, 2020

Plastic may no longer go directly into landfills, but into the roads we drive on.  In downtown Los Angeles there will be a street made from recycled plastic. The city will be able to grind up existing roads and replace them with sustainable products. According to officials, the plastic will make the street stronger and more suitable for driving than before. 

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