By ARJAN BATTH
North Korea, or the so-called “hermit kingdom” has seen the PyeongChang Olympic games as their chance to change perceptions of their country as a backwards and isolated nation. Deemed “the army of beauties”, 229 women have been chosen as the North Korean intermediary to the west. This cheer squad can be seen performing choreographed and synchronized chants in exact unison.
While some see them as harmless peacemakers, others, like Mike Pence, are wary of these performers and of falling for North Korea’s “propaganda”, and as a way for North Korea to normalize their country and its citizens. Some see them as a “old-fashioned” and isolated to Western ideas. At 1 hockey game, for example, while a man proposed to his girlfriend on the kiss cam, they continued to cheer, while the rest of the stadium erupted in cheer. These instances highlight the isolation of North Koreans to the rest of the world and the continuing differences culturally, between North and South Koreans. Additionally during a game they once cheered “My Home Town”, referring to the old Korean song “Spring Season of My Hometown.” People see this as North Korea trying to trick the west as being benign and humane. People may also be reminded of the corruption and concentrated wealth in North Korean society because each of these women are chosen from strict criteria of family ranking and height. A woman is unlikely to defect as each one comes from an aristocratic family and is allegiant to the government.
While they are a symbol of nationalism and strength in North Korea, their symbol in the Olympics has become one of unification and peace against the fractured Koreas. The cheer squad supports the unified Korea team that has come under a joint flags for the games as a display of reconciliation. This is not the first time “the army of beauties” has made their appearance. Most recently, they attended the Asian Athletic Championships in 2005. Even though this isn’t the first time the world has seen them, many people and journalists are eager to catch a glimpse and ask them about their lives in North Korea. Unfortunately, they are under tight control and do not interact with others.
Time will only tell if the cheer squad will change the world’s perception as one of the most isolated places on the face of the planet.
By Devin Prado
Redmond Gerard is a United States olympic snowboarder. He won the U.S. their first gold medal of 2018 in the Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle event. Gerard is only 17 years old and hails from Silverthorne, Colorado. He is the youngest ever to win a U.S gold medal in snowboarding. When interviewed about his big day, he commented about waking up late for the big day because he stayed awake into the early hours watching a television show. He also happened to lose his jacket on the big day so it was one hectic and assumably stressful morning for him. Nonetheless, he was able to perform well and achieve the highest score.
By JUSTIN EVANS
More than 100 al-Shabaab radicals were killed Tuesday in a US airstrike on a camp in Somalia, US Africa Command said in a statement, the current in a series of strikes against the al-Qaeda-affiliated group and ISIS fighters in the country that is war-torn. The strike on an al-Shabaab training camp was carried out by a manned aircraft, according to a US defense official.
Africa Command, which supervises US troops on the continent, said it took place 125 miles northwest of the capital of Mogadishu. US Defense officials told CNN about the strike earlier on Tuesday.
The Defense Department now has 500 personnel in Somalia including military, civilians and contractors, more than double the 200 personnel that had been reported to be in Somalia in March 2017, according to US Africa Command.
US troops have initially operated in Somalia to provide training and assistance for local forces. But US special operations forces also continue to rotate in and out of Somalia, conducting counter terrorism operations according to defense officials.
Early November saw an increase in US airstrikes in Somalia. Africa Command and the Pentagon claim the series of airstrikes are simply due to the ability to identify targets and not as a direct result of a number of recent immense deadly suicide attacks in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, including a double truck bomb attack in October that killed hundreds. “We’ve always stressed the importance of putting pressure on the network,” said Samantha Reho, an Africa Command spokesperson. “The opportunities presented themselves with the right conditions and are purely coincidence.”
The increase in strikes in Somalia as well as Libya and Yemen, is driven by the intelligence that is gathered, according to officials: “I think as we constantly assess the battle space, when targets present themselves that are actionable and within the law of armed conflict, we’re going to strike those targets,” Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, director of the Joint Staff told reporters.
There have been 29 strikes recognized by the Pentagon so far this year. Seven of those strikes took place between November 9 and 14.
The Miners are HOT to say the least, going into the CIF Central Section Boys Soccer playoffs. The Miners are coming off of a WYL championship and being a state renown school for goals scored and goals not scored against.
The Miners will go into playoffs with a first round bye, not playing until they face the Tulare Western Mustangs, at home on Thursday,15th.
El Diamante has the hot seed, being seeded at number one going into the intense playoffs. The Miners have an amazing shot of winning the valley title, being the first team in school history.
The Miners will have a tough road ahead playing some fierce competition, but the team does have what it takes to make it out with a ring on their fingers. The Miners need to keep the outstanding defence and the hot legs scoring goals, and they will be just fine.
by COOPER ROSS
On Sunday, February 11th, the NCAA Tournament committee released their “if the season ended today” seedings for the big dance. Sixteen teams seeds were announced (top four teams in each region) with the 1s being: Virginia, Purdue, Villanova, and Xavier. These seedings dropped the day after two of these 1s lost; Virginia to unranked Virginia Tech in Charlottesville and Purdue’s second loss in a row, to Ohio St. and Michigan St. The biggest surprise for many was Michigan St. falling to a three seed after upsetting Purdue and being one game back of Ohio St in the Big Ten. The team with perhaps the most popular player in all of college basketball, Oklahoma, stunned bracketologists by being named the 16th overall seed. OK and Trae Young have lost 6 of their last 8 games including losses to Iowa St. and Texas, the two worst teams in the Big 12. In the eyes of many, Trae Young has not lived up to the high expectations that the media has given him over the past months and a half. He still remains as the favorite for NPOY, but with players like Keita Bates-Diop and Mikal Bridges leading their teams to big wins and stepping up in bigger games Young is starting to fall out of fashion.
By Jorge Salazar
London Airport was closed on February 11, 2018 due to construction workers finding a World War 2 bomb. After the unexploded bomb was discovered, the airport canceled all flights and put an exclusion zone in place. The airport is hoping to reopen to the public on the 13th of February, according to the airports twitter account. They even encouraged passengers to contact their airlines for more information.
The bomb was confirmed as a “500 kg tapered end shell measuring approximately 1.5 meters”, according to the Royal Navy and Metropolitan Police. They have also confirmed that the bomb would be removed within a day.
The exclusion zone was set to 214-meters by the Royal Navy to “ensure that the ordinance can be safely dealt with whilst limiting any risk to the public”, the police statement said. Because of such a big exclusion zone, officers are going to the homes of residents near it letting them know of any safety arrangements.
London City is an international airport that is located in Newham (East London). During World War 2 this area was heavily industrial and highly populated. Which may have been a reason on why the bomb was in this location.
The Miners took on the Lemoore Tigers in a WYL matchup on Tuesday, February 6, 2018 in Lemoore. The Miners took a 56-52 win keeping the Miners in the playoff hunt, fighting for the last few seeds.
The Miners played an amazing team game looking almost like the Spurs with amazing ball movement and defense. The Miners were yet again led by Senior Jake Gonzales and Junior Lorenzo Quintana. The game was neck and neck throughout the battle, but the Miners managed to hold on to keep the playoff dream alive.
The Miners will take on the Hanford West Huskies next on Thursday, February 8, 2018 at the Mine Shaft. The Miners will need to win out to keep the dream alive for their rocky season. Maybe the Miners can pull a valley run, who knows? We will just have to wait and cheer on the Miners, as they attempt to do the difficult.
By JENESSA SANCHEZ
On Friday February 9th, Visalia police were called out to Peter Perkens Flower Shop where a nude, homeless man was acting very erratic. When officers arrived they identified the man as 48-year-old Shane Masters. Officers were able to calm Masters down and convince him to put his clothes on.
As officers attempted to detain Masters he fought back. Officers and Masters ended up on the ground and Masters continued to fight back, but was finally handcuffed. He was booked into Tulare County Pretrial Facility on resisting arrest. His bail was set at $25,000.
by COOPER ROSS
On Saturday, February 4th, The St. John’s Red Storm (0-11 in the Big East) beat the Duke Blue Devils by the score of 81-77 in the Mecca, Madison Square Garden. When the lights are the brightest, arguably the most talented team in college basketball did not show up. New York’s very own Shamorie Ponds dropped 33 points on 23 shots and lead his team in rebounds with Cousy Award contender Trevon Duval being his primary defender. Senior Grayson Allen never came off the court and only put up 7 points while shooting 1-7 from the field. Coming into the season Grayson came back for his senior year and some expected him to enter the leadership role on a team starting four freshman. Anybody not living in Krzyzewskiville knew that Allen is not fit for this role because of his constant in game antics such as tripping players and throwing tantrums on the bench. Star freshman and number one recruit Marvin Bagley III froze in the final two minutes when his team needed him most. St. John’s is tasked with facing the number one team in the country, Villanova, on the 7th and looking to win their first Big East game of the year.
by KIERYN RUBY
Last Wednesday, four El Diamante athletes signed their letters of intent to their respective colleges. The gym was packed with families and lots of balloons. Tyler Esteves signed to UC Merced for soccer. Lauren Hooyer signed to UC Davis for water polo. Mariah Martinez signed to Jamestown for softball. Drake Beno signed to Ithaca College for football. The athletic director, Mr.Thompkins, started off the event acknowledging the student’s hard work and perseverance. He then read a bio for each athlete which had their sport history and quotes from all of their coaches. After that, each athlete individually said their thank you’s and their favorite memory from their sport. Each athlete got a huge cookie cake with their college logos on them as a gift from El D.