Trending In Our News Feeds – Jodi Arias found guilty. A jury found Jodi Arias guilty of first-degree murder yesterday in the case of the killing of Travis Alexander, after four months of deliberation. The case has developed a cult following on social media and in person, as spectators would line up for hours for a seat at the trial. Authorities discovered Travis Alexander, Arias’ ex-boyfriend, dead in his Arizona home in June 2008. He had been shot, stabbed more than 20 times, and slit across the throat. As if the case wasn't bizarre enough, you can buy original Arias works of art online.
The jury will now decide whether to hand Arias the death penalty. After receiving the guilty verdict, Arias said: “I believe death is the ultimate freedom, so I'd rather just have my freedom as soon as I can get it.” She has been placed on suicide watch. If the jury decides against death, the judge, Sherry Stephens, will sentence Arias to life in prison with or without the option of parole. CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin says, “Now the odds, I think, shift somewhat in her favor, because it's a very different thing to sentence someone to die than to convict them.” However, criminal defense lawyer Tamara argues the incredibly violent nature of Alexander’s death will likely land Arias a death sentence.
Another factory tragedy strikes Bangladesh. A clothing factory in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka ignited in flames late last night, killing at least eight people, including the owner of the building. Meanwhile, the death toll in the collapse of the Rana Plaza clothing building has passed 900. In response to global pressure, the Bangladeshi government has shut down 18 clothing factories with unsafe conditions, but labor advocates call for more change.
Fortunately, there are signs that the clothing industry is willing to support workplace safety. The New York Times reports that major retailers, including Nike and Walmart, are developing an index to measure the labor and environmental impacts of their products. Nordstrom may provide information about products made in safe working conditions. Researchers at MIT and Harvard have found that shoppers, including bargain hunters, are willing to pay more for clothing made in safe factories. However, The Economist writes that change in Bangladesh is unlikely: The country’s trade unions are suppressed, government officials refuse to enforce building regulations, and about two-dozen factory owners hold seats in parliament. We hope that this powerful photo of a couple embracing in the rubble will be able to inspire change.
Senior diplomat gives emotional Benghazi testimony. Veteran diplomat Gregory Hicks provided nearly six hours of emotional testimony on the attack in Benghazi at a hearing in front of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on Wednesday. Hicks, the second-highest ranking U.S. official in Libya at the time of the attack, said the Obama administration failed its representatives in Libya by telling a Special Operations unit to stand down. He described a culture of aggression towards dissenters in the administration, claiming he was effectively demoted to desk duty for questioning the administration’s response to the attack. Public scrutiny following the Benghazi strike could potentially damage President Obama’s administration and hurt Hillary Clinton’s chances in a possible 2016 presidential run. The Washington Post has an excellent timeline of the Benghazi response, and tells you what was new in Hicks’ testimony. You can watch Hicks’ appearance in the House here.
Stephen Hawking boycotts Israel. World-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has announced he will boycott the “Facing Tomorrow” academic conference in Israel this June. The British Committee for the Universities of Palestine said Hawking decided to boycott the conference “based upon his knowledge of Palestine, and on the unanimous advice of his own academic contacts there.” Hawking had planned to deliver a speech criticizing Israeli treatment of Palestinians. PolicyMic pundit Manar H. challenges Hawking’s critics: When we falsely label academic boycotts of Israel as racist, we threaten the freedom of academic debate.
Status Updates – Reince Priebus writes for PolicyMic! In an exclusive op-ed for PolicyMic, the Chairman for the Republican National Committee writes, “Dear Millennials: President Obama is Failing You.” Priebus says Obama has continually let millennials down on every issue from healthcare to the economy. Make sure to read Priebus’ entire article, and tell him what you think in the comments section. He’ll respond to the most mic’d comment! Don’t forget to share the story on Facebook.
10 ways to master writing for the Web. PolicyMic’s superstar Feminism Editor Sam Meier wants to share her tips for writing engaging, viral content on the Web with you. Find out what the heck a “lede” is, why the thesis statement is your friend, and watch some awesome GIFs while you’re at it. Now that you’re a master of digital media, make sure to apply to our D.C. City Challenge and Summer Culture Skillshare.
Are you active in politics, art, or business? Let us know what you’re up to and we’ll feature you in this section!
Must Reads From PolicyMic – Did Charles Ramsey Go Viral Because We’re All a Little Racist? (Andrea Ayres-Deets, @missafayres) – Charles Ramsey became an overnight sensation after helping save three kidnapped women in Cleveland. But are we laughing with him, or at him?
[26 Mics, 55 Comments, 50 Shares]
Meghan McCain Calls Mark Sanford a Hypocrite, Gets Slammed On Twitter (Elizabeth Plank, @feministabulous) – Can conservatives support a candidate who cheated on his wife while denying gays the right to marry? You be the judge.
[16 Mics, 9 Comments, 34 Shares]
3 Most Insane Plans the CIA Has Ever Hatched (James Banks, @jamesbanks2287) – Who else but the CIA could have come up with these of these bizarre ideas?
[10 Mics, 1 Comments, 0 Shares]
The Bizarre Sleep Habits Of 8 Highly Successful People (Heather Price-Wright, @heatherwpw) – Common knowledge tells us most people need about eight hours of sleep a night, but these successful celebrities might prove that wisdom wrong with their surprising sleep habits.
[11 Mics, 9 Comments, 15 Shares]
Luigi Zingales: "There Is a Huge Potential in the U.S. Today For a Populist, Pro-Market Movement" (Sagar Jethani, @bluescreen) – Author and economist Luigi Zingales discusses the threats to American capitalism today.
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What We’re Sharing – You won’t believe what this Heritage Foundation author wrote in his dissertation (Washington Post).
How the Sierra Club learned to love immigration reform (Colorlines).
Looks like all that time you spend daydreaming isn’t a waste (Big Questions Online).
Rap’s elder statesman: “Hip hop has to learn to grow up” (AP).
Are “hot hands” in sports a real thing? (Well)
BONUS: Go inside the NBA’s new “teardrop” shot.
Check out what kind of house $5 million buys you across the U.S. (Business Insider).
11 reasons digital innovation is booming in Africa (Businessweek).
7 food practices banned in Europe that are A-O.K. in the U.S. (Mother Jones).
Dessert – John Krasinski and Jimmy Fallon face off in the greatest lip sync battle of all time.
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