Speaking out. A jury on Thursday found in favor of a professor who says the University of North Carolina at Wilmington retaliated against him for opinions he expressed in his nationally syndicated column. Criminology professor Mike Adams joined the university as an assistant professor in 1993. His conversion to Christianity in 2000 impacted his views on political and social issues. The university then subjected Adams to a campaign of academic persecution, according to the Alliance Defending Freedom, which helped represent Adams in his lawsuit. Ultimately, he was denied a full professorship despite an award-winning record of teaching, research, and service. “We are grateful that the jury today reaffirmed the fundamental principle that universities are a marketplace of ideas, not a place where professors face retaliation for having a different view than university officials,” said Travis Barham, staff counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom. “As the jury decided, disagreeing with an accomplished professor’s religious and political views is no grounds for denying him a promotion.”
Tweet on. Millions of social media users suddenly care about corruption and scandal in Turkey, which has attempted to block Twitter in its country. According to The Washington Post, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, frustrated by the public airing of wiretaps that expose corruption in his administration, said Thursday night, “We’ll eradicate Twitter. I don’t care what the international community says. Everyone will witness the power of the Turkish Republic.” Erdogan’s heavy-handedness quickly backfired. Savvy tweeters in Turkey figured out work-arounds, partly aided by the @policy account on Twitter itself. The hashtags #TwitterisblockedinTurkey and #ErdoganblockedTwitter have reached worldwide trend status on Twitter since the ban took effect.
Spousal diplomacy. First lady Michelle Obama and her daughters kicked off a weeklong visit to China today. A formal meeting between Mrs. Obama and President Xi Jinping , in the company of Xi's wife, Peng Liyuan, and Mrs. Obama’s two daughters and mother, took place in a state guesthouse after the first lady toured a Beijing high school and the former Imperial Palace. Her visit to China is being viewed as a prelude to an upcoming meeting between Xi and President Obama at a nuclear security summit in The Hague, when more thorny issues will be raised.
Cold War II? Ukraine’s new prime minister pulled his nation closer to the West by signing a political-association agreement with the European Union. The same deal touched off Ukraine's political crisis when President Viktor Yanukovych rejected it in November, igniting months of protests that drove him from office and sent him fleeing to Russia. “Russia decided to actually impose a new post-Cold War order and revise the results of the Second World War,” Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said at the signing in Brussels. “The best way to contain Russia is to impose real economic leverage over them.” The latest sanctions by the United States and the EU appear to have touched the Russian economy. International rating agencies downgraded Russia's outlook and Russian stocks tumbled today.