5 Things More Important Than Donald Trump's Meeting With Kanye West

While Kanye West trends, more important news is breaking all over the world.

This morning, famous hip-hop artist Kanye West met with president-elect Trump inside Trump Tower. Within minutes, it was the No. 1 trending item on Twitter.

But drowned out by the news of West and Trump meeting were some more important and presumably more newsworthy events. Below, we've aggregated some of the biggest headlines from Tuesday and earlier this week, stories we believe deserve more of our attention than a meeting between two self-described old friends.


1. Rebels reportedly pledged to withdraw from Aleppo.

While West and Trump were meeting, a humanitarian crisis continued to unfold in Syria. This morning, activists and civilians began sending out goodbyes and prayers over social media after government-backed forces got a stranglehold on east Aleppo, and rebels pledged to withdraw.

2. Donald Trump announced his choice for secretary of state.

This morning, president-elect Trump named Rex Tillerson, the CEO of Exxon Mobil, as his secretary of state.

The pick comes with some nuanced criticism and cheers, as most political appointments do. Some on the left who are concerned with Trump's friendliness towards Vladimir Putin and alleged Russian hacking during the election have pointed out Tillerson's close ties to Russia. In fact, Tillerson once helped secure a $500 million deal with an oil company that Putin owns. That same deal, and his past work in the oil industry, raise concerns about Tillerson's conflicts of interest. 

On the other hand, some of Trump's most passionate supporters have been critical of Tillerson's pro-immigrant and globalist stances, two points that Trump ran hardline against during his campaign. "We must embrace the free flow of energy, capital, and human talent across oceans and borders," Tillerson once said. He has also repeatedly acknowledged the existence of climate change and the need to address it.

Tillerson has to be approved by the Senate before assuming the position of secretary of state. 

3. Wealthy Americans took up the battle against climate change.

Speaking of climate change, a very, very rich group Americans just declared that they are prepared to do what it takes to solve the crisis. Bill Gates and a group of investors have launched the Breakthrough Energy Ventures fund, which will come into the market with $1 billion on hand. The fund has a 20-year duration and the group of investors involved are worth $170 billion together.

Their goal, ultimately, is to help facilitate investment in clean energy innovation. 

"Anything that leads to cheap, clean, reliable energy we're open-minded to," Gates told Quartz

After speaking with president-elect Trump, Gates echoed a similar sentiment, saying Trump had an opportunity to establish "American leadership through innovation," according to CNBC.

Their goals go beyond just energy, though. They want to innovate in the agricultural space, in manufacturing and in the architecture of buildings. That, on top of reworking electricity and transportation, could mean big things for clean energy in the future. 

4. Protests broke out against Ohio heartbeat abortion bill.

In a matter of days, Ohio legislature passed two draconian abortion bills.

The first slipped a ban on abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected into a wholly unrelated bill, and the second passed another 20-week ban on abortion days later. The fetal heartbeat bill has been vetoed, potentially based on concerns over its constitutionality, but the 20-week ban remains in place.

5. Congress passed a massive bill that may address opioid crisis.

In recent years, it's a been a rare sight to see Republicans and Democrats come together on an issue. Their inactivity and partisan differences have received a lot of criticism from Americans. But last week, they succeeded in passing the 21st Century Cures Act.

As we reported yesterday, this bill has huge implications in the battle against the opioid addiction epidemic sweeping across America. More than one billion dollars will be split up between the states so they can help improve treatment and law enforcement when dealing with addiction. 

"It's a really important continuation of the policy development that legitimizes substance use disorder (SUD) as a healthcare disease that needs serious treatment," Marvin Ventrell, the executive director of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP), told A Plus. "A billion dollars over the course of two years specifically for SUD is huge."

If the money is spent wisely, it could mean that American cities who have been hit hardest by the opioid crisis see a major drop in addiction rates.

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