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HC Wake-Up Call: Bomb Threats Reported Across the Country, Melania Trump Calls Journalists ‘Opportunists’ & CA Proposes Text Message Tax

Good morning, Her Campus! With a break-neck news cycle, there is no possible way for you to stay on top of every story that comes across your feeds—we’re all only human, after all.

But, life comes at you fast. So grab a cup of coffee and settle in for this quick and dirty guide to stories you might’ve been sleeping on (like, literally. It’s early.)

Bomb Threats Reported Across the U.S.

Dozens of institutions and business across the United States received bomb threats Thursday afternoon, prompting evacuations.

It is unclear at this time if the threats, which were received in San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Miami, Washington D.C. and other locations across the country, are connected, CNN reports. The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said they are aware of the threats and are working with law enforcement on the matter.

“As always, we encourage the public to remain vigilant and to promptly report suspicious activities which could represent a threat to public safety,” the FBI said.

According to ABC News, the New York Police Department said it was monitoring multiple bomb threats received throughout the city, but deemed the threats to be not credible.

Massachusetts State Police are also monitoring multiple bomb threats emailed to businesses throughout the state.

An Oklahoma business received an email demanding $20,000 via Bitcoin or an explosive device would detonate.

screenshot obtained by ABC News

The email was similar to an email warning shared on social media by the Cedar Rapids, Iowa Police Department. “The Police Department has found NO CREDIBLE EVIDENCE that these emails are authentic,” the Cedar Rapids Police Department said. “It appears to be a robo-email that has been sent throughout the area hoping to scam businesses out of money. We have also received information that businesses in surrounding counties may have also received this email.”

The email was similar to other threats, including a threat received by The Bronx High School of Science in New York City. A NYPD spokesperson told ABC News the school received a threat that a pipe bomb would explode in 20 minutes if $20,000 bitcoin payment did not occur.

Bombs threats were also received in the Chicago area, including Aurora City Hall, the Aurora Library and Rush Copley Medical Center in Aurora.

According to CNN, email threats were also made in Vancouver, Ottawa and Toronto, Canada.

Melania Trump Calls Journalists “Opportunists”

First Lady Melania Trump said the hardest thing about her time in the White House is seeing “opportunists” use her family name to advance their careers, all the while not accurately recording history, NBC News reports.

In an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, the first lady rebuked journalists, saying, “I’d say the opportunists who are using my name or my family name to advance themselves, from comedians to journalists to performers, book writers.”

“It doesn’t hurt,” Mrs. Trump added. “The problem is they’re writing the history and it’s not correct.”

Mrs. Trump’s criticism came after Hannity prompted her to share the “hardest thing” she has experienced as first lady, The Huffington Post reports.

In regards to her husband, the first lady said she doesn’t always “agree with his tone and I tell him that.”

“So as I said before, sometimes he listens and sometimes he doesn’t,” Mrs. Trump said. “I said, ‘You know, I don’t think you need to tweet that out.’ But in the end it’s his decision, he knows the consequences. He is an adult, but he is a fighter.”

In the interview, which was conducted on the U.S.S George H.W. Bush after she met with service members, the first lady said she does “what I think is right.”

“I want to stay true to myself and what to do is right and what is wrong and live meaningful life every day,” she said.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Trump’s husband, who has had quite a bitter relationships with journalists, reportedly cancelled this year’s White House holiday press party.

California Proposes Text Message Tax, But New FCC Ruling Could Block It

California regulators want to tax text messages to increase funds for programs that to help bring connectivity to underserved residents.

The California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) new surcharge wouldn’t tax per text message, but rather implement a monthly fee on cellular phone bills that have fees for text messages.

The structure of the charge would vary from carrier to carrier.

The 52-page proposal by CPUC Commissioner Carla J. Peterman lays out the details of the measure, and notes that California’s Public Purpose Program budget is increasing while incoming monies are dwindling, CNN reports.

The commission, which is set to vote on the measure on January 10th, 2019, is facing opposition from groups like the CTIA, which represents AT&T Mobility, Sprint and T-Mobile.

However, a new Federal Communication Commission (FCC) ruling could complicate the proposal. According to ABC News, the FCC ruled that text messages are classified as “information services” and the government can only impose a tax on texts that are classified as “telecommunication services.”

In a legal filing submitted Wednesday, the CTIA argued that if text messages are considered “information services,” then the CPUC can’t implement a surcharge otherwise it would violate federal law.

The CTIA also argued that the measure would create inequity in the industry, with services like WhatsApp, Facebook’s Messenger and iMessage not falling under the proposed surcharge, CNN reports.

“Subjecting wireless carriers’ text messaging traffic to surcharges that cannot be applied to the lion’s share of messaging traffic and messaging providers is illogical, anticompetitive, and harmful to consumers,” the CTIA said in the filing.

Following the FCC’s ruling, the CPUC could change its proposal before the vote next month.

What to look out for…

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Emily has also authored political articles for Restless Magazine and numerous inspirational and empowering pieces for Project Wednesday. When she isn't writing, she can be found flying off to her next adventure, attempting new recipes, listening to one of her infinite playlists on Spotify, or cuddling with her dogs. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter @emilycveith.