Top Stories FOR 2018 — COVER STORY

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Wow – 2017 was full of big headlines. Lots of change, and these developments are going to only expand in 2018. Here are the stories that your professors will be talking about in 2018:

Donald Trump
Love him or hate him, Trump has made it to his one-year anniversary as president in January 2018. And the Commander in Tweet has put a lot of ideas out there, some coming to fruition, some merely causing controversy or at least conversation.

Midterm Elections
In 2018, look for Trump to continue with some of the big ideas he had put forward in 2017, but he also needs to be more diplomatic. There are midterm elections for Congress and Trump’s Republicans can lose some seats. The Roy Moore upset loss in Alabama this past December proves that a Trump endorsement on its own doesn’t help a candidate – even in a Red State.

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North Korea
Leader Kim Jong-un’s North Korean military made some progress in 2017 with developing missiles that perhaps could reach the USA and other countries, such as South Korea and Japan, and some resolution will surely come in 2018. Even North Korean ally China is enacting some sanctions against the rogue state. This situation hopefully ends diplomatically.

Brick and Mortars
Look for some longstanding brick and mortar retailers to finally call it quits in 2018. Toys R Us declared bankruptcy in 2017 and saw sluggish Christmas sales this past year. Sears/Kmart also closed many stores and have been on the brink of crisis for a while. At the same time, virtual stores like Amazon are adding physical presences. They bought Whole Foods last year.

The Republican majority enacted major changes to income taxes in 2017 that take effect now. Some contend that these changes mostly help corporations, other say it simplifies taxes for average working folks and they should see some savings (at least in 2018 and 2019). In high tax states like New York, wealthier people lined up at town halls at the end of 2017 to pay their property taxes early, as property taxes over $10,000 will no longer be deductible under the new plan.

The United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union early in 2017. The details of the exit need to be hammered out this year and concluded by early 2019. The EU is akin to “the United States of Europe” and, as the UK is one of its major players, this is a major blow to the EU competing with the US and China economically.

This American tech company was seen as infallible but recent revelations show that the company was purposely sending out signals to throttle older phones. Critics say this was to coerce consumers to buy pricy new phones. The iPhone X debuted at $1000 at the end of last year. Look for class action suits to hit Apple in 2018. If you are an Apple product owner, maybe you’ll see some kind of make-good offer from the company.

Net Neutrality
This was a big story in 2017 as the FCC changed rules that will allow Internet service providers to control download speeds. This could affect certain sites and raise prices for premium services like Netflix. However, others feel that there’s nothing to worry about – the market will decide how smoothly the Internet runs, and competition will keep the corporations in check. In 2018, we’ll see how this is implemented.

Cryptocurrency like Bitcoins was a hot topic in 2017. The value of such money skyrocketed and then fell a good deal. Critics say Bitcoins are overvalued, as they are not physical or backed by a government. Some people also use the currency to make illegal purchases or to avoid taxes. Will 2018 be when this currency is legitimized or will there be a big crash?

Sexual Harassment
Hollywood is currently going through a sexual abuse crisis as more and more victims come forward and bravely say they were propositioned – or worse – by producers and directors in exchange for their acting livelihood. In 2017, there were scores of revelations against industry leaders including Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Matt Lauer and many others. Look for more revelations in 2018 and for some definitive legal action.

Russian Hacking
Last year, FBI Director Robert Muller was appointed to investigate Russian hacking into the 2016 election. Look for his findings this year.

Mass Shootings
Domestic terrorism, including Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay massacre that killed 59 and injured over 500, took a turn for the worse in 2017. Look for the topic of gun control to affect some key congressional races in 2018.

Free College
The Excelsior Scholarship hit midway through 2017 and some students were able to meet the deadlines and get “free” tuition at SUNY and CUNY colleges this past fall. This year Excelsior will be more fully implemented, and the maximum income ceiling rises to $110,000, so we should see enrollment booms at our state’s public colleges while private colleges continue to see declines. Perhaps one or two private colleges may consider shuttering.

Marijuana Legalization
Massachusetts became the first state in the Northeast to legalize marijuana sales for recreational use in 2017. Shops are now allowed to open in the state in 2018. Look for that state to get some pot tourists from neighboring states and nearby states to consider legalization, as well.

Opioid Crisis
Meanwhile, the rise in opioid use is causing more and more deaths, especially in places hit harder by economic downturns. Look for legislation in this coming year to address this issue.

“Fake News”
Facebook and other digital services haven’t gotten any better in their promulgation of so-called clickbait. Meanwhile, Trump continues to bait legitimate media by calling them “fake news.” Look for a serious conversation on the topic in 2018. Also, look for more print newspapers – as The Village Voice did recently – to give up.

Israel and the Middle East
Trump declared that the US will move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This is controversial in that Muslims see this as disrespecting their symbolic rights to the holy city, which traditionally has had not just Jewish but also Islamic and Christian presences there. Israel advocates laud the move as legitimizing the rights for a Jewish state to exist. Will there be more terrorism in the region in 2018 or better diplomacy?

OK, you’ve read this far. Here are some fun predictions: Super Bowl winner – Pittsburgh Steelers. World Series – Yankees! Best Movie – “Dunkirk.”

In any case, make it your resolution to stay abreast of the news in 2018. Your professors will be impressed! Have a happy New Year!