Weekly Roundup (4/05-4/11)


Japan has witnessed its earliest cherry blossom bloom in over 1,200 years. This year’s bloom was the second-earliest bloom ever recorded. The iconic Sakura blooms are temperature sensitive. Scientists warn that these early blooms are the result of seasonal disruptions brought on by climate change and that they can have devastating effects on ecosystems and economies. Major League Baseball has joined Delta Air Lines, Home Depot, and Coca-Cola, among other companies, in denouncing Georgia’s recent controversial voter suppression laws that make it harder for people of color in the state to cast their votes. It was announced that as part of their boycott of the state, the All-Star Game will now take place in Denver instead of Atlanta. US Capitol officer, William Evans, was killed after a car was rammed into a Capitol security checkpoint. The suspect, Noah Green was shot and killed by law enforcement after getting out of his vehicle with a knife. One other officer was injured but is now in stable condition. Green’s motives are not known at this time.


The families of refugees are calling on President Biden to follow through with his campaign promises. AP NEWS reports “The families of refugees and their supporters, including 124 elected officials, sent President Joe Biden a letter Tuesday urging him to make good on his promise to boost refugee admissions to the United States during the current budget year, replacing the record low number set by his predecessor.” Expect heightened levels of political discourse later this month as DC statehood and the gender wage gap are making their way to the House of Representatives. In what came as a shock to some, Jeff Bezos (outgoing CEO of Amazon) issued his support for raising the corporate tax to invest in American infrastructure. 


The head of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has announced that a more easily spread COVID-19 variant first identified in England last year has now become the dominant strain in the U.S. Over the past week, Argentina saw a rise in COVID-19 cases following a long holiday weekend. During the holy week holiday, people were allowed to travel without a negative PCR test or mandatory quarantine time. The variant is known as B.1.1.7 and spread across the United Kingdom and Ireland beginning last fall. President Biden introduced a $2 trillion plan to overhaul and upgrade the nation’s infrastructure. Biden said that it could create the “most resilient, innovative economy in the world. It is not a plan that tinkers around the edges. It is a once-in-a-generation investment in America.”


President Biden released a statement on gun violence, calling the epidemic of recent mass shootings “an international embarrassment.” He is issuing a crackdown on “ghost guns” or firearms made from kits. A medical expert by the name of Dr. Martin Topin testified in Derek Chauvin’s trial claiming that George Floyd died due to lack of oxygen, not the fentanyl. Based on the telltale kick of Chavin’s leg, George Floyd appeared to have suffered brain damage 5 minutes into the act of choking before releasing his last breath 3 minutes later. Phillip Adams, a former NFL player is the confirmed suspect of a crime involving the murder of 5 people including 2 small children as well as his own suicide. India recorded over 126,000 new cases (a record only surpassed by the US) and cases continue to rise exponentially. Violence erupted in Ireland after arguments spurred over the Brexit trade agreement involving pro-British loyalists and pro-Irish nationalists. Many police officers have been injured and vehicles/properties have been damaged through acts of civil unrest.


Michigan is facing its greatest surge of coronavirus cases since mid-November. The rise in cases is attributed to the B-117 variant, also known as the U.K variant, which is more deadly and transmissible compared to the original strand. Hospitals across Michigan reported a 30% increase in hospital admissions. In spite of this, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer refuses to pass new mandates. Instead, she would like to rely on common sense and a “team effort.” During a traffic stop last December, two police officers in Windsor, Virginia used excessive force on an Army officer, who was Black and Latino. 2nd Lt. Caron Nazario filed a lawsuit seeking $1 million in compensatory damages claiming a violation of First and Fourth Amendment rights. Bodycam footage shows that the two officers pointed guns at Nazario, pepper-sprayed him, and pushed him to the ground. Liliana Carrillo, 30, was arrested for the brutal murder of her three children in their Los Angeles apartment. Carrillo appeared to be in a custody battle with Eric Denton over their three children, aged 3, 2, and six months. The children’s grandmother returned from work to find the bodies of the three children and the mother gone


Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson vetoed the state’s newly introduced anti-trans healthcare bill HSB1570, but the House quickly overturned his decision. The new law bans cross-gender hormone therapy, a form of gender-affirming healthcare, for trans people under the age of 18. It makes an exception for intersex individuals and those with hormonal medical conditions. Several medical groups, such as the American Psychological Association, have spoken against HSB1570. In response to recent hate crimes against Asian-Americans, some crowdfunding efforts in the Bay Area and the East Coast have been paying for trips on ride-sharing apps for community members who feel unsafe walking or taking transit home. One year after Breonna Taylor’s unlawful killing by a police officer in her own home, the state of Kentucky has limited use of no-knock warrants. The law only permits no-knock warrants to be used if there is “clear and convincing evidence” that proves the suspect as a violent offender. 


Following a puzzling blackout at an Iranian nuclear base, Iran is calling the occurrence an act of “nuclear terrorism” and has shifted blame to Israel. No one has yet to take responsibility. Protests have now commenced in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. This comes after a twenty-year-old black man, Daunte Wright, was fatally shot by a police officer at a traffic stop. In response, the Brooklyn Center mayor has announced a 6 pm curfew. This comes at a time of heightening political tension as the murder trial of Derek Chauvin continues in Minneapolis. A new model coming out of the University of Washington estimates the expected amount of Covid-19 related deaths in relation to the percentage of Americans that wear masks. “In the worst-case scenario, in which fully vaccinated people return to pre-pandemic levels of mobility, the prediction grows to 697,573.

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