Weekly RoundUp (5/10-5/16 )


The Al-Aqsa mosque in East Jerusalem was stormed by Israeli forces during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that rules Gaza, has called for a new uprising and fired multiple rockets at Jerusalem and southern Israel. The prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu has stated, “Israel will respond very forcefully. We will not tolerate attacks on our territory, our capital, our citizens, and our soldiers. Whoever strikes us will pay a heavy price.” Israeli airstrikes have killed at least 43 Palestinians. Iran has encouraged Palestine while the US and the EU have condemned the violence. The FDA has granted emergency use authorization for the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to be used in children aged 12 through 15. This comes after clinical testing has demonstrated an efficacy rate of 100% and the vaccine’s benefits were proven to outweigh its potential risks for adolescents. Average national gas prices per gallon have risen by 2 cents due to a disruption in the Colonial Pipeline. The disruption was caused by a ransomware attack. The FBI has stated that DarkSide, an organized crime group, was responsible for the attack. Panic buying has exacerbated gas shortages. The White House released a statement saying the Biden administration is working to strengthen the nation’s cyber defense infrastructure.  


World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus criticized the “shocking global disparity” in vaccine distribution in his opening remarks at the May 10th media briefing on COVID-19. Director-General Ghebreyesus stated that higher-income countries represent 53% of the world’s population, but have received 83% of the world’s vaccines. As opposed to lower-income countries that account for 47% of the world’s population, but have only received 17% of the world’s vaccines. He also announced the WHO Foundation’s “Together for India” campaign to raise funds that will support frontline workers and purchase essential medical supplies. More than 2,100 refugees landed on the Italian island of Lampedusa amidst a worsening migrant crisis. A majority of the refugees were from Pakistan, sub-Saharan Africa, and Syria and made the perilous journey to the main port of entry into Europe by boat. In 2021 alone more than 500 asylum seekers have died in the Central Mediterranean. California Governor Gavin Newsom has expanded his drought emergency proclamation to include 39 more counties after climate change has resulted in historically low runoff from the Sierra-Cascade snowpack. About 30% of the state’s population are now part of the 41 counties in total that are under a drought state of emergency. 


Federal officials from the US Secret Service have helped recover around $2 billion in fraudulently obtained COVID-19 relief funds and seized more than $640 million from accused fraudsters. The Secret Service has opened 690 cases regarding unemployment insurance fraud, on top of another 720 Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Paycheck Protection Program fraud investigations and inquiries. The Pan American Health Organization director, Dr. Carissa Etienne spoke about the transmission rate of COVID-19. “With nearly 40% of all global deaths attributed to the region, it’s a clear sign that “transmission is far from being controlled,” Etienne warned that even as countries like the US and Brazil have reported a reduction in cases, Canada is seeing higher rates of infections than the US and Cuba continues to drive most new infections in the Caribbean. President Biden announced new ways to make the COVID-19 vaccine more accessible. The President said rideshare companies Uber and Lyft will provide free rides to vaccination sites from May 24 to July 4. This is to help meet the administration’s goal of 70% of adults getting at least one coronavirus shot by July 4th.


The CDC states that fully vaccinated Americans are no longer required to wear a mask indoors or outdoors. “If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic,” says CDC director Rochelle Walensky. This rule does not apply when it comes to most means of public transportation. It was revealed that Colonial Pipeline Company paid nearly $5 million to Eastern European hackers on Friday which the company paid in hard to trace cryptocurrency within hours after the Russian attack. Once the hackers received the payment, they provided the operator with a decrypting tool to restore it’s disabled computer network which in turn restored the system. Israel begins ground operations with the country’s military against Hamas in Gaza. Lieutenant Jonathan Conricus says that ground and air forces are striking targets in Gaza from Israeli side of the border. “There are ground forces currently deployed along the border area and they are engaging and attacking the Gaza Strip from there,” said Lieutenant Conricus.


Former Minneapolis police, Kim Potter, is charged with second-degree manslaughter for the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright. Wright was killed during a traffic stop during which Potter mistook her gun for a taser. The shooting sparked protests demanding a proper prosecution. Joel Greenberg, an associate of GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz, will plead guilty to six of the 33 federal charges he was facing, including the sex trafficking of a 17-year old girl. Greenberg admitted to paying the girl for sex, and “introduced the minor to other adult men, who engaged in commercial sex acts.” Houston police announced that missing tiger, India, has been found. Police were initially looking for Victor Hugo Cuevra, owner of the tiger and murder suspect out on bond when they discovered his tiger on the loose as well. India has been taken to an animal sanctuary approximately 200 miles north of Murchison, Texas. A new round of artillery and airstrikes have been fired at the Gaza strip from Israeli forces. The bombing campaign has killed at least 119 people, including 31 children and 19 women. Violent clashes between Israeli and Arab citizens sweeping across various cities have resulted in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warning against “lynching” on both sides


Approximately 200 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since fighting began a week ago. Thousands more have been left homeless or injured, and an Israeli airstrike left a massive crater in a main road leading to Gaza’s largest hospital. In response to the attacks, millions of people across the world took to the streets to protest for the Free Palestine cause. Despite the stream of outrage from the global community, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated “war will go on.” Neither Israel nor Hamas show any signs of slowing their military operations, despite the thousands of displaced and injured Palestinian civilians. So far, eight Israelis and 197 Palestinians have died. Some Palestinians believe this onslaught of attacks is worse than the 2014 Gaza War, a crisis that saw over 1,500 civilians dead. Anti-government demonstrations in Colombia continue after erupting on April 28, and approximately 14 people between the ages of 13 and 34 have died amidst the chaos. The movement, led by young people and college students, is fueled by a general sense of exhaustion with a government that has “crushed hopes of a better future,” as put by Global News. Several human rights groups, including the U.N.’s main body, have denounced Colombian police for use of excessive force against protestors. 


Protests have continued in Colombia after President Iván Duque proposed a tax reform plan that mainly extended to and affected the middle and lower class. People saw this as an outrage due to the national poverty rate already being higher than 50% as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now more people are protesting the violent police brutality that occurred during the initial protests. National police director General Jorge Luis Vargas explained that those ¨who are responsible for abuses or acts of violence amid ongoing protests will be punished to the full extent of the law, ¨ while more than 1,700 civilians have been injured. The National Strike Committee is expected to meet with members of the Colombian government to dispute an ¨end to military deployments to demonstrations and the use of firearms by police, as well as measures to end sexual violence against women by security forces.¨ On May 16th, Israeli government forces sent an air missile to Gaza killing at least 42 Palestinians. With more than 100 deaths occurring due to the multiple missiles being deployed, the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken ¨urged all sides to protect civilians¨ causing ¨Washington, Egypt, and U.N. mediators to step up efforts to end the fighting.¨ On May 13th, Texas lawmakers passed the Heart Beat act which bans abortion after cardiac activity is seen during the 6th week and ¨would allow private citizens to file civil lawsuits against doctors, staff, or even a patient’s family or friends who “aid and abet” in such procedures.¨ The act is expected to be passed by Governor Greg Abbott and then passed on to the supreme court. 

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