Weekly RoundUp (5/24-5/30)


An Amazon fulfillment center construction site in Windsor, Connecticut has been shut down temporarily after seven apparent nooses were discovered. The first noose was found in late April and was in an area not covered by security cameras. Employees have stated that they have seen racist behavior and confederate flags on display on other employees’ hats and cars. The incidents are being investigated as potential hate crimes by the local police department and the FBI civil rights division. Amazon is offering a $100,000 reward to anyone that can help identify the perpetrator. The Biden administration has re-designated Haiti for temporary protected status (TPS). Eligible Haitian nationals residing in the US will now be able to apply for a new TPS designation that has a duration of 18 months. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas stated that “serious security concerns, social unrest, an increase in human rights abuses, crippling poverty, and lack of basic resources” in Haiti were the reasons behind the re-designation. China’s Zhurong rover has made a successful landing on Mars, the US being the only other country to have previously accomplished this feat. The Zhurong rover was landed by the Chinese spacecraft Tianwen-1 and its primary mission is set to last for about 90 days.


Three thousand protesters took to the streets of Mexico City, demanding that students and their family members receive vaccines before schools are reopened.  About 20% of the students in Mexico are missing out on adequate educational time because they do not have access to the internet and/or a computer. President López Obrador has stated that he wants students throughout the nation to return to in-person schooling next month, also saying that it would be up to them and their families whether to return or remain online. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reaffirmed Israel’s “right to self-defense” during his meeting with the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu. He also reaffirmed Biden’s pledge to help with the reconstruction of Gaza. Senate Democrats have introduced the Smart Approach to Nuclear Expenditures, or SANE, Act. If passed the SANE Act would reduce $73 billion from the US nuclear budget. 


The family of George Floyd met with President Biden at the Whitehouse to discuss the passage of the George Floyd Policing Justice in Policing Act, the 25th marking one year since Floyd’s death. If passed, the Act will prohibit racial and religious profiling by law enforcement, ban chokeholds and no-knock warrants, improve transparency, work to stop sexual assault by police, require body cameras on all officers, and make the process of prosecuting police misconduct in court easier. US health secretary Xavier Becerra joined various other country’s representatives in a call for a “transparent and science-based” investigation into the origin of COVID-19 during the WHO’s main annual meeting. Different hypotheses being proposed include transmission to humans from bats and a possible lab leak, however, no firm conclusions have been made regarding the origins of the virus. The US has hit a new important vaccine milestone with 50% of the adult population being fully vaccinated. 


President Biden will propose a $6 trillion budget that would take the United States to its highest sustained levels of federal spending since World War II. Biden is looking to fund a sweeping economic agenda that includes large news investments in education, transportation, and fighting climate change. “Now is the time to build the foundation that we’ve laid, to make bold investments in our families, in our communities, in our nation,” President Biden said to a crowd in Cleveland. The gunman of the San Jose shooting at a rail yard was identified as 57 year old Samuel Cassidy (caucasian) and all of the victims he shot were believed to be his co-workers. “When are we going to put down our arms literally and figuratively,” says Gov. Gavin Newsom. This was the 232nd mass shooting in America this year. A court in the Netherlands has ruled that their oil company Royal Dutch Shell will cut greenhouse gases in half by the end of the decade in order to align its policies with the Paris Climate Agreement. It was the first time a court ordered a private company to, in effect, change its business practice on climate grounds. The United Nations high commissioner for human rights says that Israel may have committed war crimes during its 11 day bombardment of the Gaza strip. The council agreed to launch an international investigation into alleged crimes committed during the 11 day conflict between Israel and Islamist group Hamas in Gaza.


Moderna has announced that it will be seeking emergency use authorization from the FDA for the use of its COVID vaccine in individuals 12-17 years old after clinical trials demonstrated a 100% efficacy rate in the age group. New information about the San Jose mass shooter Samuel Cassidy revealed that Cassidy professed his hatred towards his workplace in his writings that were discovered while he was being detained by customs officers upon his return from a trip to the Philippines. He was also found to be in possession of books and manifestos about terrorism, accused of sexual assault by an ex-partner, and his ex-wife also stated that Cassidy talked about killing his co-workers more than a decade ago. All of Cassidy’s guns were obtained legally and registered, according to the FBI. Hundreds of thousands of people in Goma have been ordered to evacuate as the city faces the threat of a second volcanic eruption of Mount Nyiragongo. 


A mass grave has been discovered at the site of the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia containing the remains of more than 200 indigenous children. At schools like Kamloops, indigenous children were forced to attend and convert to Christianity in order to assimilate into Canadian society from the 19th century up to the 70s. They were not allowed to speak their native languages and many were abused, with about 6,000 of them dying. Bangladeshi garment workers are facing renewed workplace hazards and threats as the Accord on Fire and Building Safety and the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety are set to expire. The reforms were created after a factory in Dhaka collapsed killing 1,100 people in 2013. A new variant of the coronavirus has been detected in Vietnam. The new variant is highly contagious and is a genetic mix of UK and India variants. Vietnam’s new spike in cases has been attributed to the strain and has sent countries like Singapore and Taiwan back into lockdown. 


Another mass shooting has occurred this week at the El Mula Banquet Hall near Hialeah, Florida. At least 22 people were shot and 2 sustained fatal injuries. Police have stated that three perpetrators stepped out of a vehicle and fired both assault rifles and handguns into the crowd at random. President Biden condemned restrictive voting laws being proposed by Texas legislators that disproportionately affect people of color and people with disabilities. Senate Bill 7 proposes a reduction in early voting, bans drive-through voting, and places additional requirements for mail-in ballots. Japan has extended its declaration of a state of emergency due to COVID-19 in the nation’s major cities, including Tokyo and Osaka. Although cases have been declining, emerging variants and a slow vaccine rollout still pose a threat to the country. Despite this, the government remains adamant about hosting the Tokyo Olympics in July. 

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