Weekly RoundUp (6/21-6/27)


More information is being released about the explosion on Florida’s east coast that triggered a 3.9 magnitude earthquake. As it turns out the United States Navy was conducting shock trials, to ensure the stability of their new aircraft carriers. It doesn’t seem as though the U.S. and Iran will be on good terms anytime soon. Iran’s President-elect, Ebrahim Raisi, voiced his reluctance to meet with President Biden and is quoted saying: “ [the United States] is obliged to lift all oppressive sanctions against Iran.” The Senate is finally nearing the finish line as it relates to the new infrastructure plan. A bipartisan group of Senators are now hatching out the details. 


The United States and the rest of the world continue to grapple with the Coronavirus, the latest battle being the Delta variant. The new variant introduces a higher rate of transmissibility and many, including Dr. Fauci, are encouraging Americans to continue to get vaccinated. In other Covid-related news, Turkey has kicked off phase three clinical trials for its COVID-19 vaccine, named “Turkovac” by President Tayyip Erdogan, who said the shot should be available for use by the end of the year.” In Hungary, there has been heightened discourse surrounding a proposed change to a law that would make it difficult for youth to access LGBTQ+ resources and information. Many EU members have since voiced their criticism.


On Saturday, June 26, 2021, Turkish police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at the Istanbul Pride Parade, even detaining around 20 participants of the event. The Turkish government has been banning Pride events in the last few years, but despite this hundreds of people gathered along Istiklal Avenue for this event. Videos have been posted of Turkish police throwing tear gas canisters, shooting rubber bullets, and pushing protestors. Videos of police officers pinning Turkish photojournalist Bulent Kilic who was among those detained at the Pride parade to the ground have recently surfaced. It has been estimated that around 230,000 people have been displaced in Myanmar following a February 1st coup which overthrew the elected government. The coup has sparked protests, killings, and bombings between military troops and civillians all across the country. According to the The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), around 177,000 people are displaced in Karen state bordering Thailand, 103,000 in the past month, while more than 20,000 people were sheltering at 100 displacement areas around the country. The Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) currently states that at least 877 people were killed by military troops and more than 6,000 arrested since the coup started. The Supreme Court has made its decision on the Fulton v Philadelphia case.The case centers around a 2018 lawsuit filed by Catholic Social Services against the City of Philadelphia. Catholic Social Services sued for infringement upon their right to religious freedom for stating that they would not let LGBTQ+ couples adopt children because it was against their religious beliefs. The Supreme court has ruled that Catholic Social Services did have the right to turn away same-sex couples from adoption and that they can continue to do so. 


As concerns grow over the possibility of a nuclear deal between Iran and the United States, it has been reported and many have noticed that some Iranian-run news outlets have been blocked by the United States government. Many of the sites were back up under new domains in just a few hours, the Iranian government has commented that this will not help future talks about a nuclear deal. A New York has suspended Rudy Giuliani’s law license for making false statements in attempts to overturn the 2020 election. Reuters has recently released a report detailing the ways in which Jamaica has navigated the pandemic. It noted, “one challenge they face is skepticism of vaccines, which is widely shared among Jamaica’s Rastafari, who tend to distrust Western medicine and institutions, partly due to a long history of racial injustice.” On Thursday, a section of a 12 story condo building collapsed in Miami. Four people were confirmed dead, and over a hundred have been reported missing. 


Derek Chauvin, the former police officer who killed George Floyd, has been sentenced to 22.5 years in prison. In a 22 page memorandum, Judge Peter Cahill wrote that Chauvin “abused his position of trust and authority” and treated Floyd with “particular cruelty” providing his rationale for the harsher sentence that exceeds Minnesota sentencing guidelines. Around 151 people are still unaccounted for in the condo that collapsed in Surfside, Florida. The death roll has officially arisen to 10. Search efforts are still ongoing currently with 400 rescue workers. The search is particularly dangerous as any wrong move could potentially trap survivors even more. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that the Department of Justice is suing Georgia over its new voting laws, stating that this measure intends to restrict voter access from Black populations. This lawsuit is the first major action from the Biden administration countering a series of restrictive voting laws passed by Republican lead legislatures


Matt Hancock, the British Health Minister, has resigned after being caught breaking Covid-19 safety protocols by kissing one of his aids. Hancock is stepping down as the UK grapples with a rise in Covid cases. Britain is now experimenting with a new Covid test, which could be effective for at-home use. It is a lateral flow test that was created in China by Innova, a United States firm. Derek Chauvin, the infamous police officer charged with the killing of George Floyd, has been sentenced to twenty-two and a half years behind bars. 


President Joe Biden is set to meet Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Monday. Rivlin is Israel’s outgoing president and will be replaced by Isaac Herzog on July 9th. The WHO issued a statement urging people that have been fully vaccinated for Covid-19 to continue wearing masks and practicing social distancing due to new concerns with the Delta variant of the virus. The Delta variant has been found to be more transmissible. The Johnson & Johnson company has agreed to a $230 million settlement for its role in the opioid epidemic. The money from the settlement will go towards funding addiction treatment, prevention and education in New York. J&J is no longer permitted to manufacture or sell opioids in the United States. 

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