(PBS) U.S FORCES ASSASSINATION OF IRANIAN MAJOR GENERAL QASEM SOLEIMANI – 1/3
The death of Iran’s military commander, Qasem Soleimani, increased tensions between the United States and Iran. Authorized by President Donald Trump, the missile strike against Soleimani was “…action last night to stop a war. We didn’t take action to start a war,” President Trump states in an address following news of Soleimani’s death. While revered in Iran as a symbol of its regional ambitions, Soleimani is blamed in the U.S. for the siege of the U.S. Embassy and attacking U.S. bases that killed a U.S Contractor.
(BBC) KOBE BRYANT HELICOPTER CRASH – 1/26
On the morning of Sunday, January 26th – NBA legend Kobe Bryant along with eight others, including daughter Gianna Bryant, died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. Following the news of his passing, fans, celebrities and fellow stars all around the world outpoured their condolences and expressed their grief – many placing memorabilia at the Laker’s home court, Staples Center. The cause of the crash is presumed to be foggy weather, as local police grounded their helicopters due to the poor weather. The public memorial was held on February 20th, 2020, at the Staples Center.
(CDC) CORONA VIRUS OUTBREAK – 1/30
First detected in China, the Coronavirus – named “SARS-CoV-2”, abbreviated as “COVID-19” – was announced on January 30th as a “Public emergency of international concern” by the International Health Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the SARS-CoV-2 originates from bats. The beginnings of the outbreak were located in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, which “had some link to a large seafood and live animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread,” the CDC notes.
In response to the worldwide threat, the U.S. Government suspended entry of foreign nationals who have been to China (effective February 2nd) and Iran (effective February 29th) who have been to those countries within the past 14 days. The CDC recommends washing hands with soap and water and other everyday actions to prevent the spread of germs, as well as staying home when sick.
(WP) TRUMP SIGNS ORDER TO COMBAT HUMAN TRAFFICKING – 1/31
With human trafficking at its worse, Ivanka Trump organized a White House summit to address the matter. There, President Trump signed an executive order that is intended to relieve the issue. The Washington Post reports that the order “proposes an additional $42 million.” The money will go towards funding investigations, prosecutions, and outreach programs. Social media and the internet have only fueled human trafficking. The U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking adds, “Trump has committed more federal resources and more national focus on combating the systematic buying and selling of our nation’s kids than any administration in history.”
(BBC) AUSTRALIAN WILDFIRE RELIEF FROM STORMS
Since September 2019, the wildfires in Australia had burned through thousands of homes and acres of land. Recent conditions and cooler weather and rain had helped alleviate and extinguish the wildfires, but more than 50 fires are still burning in the states of New South Wales and Victoria. More than 27.2 million acres of land across Australia have been burned from the wildfires. Kangaroo Island, home to many unique species was also heavily affected by the wildfires, bringing concerns about the survival of endangered species on the island such as the dunnart and black glossy cockatoo. Currently, the Australian government is making efforts to address climate change, which many Australians feel is the cause of the fires.
(BBC) PRESIDENT TRUMP ACQUITTED – 2/5
Following the approval of the Impeachment Articles from the House of Representatives,
the United States Senate acquitted President Donald Trump “52-48 charges on charges of abuse of power and 53-47 on obstruction of Congress,” BBC writes. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in response to the Senate decision, said in a public address that President Trump is an “Ongoing threat to American democracy”. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell saw the case as a “colossal political mistake” made by the Democrats in trying to push President Trump out of office.
The charges against President Trump stemmed from a call between him and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky when asking to start investigations on former U.S Vice President Joe Biden and son Hunter Biden. The Democratic party also accused President Trump of abusing power by withholding $391 million in aid to Ukraine to push Ukrainian President Zelensky to investigate President Trump’s claim.
(BBC) US AND TALIBAN AGREEMENT – 2/29
The US and Afghan Taliban have signed an agreement in hopes of bringing an end to the nearly 20 years of conflict. The Taliban is an Islamic group that has had control over Afghanistan since 1996. Post 9/11, the group housed and refused to surrender Al-Qaeda’s leader Osama bin Laden, resulting in the U.S. sending air strikes to Afghanistan. Since 2001 conflicts have been ongoing between the U.S. and Afghanistan, making this the longest war the US has been in. In the next 135 days the U.S. and its allies will cut back troops in Afghanistan to 8,600 as a part of the agreement. The ultimate goal is to bring home all troops within 14 months. The agreement is not a direct end to the war but is progress towards accomplishing peace.