What is the Coronavirus? How can I protect myself?

As we all know, sickness and disease are very common parts of our lives. Everybody knows that eventually they will get sick, most of the time it’s no big deal and all you need to do is ride it out. We know how diseases like the common cold are spread and what we can do to prevent ourselves from getting sick. But even with these precautions, people still get very sick each year.

 One virus that has been in the news recently is known as The 2019 Novel Coronavirus or simply just the coronavirus, it is part of the corona family which houses other viruses such as the common cold, or influenza.

The outbreak started in a town that has been identified as Wuhan, China. Wuhan has since been quarantined, but not before hundreds of people fled the village and surrounding towns.

This virus is spread through airborne particles and is very contagious, it is passed from person-to-person. But unlike influenza, the coronavirus currently has no vaccine.

In the US, there are 5 states with confirmed cases of the coronavirus. According to the CDC, there have also been 29 countries with confirmed cases of the virus. China has reported 28,000 confirmed cases with more than 560 coronavirus deaths, according to The Washington Post

There are more viruses that belong in the coronavirus family, such as the common cold, which was mentioned earlier, and the viruses that caused the global outbreaks of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) in 2015, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003.

It is believed that this virus spread to humans from animals, like the MERS and SARS viruses did but they are still unsure about what the specific cause of this outbreak was and when they will be able to find a cure.

People are being warned not to travel to China and returning travelers are being tested and detained for 14 days to check for the virus.

The best way to avoid getting sick is to avoid anybody who has been diagnosed with the virus, and your wash hands frequently while avoiding any unnecessary trips into crowded areas.

Death of a legend

Kobe Bryant was an American basketball player. He entered the National Basketball Association right out of high school, and played for the Los Angeles Lakers. On January 26, 2020, Kobe Bryant, along with his 13-year-old daughter and seven other people, were killed in a helicopter crash, while on their way to a youth basketball tournament.

Before the helicopter went down, the pilot told air traffic control that he was climbing to avoid a layer of fog. Witnesses reported that they saw the helicopter flying through a layer of clouds and fog, seconds before it crashed. The helicopter slammed into a hill.

According to the radar data, the helicopter crashed at about 152miles per hour. It has been reported that the helicopter fell at a quick rate, and according to experts that was too fast for a standard landing. 

The helicopter had a reputation as a safe aircraft. Investigators have said that the helicopter lacked a key warning, meaning the helicopter system didn’t warn pilots, if they are getting too close to the ground. Officials have said that it’s too early to know whether the lack of warning was the cause of the crash. 

Fans around the world mourned the death of the star and his daughter Gianna; people gathered outside of the Staples Center to pay their respects. Alicia Keys, who hosted the 2020 Grammys, gave a tribute to him, and his teammates have also honored him and paid tribute to them.

Vanessa Bryant broke her silence on Instagram with a heartbreaking post with a picture of her, her husband, and their 13-year-old daughter, saying: “My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time. Thank you for all the prayers. We definitely need them.”

For more information, visit this site:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/31/us/kobe-death.html

Australian bushfires

Australia is in a devastating position. Bushfire has been burning acres of land since October, 2019 and they have continued into January, 2020. Though lots of people are aware of the fires, here is some information to further educate you on the topic. 

One of the first bushfires started on November 11, 2019. It burned roughly 49,000 acres of land in an area known as Ravensbourne.

But it does not stop there, since then more fires have ravaged more of Australia leaving $4.4 billion damage. 

Why did the bushfires start? There are many different reasons for the fires that have overtaken parts of Australia. One of the biggest contributors is the extreme conditions. Australia is currently enduring its hottest, and driest, year recorded. Though the conditions do play a role, other components like humans actions and weather, such as lightning, have also started other fires. 

The effects of these fires have been unfortunate. Approximately 18 million acres of land have been burned, including about 200 homes. Unfortunately, 27 people have died, of which three were volunteering firefighters. And lastly, a lot of animals have been put in severe danger posed by the fires. Though it’s an estimation, it’s possible that half a billion animals have been killed; some being endangered species threatened by extinction. 

Recently, there was a project to help out the animals fleeing their natural habitats. They called it “Operation Rock Wallaby.” The Australian government of New South Wales dropped thousands of carrots and sweet potatoes, around 2,000 pounds in total, hoping to prevent the animals from starving to death. 

So, what can you do to help Australia? The best way you can help Australia is to donate. Some of the best charities include Mission Australia, Oxfam Australia, and Sacred Heart Mission.

In January, it was announced that 1.1 million people have donated to Australia and raised $30 million to help repair the damage caused by the bushfires. Some of the biggest contributions came from celebrities or businesses, including Kylie Jenner, Elton John, Pink, and many more. Their money helped volunteering firefighters and their families, to get more emergency resources, and families who are in need. 

London Bridge attack

On November 29, five people were stabbed in London, England, at around 2 P.M. The stabbing resulted in 3 injured and 2 fatalities.

The attack and stabbing occurred at a conference on offender rehabilitation that was held in Fishmongers’ Hall, which is located at the northern end of London Bridge. There was a celebration occurring to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Learning Together which is a program run by the Cambridge Institute of Criminology to help offenders transition onto the right path into society after they get released from prison. A former prisoner named Usman Khan was invited to attend and participate in the conference. He had previously attended the program before. Usman Khan was actually banned from entering London, but he was granted a one day exemption to attend the conference.

Right before 2 P.M., City of London Police were called to Fishmongers’ Hall after Usman Khan was seen wearing a fake suicide vest and was threatening to blow up the hall. He was holding two kitchen knives and shortly after he began stabbing people inside the building. A lot of people in the building fought back.

A chef working at Fishmongers’ Hall grabbed a long narwhal tusk from the wall to use as a weapon.

Usman Khan then fled the building and began stabbing people outside of the building on the north side of the London Bridge. Police later arrived and asked Usman Khan to put the knives down but he resisted, resulting in the police shooting him twice and killing him at the scene.

The two victims that lost their lives to the attack were 25-year-old, Jack Merritt and 23-year-old, Saskia Jones. 3 other people who were injured are now in stable condition. 

The benefits of planting trees

Trees provide many things for humans and are very important to the world. They produce oxygen from CO2 for us to breathe in, they provide shade, and they provide materials that we use every day, like wood.

As time goes on, the climate crisis is more of a threat than ever before, and we need to do something about it. Here are some ways that planting trees can affect the world.

Trees make life nicer. Studies have shown that spending more time around trees and other environmental spaces can affect a person’s mood and reduce the stress in our daily lives. Other research shows that children have less issues in school if they spend time outdoors and in green spaces and areas with trees. Hospital patients have also been shown to recover faster when the window in their room is facing trees.

Trees also have many environmental benefits. Planting more trees not only means more oxygen will be released into the world, but less CO2 emissions in the world. CO2 emissions released from the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal and gas, will be stopped by trees, which will transform it into oxygen. Trees are crucial and are one of the frontrunners in the battle against climate change. Trees improve our air quality which can prevent diseases and toxic gases that can be transferred through the air, such as carbon monoxide and sulfur.

Believe it or not, planting more trees can also have some economic benefits as well. Planting trees near businesses and buildings can reduce cooling costs, like the costs of AC units. Studies have shown that cities with well planted trees near buildings are cooler than cities without trees. Trees can help to combat the hot summer heat, and can reduce temperatures by 11°. Trees can also increase the retail value of houses or properties.

Planting trees can have a great effect on the world. Whether it’s just for your neighborhood or for your city, every little bit matters. Planting trees can provide economical, environmental, and health benefits, and, overall, can make the world a better place. 

Justin Trudeau blackface

Justin Trudeau, Canada’s Prime Minister, decided to wear brownface to a party held at a private school. Justin once taught at that private school in 2001.

There’s a photograph that has been leaked of the incident, and the photograph was taken at an “Arabian Nights” themed party.

Trudeau apologized saying, “I shouldn’t have done that and should’ve known better but I didn’t. I’m really sorry.”

Trudeau also wore blackface when he was singing a Jamaican folk song by a African American civil rights activist. That photo shows Trudeau at a school talent show wearing a wig.

Recently, there was a video showing Trudeau in blackface with his hands in the air and the photo was taken in the early 90s.

This is a big problem for him because he recently began his re-election and the citizens may not want to re-elect him because of his scandals. 

Trudeau was gaining media attention from the global press for what he was wearing. Last year, he wore Indian garb when he went to India with his family.

He was also denounced by Robert Davidson, who is a part of the indigenous people, because of a tattoo. Davidson said that Trudeau’s government’s approval of a gas facility showed that he was not sensitive towards the indigenous people.

TIME spoke to different people who attended the spring gala in 2001, especially the women in the photos with him. One of them refused to speak about the situation and the other two forgot about Trudeau and the picture.

Trudeau was the only person who darkened his skin while everyone else had costumes.

Trudeau is not the only public figure who darkened his skin for a costume. The U.S. has a bad history of people darkening their skin. People would just darken their skin to mock African Americans in the 19th century and it continued on into the 20th century for movies and shows.

The first person to apologize for this cruel action was Governor Ralph Northam, but he denied that he was in a yearbook photo with a KKK hood.

Also, Governor Kay Ivey apologized for wearing a black face. 

Amazon Rainforest fire

The Amazon Rainforest has a big impact on the world that we live in today because of the trees and oxygen that it supplies. Tropical forests give a huge amount of water and energy into the earth..Water and energy controls one’s local climate and because of that, tropical forests like the Amazon Rainforest are a big deal.

The Amazon is spread out and located in 9 different countries throughout South America:Peru, Columbia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana. The majority of the forest is located in Brazil however.

The Amazon Rainforest provides a lot of greens, and stabilizes the plants and wildlife. There are a lot of different species of animal that live in the Amazon Rainforest. One of the animals inhabiting the Amazon Rainforest is a piranha. The piranha is the most dangerous aquatic inhabitant of the Amazon River. The piranha has a strong jaw and razor sharp teeth.

As of right now, the Amazon Rainforest, mainly in Brazil, is on fire. Fires in this type of landscape are more prone to happen during the dry season which runs around July through October. According to BBC, a lot of forest fires are usually caused by a lighting strike but this year it’s been believed that it’s because of farmers clearing the land for crops.

Despite the excessive and huge fires in the Amazon Rainforest, that’s currently happening, it’s not the worst year the forest has seen. Years in the 2000s such as 2005, experienced over 142,000 fires within a time span of 8 months.

North Brazil has seen the worst of the fires that have been happening and has been the most affected by it.

Amazonas which is located in north west of Brazil has declared a state of emergency. According to CNN, Brazil is going through about 85% more forest fires in comparison to last year.

The president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, has received a lot of criticism for doing many things involving his lack of care and concern for the fires including rejecting $20 million in foreign aid to help fight the fires. Jair Bolsonaro has also talked about his support of deforestation. His comments and actions have caused people like one tribal chief, of a indigenous group in Brazil, to call his actions as a form a genocide.

The fires that are still going in are burning down more than just trees but also homes and millions of species that live in this area. According to the European Space Agency, the fires burning currently can be seen from space, and since the fires are so widespread it looks like clouds.

20 percent of the Amazon Rainforest is already gone with the fires that are currently burning. The rainforest is dying at a rate of 20,000 square miles a year. The Amazon Rainforest is a vital part of the environment, and with it burning and dying it is killing and damaging the environment and the well being of the earth.

Norte Dame Cathedral

On April 15, 2019, the Notre Dame Cathedral, in Paris, caught on fire. The centuries old building burned through the wooden roof. The fire was believed to be accidental.

The cathedral caught on fire at around 6 p.m., and around 500 firefighters spent nearly five hours fighting the fire.

The cause of the fire was believed to be an electric short-circuit in an elevator, and that a computer glitch may have a played a part by showing the fire in the wrong place. The flames were believed to have started at the base spire.

By 11 p.m., the cathedral had been preserved, that includes the two iconic bell towers, but two-thirds of the of the roof was gone. According to The New York Times, the French President Emmanuel Macron promised that the cathedral will be rebuilt.

After the fire was cleared from the cathedral, people from around the world assessed the damage of the cathedral and the many works of art it contained. The overall structure of the cathedral was still intact, except for the roof and spire. After all the bell towers survived the blazing fire, most of the bells are believed to have survived as well. The Emmanuel Bell, the cathedral’s main bell, and a 15th century relic, survived the fire.

Many of the paintings and other art works inside of the building had been rescued from the fire. The grand organ in the cathedral was intact, but was believed to have suffered water damage.

Since the fire, nearly $1 billion dollars has been raised to rebuild the cathedral. After the news broke about the donation, many people have had negative reactions worldwide to the amount of money raised, with some even saying that the money could be used to solve world social issues.

Officials had said that the $1 billion will most likely repair all damages to the cathedral, despite President Macron’s five-year promise, rebuilding the cathedral could take up to decades to repair.

Julian Assange arrested

By: Daniela Fernandez

On April 11, 2019, Julian Assange was arrested in London at the Ecuadorian Embassy. He was arrested for refusing to surrender to the court.

Assange is most well known for creating Wikileaks, which is a place where classified information can be illegally released for the world to know, according to NBC News.

According to CNN, Assange had been living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012 after seeking asylum there. He first seeked asylum there after being accused of rape in 2010, while in Sweden. On November 2, 2011, while in London, the High Court ruled that Julian Assange was to be extradited to Sweden for the accusations of rape against him.

Then on December 5, 2011, Assange petitioned the UK Supreme Court to have his extradition to Sweden revoked. On May 30, 2012, the UK Supreme Court came to a decision to finalize Assange’s extradition to Sweden.

A month later on June 19, 2012, Julian Assange applied for political asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. The UK then responded to this by stating that they can revoke Assange’s asylum and extradite him to Sweden. On August 16, 2012, Ecuador gave Assange asylum in their embassy, stating they were concerned about his human rights being violated by the UK extraditing him.

On August 13, 2015, Sweden dropped their case against Assange for sexual molestation, and unlawful coercion, because they had no more time to question him as their case had expired. Then on May 17, 2017, Assange’s rape charges were dropped by Sweden.

On July 27, 2018, the UK and Ecuador reported that they were talking about what was to be done about Assange. Then, on December 6, Assange denied the UK and Ecuador’s deal to let him go free.

Then, after many years of struggle between Ecuador and the UK, Julian Assange was removed from the embassy and arrested by the UK. Ecuador stated the reason for their decision was because Assange violated international conventions through Wikileaks. Wikileaks stated Ecuador violated international law by revoking his asylum.

What’s going on in West Papua?

Image via theguardian.com

If you’ve been reading the news lately, you’ve probably seen an article or two about what’s going on in West Papua, Indonesia, but most articles don’t give you the full idea, and not many people know the intense situation which is going on. Anyway, let me give you some background here from indonesiamatters.com if you don’t already know.

So, in the 1800s, there was this island called “New Guinea.” The British took the East half, and the Dutch took the Western half, and then it became a part of the Dutch East Indies. Then, in the ’30s, the former colonies of the Dutch East Indies all became independent except for Western New Guinea. But, in 1952, the Dutch prepared the people, for independence, for this remaining colony, and by the ’60s, the parliament of that part of New Guinea (now called West Papua) was formed, and the country created a national anthem, flag, and national seal.

 

Flag of West Papua via freewestpapua.org

Everything seemed to be going well until in 1962 when the Indonesian government started invading West Papua, and tried to push out the Dutch who were staying in the country, taking care of it before its total independence. The Dutch forces successfully stopped the invasion, but then Indonesia went to the Soviet Union for support, and because of Cold War anxiety, the US government tried to help out the Dutch in West Papua.

In August, later that year, an agreement was reached, in New York, between the Netherlands and Indonesia, where the UN gains custody of West Papua until they hold a vote. But, when the vote actually happened in 1969, it was said to be heavily rigged by the Indonesian government, thus making West Papua a province of Indonesia (two provinces actually).

Via worldpoliticsreview.com

Now, according to a paper put out by the International Association of Genocide Scholars, the people, culture, language, and just overall heritage of West Papua is vastly different from the rest of Indonesia, as they are a Melanesian people, more similar to the many different groups within the bordering country of Papua New Guinea, which is VASTLY different culturally and linguistically from the South East Asian culture of Indonesia. The government is said to be trying to force Indonesian culture on the people of West Papua.

This, to some, would be a reason to secede already, but why should we care? The main reason is the deep seeded oppression which is going on within the West Papua region, as  it is one of the longest running modern day illegal annexations/occupations.

There are intense reports of brutal torture as described by a study in 2015: torture seems to be the unofficial form of governance. It is said that the Indonesian regime is not reluctant to use killing, surveillance, and arbitrary arrest to control the illegally occupied West Papua.

An example of this is when graphic footage was leaked to YouTube in October 2010. There are two separate occurring events which were captured in this footage. The beginning shows eight highlanders forcibly stripped naked in front of two Indonesian army soldiers. And while interrogating these terrified Papuans, and calling them “monyet,” “anjing,” or “bajingan” (monkey, dog, bastard), the soldiers kicked their heads with their edged boots, and hit their heads using their helmets.

The soldiers demanded that they would confess to being members of the OPM, which is an independence movement with the overall goal of freeing West Papua from Indonesian control. The latter half of the footage displays two people, with one having a knife to their throat, and another being burnt on his bare skin by Indonesian army men, as so the men would confess the location of OPM weaponry near their town. It was very public, and many people were forced to bear witness.

This is said to be a very frequent occurrence in West Papua, according to that study. Along with that, terrible Indonesian policies which cause environmental damage such deforestation, severely undermines the foundation for West Papuan society and culture.

Via freewestpapua.org

So, it would be evident to say that independence would be a fair option for these oppressed people of West Papua, and that’s what they are trying to achieve now more than ever. According to theguardian.com other Pacific Islander countries, such as Vanuatu, have shown support for the struggle against the oppression. And according to UNPO (Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization) almost 2 million residents of West Papua have signed a petition (which could have had more signatures if it wasn’t heavily kept away by the Indonesian government), practically begging the UN for equal, and fair independence, and self determination for the West Papuan peoples.

Sadly, according to theguardian.com, the UN denied the petition after all that, and said that it damaged the territorial integrity of Indonesia. I believe this is a violation of equal rights, freedom, and the democracy on which the very principals the UN were supposedly founded on. Though maybe, in the future, brave governments such as Vanuatu may eventually speak out loud enough, and take action. I believe that it is the UN’s duty, as a global peacekeeper, to find, and create justice for the West Papuan peoples, as they deeply deserve it.