Category Archives: World

With the mayoral elections in Kosovo, tension rise between ethnic Serbs and ethnic Albanians

By: Aeden Evenson-McDermott

The conflict at hand here reminds the world of the Kosovo War back in the late 1990’s. Kosovo strived to become an independent nation from the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as they had controlled Kosovo. Serbia to this day remains steadfast on Kosovo being a part of Serbia even though it is its own country now. Russia and China, who are also deniers of Kosovo’s sovereignty, are impartial but relative to the issue directly due to their stance.

With the two heads of state, Aleksandar Vučić of Serbia and Albin Kurti of Kosovo, both find themselves in a tumultuous time of exchanging blame accusations and dealing with out of control tensions.

Last month’s mayoral elections took place throughout four municipalities in the north of Kosovo. With ethnic Serbs and their parties refraining from participation, turnout was only 3.5% which was the election of ethnic Albanian mayors in predominantly Serb towns.

With many Western leaders taking strong condemnation on the crisis at hand, Albin Kurti decided to move forward with his support. All the while, Vučić mobilized troops and put them on standby. With NATO peacekeepers in the area, 4,000 were mobilized and sent to the conflict zone.

Zvečan, has been the town where tensions were high. Kosovo blamed the ethnic Serbs for the clashes with NATO peacekeepers and over 30 were reported injured.

Even one of the world’s greatest tennis stars, Novak Djoković, had words to say at the French Open tennis championships: “Kosovo is the heart of Serbia,” it read. “Stop the violence.” His words created strong condemnation from the media as he has been at the focus of attention previously when he talked falsely about COVID-19. He did a bit of backtracking on his statement a few days later to clarify his point.

Furthermore, the tensions have eased slightly as the mayors have agreed on not going back to their offices yet. There’s still a way to go with tensions remaining high as cooperation for the future isn’t in sight.

Russia accidentally bombs its own city

By: Jasmine Williams

On Thursday, April 20, one of Russia’s fighter jets accidentally bombed a Russian city called Belgorod near Ukraine’s border, according to Russia’s military. According to ‘The Washington Post’, there were three injuries and a big hole in the street. There was damage to several cars, and apartments were shattered, and the walls were destroyed. Residents had to leave local hotels due to there being several damaged buildings.

The state television wanted to excitedly share the news of damage being done by the Russian military. Apparently, the blast was so strong that an idle car flew onto a one story building’s roof, says a local media report. The vehicle had been removed from the roof last Friday morning.

The bombing of Belgorod demonstrated the impact on Russians and their homes that Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, attempted to stop; but failed. Putin had wanted his invasion to be a swift and victorious operation leading to the capture of Kyiv. But it became tedious and there seems to be no end. Experts in the military said that the weapon seemed to be fixed to a hindered explosion after the effect that had permitted it to reach underground systems.

According to Western intelligence and Russian military documents, the weapon has not been identified and we get an insight of why it happened. “It would all have been fine except for the chosen flight path over the city, which at night glows like a huge lantern and it’s impossible not to see it.” Additionally it added, “You can’t make mistakes like that. This should never ever happen again.”

At least I hope they didn’t say that last time it happened last October. A jet crashed in southern Russia’s border, directly into an apartment in Yeysk. The crash killed twelve people and more while still in their homes. Other Russian planes had caused destruction in their country prior to this incident.

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Race against time in Sudan: The looming crisis presents recurring issues in the region

By: Aeden Evenson-McDermott

Image taken from: -warns-of-civil-war-that-would-be-nightmare-for-the-world

With the recent natural disasters to the conflict of two generals fighting for control, Sudan finds itself caught in the crossfire of a serious combination of issues.

Going back to the fall of 2020, heavy rains brought flooding which caused much destruction to homes and resulted in people dying and many being displaced.

Over the last few years, rainfall is becoming more mainstream; it has increased the odds of further flooding and even drought. With the increase in temperatures, it also limits the water that does fall to evaporating and therefore reduces the normal amount of soil moisture.

With the reoccurring global warming issues, the flood waters have separated communities and created islands where families and communities are no longer necessarily connected.

It has furthered the call for various agencies to help with providing aid but is also creating challenges to getting around to reaching people. This also is impacting the current political crises at the moment.

The fierce fighting in Sudan has made civilian life all the more challenging. The two opposing generals are challenging each other for control with civilians being caught in the middle.

With over 450+ killed and thousands injured, according to the World Health Organization, Khartoum is essentially a war zone with intense fighting and much unrest.

The U.S. managed to broker a peace deal between the sides to stop the fighting while also allowing for civilian and government personnel to try and evacuate.

The diplomatic strategies are designed to ramp up evacuations along with trying to get both sides to negotiate a peace deal.

Officials and health agencies have become more concerned with what the effects of this will be to many already struggling. Healthcare facilities have been attacked and the current crisis is only deepening. A biological lab was also seized and this is quite concerning as there are many biological hazards that could occur if something were to go wrong. The World Health Organization (WHO) has spoken out and has expressed deep concern on this matter.

As the armed conflict escalates and deepens the unfortunate circumstances in Sudan, there has been no shortage of various foreign government involvements. The Russian mercenary group Wagner, headed by Yevgeny Prigozhin, has provided the RSF’s (The Rapid Support Forces) surface-to-air missiles. It has deepened the ties between Russia and the RAF.

Egyptian and American influence has also grown as it is a way for the two countries to eliminate instability in the region while also providing ways of brokering a peace deal and offering resolutions to end the conflict in diplomatic matters. The SAF (Sudan’s Armed Forces) has been backed more by Egypt, than the RAF, due to the RAF’s history of humanitarian violations and terrorism. The U.S. has stayed more distant from the groups but is still trying to help broker the peace deal.

Tensions rise in Georgia, Putin looks to China, and ICC puts arrest warrant on Putin

By: Aeden Evenson-McDermott

The country of Georgia is finding itself caught up with its former Soviet Republic and the present state of the world. With an overwhelming majority of Georgians wanting to get EU membership, and become a more reformed democratic institution, there has been pushback by some on the far-right. There most recently has been a push by the right-wing and conservatives to change the constitution to allow the government to become more authoritarian in certain measures. Many are fed up with the measures being proposed by various officials and individuals that they see as wanting to lower the country. Corruption is still a prevalent issue, and with Russia’s influence growing in the former Soviet Republic this is allowing for the restrictive measures to gain traction in Georgia.

Russia has used its influence as it has turned its attention to disrupting Georgia’s politics as a distraction from their invasion of Ukraine. It remains to be seen what comes of this, as thousands march for their rights to a hopeful future of EU membership and to stand against Russia.

As Eastern Europe finds itself in a world intertwined with the two most powerful autocrats (Putin and Xi JinPing), the West is grappling with defending democracy while not going too far to provoke our adversaries.

With the current standstill in the war on Ukraine, Russia is playing their cards towards a war of attrition. Ukrainian resilience is allowing for the further pushback of Russian forces which is leading to significant casualties, especially on the Russian side. Russia’s loss of manpower constantly has their efforts diminished and has Putin angered. He has persistently requested support from his few remaining allies and has especially sent requests for various military hardware to be delivered to his country. He has received kamikaze drones from Iran and has secretly, while somewhat silently, asked president Xi of China for military support and assistance.

The two autocrats would reconvene for their most recent summit for 2 and a half days with president Xi holding private meetings with Russian president Putin. The free world has been keeping a close watch on the moves that these two men would be making through their discussions from the 20th-22nd of March.

It really wasn’t a surprise that President Xi would travel to Moscow, especially with the tighter bond between the two countries’ alliances. Since Xi’s election in 2012 the two men have built a strong relationship and have held 40 one on one meetings.

When the somewhat crippling sanctions came in full force to Russia, back in February of 2022, China was a mainstay ally who refused to condemn the invasion of Ukraine and took a pretty neutral stance on the whole issue.

Through the buying of natural gas and oil, to the economic stability, and modern tech being provided to Russia, China is allowing for the state of Russia to be refurbished. The two leaders agree on the common consensus of being against the United States while treading water to remain intact with the world in terms of trading.

The ongoing war in Ukraine that continues to be further pushing Russia away has made Putin turn to hosting Xi for a variety of reasons. The main reason was that Putin strongly considered asking for lethal aid which China has remained silent on but has never given a definite no to.

The 12 point peace plan proposed by Xi has been deemed as a non starter by Ukraine, the U.S. and Western Allies. It mainly is because it would be keeping Crimea as Russian controlled territory even though it is Ukrainian land, calling for a cease fire between Russia and Ukraine (which would most likely allow for Russia to regroup and buildup manpower for a new offensive), and a plan that favors Russia in ending the war but doesn’t give all Ukrainian land back to the Ukrainians.

Most notably, in recent weeks, the ICC (International Criminal Court) has issued an arrest warrant for President Putin of Russia and for the Commissioner of Children’s Rights Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova. This comes at a time when Russia is continuing to lose and manpower is short. The arrest warrant is mainly for the unlawful deportation of Ukrainian children to Russian controlled territory as well as many Ukrainians who were forced to be taken to Russia. Lvova-Belova, who is the Commissioner of Children’s Rights in Russia, has been in control of the handling of displaced children since the war started. She herself has “adopted” at least one kid from Ukraine and has been an advocate of having Russian families take in Ukrainian children.

Putin and Lvova-Belova have both been pro Russian and have the mindset of making the Ukrainian children lose their identity and therefore become Russian citizens. With the forced deportation and the illegal adoptions which have taken place, the ICC has issued arrest warrants for both of them under the Rome Statute. Although, in the near future, most likely nothing will happen for them to be arrested, it further isolates Russia and its leaders from traveling to much of the world, and especially to the West.

Deadly earthquake takes aim at Turkey and Syria

By Aeden Evenson-McDermott

In the early hours of February 6th, the 7.8 magnitude quake occurred making it one of the deadliest earthquakes in the history of the region, and worldwide, while being the deadliest in years since the 1939 one.

Many aftershocks occurred after, with the deadliest one to be a 7.5 magnitude aftershock. The main concern of this is that despite the damage already caused, the aftershock occurs with quite a large force which also cripples buildings and poses great structural damages.

With one of the deadliest quakes to strike, it posed many humanitarian calls for aid and support from around the world.

With the event occurring in southern Turkey and northern Syria, it decimated large cities and made matters worse with the countries already experiencing a refugee crisis. Furthermore, it was an overall wide ranging event that would lead to an all out search and rescue with teams scouring through the rubble for many hours.

As of February 24, the death toll neared 49,000 according to the United Nations. With much of city’s and town’s infrastructures destroyed, it left many homeless and exposed to the elements in the night time.

Much of the rescue operations resulted in many of thousands saved from being pulled from the rubble but it left many stranded and in the evenings, folks had bonfires in order to stay warm.

As the quake spanded 200 miles, the desperation was wide ranging with Turkey declaring a national emergency for the near future; the health care system is crippled and overwhelmed with the influx of patients receiving aid. Syria is currently grappling with the recurring civil war, divisions within territories, and tense relations between president Bashar Al-Assad and much of the West.

The United Nations’ Secretary General, led by António Guterres, proposed near $400 million in aid to help with the humanitarian crisis in Syria as well.

With much work to do in both countries, it will take awhile until cities can try to be rebuilt and aid comes more free flowing to help with the devastating crisis of circumstances.

Italy’s second rise to fascism

By: Charlie Boone

In the spring of 1919, a group of Italian nationalists, including Benito Mussolini, burnt down the offices of a local socialist newspaper called ‘L’Avanti!’, killing four people, and halting production of the paper for several days. This was the first of many attacks on left-wing institutions from the fascist movement. This violence, often helped by colluding nationalist law enforcement, would grow the influence of paramilitary fascist groups, eventually culminating in Mussolini gaining power in 1922.

Almost exactly 100 years after the first violent rise of fascism in Italy, it’s happening again. This time, draped in the aesthetics of modern neoliberal politics, while the actual message being sent is one of nationalism and white supremacy. The current figurehead of this movement is Giorgia Meloni, and she was elected prime minister of Italy on October 22, 2022.

The party she belongs to is called Fratelli d’Italia or “The Brothers of Italy”. They are a far-right neofascist political party and by far the most extreme to govern the country since Mussolini’s dictatorship. The fact that this is Italy’s first woman prime minister is also no coincidence. Far-right movements have had a lengthy history of picking select white women as figureheads to forward patriarchal and regressive ideas through the thin veil of progress.

Aesthetics have always been intertwined with fascism and other far-right movements. Historically, as an intense focus on uniform and conveying power, strength, and purity; so much so that the wolf in sheep’s clothing approach that Meloni is using is working better than it ever should have.

In September of 2022, before Meloni was elected, Hillary Clinton was quoted as saying, “The election of the first woman prime minister in a country always represents a break with the past, and that is certainly a good thing,”. I don’t think that this means Clinton actually supports the hateful, racist, anti-immigrant politics that Meloni and her party are pushing for, but it’s this sort of attitude that dismisses the genuine harm that these ideas cause, opening the door wide open for another rise to fascism.

With Meloni’s administration already targeting journalists critical of her ideas, it seems clear that anything short of genuine condemnation simply isn’t enough.

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Croatia joins Schengen and switches to the Euro

By: Aeden Evenson-McDermott

As the new year began and the world turned its focus to the up and coming 2023 calendar year, the ties between Croatia and Europe would be closer than ever before. Croatia has had EU membership since 2013. Various countries that are in the EU are not in the Schengen area and don’t use the euro.

A few examples to understand the complex system: Sweden is part of the Schengen area but doesn’t use euro as it still uses krona as its currency, and Ireland as an EU country isn’t Schengen. Thus, it prompts the question of how the EU, the Schengen area, and euro currency are intertwined? The EU and Schengen areas are separate components that do not imply the use of the euro currency.

Croatia, with a population of 4 million, got its independence in 1991 and the Balkan country got the green light into the EU in 2013. This major step for the country of Croatia has been celebrated in the deeper connection to Europe.

A bit of background on the Schengen zone; the zone spans in population of 420 million people, it allows for the goods, services, and people of countries to travel without restrictions in other Schengen countries. The less hassle of providing identity and travel documentation for customs allows for a bit more of easier travel.

The span that Schengen covers is 23 EU member countries along with four members of the European Free Trade Association.

Croatia, being the 27th country to join, also sets the bar for air travel check to expire in late March of this year.

The global use of euro also is prevalent, as it allows for a more stable currency to replace the current currency of the Croatian kuna which is less stable.

Some of the foreseeable benefits of joining include: it allows for more global trade partners and easier networking of shipments between countries, it also helps combat national inflation (which is key to keeping prices down), and with the more stable currency it allows for the markets to hopefully not exceed current prices. Additionally, the tourism industry, which currently makes up 20% of the country’s annual GDP, will also take off and recover from the pandemic with more incomes as well.

With getting the accession into Schengen and eurozone, there are many complex factors that allow for the official acceptance. Croatia needed a majority from both the European parliament and European Commission, along with all EU member states having unanimous agreement, which would allow for the official transition of Croatia.

With the voting from the European council, the results were as stated, with 543 MEPs in favor, 53 against, and 25 abstaining, which led to the Council having the final say in the big decision. The unanimous vote finally came in December of 2022, with the EU ministers of the council coming to a final consensus and confirming the vote.

There was a bit of resentment from the other regions of Romania and Bulgaria who were denied entry. The main cause of their denied entry was because of the corruption, and illegal migrations concerns, with the two countries.

As Croatia goes for the new milestone, it proves the EU is intact and remains focused despite the recent agressions from Russia in the war against Ukraine. It also deepens the connection with a more connected Europe with the most recent addition to the mix of Croatia.

As the Croatian prime minister, Andrej Plenković proclaimed, “Two strategic goals of a deeper EU integration”.

Russia and Ukraine 9 months later. What’s changed? 

By: Brogan Frey

Almost 9 months ago, on February 24th, 2022, the country of Russia invaded its neighbor country, Ukraine, starting a war between the two countries. 

For a month or two, this war had captured the attention of the majority of people around the globe, but since then, the war has not been talked about nearly as much, except for in occasional discussions about the U.S. and how much aid it has provided, and how much more it should. 

Other than that, the war has pretty much fallen out of the global spotlight, letting daily news and other global issues fall back into their spots at the top of most news sites. 

Let’s quickly go over some of the major facts of the war that you may have missed in the past few months. 

This war has been called the biggest land war in Europe since World War II, claiming over 32,368 lives to date (according to Ukraine’s Interior Ministry), and the number is almost definitely going to rise until the war comes to an end. 

Another hard to believe number is the 7.8 million refugees from the war. (Data accurate as of 11/15/22) This number, although already big, seems even bigger when you know that the population of Ukraine was around 43.8 million before the war, meaning that 1 in every 5.5 Ukrainian residents has at some point left Ukraine as a refugee. 

Although the war is still ongoing, nearly 4.5 million Ukrainian refugees have since returned to their home country. 

These 2 statistics have been changing constantly since the beginning of the war, but one recent event relating to the war has brought some of the attention back to the warring countries. 

According to the New York Times, the country of Poland said that a Russian-made missile was likely to blame for the deaths of two Polish citizens in an explosion near Poland’s border with Ukraine on Tuesday, November 15th. 

This is the first time a member of NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) has been directly hit during the 9 month long conflict, at the beginning of which Ukraine was considering joining for the protection from Russia. 

It is not known, at the time of this writing, who fired the missile, or where it came from, but it has been described by the Polish Foreign Ministry as “Russian-made.”

Both Russia and Ukraine have used Russian made munitions during the conflict, which is why no one has been quick to assume where it came from. 

Although the war has been long-lived and taxing, I believe that we need to pay more attention to it as it has had an impact on millions of lives, and can affect many more if this war turns out to last for months or years longer. 

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Its the end of the world as we know it

(Yes like the R.E.M. song)

By: Reed Morris

All around the world, we are facing disastrous natural phenomena. The magnitude of these events seem as though they are straight out of Hollywood movies. Here is a compilation, and explanation, of some of the most major events from the late summer of 2022.

To kick off the month of August, a major flood in Kentucky had a rising death toll, passing 37 on August 2nd. In the wake of the flood, lay 12,000 powerless homes, empty schools, and millions of dollars worth of damage to local infrastructure. There was a frantic mass exodus which saw excessive looting.

Because of these factors the state was put under curfew and was essentially locked down for a short amount of time. Intervention by the federal government was eventually deemed necessary, and Biden sent federal support to Kentucky to assist localized teams of rescuers and national guardsmen in the evacuation process. 

Another case of these extremely strange and sometimes deadly weather phenomena is the case of coasts, East vs West.

Recently, at least, the US has seen an increase in extreme weather. This year was the first time we truly realized how intensely different weather can be from one side of the country to the other.

In August and September of 2022, the west coast of the United States was under extreme stress from the absurd heat that it was experiencing.

Temperatures in LA flew into the triple digits. People were asked to turn off their lights and stop using electricity to try to keep the power grid alive. With everyone living in intense heat, the power grid was struggling immensely to support the AC units needed to keep the entire population cool.

Now, we move to the east coast. For almost a month straight, during August, there was torrential rain, hail, and flooding. A direct example of this is what happened to Kentucky, as mentioned before.

We usually think of our country as better than most, but when it comes to the wrath of the sky and earth, everyone is equally powerless.

The largest of these recent natural disasters struck the Middle Eastern country of Pakistan.

While American students begrudgingly returned from their summer vacations and turned back to a life at school, children and families in Pakistan were struck by a much worse predicament.

An excess of water struck Pakistan seemingly out of nowhere. With the countries fluid infrastructure not being modern, it was quickly overrun by the extreme load. Dams lost function, levees broke, and the agricultural artery of Pakistan was its ultimate demise.

Where this really becomes truly shocking is the number of real people that have been displaced by the disaster. Over 30 million Pakistani residents have been forced to move, and over 600,000 have been forced into relief camps. One third of the country’s population is in a dire situation. This is terrifying, but it’s just the beginning.

Deadly weather phenomena are something we as a species must learn to overcome. The only issue is, we don’t know how to. Natural disasters are like our planets version of a check mate. There is nothing we can do to stop it when it happens, we can only plan to make it more difficult for our opponent to get us into that position.

This is where I must bring up global warming. We are simply not doing enough to avoid the horrendous fallout our species has laid unto ourselves. I am not going to pretend to be an atmospheric fluid dynamic professor, or a well spoken well researched activist. I’m just someone who has noticed a problem and feels that not enough people are addressing it.

At the end of the day, there’s not much we can do as individuals. The only chance we have is by operating together. Writing legislation and finding new ways to do what needs to be done without killing this planet that has so graciously allowed us to thrive.

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Who was the late Queen of England and what was the impact of her sudden death

By: Domingo Basso

The late Queen of England: Queen Elizabeth II, who was born on April 21, 1926, in Mayfair London, died September 8, 2022, at the age of 96. According to ‘The New York Times’ she died peacefully but the cause of her death was not specified due to the Royal Palace not disclosing that information. Despite that being true, a royal biographer claimed that the Queen was suffering from a bone condition and Lady Colin Campbell, a royal expert who has written about Princess Diana, went as far as to claim that the Queen had died from bone cancer. 

After the Queen passed away, her son, who was commonly known as “The Prince of Wales” became King Charles III, and now has the throne. Before becoming King, he already established over 20 charities and supported many different causes regarding the environment, rural communities, the construction, the arts, healthcare, and education.

But, now let’s move on to how the world is dealing with the loss of a figure as important as her Majesty. Sources such as ‘The Washington Post’ say that very soon after her death became known to the public, there were a quarter of a million people in line to see and pay their respects to the Queen once it became possible to do so. (that’s 250,000 people!) So many people wanted to pay their respects to her that there was a queue that grew so long that the queue time would reach up to 24 hours at a point. In fact, the queue grew so large that there had to be a line to get in the line to pay respects.

 The state funeral for the Queen happened at Westminster Abbey on Monday, the 19th of September, at 11am, and the funeral service was live-streamed on YouTube so that more people could be able to mourn her passing. To end the funeral service, there was 2 minutes of silence followed by the national anthem, to bring it to a close. 

So, the death of Queen Elizabeth II impacted a LOT of people around the world, and especially the citizens of the United Kingdom due to her rule having lasted decades. Her impact was massive due to how the UK runs to this day. So, we can only hope for the best for the citizens of the United Kingdom with the loss of somebody very important to all of them. And we can also hope that their newest ruler, the King, may be able to live up to the name of his late predecessor.

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