Tham Luang cave rescue

By: Mila Hart

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On June 23, 2018, a soccer team made up of twelve boys aged eleven to sixteen and their twenty five year old coach, became trapped in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in the Chiangmai Rai province in northern Thailand.

In mid July, the caves close because they flood due to the monsoon season. The boys entered the cave on June 23 thinking that they would not be at risk of getting trapped by rising waters.

It was not uncommon for the local kids to play and visit the cave when it wasn’t monsoon season. The boys thought they had more time before that season would begin, but they were unfortunately mistaken.

They became stranded in the caves after a sudden and continuous downpour blocked all exits. The rain would only get worse and worse because it was the beginning of the monsoon season. This means that if they did not find the boys as soon as possible then there would be no hope of getting them out.

After being missing for ten days, British divers found the missing boys perched on a rocky ledge. After being located the boys were joined by Thai navy seals and received food, water, blankets, and minor medical aid.

Once the boys were found, they had to act fast to get them out of the cave. Monsoon season would soon be hitting at full force and even though they’re were many engineers and volunteers working on pumping water out of the cave it would not be enough to stop the water from rising at extreme speeds.

The cave is a twisting, turning six mile complex of narrow passages. The boys were trapped two and a half miles into the cave, most of which was nearly completely underwater. When cave diving you are fully submerged in a narrow space and can’t see more than four inches in front of you because the water is dark and muddy. So, this meant that the only way to safely remove the boys was to sedate them so they wouldn’t panic, put them in special gear so they wouldn’t drown, and have them be guided out of the caves by professional cave divers.

Getting all of the boys out of the cave took three days. Three to four boys, plus their coach being removed from the cave each day. Once each of them made it out of the cave they were immediately put into ambulances and taken to the hospital.

All of the boys and the coach lived. The rescue effort involved over 100,000 people. These people were divers, many types of rescue workers, representatives from around 100 governmental agencies, police officers, and soldiers.

For more information, please see the documentary ‘The Rescue’ on Disney+

Helping Ukraine

By: Carla Tizcareno

With all the commotion going on with Russia and Ukraine, there are lots of questions going around. It’s hard to watch such a major and damaging event unfold from afar, but there are many ways that you, or someone you know, can help.

Donations are an easy and accessible way to help Ukraine during this difficult time. Donating money or resources is an extremely helpful and important thing. The thing is, after or during major events such as this one, many scammers take advantage of it to get money. It’s important to always check the source of the donations, or where they are going. Always do your research before you give and if you can, you should report any suspicious activity with donating sites.

UNICEF is a great example of a trustworthy organization that you can donate to. It was made almost 70 years ago. Their mission is to aid children around the world with health, education, safe and clean water, and even HIV prevention. They now have a specific spot to donate to Ukraine. Here is the link to their Ukraine donation site:

There is also UNHCR, which is an organization that focuses on helping people find refuge during dangerous events, like a war. On their website, there are multiple spots that lead to donating to Ukraine. Here is the link for their website:

The International Committee of the Red Cross is a great spot to donate as well. They are trying to send help and assistance to war victims, or victims of other situations of violence. They are a Switzerland based organization that is also aiding the people in Afghanistan.

There are many other organizations that can help as well. These are just some of the examples of great resources for donating to help the cause. Below are some others that are good too:

Russia vs. Ukraine

By: Abi Hernandez Castillo & Thalia Pliego

There have been many questions relating to why Vladimir Putin is invading Ukraine, however, it’s no secret why he is invading the independent country of Ukraine. According to ‘Vox’, Putin says that Ukraine isn’t a “real” country and claims that Ukraine is “fiction” that was created by communist Russia. 

According to ‘India Today’, the beginning of the formation of Russia and Ukraine starts in 1654 when it first tried to unite Kievan Russia under one ruler. A treaty was signed in March of 1954 between Russia and Ukraine in which Ukraine became an autonomous country, but foreign and defense matters remained with the Russian regime. However, this system lasted until 1782 when Russia had merged Ukraine into itself. The treaty was only signed to not only save Ukraine but to also save Russia itself. 

The Russian Empire was afraid of the Polish-Lithuania Commonwealth Empire and the Turkish Empire so Russia wanted to keep Ukraine close. When the Soviet Union broke up in the 1990s, Ukraine had the third-largest atomic arsenal in the world. The United States and Russia worked with Ukraine to denuclearize the country and eventually Kyik, Ukraine gave hundreds of nuclear warheads back to Russia in exchange for security assurances that would protect Ukraine from a possible Russian attack. In 2014, when Russia invaded Ukraine, Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula and these assurances were tested.

This brought the relationship between Russia and the West to a very low point. Now we know that Russia and Ukraine have a bad relationship but why invade now? According to ‘INSIDER’ Russia is concerned with NATOs eastward expansion. NATO is a political and military alliance that was first formed in 1949. Putin has criticized NATO for expanding eastward since the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.

As stated earlier, back in the 1990’s Ukraine had to be convinced to denuclearize the country and because of this Russia also feared that Ukraine had the knowledge and desire to obtain nuclear weapons, and this was a threat to Russia. Although it wasn’t proven that Ukraine had nuclear weapons ready to go to Russia, Putin still felt threatened. 

Currently, there have been many updates since the start of the war between Russia and Ukraine. According to ‘The New York Times’, the Russian shellings have blocked any efforts into creating safe exit corridors for civilians. There are many who are trapped due to blocked off corridors and are left without food, water, and medicine. The bombs that Russia has been dropping also destroyed a maternity hospital on Wednesday, March 9th. 

This war between Russia and Ukraine has not only impacted these two countries but as a result, the United States has also been affected economically. According to ‘The Wall Street Journal’, the inflation levels that are experienced on both sides of the Atlantic are levels that have not been seen in decades. Recently, there has been an increase in oil prices. Russia is one of the main providers of oil for Europe and due to the war, the oil may not be available for the United States to obtain, and to preserve what is left, the prices become higher. 

China’s influence on African infrastructure and politics

By: Toby Martin-Kohls

In an era such as now, geopolitics are becoming more and more important and in the spotlight. An easy example of current events is the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

China has, and does, use its money and resources to influence global politics.

What is global politics? The United Nations. The United Nations is an organization founded after WWII, and per their website: “The one place on Earth where all the world’s nations can gather together, discuss common problems, and find shared solutions that benefit all of humanity.” Each of the 193 member states has a representative that has a vote in any resolutions that are brought forward.

Today, only 15 countries recognize the Republic of China, which is also known as Taiwan. Both countries claim that they are the rightful owner of all of China. Since there can only be one representative per member state, the U.N. held a vote in 1971 to decide which country would be given a representative. At the time, the U.S. officially recognized Taiwan, so for the vote, it was essentially the United States’ sphere of influence against the world.

Now we can relate this back to Africa. China ended up winning the resolution vote, but what we are looking at is which African countries voted for who in 1971. The Central African Republic, Chad, Gabon, Liberia, Niger, South Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, and Ivory Coast all voted with the United States for Taiwan to represent both the mainland and the island at the United Nations.

Fast forward to 2007 and the U.N. is holding a vote on whether to condemn human rights violations in North Korea. North Korea has few allies, but China is a big supporter because they share some of the same values. Again, like the previous vote mentioned earlier, this time it was China’s sphere of influence against the world.

The only African countries that voted to condemn North Korea were: Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea: Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Burundi, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritania, and Tanzania. The rest of the 43 African countries voted with China or abstained.

This is a product of China using its power to build infrastructure in low developed African countries.

China’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) has grown rapidly since the 1960s and 70s. It has made the shift from an industrializing country to an industrialized country.

Africa, however, has some of the world’s fastest-growing economies. In April 2021, Nasdaq predicted Libya to be the fastest growing economy of 2021.

In Africa, there are around 10,000 Chinese-owned businesses and construction companies worth over $2 trillion. In 2017, Chinese companies obtained roughly half of all engineering, construction, and procurement contracts on the African continent.

China has used its resources to foster relationships with the countries of Africa and make them allies. Given the current events of Ukraine and Russia, these decisions could make a difference in the years to come. Hopefully, China does not decide to forcefully take over Taiwan. Based on the relationships they’ve fostered in Africa, they could have access to any number of resources outside the country.

Ottawa protests

By: Abi Hernandez Castillo & Thalia Pliego

The people of Canada have been demanding to put an end to the COVID-19 vaccine mandates. These protests have been going on since late January of this year. According to ‘Fortune’, Canadas “Freedom Convoy” began when the protestors, many of which were truckers, drove from the west coast of Canada to the national capital of Ottawa. They are protesting the COVID-19 mandate for truckers.

Besides truckers, ordinary Canadians were also fed up with the restrictions that the pandemic has placed upon them. Some claim that the mandates cost them their jobs and have affected their families, and because of their frustration, they have also joined the protests. These protesters were spreading to the border crossing between Canada and the United States and interrupting trade. 

Because of these protests, truckers have cost half of a billion dollars worth of daily trade with the United States. Since the protestors have left Ottawa paralyzed, the mayor has declared a state of emergency. The mayor of Windsor, Ontario, where the protesters have closed down the Ambassador Bridge border that crosses to the United States, said that the police were preparing to physically remove any protesters if it was necessary. Even with this subtle warning, the protesters did not let that stop them. According to ‘Fortune’, they continued to fight until officials decided to remove all COVID restrictions nationwide. 

How do these protests in another country affect us here in the United States? According to ‘Deseret News’, Jeff Schuster, president of the LMC Automotive consulting firm in Troy, Michigan said, “We’re dealing with part shortages in general and supply chain issues. This is just another wrench in the industry that we’re dealing with right now.” Schuster mentions the lack of parts and this is not just him experiencing it. Any business in the United States that relies on Canadian trade is being impacted at a high level right now.

According to ‘Newsweek’, the Ottowa City Council has voted to “redo” Valentine’s Day on March 14th, 2022 because as a result of the protest, restaurants, and businesses that would usually be open on Valentine’s Day and get more sales were forced to close. The city council and development staff would work with local businesses to promote shopping and dining on March 14th, 2022.  Susan Murray told CTV News, “I think it’s great that the city has thought about small businesses and what impact the last February 14th might have had on them”. Many businesses are losing money due to the protests and having to close down. The Rideau Center, which is a shopping mall, lost approximately $20 million CAD in the week of these protests.

The very few police officers, that were seen, were swallowed up by the enormous crowds of people. Scott Spenser, 36, said in the ‘New York Times’, “They don’t have an easy job, hopefully, this all ends peacefully and they lift the mandates and we all get back to living.”

Many who supported the protests wanted the “Freedom Convoy” to continue until vaccine mandates and other COVID-19 measures in the country were dissolved. The police said that they may arrest anyone who is blocking the streets or helping anyone else do it. They also mentioned that anyone going into Ottawa to join the protests may have their vehicles seized, face fines, or have their licenses suspended. 

According to ‘ABC News’, A judge has denied bail to one of the leading organizers behind the Ottawa protests on Tuesday. Ottawa police have made 196 arrests, with over 100 facing more than one charge. 115 vehicles were also towed that were connected to the protest.

The Russian-Ukraine conflict, and its history, explained

By: Toby Martin-Kohls

You may have heard in the media about the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. You might have heard eye-catching headlines such as NBC New’s “Biden warns Americans to leave, says sending troops to evacuate to be a ‘world war’”. But what is this conflict even about?

In short, Russia has currently amassed 130,000 troops at various points along their shared border with Ukraine, complete with other war aids such as field hospitals. Putin has a list of demands for the West or more commonly referred to as NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization). Negotiations are ongoing, but Russia has enough troops positioned to launch a full-scale invasion.

His demands include that NATO stop expanding, for NATO to remove troops out of Eastern Europe, and assurances that the US won’t protect Eastern European allies. He knows that these demands are far-fetched, but then he could claim he went the diplomatic way before an invasion.

To fully understand this conflict, you need to understand what NATO is and also take a step back into the past.

NATO was formed in 1949 by the US to provide collective security against the Soviet Union. Before Russia became the Russia that it is today, it was the USSR, or also known as the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union was a socialist republic and tried to build a communist society.

After the fall of the Soviet Union in December 1991, former Soviet republics declared some forms of independence, and today they are recognized as sovereign states. These countries are now known as: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

Since modern-day Ukraine was once part of the Soviet Union, there were, and still are, many deep cultural ties to the region. For example, the leader of the Soviet Union when it fell, Mikhail Gorbachev, had a Ukrainian mother and a Russian father. To people like him, and Vladimir Putin, Ukraine, and Russia share similar interests and objectives.

Putin became President of Russia in 2012, but he was a high-ranking government official for years prior. In a 2005 speech, Putin said, “The collapse of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century,” and “As for the Russian people, it became a genuine tragedy. Tens of millions of our fellow countrymen found themselves beyond the fringes of Russian territory.”

In his mind, all the new territories from the old regime were essentially still Russian. When the West shows up to these former republics offering their ideological beliefs such as democracies and inviting them to join their military alliance (NATO), which again, was first started to provide security against the Soviet Union, he felt threatened, because of this belief that Ukraine is Russia.

Ukraine has been flirting with becoming more allied with the West, which has Putin on edge. After Russian annexed Crimea, a southern region of Ukraine, in 2014, Ukrainians elected a pro-West president. The current president, elected in 2019, is also a closer ally of NATO countries, and has talked about the country joining NATO. A Unian poll asked Ukrainians if they were in favor to join the European Union which 58% of respondents said yes. It also asked if they were in favor of Ukraine joining NATO, of which 64% said yes.

Further emphasizing his position, on his blog, Putin wrote, “…Of what is essentially the same historical and spiritual space, to my mind is our great common misfortune and tragedy…But these are also the result of deliberate efforts by those forces that have always sought to undermine our unity. The formula they apply has been known from time immemorial – divide and rule.”

He truly believes that Ukraine has aligned itself with the West to thwart Russia.

Perhaps his most effective argument is, “Just have a look at how Austria and Germany, the USA and Canada live next to each other. Close in ethnic composition, culture, in fact sharing one language, they remain sovereign states with their own interests, with their own foreign policy. But this does not prevent them from the closest integration or allied relations. They have very conditional, transparent borders. And when crossing them the citizens feel at home. They create families, study, work, do business. Incidentally, so do millions of those born in Ukraine who now live in Russia. We see them as our own close people.”

That does not excuse using force to take over a sovereign state. If Putin ends up invading Russia, this will give NATO a new purpose, albeit similar to why it was formed. Putin and his legacy all seem to rest on gaining land back that he deems as part of Russia.

World hunger and ways to solve it

By: Musab Mohamud

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World hunger is an issue that plagues millions of people globally. The suffering that many face isn’t easily fixable and is one of many issues caused by war, famine and poverty.

Hunger is viewed as a third world issue when in reality, humans are starving everywhere. In cities such as Paris, New York, and Rome, the streets are full of people who are forced to beg for their next meal. Many children in the United States rely on school food so they won’t go hungry.

There are many proposals to help end hunger; funding agricultural programs is one that is sustainable and practical. In settings like rural Africa, Asia, and South America, it could be integral to feeding a family or village. However, it would be limited in more urban areas with the lack of space necessary for enough food for mass consumption. There are vast spaces in those rural countrysides that could be used as planting areas. Pushing people to create gardens with free seeds could be very helpful in improving food production.

A solution for urbanized areas could be government sanctioned food drives directed towards homeless and impoverished people. While there are already programs of the sort, they are not very effective. With countless organizations attempting to help stop hunger, they are making progress, however, it’s obviously not enough. Non-profit organizations simply don’t have the resources that the government does.

A quote from a student reads, “People should consider using compost more, you can reuse inedible food to grow food again.” Compost is a very good example of sustainable agriculture and could be used to reduce waste and help grow healthy and natural food. Soil is very important in the growth of food and cannot be wasted, so introducing compost to the mix could increase food production and lessen costs as a side effect.

The reason for social unrest in Colombia

By: Hayat Osman

Image taken from: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/03 /world/americas/colombia-protest-de aths.html

The demonstrations in Colombia began after the President, Iván Duque, announced a pandemic related tax reform on April 28, 2021. The reason behind the reform was because the government needed to raise
about $6.85 billion to fix the economic imbalance of the country. People quickly took to the streets to voice their outrage to the government. Unions and politicians were angry about the proposal.

Although the protests held in Colombia have only been ongoing for about 3 weeks, according to Colombia’s human rights officials, at least 42 people have died. Thousands have been injured, and many are believed to be missing, as increased violence and unrest spreads across the nation.

Unions who organized the protests, said the tax reform would disproportionately affect the middle class and poorest citizens, who have already been struggling due to the pandemic. Several protests, and a strike led by different organizations, were successful. After 4 days of protesting in large cities, the president decided to cancel the tax plan, and seek a new plan through a consensus.

According to NBCNews.com, researchers have pointed out that the tax reform was a catalyst for continued social unrest. Even though President Iván has withdrawn the tax plan, demonstrations continue being fueled by a mix of undelivered promises, inequality, violence, the mismanagement of the pandemic, and excessive force used by police. As violence increases, organizations are trying to negotiate terms with the government.

During the past few weeks, multiple videos of police abusing their authority over citizens have surfaced on social media. Both the UN, and European Union, have warned about the excessive use of force by the police. Despite the dangers, many protesters continue to take to the streets because of their disagreement with government policies.

The injustices that police have inflicted these past few weeks upon protesters in Colombia is unlawful. Protesters have asked for international attention. Let’s take the time to listen to the concerns of Colombians, and help them get the justice they deserve. Michel Adolfo Torres Carmona, a protester from Cali, Colombia has said, “There are many missing people. But we must continue the fight. The world must know what they are doing to us.”

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The world’s worst ongoing COVID-19 outbreak

By: Alexandra Rimbu

India is now home to the world’s worst ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, having nearly more than 17.6 million reported cases since the beginning of the pandemic. And while this number may seem high, experts speculate the total number of cases (both reported and unreported) may be up to 30 times higher, reaching more than half a billion cases.

The great disparity between the total number of COVID-19 cases and the reported number of COVID-19 cases could be caused by several factors, including low testing levels and undercounting deaths. 

Last year, in late April, the country was only testing fewer than half a million people per day, compared to the 2 million tests they do per day now. However, it appears this is still not enough.

“That’s still not sufficient because the national average positivity rate is about 15% — in some cities like Delhi it’s up to 30% or higher. That means there are lots of people out there who are infected and not being detected just because of the capacity of testing … we will know only later how many was really the number of people infected,” says Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist for the World Health Organization (WHO), speaking on the low testing levels. 

The country also suffers an underfunded public health infrastructure. In normal times, according to CNN, only 86% of deaths nationwide are registered in government systems. During this pandemic, this number has decreased greatly. As hospitals have run out of space, more and more people die at home or in other places, where there are no doctors present to assign a cause of death, and these deaths then go unreported. 

As of April 27th, India reported nearly 198,000 COVID-19 deaths. However, Bhramar Mukherjee, professor of biostatistics and epidemiology at the University of Michigan, estimates COVID-19 fatalities could be underreported by a factor of between two and five, meaning the real death toll could be close to 990,000.

While India still continues to struggle, it is receiving aid from overseas and taking steps itself towards lowering COVID-19 cases.

If you would personally like to help with the COVID situation in India, here are some links to sites where you can make a donation: 

For more information, please visit:

Recent events in St. Vincent

By: Hayat Osman

Image taken from: https://news.un.org/en/story/ 2021/04/1089592

The island St. Vincent, of the Caribbean, was subjected to multiple explosive eruptions by a 4,049 foot volcano, La Soufrière, on April 9, 2021.

According to ‘National Geographic’, volcanic ash is formed by tiny particles of jagged rock, glass, and minerals. Due to the ash of volcanoes being made of sharp jagged fragments it is very lethal causing eye, nose, lung irritation, and diculty breathing.

The Volcano La Soufrière emitted so much ash that many were forced to flee towards safety.

The Prime minister of St. Vincent, Ralph Gonsalves, ordered an evacuation as a precaution, on Thursday, for about 1,600 people living in the northern part of the island, after several days of increased activity. Evacuation continued on Friday. The country’s National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) said that the ash from the first eruption was at 20,000 ft in the air drifting eastwards.

Later on Friday afternoon, 2 more eruptions happened, spewing more ash into the air to the point that the ash had complicated evacuation efforts as visibility was poor. Many citizens of the island shared pictures and photos on social media of the heavy ash fall.

4 cruise ships were sent on Friday, two from Royal Caribbean, and two from Carnival Cruise Line, to help evacuees escape to nearby islands.

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