Around the World
Venezuela is currently amid a political and economic crisis. The country began to suffer in 2010 when Hugo Chávez was president. The country is a major exporter of oil which formed the backbone of its economy. As a result of its wealth, the country increased spending, but when prices dropped, they couldn’t afford this spending. Many economists blame the Populist policies of the Chávez presidency. Venezuela spiralled into poverty with shortages in food, medicine, and public services. The crisis is so bad that most of Venezuela’s citizens have lost over twenty pounds because they have no food. Because there’s little policing and many need to steal for their food, crime rates have risen. The murder rate in Venezuela is the third highest in the world. It’s over ten times higher than that of the US.
Currently, the country of Venezuela is undergoing a political dispute. The 2018 presidential election of Venezuela was controversial, as some believe that President Maduro is guilty of fraud and faked votes to get reelection. Juan Guido is the head of Venezuela’s National Assembly. He argues that because of the voting fraud, Venezuela’s seat for president was left open, leaving him to become the candidate. Countries that support Guido as president include: the United States, Canada, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, and neighboring South American Countries. Maduro claims that the United States only supports Guido so that the country can further control their oil trades. The US currently has sanctions against Venezuelan oil as a result of the Maduro presidency.
Controversy over their ruler’s legitimacy should not take away from the suffering that’s occurring in the country. Many of us don’t know a time when we couldn’t buy food but do remember grandparents who spoke of the Great Depression. Venezuela is currently going through a crisis arguably worse than our Great Depression, and the rulers and other countries need to start working together to get over it before more people die.
Since the death of Michael Jackson, one of the biggest pop stars in history, a fantastically disturbing documentary came out about his private life. The documentary that was just released on HBO was called, “Leaving Neverland”. It included the hard to hear details and interviews with the families and children about their experience in “Neverland”.
Michael Jackson was a huge 90’s pop star, whose music swept the world off their feet. The “King of Pop” lived a life of lavish and riches, but behind closed doors, many secrets were kept hidden. Jackson built a home called “Neverland” that was filled with games, sweets, rides, and many other things that are known to appeal to children. Jackson would often have kids over to spend the night. The “sleepovers” often lasted for weeks or months at a time. The children that he chose to stay with him were often up and coming child stars. They were young boys whose parents were looking for a way to get their child to stand out in show business.
Jackson used a type of manipulation called “grooming”. He would use his celebrity influence to lure these children to Neverland with their parents permissions’. At first, Jackson would invite the entire family over to stay and spend time with him. Once he has the family’s trust, he would just have the child stay. He would give these parents money and promise of their child’s success in exchange for time with their children. He would say that his time would be spent training and getting their child ready for the spotlight, when in reality, no one knows what really happend behind closed doors.
Since Michael Jackson’s death, five children, who are now adults, have come forward about their sexual abuse and experience in “Neverland”. They have explained in excruciating detail the traumatic events that they endured from Jackson. Unfortunately, nothing can be done about these evil events because Michael Jackson is dead. These families will never get justice for the pain that was caused, and all they can do is try to heal.
Jussie Smollett Controversy
Actor on the popular American drama series Empire, Jussie Smollett, was charged with disorderly conduct for orchestrating his own attack. This makes him guilty of a class four felony. Such an act is punishable by one to three years of prison time. He claimed that two men attacked him, put a rope around his neck, and poured an unknown substance on him. The two brothers were caught by video surveillance the day before the act and were promptly arrested once authorities found them. The brothers said that Jussie paid them to attack him. Two law enforcement sources had evidence to believe the brothers’ claim. This led to the brothers to be released from custody. They made the statement “We are not racist. We are not homophobic, and we are not anti-Trump. We were born and raised in Chicago and are American citizens,” in response to claims that Smollett made about homophobic, racist, and pro-Trump remarks. A $3,500 check has surfaced which detectives believe was given to the brothers to do the attack. Because of the publicity, many law enforcement agencies have looked into the investigation. The evidence against Smollett is damning, but as of now the actor still denies the conspiracy. Many of his fans are confused as to why Smollett would stage the attack, but faking hate crimes for fame and political power is more common than most people believe. It’s unfortunate that a famous actor with such a bright future has gotten caught up in something like this, guilty or not.
Time Warner Center was evacuated Thursday evening because someone had called in a bomb threat. The Time Warner Center is located in Manhattan and houses CNN’s studios. After thoroughly searching the building, police found nothing and employees could re-enter the building starting at 11 p.m. CNN’s own security team also did a search on the building and found nothing.
Just around two months ago, CNN also had to be evacuated due to a pipe bomb that was sent to the studio. The bomb was addressed to former CIA director John Brennan. The man who sent this bomb had also sent many other bombs to prominent democrats across the country. President Donald Trump has repeatedly attacked CNN for displaying “Fake News” to the public and many people think that this may be part of the reason that their studios have been attacked so frequently as of lately.
- Featured Writer -
MARRIOTT SECURITY BREACH
Marriott International, one of the largest hotel companies in the world, had a security breach that could impact up to 500 million people who have stayed in their hotels. Personal information has been illegally accessed since 2014, and the hacker has copied and encrypted information.The compromised information includes names, mailing addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, passport numbers, date of birth, gender, Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty program account information, arrival and departure information, reservation date as well as communication preferences.
An investigation has been opened on the situation and Marriott is trying their hardest to find the suspect so that less people are impacted by the situation. Officials say that impacted customers of Marriott have a small window to set up fraud protection before hackers begin to sell their identity to identity theft rings. Officials say that this could also spring a phishing scam of scammers pretending to be Marriott.
- Featured Writer -
Two forest fires have been on a path of destruction in California over the past week. One in North and one in South California. Between the two fires a total of sixty-six lives have been taken and over 600 people are currently missing. A total of 98,000 acres were burnt to a crisp in the Woolsey fire alone.
The Camp Fire has covered 142,000 acres in total and has destroyed nearly 12,000 structures. It has also made up for the majority of deaths between the two fires at sixty-three fatalities.The town of Paradise was completely destroyed and many members of the community have already signed up for FEMA relief.
Air quality warnings have also been issued in the areas impacted by the fires due to smoke and pollution. The fires have even impacted cities far away from the fires because of the immense amount of smog the fires have caused. A monitoring station in Palermo, California, is saying that pollutants are about thirteen times higher than they normally would be.
If you would like to help by donating to relief funds you can donate to the Red Cross, the link is attached below.
- Featured Writer -
TEACHER ASSAULTS STUDENT
On Friday, November 5, music teacher Marston Riley of Maywood Academy High School, was arrested after assaulting one of his students. The incident occurred when the teacher asked a student to leave the class for not wearing his proper uniform. Instead of complying to the teacher's demand, the student decided to resist and aggravate the teacher. He did this by calling him racial slurs and saying other offensive things about the teacher.
Eventually the teacher was pushed past his limits after asking the student multiple times to leave the room, as he chased the 14 year old around the room beating him up. Other students had later said that the whole thing was set up from the beginning because students were already recording before the fight occurred.
Many people like Riley, including his students and neighbors, don't think that he deserves the charges he was given. Because of this, there was a GoFundMe created to help pay for his bail of $50,000. This GoFundMe has received immense attention pulling in over $26,000. However, many people do not think this is fair because even though he was a nice man and the student was verbally assaulting him, he is an adult and he should’ve kept his cool.
- Featured Writer -
THE EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE
Is climate change real? For some reason, many people do not believe the brightest minds about climate change. Yes, it is real; there are approximately 1,300 scientists from the United States and other countries on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Climate change affects not only human life but all life greatly. A large part of it is due to greenhouse gases - when the atmosphere traps heat radiating from Earth to space. The greenhouse effect is primarily produced by human activities such as deforestation and fossil fuel combustion (the burning of fossil fuels which creates carbon dioxide). The largest examples of fuel combustion are gasoline exhaust and burning coal. Other contributing gases include water vapor, methane, nitrous oxide, and chlorofluorocarbons. (Methane gases are produced as a result of animal waste in huge feedlots which are designed to raise enormous numbers of livestock for slaughter.)
Climate change is having many negative effects around the world: glaciers are melting, flowers and trees are blooming sooner, weather conditions are worsening (stronger hurricanes, more drought which causes huge fires, and more severe winter storm conditions), and heat waves are longer and more intense. These effects are occurring because the oceans are warmer, which is melting glaciers and polar ice caps, which causes a rise in sea levels. My brother Gerrit is a hydrogeologist in Miami working on solutions for this problem, and he has told me that the sea level is rising far faster than scientists had once predicted. In fact, cities like Miami may be flooded and parts of it even uninhabitable within the next fifty years unless drastic changes are made to try to curb greenhouse gases -- and even then, it may be too late.
In addition to rising sea levels, there will be an increase of evaporation and precipitation in some parts of the country. Some places might become wetter, and others may become dryer. Plants have to “move” to get the resources they need: they either need to adapt or they will die. Furthermore, they will bloom earlier because of the increase in carbon dioxide. Of course there are ways human beings can help prevent climate change. We are the main reason why it is even happening.
Here are some daily, monthly, and yearly things that could help save energy. People could power a part of their homes with wind or solar energy; they are both renewable sources and are available in many communities. Solar energy is used more in sunnier places. Wind energy is used a lot more when it is colder outside. In northern Pennsylvania, we could use solar energy during a little over half the year and wind energy in the other half. We could also reduce individual driving by carpooling or using public transportation. And we can plant more trees, since trees create oxygen.
Did you know that heating and cooling are two of the largest uses of energy? Instead of using most of your energy on heating and air conditioning, you could start by sealing out drafts from your doors and windows and checking if your house has proper insulation. Heating water takes a lot of energy to make sure it is the perfect temperature for an hour-long shower. There are two easy ways to reduce water use every day. Take shorter showers -- taking an hour-long shower is ridiculous! Also, turn off the faucet when you brush your teeth, because you can lose up to 24 liters (approximately 6.3 gallons) of water every time you brush your teeth if you leave the water running. Another thing you could do is unplug fully charged devices and appliances that are hardly used or you could plug them into power strips. By doing any of these things, you can help decrease climate change and preserve resources. It is better for the world and everyone and everything living in it, and hopefully future generations will be able to experience the world as we know it.
- Contributing Writer -
Twelve explosive devices have been sent to the residences of well-known Democrats. This list includes people such as Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Robert De Niro, Joe Biden and etc. Luckily none of the bombs have harmed anyone yet. We are still on the watch for more explosives but as of now only twelve have been discovered. The FBI, ATF, and NYPD are among a few of the many organizations that are investigating the situation.
It is frightening to me that someone would attempt to harm such influential people in the country. Many of the targeted individuals hold strong political positions in the United States, which I believe is the reason that they were the targets. The person sending the bombs clearly has a problem with democrats.
I believe that this brings forward the idea that nobody is safe 100% of the time, even in their own home. If you are ever sent a suspicious package and you do not know what is inside, you should be rather careful opening it.
- Featured Writer -
CANADA LEGALIZES CANNABIS
Canada has recently legalized marijuana for recreational use. Citizens of the country are now allowed to carry and share up to 30g of the drug and grow four of the plants at a time. The legalization is expected to bring a four billion dollar industry to the country, and in the nine U.S. states where the recreational use is legal, the substance has brought in nine billion dollars. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau caused the campaign to legalize the drug by pledging to get marijuana out of the hands of the country’s youth and keep them from dealing with criminals. Another reason for the legalization was the countless number of arrests made for the drug. According to the ACLU’s analysis, there were 8.2 million arrests made over the use or handling of the drug between 2001 and 2010 in the United States, and that’s one of the big reasons why Canada has decided to legalize marijuana.
According to pewresearch.org, about six in ten Americans are in favor of legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. Canada’s legalization can hopefully act as a trial for other countries such as our own to see whether we should follow suit. If you believe that we should support the legalization of marijuana, you can petition to governor Tom Wolf and other law-making bodies of Pennsylvania.
- Contributing Writer -
Hurricane Michael has completely devastated sections of Florida. Many people's everyday lives have been completely ruined by the hurricane. Nearly everyone who has been impacted is experiencing extreme life changes. Most families are now under constant fear and confusion.
Residents of impacted areas are without gasoline, food, water and power. Many families also have missing relatives and are scared of looters attempting to rob them. The death toll in the state has risen up to 24, although it could continue to rise as there are still many people missing. Another concern is that many people cannot clean up without running water, so most people are living in very unsanitary conditions.
Luckily, we are fortunate enough to not have to live under these conditions. If you would like to donate to aid in relief funds, you may donate to the Red Cross via the link below.
- Featured Writer -
EARTHQUAKE IN INDONESIA
On Friday September 28th, an earthquake and tsunami left Indonesia devastated. Over 70,000 homes were destroyed leaving over 600,000 children homeless. It is going to take a very long time for Indonesia to recover from this disaster.
The natural disaster has left an extreme amount of people homeless, and over 1,500 confirmed to be dead. After friday they will no longer be searching for survivors because the chance they would be alive at that point is close to none. Luckily, over 20 countries have joined in relief efforts to hopefully help put the country back on their feet.
I think that one of the saddest parts of the disaster is the increase in crime since the earthquake and tsunami hit. Around ninety to one hundred individuals have been arrested due to looting. Officials say they are going to begin shooting looters on sight if criminal activities continue to increase.
Currently I cannot find any relief funds to support the people in need, however, when I do this page will be updated containing a link where you may donate help the people who have been impacted by the natural disaster.
- Featured Writer -
2019 Women's March
The Women’s March is an event held with the goal to empower women and spread awareness for gender equality and sexual assault. The Women’s March is an annual event, this year it took place on January 19th. Millions of women flooded the streets of Washington D.C. along with hundreds of other cities across the country. The goal of this march is to bring millions of women together to eliminate diversity created between men and women, and work towards social change. The march is a women-led movement. It provides education about many issues by providing events, trainings, and outreach programs.
For centuries women have been repressed and pushed aside to let men be the face of the household, the government, and practically the whole world. From the beginning of time women have been taught to always be submissive to men, not to speak unless spoken to, and that their thoughts and opinions, and values were simply lesser than a man’s. This march is the symbol of a new era and a new empowerment for women. We are powerful. We are women.
- Contributing Writer-
The government shutdown of 2018/2019 came to be the longest government shutdown in US history. It ran from midnight on December 22 to January 15. This 35-day shutdown not only has caused problems for thousands of government agencies, but it has affected people in need of the services they provide.
Seventy-eight percent of national park staffing were out of a job. This sounds like it doesn’t affect us, but without people there to protect them, our national parks have been vandalised or neglected. Some of the damage done to these beautiful parks can never be repaired. Because Housing and Urban Development was down, elderly and disabled people who qualify for aid with renting have had their aid backed up and weren’t able to pay their rent.
During the shutdown, our nation’s GDP was down eleven billion dollars. This is largely recoverable, but it certainly shows that the shutdown has an effect on our economy despite the belief that our government doesn’t help the economy function. It’s not clear whether a government shutdown has a lasting effect on the economy.
The US has been without its government because of the disagreement in Congress over the funding of our nation’s possible border wall. No matter how much you value the security of a border, we all believe that our government is in need of cooperation whether it be in the form of argument or compensation.
An entomologist Brett Ratcliffe has named three new species of beetles he found after three dragons on the popular HBO show “Game of Thrones”. These South American beetles are all in the genus Gymnetis and were given the species names drogoni, rhaegali, and viseroni. This successful entomologist has been discovering new species of beetles since 1976 and applying similar comedic names against common biologist rules of naming new species such as Strategus longichomperus named for its large pincers. He named the beetles after these dragons to bring attention to entomology, and because of the press the beetles have received, he certainly has brought a lot of attention to the subject.