Whispers From Around the World

Every single day, people make decisions that affect millions of people’s lives in both positive and negative ways.

Just about halfway across the world, on February 13, North Korea test fired their first ballistic missile of 2017, called Pukguksong-2. The firing of this missile caused an international panic causing countries such as the United States, Japan, and South Korea to call for an immediate U.N. Security Council meeting addressing the constant threat of North Korea. According to United States officials, the missile flew about 310 miles (500 kilometers) before landing in the Sea of Japan. President Donald Trump stated that the United States “stands by Japan one hundred percent.” He gave his message alongside Japanese Prime Minister, Minister Shinzo Abe, who called this missile firing “absolutely intolerable.”   

In northern Greece, more that 70,000 people were evacuated due to a World War II bomb being found underneath a gas station in the town of Thessaloniki. After the bomb was found, police and firemen came and evacuated the residents of the town while the bomb disposal team was preparing to excavate the unexploded bomb. Eighty-six-year-old year old Giorgos Gerasimou, resident of Thessaloniki, recalled the day the bomb fell saying, “The bombing was done by English and American planes on Sept. 17, 1944. It was Sunday lunchtime.”

On the topic of migration, a court in Kenya ruled in favor of keeping open a refugee camp known as Dadaab, which shelters nearly 200,000 people from war torn Somalia. Kenya’s International Security Minister, Joseph Ole Lenku ordered the immediate closing of Dadaab back in 2014 after an al-Shabaab gunman attacked and killed a police officer in the camp. Human rights organizations such as Amnesty International, Kituo cha Sheria and the Kenyan National Commission on Human Rights threaten to challenge the Kenyan government if they proceeded to close down the camp that has been open and running for more than 50 years.    

Politics, especially on the U.S election, is currently a hot discussion topic. On January 20, 2017 Donald Trump was elected as the 45th president of the United States of America. Since the time that he was sworn into office, he has signed more than a dozen executive orders (as of February 15, 2017), the by far most controversial being his Muslim ban. The ban saw citizens of seven Middle Eastern countries being barred from entering the United States, even if these people have green cards. Beyond executive orders, the Trump administration has also committed violations of the Logan act, allowed mining companies to dump their waste into streams and rivers, hired former editor of a radical right news agency Breitbart Steve Bannon as chief strategist, and adamantly offered many alternative facts.      

In terms of the environment, the Earth’s situation is looking bleak. Whales threw themselves onto New Zealand’s shorelines in the nation’s third largest known beaching in recorded history. In total, 650 whales were beached and 350 whales died. Meanwhile in the United Kingdom, environmental protections could be downgraded as it leaves the European Union, especially since more than 1,100 European Union environmental laws must be transposed into United Kingdom law. Environmentalists, such as Green Party Member of Parliament Caroline Lucas,  are now in favor of a “Green Guarantee” that will ensure that environmental enforcement makes its way into UK legislation. Slightly closer to home, environmentalists warn of the Rusty Patched Bumblebee’s extinction after Trump’s executive order freezing all federal regulations that are yet to be implemented, which includes bumblebee protection. Without these bumblebees, many forests, parks, meadows, and shrublands will not be able to survive.

Technology is becoming more and more advanced, and there is even a new app that allows one to track internet censorship. It is called the Ooniprobe, and it can test network connectivity to inform someone when a website is censored in one’s area. On the topic of cybersecurity, Britain’s treasury chief Philip Hammond warned that cyberattacks are increasingly severe and sophisticated. In fact, sixty-five percent of large companies suffered cyberattacks, and  many companies are urged to rethink their security plans.

Because of the nature of our interconnected world, it is important that we go past what the media deems to significant to us. We ought to recognize the people of the world, even if we are continents or seas apart.