Headlines of March
By Freya Constable
We have entered the third month of 2021, where another set of major headlines have made their way into the light. Although the pandemic has taken a toll on what we call ‘normality’, it has not halted the papers from churning out world-changing news. From the now year-long coronavirus to our ever-changing political society, there is no break for the news. With that, here is a report of what’s been going on through our new pandemic world.
The process of obtaining and releasing vaccinations for the public has proved to be an undertaking on the world’s radar. With it comes complications. In terms of vaccine nationalism, Italy invoked their EU powers to halt a shipment of 150,000 vaccines heading to Australia. Shortly after, France announced that they may be doing the same. The next day, tensions rose in Paraguay where people took to the streets to protest the government’s handling of the pandemic. After this, three ministers were fired by the president, whom many protestors want to take leave himself.
On March 13th, Europe announced that they are suspending the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine after learning of it causing blood clots. Pharmecitual companies say there is no evidence to fully support this. Ireland followed Europe with this decision. However, EU vaccine regulators have now proven against the claim but fear that the damage can not be undone after the public scare. Even though there are small connections to blood clots, the benefits are outweighing the risks.
Hospitals in Brazil are near-collapsing, with 80% of ICU units being used by COVID-19 patients. Italy went into an Easter lockdown on the 15th after a rise in cases. Countries are still dealing with new waves, especially with new variants.
The Passing of the President of Tanzania
Tanzania’s President John Magufuli has died on the 17th of March after he succumbed to his ten-year-long battle with a heart ailment. He was 61. There are rumours that the Coronavirus was a contributing factor to his death, but there has been no evidence to support this. The vice president, Samia Saluhu Hassan, has now declared fourteen days of mourning and will be sworn in as a replacement later. She will then become the first female president in Tanzania.
Myanmar Coup Continues
Myanmar saw its deadliest day of protests during the ongoing coup on the 13th of this month. Security forces in the country killed 38 people, making the death toll now rise to 126. Martial law was declared in six regions where Chinese-funded factories were lit alight. Going further into the month, we saw an even deadlier day on the 27th, where at least 114 people were killed in a protest, with the military ravaging at least 44 cities. Airstrikes are officially being performed and civilians have been forced to flee to the jungle. Many have had to flee to neighbouring countries, especially after bombings and attacks.
Shooting in Atlanta
Eight people died in a shooting rampage at three spas in the Atlanta area. The majority of the victims were of Asian descent. The shootings occurred during this time of Asian American hate regarding the spread of the Coronavirus. They are not ruling out that it was a hate crime. The shooter has said that it was not racially motivated and that he had a sexual addiction and wanted to eliminate the source of temptation that the spas had over him. He has been charged with four counts of murder and one count of assault. More charges are expected to follow. Say their names: Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Yong Ae Yue, Delaina Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Xiaojie Tang, Daoyou Feng.
Protests Erupt Around the Globe
In Lebanon, tensions are rising due to the countries near economic collapse. Fights are breaking out in local supermarkets, shops are closing and pharmaceutical lines are very long. The conflict is now turning violent.
On the 21st, Turkey experienced its own round of protests as the country withdrew from the international treaty that is intended to protect women. This decision occurred after a large number of femicides and assault cases. Supporters for the withdrawal said that the treaty ‘harmed family values’ but there is no official reasoning.
In Bristol, protests erupted after the passing of the crime bill that could potentially take away the right for demonstrating. The government in England has now denounced the protests, now named ‘Kill the Bill’ due to violence.
Suez Canal Remains Blocked
A shipping container ship with the name of Ever Given became lodged in the Suez canal in late March and days after, it was reported that it could take weeks to have it removed. There is no way around the ship, so it means that others can not get access. 25 crew members have remained on board and even though the rear has been dislodged, it could still take some time for the remainder of the 240,000-ton ship. Water and sand may have to be removed from the area after a failed rescue mission on the 31st.
Car Bomb in Somalia
On the 5th day of March, a car bomb exploded, killing 20 people at the least and injuring another 30. After the explosion came heavy gunfire and many businesses and building were destroyed. Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attack.