With the world struck by the devastations of COVID-19, much of the mainstream news hasn’t covered anything but the pandemic. As we all fixate on constant coronavirus updates, other worldwide disasters, innovations and news have fallen into the shadows and out of the public eye. Here’s a quick snapshot of last week’s major events day by day.
On Sunday, a strong 5.3 magnitude earthquake hit Croatia and caused widespread damage and panic. The earthquake was reported to have lasted over 10 seconds — which witnesses described as the strongest they had ever felt — and was followed by a few aftershocks.
The quake was said to have been felt all across the Western Balkans and struck at a depth of about 6 miles, according to the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences. Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said the earthquake was the largest in Zagreb in the last 140 years, which is evident by the destruction and rubble left behind.
Some of the more prominent damage to the city’s infrastructure was the collapse of one of the spires of the city’s iconic cathedral. People were seen fleeing their apartments as buildings collapsed and fires erupted. There has been no immediate report of injuries or fatalities except one 15-year-old in critical condition.
Locusts Attack East Africa
Over the last week and into this week, swarms of locusts have devastatingly hit East Africa’s agriculture and devoured crops and land. Many have described it as being like a “biblical plague.”
Desert locusts are scientifically known as Schistocerca gregaria and hundreds of billions of them have occupied agricultural territory in at least eight countries. The locust occupation of East Africa has overwhelmed governments and aid organizations due to the constant consumption and overgrazing of their crops and land. This has led to a fear of widespread famine where fields of families’ land are left barren.
Scientifically, experts have pointed the cause of these locust swarms to a pair of 2018 cyclones in the Indian Ocean, which is a region they say will experience more similar storms as global warming increases.
The cyclones caused unusually large amounts of rainfall in the locusts’ main breeding ground, a long patch of land in the Arabian Peninsula known as the “Empty Quarter.” This led to optimal breeding conditions for the locusts and the population increased by a factor of about 8,000, and from there, the locusts made their way into Africa. Overall the locusts’ destruction has led to severe financial, technical and survival issues as acres and acres of land continue to be ravaged with no concrete solution in sight.
Biden’s Sexual Assault Development
Last year, several women spoke out against Democratic frontrunner, Joe Biden, saying that he had either kissed or touched them in ways that made them uncomfortable. One accuser, Tara Reade, said Biden used to “put his hand on my shoulder and run his finger up my neck” when she worked in his Senate office in 1993. However, much of these accusations have been swept up in the coronavirus issues of the last few months.
In a podcast interview with Katie Halper which aired Wednesday, Reade claimed that there was more to her experience with Joe Biden. She says that Biden sexually assaulted her by pushing her against a wall and forcibly touched her, and when she pulled away, she said that he thought she liked him.
This proved to be a groundbreaking new claim in Biden’s sexual harassment suits and his campaign promptly denied Reade’s allegation. Deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield issued a statement saying, “Women have a right to tell their story, and reporters have an obligation to rigorously vet those claims. We encourage them to do so because these accusations are false.”
Although there are speculations to credibility and viability issues, the hashtags #IBelieveTara and #TimesUpBiden began trending on Twitter earlier last week.
US Space Force’s First Launch
On Thursday, March 26, a rocket carrying the US Space Force communications satellite lifted off from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and marked the first official launch of the US military’s newest branch. There was an initial delay of about 80 minutes due to an inaccurate reading on hydraulic equipment but then launched shortly after.
In December 2019, President Trump established the Space Force which is aimed to focus on warfare in space. The launch proceeded despite the global pandemic, as it was considered a priority since it was the very first launch for the US Space Force.
Lieutenant General John F. Thompson, Commander of the Space and Missles Systems Centre in California said, “The satellite is intended to support the president and other world leaders with critical communications around the planet. This launch extends that communication into a timeframe beyond 2030.”
The satellite is known as the Advanced Extremely High-Frequency communications satellite (AEHF-6) and amounted to about $1.4 billion U.S. dollars. It is intended to provide secure voice and data connections for the U.S. government and its international partners such as the UK.
Hot New Album Launches
On Friday, two big-name artists launched their new albums for the public to hear and love. Jessie Reyez released her debut album “Before Love Came to Kill Us,” which is meant to motivate people to think about their mortality. Jessie Reyez is a 28-year-old singer-songwriter from Canada who became music’s hot new hit with her ballad “Figures” in 2016.
In an interview with The New York Times, Reyez described herself and her new album.
“My entire time as an artist, I’ve always been a child of polarities. It’s innately in me to want to yell and love at the same time. I haven’t been compromising this whole time as an artist. Why should I start with my album?” The album explores ideas of tangled relationships, jealousy and second chances through cryptic and passion-filled tunes that you can listen to on all streaming platforms.
On the same day, English pop singer Dua Lipa released her second studio album titled “Future Nostalgia.” The album features 11 tracks, including the already hit single “Don’t Start Now” which was released in November 2019. The songs are a mix of disco and ’80s pop, and dive into her experiences with heartbreak, new love and long-lasting friendships.
In an interview with Apple Music, Due Lipa said, “It’s a fine line, so I wanted to bring something that was reminiscent of my childhood and at the same time make it really current. I remember listening to songs by Moloko and Jamiroquai, which would make you want to dance no matter what time of day it was. I wanted to recreate that feeling.” You can listen to her new album on all streaming platforms.
Black Hole Infinite Visions Discovery
One year ago, a team of radio astronomers shocked the world with the very first photograph of a black hole. Now, after further analysis, astronomers believe there was more to be discovered in that first photograph than meets the eye.
When they captured the photo, there is evidence that you can see the entire universe within the black hole. A New York Times article said that “light from an infinite array of distant stars and galaxies can wrap around the black hole like ribbons around a maypole, again and again before coming back to your eye, or your telescope.” The image of the black hole actually contains a series of rings that prove this very theory.
The Event Horizon Telescope used to capture this photo saw these rings, but it didn’t have enough resolution to distinguish them, so they were blurred into a single feature. The many scientists, theorists and astronomers who worked on this project have said that these new developments have forced them to view black holes in a new way. The scientists hope to use these new findings to study exactly what lies at the centers of galaxies in a way that could never be measured or understood such as stars and orbits of gas.
Greenland Bans Sale of Alcohol
In lieu of the world’s overall self-isolation, Greenland’s capital, Nuuk, has officially banned the sale of alcohol after authorities noted a rise in domestic abuse since quarantine. Prime Minister Kim Kielsen said, “At the heart of my decision is the protection of children; they have to have a safe home.”
After Greenland closed schools on Monday, officials said there was a distinct rise in reports of family violence and child abuse. Greenland’s health minister correlated the increase as in part to excessive alcohol consumption which put many family members in danger.