Here and There: The World Right Now

Culture: Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s Memorial Service

A memorial service took place on February 24 to honor the lives of Kobe Bryant and his thirteen-year-old daughter, Gianna Bryant, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Kobe and Gianna Bryant died when the helicopter they were flying in, a Sikorsky S-76B, crashed in fog on January 26. During the Memorial Service, Vanessa Bryant gave an emotional tribute to her daughter and husband, whom she described as the “MVP of girl dads” and said that Gianna “would have made a huge difference for women’s basketball.” NBA legends Shaquille O’Neal and Michael Jordan gave tearful speeches about Kobe Bryant’s legacy, and there were performances by Beyonce, Alicia Keys, and Christina Aguilera at the memorial service.

Gun Violence: Mass Shootings Plague Germany, Milwaukee

On February 20, a suspected far-right extremist killed nine people during an attack on two bars in Hanau, a city in west Germany, according to BBC. Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the attack appears to be racially motivated, and prosecutors are considering it an act of terrorism. Then on February 26, an employee at the Molson Coors brewery in Milwaukee, Wis., shot and killed five co-workers before turning the gun on himself, according to The Washington Post. The incident marked the first workplace mass shooting of 2020, and the 13th since 2006, according to USA TODAY.

Health: Coronavirus Updates

New outbreaks of coronavirus have been confirmed across Europe and the Middle East, while the U.S. prepares for a potential outbreak. There have been fears of the uncontrolled spread of the virus in the Middle East, as new infections were announced in Iran. The global spread of the virus caused U.S. health authorities to announce that it is “a matter of when, not if, the virus would invade American shores.” Currently, the total number of global cases has reached 80,980 and nearly 3000 have died. In Europe, new cases were recorded in Austria, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, and Spain. Brazil has confirmed a coronavirus infection, becoming the first country in Latin America to be affected. Dick Pound, a Canadian member of the International Olympic Committee, recently stated that the committee will release a statement around late May about whether or not the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games will be canceled.

Politics: 2020 Irish Election

On February 8, the leaders of two opposing Irish political parties, Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, had their first sit-down discussion since the 2020 Irish General Election to elect the 33rd Dail Eireann, the lower house of Ireland’s Parliament. Micheal Martin, the leader of the opposition party, Fianna Fail, said that he had a constructive meeting with the newly-formed Regional Independent Group consisting of nine Teachta Dalas, members of the lower house of the Irish Parliament. Leo Varadkar, the Leader of Fine Gael who was elected as the head of government, encouraged Fianna Fail to continue engaging with other parties to form a new government. Mary Lou McDonald, the leader of Sinn Fein, a left-wing republican party, shared that she is looking forward to a new approach in government. The parties have agreed to meet again at some point in the future after the success of this meeting.

War/Conflict: Violence continues in New Delhi Over Citizenship Law

Violence has continued in New Delhi, India, for the third day after members of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party vowed to clear anti-government protesters from the city. The protesters had been peacefully protesting over a new citizenship law passed by the Indian Parliament in December that excluded Muslim refugees from citizenship. Demonstrators protested the widespread discrimination against Muslims, the largest religious minority in the Hindu-majority nation. Hundreds of people have been injured and at least 20 people have been killed in the fighting, making this riot New Delhi’s worst sectarian conflict in decades.