Here and There: The World Right Now

Politics: Queen Elizabeth II Tested Positive for Covid-19


On Sunday, February 20, Buckingham Palace released a statement saying that Queen Elizabeth II, who is 96 years of age, has been infected with Covid-19. The statement stated that the Queen is experiencing mild cold-like symptoms but will continue light duties at Windsor while receiving medical attention and following the appropriate guidelines, reported “The New York Times.” The Queen had received one dose of the coronavirus vaccine in January 2021 at Windsor Castle, but Buckingham Palace has not confirmed any subsequent doses. Buckingham Palace had been trying to protect the Queen from being exposed to the virus, and although the source of the Queen’s infection still remains clouded, it is likely that she contracted the virus from Prince Charles. According to “The New York Times,” Charles was at Windsor Castle, where the Queen resides, for an investiture ceremony earlier this month and soon after tested positive. 

War and Conflict: Russia’s Invasion Tension for Ukraine


On February 23, the government of Ukraine reported facing “a full-scale attack from multiple directions,” according to “The New York Times.” Russia attacked Ukraine by targeting cities with airstrikes and shelling, according to “The Associated Press.” “The Associated Press” continued, adding that many citizens of Ukraine are fleeing to escape current dangers. In January 2022, Russia launched a large-scale military deployment in Belarus, a landlocked country bordering both Russia and Ukraine, for the purpose of military drills. However, given the longstanding tension between Russia and Ukraine, it was suspected that the military drills would serve as a pretext for Russia to build an invasion force aimed at Ukraine, reported “The New York Times.” Ukraine, which shares a roughly 665-mile border with Belarus that is largely unguarded, has been pressured by the massive Russian military deployment of 30,000 Russian troops since January, according to “The New York Times.” 

Sports: 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics


After 16 days and 109 events, the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics officially ended on Sunday, February 20, with a traditional closing ceremony. Norway won the first gold medal of the Olympic events in the women’s skiathlon and continued to get ahead in the medals race, finishing with 16 gold medals and a total of 37 medals to claim first. Germany followed in second with 12 gold medals and 27 total medals, and China finished in third with 9 gold medals and 15 medals overall, according to the official Olympics website. Although Chinese officials insisted that the Olympics is not about politics, political debates emerged as Russian female skater Kamila Valieva was allowed to compete despite a test showing traces of banned heart medicine, and athletes were banned from competing after being tested positive for Covid-19, reported “The New York Times.” However, despite the controversies, the president of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach praised the organizers for the successful Olympic Games and urged the world to be inspired by the sporting spectacle in Beijing, according to “CNN.”

Politics: Jean-Luc Brunel Found Dead in Prison

Jean-Luc Brunel, an ex-modeling agent and an associate of the notorious Jeffrey Epstein, was found dead in the La Santé prison in Paris on Saturday, February 20, 2022, appearing to have committed suicide. In 2020, Brunel was charged with the rape of minors and sexual harassment and was suspected of scouting young women for Epstein. According to an anonymous spokesman for the Paris prosecutor, Brunel was found hanging overnight in his cell, which echoed the death of Epstein, who hanged himself in a Manhattan jail cell in 2019, reported “The New York Times.” Brunel’s lawyer, however, claimed that Brunel’s suicide was not out of guilt but was an action to claim his innocence. While numerous trials and charges were still pressed against Brunel, his death put an end to all the charges, and the lawyer representing the victims Anne-Claire Lejeune expressed disappointment and frustration toward the news that the victims “won’t get justice,” reported “National Public Radio.”