This Week in News
From North to South America, from Eastern to Western Europe, political movements, technological progress, and individual actions have shaped this week in news. In the United States, the Golden Globes provided a platform for women to make a bold move towards justice in the workplace, and for Oprah to make a speech that some see as the kickoff to her potential presidential campaign. However, the progress represented therein may not get the chance to reach the large population of Salvadoran immigrants who have resided in the US for over a decade, as the Trump Administration has just ended their Temporary Protected Status. Meanwhile, in Europe, Russian hackers have made an attempt to undermine the Olympic anti-doping investigations, to little effect. The emails they released proved little, other than that Russia is still resentful over being banned from the games. On a brighter note, tourists trapped due to excess snowfall in Zermatt, Switzerland have finally been rescued. For every attempt to halt progress, there is an effort to move forward and improve, whether in Swiss Alpine villages or the stage of the Golden Globes.
Women Win More Than Just Awards at the Golden Globes
Dressed uniformly in black, the women of Hollywood used the Golden Globes award ceremony on Sunday, January 7th, as a platform for the #TimesUp movement. #TimesUp is a follow up to the #MeToo movement. Rather than letting the latter fade from the forefront of the public mind, the celebrity voices behind it are making it understood that the allegations won’t be dropped, and those demanding change will not take no for an answer.
Activists on behalf of women and women of color made appearances. Men wore #TimesUp pins on their lapels. Oprah gave a rousing speech. The support was overwhelming and the message clear.
We are witnessing a profound shift in culture. Time is truly up for the discrimination and abuse that has run rampant, not just through Hollywood, but through all walks of life. (NYTimes)
The Golden Globe Awards were big….but Oprah Winfrey was bigger. The speech she delivered in acceptance of the Cecil B. DeMille Award turned heads not just to the many social issues she touched on, but to a future lead by a Black female President.
Oprah herself has not announced any intentions to run, but the debate as to her qualifications has nonetheless taken over social media. On one hand, many Democrats have responded with enthusiasm – Ms. Winfrey would appeal to female and Black populations, both of which are essential voter bases in the Democratic party. However, others are questioning whether the United States should elect another Television star with no political background.
While Oprah has involved herself in politics to the extent that she endorsed Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama (and took to the campaign trail for Barack), the likelihood of her running and the seriousness with which we should support her potential campaign remain to be seen. (The Post)
Trump Ends Temporary Protection for Salvadorans
After more than a decade of legal US residency, immigrants who came to the US to escape natural disasters in El Salvador must return to their country of origin. In the Trump Administration’s aggressive pursuit of immigration reform, they have now reversed Temporary Protected Status given to more than 200,000 immigrants.
Naturally, the news comes as a major blow to the many families who have built new lives for themselves in the States. Many have had children here, over 80% have jobs, and some continue to send money to family members back in El Salvador. Not only would they have to give up their jobs and possibly even the children they have in the US, but they would have a less than optimal chance of rebuilding a life of the same stability back in El Salvador.
El Salvador, while not currently suffering from the natural disasters that were the catalyst for the Temporary Protected Status, continues to struggle with widespread gang violence. However, the Trump Administration has pointed out that, as this was not the reason for the Temporary Protected Status in the first place, it does not suffice as a reason to continue it. (CNN)
Stranded Tourists Rescued from Swiss Ski Resort
Around 40 inches of snowfall prevented the more than 30,000 tourists in Zermatt, Switzerland from returning home. Fortunately, on Wednesday, January 10th, trains began running again, helicopters were at last sent in, and excavations on the snowed-in town began.
In this ski trip gone wrong, tourists remained trapped for two days. Skiing was not even possible, in fact, due to the avalanche risk (listed as “maximum) caused by the incredible amount of snow.
The meter of snow has resulted in chaos throughout the alps, and, sadly, several deaths. One skier was killed in an avalanche. Another, John Bromell, remains missing, and an elderly woman perished because she could not make it out of the snow to get emergency medical attention. We can only hope that further deaths and injuries will be prevented, and that those who have been injured and the families who have lost loved ones can heal from this tragedy. (BBC)
Russian Hackers Target Olympic Anti-Doping Investigations
On Wednesday, January 10th, a Russian cyberespionage group known as “Fancy Bear” released a slew of emails regarding anti-doping investigations of Olympic athletes. Much of the information reveals only the expected. In fact, in a sense it proves that anti-doping investigators are doing their job better than ever.
However, the hackers pointed out that the investigators who (rightly) accused Russian athletes of cheating had been involved in work for Britain and the United States on multiple occasions. The implications therein would suggest that the investigators were perhaps motivated to target Russia due to the shaky relationship it holds with the US and the UK.
This release is a follow up to a 2016 release, in which Fancy Bear exposed the medical records of a number of US and UK athletes. The information revealed the athletes’ use of several types of medications that had been banned by the Olympic committee.
Fancy Bear concluded their attempt to discredit the Olympic Committee and the anti-doping investigators by commenting that: “…the Americans and the Canadians are eager to remove the Europeans from the leadership in the Olympic movement to achieve political dominance of the English-speaking nations.” (NYTimes)