1. US and Iran: The US attacked and killed Iranian Major General Soleimani as he left an airport in Iraq. The Major General was one of the most important military leaders in Iran. Iran is viewing this as an act of war, and has just retaliated by launching ballistic missiles at two US military bases in Iraq. It is unclear how much damage has been done at this point. The UN Security Council is holding meetings in New York, USA this week, and in the meantime, the US has denied a visa to to Iran’s foreign minister, Javed Zarif. Without a visa, he will not be able to visit the USA and attend the meetings. As such, he will not be able to present Iran’s position to other world leaders.
Why did the US escalate tensions with Iran? It is unclear right now, whether there was a real risk to American lives, or if President Trump was trying to shift attention away from his impeachment proceedings, or if he is trying to generate support for his Presidential elections this year.
2. Carlos Ghosn sneaks away from Japan! Carlos Ghosn was the Chairman of the alliance of car companies Nissan, Mitsubishi, and Renault SA. Under him, the alliance reached the number 2 spot globally, in terms of sales, behind Volkswagen AG of Germany.
He was arrested in November 2018, as the Japanese accused him of reporting only half of what he earned. He has been out on bail but under surveillance since then, as have his wife and children. On December 29, 2019, he escaped from Japan in a super sneaky way that amazed us all. In a black box! He is currently in Beirut, Lebanon. He says that he will reveal his side of the story in a press conference today. Stay tuned!
3. Students at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) were attacked by masked members of a youth group associated with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) this past weekend. They were physically assaulted and injured. This has sparked even more protests around India and some places abroad as well. Students at JNU have been protesting against a couple of major issues over the past few months: an increase in college fees, and more recently, against the Citizenship Amendment Act. This recent act of violence is seen as an attempt to silence democracy – people have a right to peacefully protests against rules that we oppose. In a democracy, this encourages debate and discussion.
4. The bushfires in Australia continue unabated. These fires are a natural occurrence, but they are more intense and have spread uncontrollably due to extremely dry conditions and strong winds. Humans have been affected but almost 500 million animals have also been killed so far in these fires! Volunteers and fire fighters are trying their best to bring them under control. Read this for more.
5. Consumer Electronics Show: The largest consumer electronics show, CES, has started in Los Angeles, CA this week. Highlights so far have been concept cars, flying machines and smart bikes! Think a folding e-bike with an Alexa smart assistant built in! Stay tuned for more tech you and I can use!
Written by: Sunaina Murthy. Sunaina is a biotechnologist, greedy reader, and amateur photographer.