Recent events abroad have made it imperative to include more news from outside the US in this space. Particular highlights from this week include the aftermath of the tragedy in Beirut, the arrival of the second COVID wave in Israel, and the Chinese Communist Party’s continued repression of citizens it deems troublesome. In addition to these stories is a troubling emerging trends from public school districts in the US facing COVID spikes and the gargantuan task of tackling the bloated LAPD budget. As always, all stories presented here are drawn from the front pages curated by Newseum.org
A meeting in June of this year of District Councillors opposed to the Security Law
10 pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong, including politician and activist Agnes Chow and pro-democracy billionaire Jimmy Lai, were arrested suddenly in a raid by Chinese security services. This act marks an escalation in Beijing’s crackdown on the pro-democracy movement. Leaders aligned with Beijing have attempted to calm the public of Hong Kong, though how effective this will be has yet to be seen.
School officials in many of the school districts that have reopened are falling back on HIPAA and student privacy laws to justify refusing to release any information on Coronavirus cases at their schools. This is just another example of schools abusing privacy laws to cover up their failure to do right by the students in their care, according to legal experts. Parents are confused and frightened as a result, not knowing whether or not their children are safe and whether or not they themselves are now at risk because schools won’t tell them.
Despite some early success in managing the Coronavirus’s spread, Israel is seeing a dangerous influx of patients. While no hospitals are reporting an inability to put every patient who needs one on a ventilator, many are at or near capacity in the ICU which medical experts agree is an ominous sign. This problem is particularly bad in small and mid-sized hospitals in the Jerusalem area, which has been hit hard recently by a surge of COVID cases.
Damage from the Beirut explosion. Photo courtesy of Mehr News Agency, reproduced under CC BY 4.0 License.
The sitting Lebanese Prime Minister has been forced to resign after more than one third of his party’s ministers resigned their posts after the tragedy in Beirut last week. The cause of the explosion has been determined to be a result of illegally storing almost 3,000 tons of Ammonium Nitrate alongside even more volatile materials at the busy port. Years of graft and corruption had prevented safety inspectors from discovering this illegal storage, which tragically resulted in 200 confirmed deaths and over 6,000 injured.
Despite the mass protests of this year, the LAPD is set to consume 3 billion taxpayer dollars, a majority of the un-earmarked LA budget. City council voted to reduce the police budget by 8%, but LA’s Mayor Garcetti put forward a 7% increase earlier this year. Organizers are saying this isn’t anywhere near enough, pointing to the repeated cuts to vital city services while the police’s budget grows with no signs of stopping.
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