Local and International News Recaps


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Update on Earthquakes in Turkey and Syria 

According to Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), as of Feb. 23, more than 50,000 people have been killed due to the multiple earthquakes that struck Turkey and Syria earlier this month. There have been no recent reports of survivors.

Around 240,000 rescue workers and volunteers continue to help the affected provinces in Turkey according to Al Jazeera, with over 1.9 million people taking refuge in temporary shelters, such as hotels.

According to earthquaketrack, Turkey has had 7 earthquakes in the past 24 hours (as of Feb. 25), and over 39 in the past week.

Turkey lies on the Anotolian plate, making it one of the world’s most active earthquake zones. The sedimentary deposits in Turkey make it incredibly prone to earthquake damage. North Carolina State professor Ashly Cabas told NC State University news, “if saturated, granular soils are subjected to strong ground shaking, they can lose all their shear strength and behave as a liquid… and can lead to large deformations in the ground that can result in damage to structures, including collapse.” 

Many organizations, such as UNICEF, Syrian American Medical Society, and Doctors Without Borders are accepting donations to help. For more information, go to https://time.com/6253346/turkey-earthquake-syria-how-to-help/ 


Protests erupt in Israel

On Jan. 4, Israeli Justice Minister Yariv Levin announced a series of judicial reforms, including limiting the power of the Israeli Supreme Court and that the ruling coalition, considered by political experts at the BBC to be the most right wing in Israeli history, would have a majority on the committee that appoints judges. 

Protests began shortly after the reforms were announced, but intensified across Israel when the reforms were approved on Feb. 13. The Times of Israel estimated that between 130,000 and 160,000 Israelis participated in the protests in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, chanting “No Constitution. No Democracy!” among other slogans while flying the Israeli flag. 

Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak spoke at a protest in Tel Aviv saying that the reforms were “an assassination of the Declaration of Independence, which will turn Israel into a dictatorship.”

 Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu told a meeting of lawmakers within his Likud party that the protesters were at risk of causing civil war. The opposition within the Israeli parliament, led by Netenyahu’s predecessor, Yair Lapid, has supported the protests. The protests have been mostly peaceful but arrests have been made according to Israeli media. 


1 Year Since War in Ukraine Began

Feb. 24 marked one year since Russia launched their invasion of Ukraine. In what everyone thought was going to be an easy win for Russia, Ukraine has kept fighting for their freedom, holding their ground longer than anyone would have imagined. 

According to the BBC, both Russia and Ukraine keep their casualty numbers under wraps, so it is difficult to determine an exact number of soldiers killed. However, General Mark Milley, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, has estimated that more than 200,000 Russian and Ukrainian soldiers combined have died.

CBS reported that this has been Europe’s largest conflict since World War II. Members from NATO have said they will send more ammunition to Ukraine, the US is contributing the largest amount of military aid currently, and Germany, the UK, and the US are all sending tanks, according to BBC. 

Anthony J Blinkin, Secretary of State, released a press statement saying, “The United States stands strongly with Ukraine as it defends itself, and we will continue to do so until Ukraine’s sovereignty is respected and the people of Ukraine can shape their chosen, democratic future in freedom and peace.”

 Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy released a statement on social media saying, “We endured. We were not defeated. And we will do everything to gain victory this year…Ukraine has united the world.” 


Richneck Update

It’s been over a month since a first grader shot and wounded his teacher at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News. The Associated Press reported that two Richneck families have been considering legal action against Newport News Public Schools, which comes after the lawsuit filed by the teacher’s attorney. 

On Feb. 21, NNPD Chief Steve Drew said during a social media livestream that the investigation into January’s shooting at Richneck was complete and had been submitted to the office of Commonwealth Attorney Howard Gwynn, where it will be reviewed to determine if charges need to be filed. 

Following the shooting at Richneck, there has been an uptick of threats at schools in the Hampton Roads area. On Feb. 17, a Norfolk mother was arrested after her 6 year old son brought a handgun to Little Creek Elementary School in the city. On Feb. 20, a bomb threat was called in at B.M. Williams Primary School according to Chesapeake police. The same day, a letter was sent to parents by school officials saying that a 5th grader at Richneck allegedly sent texts to friends expressing a desire to “pop some bullets” and “shoot up the class. WTKR reported that the police are investigating all three incidents within those cities.