Regarding the Roe v. Wade amicus brief, Anna Reins (’22) said, “I knew that abortion was very politicized, but i think that encouraging the supreme court to overturn a recent ruling is very foolish.” (Photo Credit: Mei Lamison/Achona Online/Piktochart)
Regarding the Roe v. Wade amicus brief, Anna Reins (’22) said, “I knew that abortion was very politicized, but i think that encouraging the supreme court to overturn a recent ruling is very foolish.”

Photo Credit: Mei Lamison/Achona Online/Piktochart

What You Missed Over Christmas Break

January 8, 2020

From climate crises, to award shows, to increased international conflict, here are the main things you missed over Christmas Break. 


U.S.-Iranian Tensions 

On Jan 3, an executive ordered U.S. airstrike killed Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani at a Baghdad airport. The general, who was the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, was among the most powerful men in Iran.  

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the attack saved U.S. lives, as the Pentagon blames Soleimani for previous attacks. Critics, however, claim President Trump’s decision was an act of war. 

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, vowed for “harsh revenge.” According to CNN, the U.S. is sending thousands of additional troops to the Middle East in response. 

On Jan 7, Iran fired multiple ballistic missiles at bases in Iraq that house American troops.

Australia Fires

Australia is currently consumed by massive wildfires intensified by recoder temperatures and drought. While bush fires are annual, the current conditions are extreme and predicted to last for months. 

On Jan 4, Sydney reached its hottest day ever on record at 120 degrees. The city of Canberra set a record high with a 110 degrees. 

“These fires were caused by climate change. Even though there is science proving this, politicians and the rich reject the idea in order to keep themselves up in society and loaded with money. There have been several crises caused by climate change in 2019, but barely any steps have been made by the ones with the influence to really help our earth. They only continue to place the burden on the general public while they use their money to keep themselves and their families afloat,” said Sahar Bueno-Abdala (’21).

According to the BBC, at least 25 people and millions of animals have died since September. According to the Washington Post, more than 1,000 buildings have been lost and 10.1 million acres burned. 

On Jan 6, Australian police stated 24 people have been charged for intentionally starting bushfires in the state of New South Wales. Additionally, the New South Wales Police have taken legal action against 183 people bushfire-related offenses since early November.

Indonesia Floods

Beginning New Years Eve, Indonesia’s capital has faced extreme flooding and landslides. As of Jan 7, 66 people have been reported dead and more than 173,000 residents displaced. 

While some flooding has subsided, thunderstorms are expected to continue. According to CNN, Jakarta is expected to receive 4 inches of rain in the next few days.

“While I do agree the Australia Wildfires should receive media coverage, I believe equal coverage should be given to the Indonesian Floods as well. I’ve seen celebrities and influencers raise money and awareness for Australia, but I haven’t seen anything regarding Indonesia,” said Victoria Fuentes (‘20).

Golden Globes 

The 77th annual Golden Globe Awards took place on Jan 5. During speeches, winners were quick to mention the Australian fires, climate criss, U.S. conflicts with Iran, and reproductive rights. 

Major awards from the event include: 

  • Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama: Joaquin Phoenix, Joker
  • Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama: Renée Zellweger, Judy
  • Best Motion Picture Drama: 1917
  • Best Director: Sam Mendes, 1917

“I always enjoy watching the golden globes,” said Sam Cuttle (‘20). “That being said, I was really disappointed with the lack of diversity this year. Not one female director was nominated despite all the amazing women directed films that came out this year.” 

United Methodist Church 

On Jan 3, the United Methodist Church announced a proposal to split the denomination in regards to same-sex marriage.

Leaders of the church will vote on the proposal in May. If passed, the “traditionalist” church will separate from the current United Methodist Church. Local churches will choose to stay in the United Methodist Church or join a new denomination by 2024.

“It is upsetting to see a church split over an issue like this. Why can’t we just all accept the LGBT community and same-sex couples as they are?” said Tress Jacobs.

Roe v. Wade 

On Jan 2, 207 members of Congress signed an amicus brief, asking the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. 

The brief was filed on behalf of the defendant in “June Medical Services v. Gee.” The case refers to a 2014 Louisiana law that requires hospital admitting privileges for abortion clinics. 

“Honestly, it kind of frightens me that 200 congressmen signed to overturn a fundamental court case that guarantees women’s rights. With Roe v. Wade already being such a controversial decision, and with states challenging it and attempting to ban abortion, having lawmakers sign an amicus brief to the Supreme Court is definitely not reassuring that women will be able to maintain this right in our country for much longer. I hope that the Supreme Court thinks hard about this and hopefully, the overturning of Roe v. Wade will never become a reality,” said Kara Petitt (’20).

39 Republican Senators, 166 Republican House members, and 2 Democratic House members signed the brief. 

“I am very happy to see movements towards protecting life before birth. With March for Life taking place at the end of the month, it is great to see congress taking more steps to try to relieve past issues. Reading about the brief  has exposed me to some of the horrific trauma that potential mothers went through,” said Cassie Hiatt (’22).

Texas Shooting 

On Dec 29, a gunman opened fire in West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas. The gunfire occured around 11 a.m. during a service. 

Two people were fatally shot before the church’s security team shot and killed the gunman. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, the shooter was 43-year-old Keith Thomas Kinnunen.

Hanukkah Attack 

On Dec 28, five people were stabbed at a rabbi’s home in New York as they gathered to celebrate the seventh night of Hanukkah. The stabbing occurred around 10 p.m. at 47 Forshay Road in Rockland County’s Monsey

The suspect, Grafton Thomas, 37, was later arrested by the NYPD. He currenly faces five counts of attempted murder and one count of burglary.

Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York, said the event was, “violence spurred by hate. It is mass violence and I consider this an act of domestic terrorism.”

“It’s sad to see so much hate like this in the world,” said Maya Harrell (’20).

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  • Stella MeleJan 15, 2020 at 4:12 pm

    This is a great article! Thank you so much!

  • Cassie hiattJan 13, 2020 at 9:33 pm

    Such an amazing story!! Thanks for letting me be part of it!!!

  • karaJan 13, 2020 at 7:23 pm

    this is one of my fav stories

  • Alissa PraderaJan 13, 2020 at 3:05 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this article! It’s great to see an article with all the current topics and news that I can understand! Sometimes it’s hard to understand things that are happening in world when it’s heard from live television. The events happening between Iran and the U.S. are really scary and I hope war is not the solution to the tension.