week in review
1 February 2019
TEENAGERS EMERGE AS A FORCE IN CLIMATE PROTEST ACROSS EUROPE. Thousands of children have been skipping school to participate in climate change demonstrations across Europe, including in Brussels, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland. The demonstrations are loosely organized through social media but have no specific leader. The movement has been gaining momentum the past couple weeks, especially since a video of 16 year old Greta Thunberg scolding world leaders for their failure to act on climate change went viral. Some of the demonstrations have been making an impact. The organizers of the Berlin demonstration ended up meeting with Peter Altaimener, the economics minister, as well as numerous members of the coal commission. The next day, the coal commission recommended ending the use of coal to generate energy by 2038.
SERBIANS RISE IN PROTEST. For the past 6 weeks, Serbian protesters have filled the streets of the capital Belgrade, and the demonstrations have now spread to other cities. The protests began following a bloody attack on Serbian opposition politician Borko Stefanovic. He has publicly opposed President Aleksandar Vucic and his Serbian Progressive Party, which was elected in 2017 on promises of modernizing the state-driven economy and holding a pro-European Union. Since taking power, Vucic has been accused of exploiting their power to control police forces, the media, and the courts, and using these agencies to control his opponents. Serbian citizens have become fed up with these methods, and are now making their voice heard.
POLAR VORTEX LEAVES EIGHT DEAD IN UNITED STATES. Caused by disturbances in the jet-stream and the intrusion of warm air, the polar vortex, which is an area of low pressure and extremely cold air over the Arctic, has been pushed towards the Midwest and Eastern United-States. This week temperatures plunged to record setting lows, with North Dakota and Minnesota experiencing wind chills colder than -50F (-48C). The cold has caused the cancellations of thousands of flights across the nation, as well as school closures and severe weather warnings. There have been 8 deaths which have been attributed to the cold so far, including an Iowa student who was found in the early hours of the morning outside a college building and an Illinois senior found outside his home. There is significant concern for the homeless population given the lack of shelter beds available and cities are rushing to set up temporary warming centers to endure the cold.