News Roundup: April 25

Good morning, today is Tuesday, April 25. Today is ANZAC Day in  New Zealand and Australia. This holiday is to honor the troops who died serving their country in the ANZAC – Australian and New Zealand Army Corps- in the two nation’s history. The day also commemorates the landing of the ANZAC forces on Gallipoli during the First World War, it was the first time the ANZACs were deployed. Here is  more information on the ANZAC Gallipoli Campaign.

Now, onto today’s news.

Marine Le Pen has temporarily stepped down as leader of the National Front leader a day after securing a place in the Presidential Runoff yesterday. the move, largely seen as a symbolic gesture, was to signify that Le Pen would work for all French people, and that she will help everyone. She then launched into an attack against her opponent, Emmanuel Macron, for not having the French concerns at heart. Le Pen is facing stiff headwinds heading into the second round of voting due to take place next month, trailing Macron in polls 62/38 with two weeks until the second vote.

Commentary: A really transparent move, and the fact that it is temporary makes it a cheesy move at best. Marine Le Pen is facing a harsh electoral environment, with the other Presidential leaders all backing Macron, it seems that the vote is coalescing around him. However, the only danger I see here is that the anti-establishment in politics in the last few years means that there could be a swing to Le Pen and the National Front. That being said, I feel that most of that vote is already accounted for. That being said, the last time National Front made it to the second round of voting in 2002, they received only 17.8% of the vote, so this will constitute a huge upswing in general. Two weeks not a lot of time to swing the election, but I suspect she will try anyhow.

Jordan has scrapped Article 308: a Law that allowed Rapists to escape conviction if they married their victims. There has been a major push by women’s groups, Christian, and Muslim scholars to banish the law that exists in most countries in the Middle East as well as some Asian countries. The campaign has already been successful in Morocco, Egypt, and Ethiopia, and repeal legislation is pending on Bahrain, and being considered in Lebanon. Originally, Jordan amended the loophole so that it could only be used in cases where the victim was 15-18, and it was consensual. (Sex with minors under 18 is automatically considered rape in Jordan). Now, the law has been completely repealed.
Commentary: Jordan is considered one of the most secular and progressive countries in the Middle East, and I am glad they have taken this further step. The law is atrocious, and we should continue to pressure countries to repeal the law. It is also important to know that this law also lives outside of Muslim Countries, like the Philippines, so this is not just a Muslim issue, but a general issue we need to be aware of. This is the slow and steady work of progress, and while it is slow (they have been campaigning on this for years), it has finally begun to bear fruit.

Antarctica is melting faster than previous thought. In a just released study, researchers found flowing water on the surface of Antarctica, something that is extremely rare. Rivers, lakes, and even a 400 foot waterfall have been found, shocking scientist. The Continent gets an average of 166 milliliters (6.5 inches) of precipitation a year so a vast majority of this water is melt water from the glaciers. This, along with the impending calving of a delaware-sized (or Wales sized) piece of ice shelf is radically changing the Antarctic landscape.

Commentary: F#(# Sh#( A#(Hole. SERIOUSLY?!??!?!? I usually don’t get too riled up with stuff on my blog, but we need to look at what is happening in the world. Mudslides and floods in Colombia, Chile, Peru, New Zealand, the US and many other places. More powerful storms, warmer weather, wilder weather, a crack in the Greenland Glacier, and now melting in the Antarctic? How much evidence do people need to realise something terrible is happening. How much evidence will it take for there to be actual action on climate? China is furiously trying to modernize their country to pollute less, we have the Paris Accords, but with the US stuck in Luddite territory and Australia has its head planted firmly in the sand, it is going to become worse.

Astronaut Peggy Whitson Sets New NASA Record For Most Days In Space. The Two time Commander of the International Space Station and biochemist has spent more time off planet than any other American at 534 days. She is due to extend her stay in space for another 5 months as her mission was extended. She will eventually hit close to 650 days in space. She has also spent more than 53 hours outside the airlock in space walks.

Commentary: I love this story. Even though there are a couple of Russian Cosmonauts who have been in space longer (the longest is 878 days) this is a monumental feat. It is also awesome that it is a scientist who has achieved this goal, as I feel that science is the gateway to exploring space, the Moon, and Mars.

I wanted to leave on a positive note, but something irked me about the article. They included the conversation she had with President Trump on her breaking the record. The exchange, which you should read, is classic Trump: Uneducated, self-serving, and idiotic. Whitson handled it very well, but I do wonder what her thoughts after the call was over.

With that, I hope you all have a good day.


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