Around the World

Catching up on global happenings in the past week

By Stephanie Simko


NEW YORK CITY, NY – “Do you want fries with that?”

Protests were staged outside more than 1,000 fast-food restaurants, including Burger King, Wendy’s and McDonald’s, in several American cities on Labour Day weekend. Protesters called for the minimum wage to be raised to $15 an hour, up from the current $7.25. Such protests mark the start of a nationwide movement that has shed light on the growing inequality in America and the increase in the cost of living. Support from politicians, religious leaders, and other poorly paid workers boosted the campaign, but the companies are not budging thus far. Fast-food corporations feel that to meet the demands, they would have to raise the food prices and lose customers, or automate the jobs and lose workers.


FUKUSHIMA, JAPAN – Experimental “Ice wall” as solution to radioactive leaks

Some eyebrows are being raised about the Japanese government’s plan to build an ice wall around the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant to try to stop radioactive water leaks. The plant suffered major damage from the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on March 11, 2011. The experimental “ice wall” is described as an underground ice dam, created by freezing all the water in the soil with over three dozen cooling coils. Experts are hoping that the ice wall will contain the high levels of radiation, which have become problematic for the workers and the surrounding areas.


HAVANA, CUBA – Endurance swimmer accomplishes goal thirty-five years in the making

Beachgoers in Key West, Florida were the first to witness a sunburned and visibly exhausted sixty-four year-old Diana Nyad climb out of the water on September 2nd, making history as the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage. Along with the risks of extreme exhaustion, sunburn, hypothermia, storms, and strained muscles, the threat of dangerous jellyfish stings almost stopped the attempt. This was Nyad’s fifth attempt at the feat, her first being in 1978 at the age of twenty-nine. She also did the swim without fins or a wet suit. She had three messages for the public:  “One is we should never, ever give up. Two is you never are too old to chase your dreams. And three is it looks like a solitary sport but it’s a team.”


ST.PETERSBURG, RUSSIA – G20 Summit hampered by Syria debate

The annual G20 summit, a meeting of world leaders to discuss world economy, jobs, and investments, was dominated by arguments over the chemical atrocity in Syria last month and what should be done. The countries are divided: America, France and Britain call for action against Syria’s President, Bashar Assad, while China and Russia opposed it. One positive point of the debate was that sending more humanitarian aid to the two million refugees was unanimous. While it cannot be argued that the crisis in Syria does not merit action, there was little action as a result of the summit meeting.


LONDON, ENGLAND – Guard the crown jewels!

London Metropolitan Police responded at an incident on the night of September 3 at Buckingham Palace, where two men were found attempting to break in. One man was found scaling a fence while the other had managed to infiltrate the Queen’s Gallery by climbing a drainpipe outside the stately residence. Both men were arrested for what is considered a “civil wrong” rather than a criminal offence. Such breaches of security are not unheard of. In 1982, trespasser Michael Fagan snuck into the Queen’s private while Queen Elizabeth II was asleep. No threat to the Royal family was reported, as the Queen was at Balmoral Castle in Scotland and no other family members were present at the Palace.