Week 5 - 07/08/2020

Published on 7 August 2020 at 14:35

Beirut Explosion

A huge explosion erupted in Beirut, Lebanon this week. The explosion which measured to the equivalent of a 3.3 magnitude earthquake blew out the windows of Beirut’s international airport 9km away and could be heard as far as Cyprus. The current death toll is believed to be 154 with 5,000 injured with many still missing. The explosion which is believed to have been caused by the unsafe storage of tonnes of ammonium nitrate in a warehouse has caused major outrage and protests within the country with many blaming the explosion on government corruption. So far sixteen people have been taken into custody as part of an official investigation into the blast.


Trump bans TikTok and WeChat

President Donald Trump this week announced a ban on transactions between the US and the Chinese run ByteDance, the owners of apps such as TikTok and Tencent who operate the app WeChat. This comes following growing tensions between the US and China. The executive order will go into effect in 45 days. President Trump described the apps as “untrusted” and “significant threats”. While WeChat is largely unused in the US, TikTok boasts a healthy 100 million users of the app in the country with many creators on the platform worried about where their future now lies.


Hiroshima marks 75 years since the dropping of the Atomic Bomb

This Thursday saw the 75th anniversary of the atomic bomb explosion in Hiroshima. Due to coronavirus, numbers in attendance at the ceremony in Peace Park had to be significantly reduced with only survivors and families being allowed to attend the memorial ceremony. Mayor Kazumi Matsui made an open plea to countries to “reject self-centred nationalism and unite against all threats”. Keiko Ogura, who was eight at the time of the explosion commented that “the nuclear danger is spreading around the world, and under that mushroom cloud, no one can escape," Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence speaking on the day of the anniversary said “The only guarantee of protection from nuclear weapons is their complete elimination”.


MPs in Poland protest new president by wearing LGBT masks

Following the election of President Andrzej Duda in Poland, various MPs from opposition parties in the Polish Parliament wore face covering with the LGBT flag imprinted on it in protest to comments made by President Duda during and since his election. Opposition MP, Magda Biejat of the leftist Razem party wrote on Twitter, “The President of Poland should defend the rights of all citizens”. This protest also comes after the arrest of three people in Warsaw last week who were charged with desecrating monuments after they draped several statues, one including Jesus Christ with rainbow flags.


Pubs to remain closed in Ireland

On Tuesday Taoiseach Micheál Martin announced that pubs would remain closed in Ireland until at least the 31st of August. He also instructed that all customers would have to be off these premises by 11pm. The Licensed Vintner Association (LVA) and the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) accused the government of abandoning smaller pubs around the country with over 3,500 pubs initially prepared to open next week before regulations were changed. Mr Martin said that the Government will be looking into additional supports for pubs during the virus. LVA Chief Executive Donall O’Keeffe said that the recent announcement “is creating intolerable pressure on those pubs still closed, their 25,000 staff, suppliers to the industry and all their families” and that “the Government can’t keep stringing the entire sector along like this”.

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