The latest government shutdown from Dec. 22, 2018 to Jan. 25, 2019, began when President Trump and Congress were unable to agree on a budget for nine federal agencies, specifically in regards to funding the wall bordering Mexico. It ended when the two parties signed a stop-gap spending bill that increased border security without allocating funds for the wall. The shutdown resulted in nearly 380,000 non-critical employees being sent home without pay and 420,000 critical employees who continued working without receiving any payment. The slow turn-around showcased by both the President and Congress was indicative of a lack of unity in the current deeply divided realm of American politics.
A scandal arose earlier this year over a nationwide attempt to influence undergraduate admissions at several top colleges such as the University of Southern California and Yale University. The investigation into this plot led to at least 51 people being convicted of various crimes, ranging from paying people to help students cheat on their standardized tests to paying coaches to recruit their students. Several high-profile celebrities were also discovered to be involved, including actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin.
Greta Thunberg started her strikes against climate change last August, alone and unknown. Today, she is joined by thousands of young activists across the globe, whose voices rise in unison for hope of a better future. Thunberg is also labelled Time’s 2019 Person of the Year. From India to Kenya to Alabama, these climate change rallies have cropped up in more than 150 countries all over the world, all for one message — to save the earth. The rapid pace at which these voices rise is putting pressure on the government to act and protect the planet from an inevitable doom.
The USA Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) sparked headlines with its battle against the gender wage gap. The women’s team was paid a $4 million bonus for a victory at the World Cup, compared to the $38 million prize money the male teams receive. This discrepancy in pay is even more shocking, given that the women have been title winners of back-to-back World Cups while the men didn’t make it to the finals. Although the U.S. team won the lawsuit, the fight for gender equality in sports continues and pushes female athletes to persist in the face of injustice.
This year, the world saw a surge in fires occurring in the Amazon rainforest located in countries Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay and Peru. Although fires normally occur during the dry season — June to December — because of the slash-and-burn methods used to clear the forest for industrial purposes, the increased rate of the fires was an indication to many that climate change has begun taking its toll on the Amazon biome. It also led to international concern about the fate of the rainforest, which is the world’s largest terrestrial carbon dioxide sink and helps mitigate climate change related effects.
“Frozen’s” debut in 2013 redefined Disney sing-a-longs, animated movies and what it takes to be a Disney princess. The tale of sisterly love that marked many of our childhoods begins a new chapter, nearly six years later, as Anna and Elsa make an appearance in “Frozen 2” released this November. The glittery magic behind “Frozen 2” and its rather unconventional message of sisterhood and girl power has found its way into the hearts of numerous movie-goers — both young and old. According to CNN, the film has skated past a $738 million revenue within a week of its release and now holds the title for the highest grossing film on Thanksgiving weekend.
Created with an image by Joanna Kosinska - "untitled image"