June News Briefs

Seth Plush, Editor

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Volcanic Eruptions Prompt New Evacuations Across Hawaii’s Big Island

A new spike of activity in Mt. Kilauea has caused a new round of evacuations across the island of Hawai’i. After a relative release in magnitude since the lava flows began in early May, the caldera of Mt. Kilauea began to erupt with newfound intensity, in some cases fountaining molten rock 200 feet in the air. The resulting lava flows have destroyed 89 homes so far, but have yet to cause any injuries or deaths. Reports from Hawai’i Civil Defense state that almost a dozen people have been completely cut off by the lava and are currently without power or reliable exit routes. The Civil Defense say they went through the affected neighborhood to give a final warning to the residents to evacuate, but in a situation some liken to Hurricane Katrina, the now trapped residents had no way to leave or nowhere to flee to. Local authorities plan to airlift the residents out of the area.

Elections in Spain and Italy Leave Uncertain Future for European Union

A new round of elections in Spain ousted conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and replaced him with moderate Pedro Sanchez. While Sanchez is pro-Europe, his Socialist Party holds a weak minority government, with only 84 of Spain’s 350 parliamentary seats, leaving the door open for Catalan separatists and other anti-EU parties. This, coupled with the election of populist Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte in late March and the firm grip of anti-EU and anti-immigration parties on Italian parliament, has left many worried over the future of Eurozone. With Italy and Spain making up the third and fourth largest economies in Europe, the departure of one or both could lead to crisis conditions for the EU. While EU officials in Brussels, as well as France and Germany (the largest pro-Europe nations in the union), warned both Italy and Spain of repercussions should they leave, popularity for separation continues to grow.  

 

 

Slaying of Palestinian Nurse Causes Outrage as Protests Continue

Razan al-Najjar, a 21 year-old medical volunteer for Palestinian protesters in Gaza, was shot dead early on June 1 by an Israeli Defense Force (IDF) soldier while attempting to administer first aid to protesters. According to reports, al-Najjar was wearing a marked medical vest at the time of her death. Outraged by the killing, murals and leaflets have appeared around Gaza with her image and pro-Palestinian slogans. The IDF has yet to make a statement on the events. Her killing comes after months of growing protests that were intensified by President Trump’s decision to move the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The demonstrations have been spurred on the Great March of Return movement, which aims to reinstate Palestinian Arabs to the land they were expelled from after the Arab-Israeli war of 1948 through peaceful demonstration.

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