International

Atlanta shootings leave eight dead and other stories

A series of shootings in and around the American city of Atlanta have left eight people dead.

Police have confirmed that the shootings took place at two spas within the city of Atlanta and at a massage parlour in the suburb of Acworth.

With six of the victims confirmed to be of Asian descent, there are fears that the crime was racially motivated.

Hate crimes against Asian-Americans have risen dramatically in the last few months, fuelled by rhetoric connecting Asian people with the Covid-19 virus.

A 21-year-old man has been arrested in relation to all three shootings after his car was intercepted by police 150 miles away from the city. 

Russia spread ‘misleading’ pro-Trump information in 2020 election, states US report 

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According to a US government report, Moscow spread “misleading or unsubstantiated allegations” aimed at defaming the now elected President Biden.

It’s thought that Russia undermined “public confidence in the electoral process” by spreading misleading information to media outlets, senior officials and allies of Mr Trump.

However, the report said that there were no persistent Russian cyber efforts to gain access to election infrastructure like in 2016.

In reaction to the report, the US may impose sanctions on Russia as soon as next week.

The Russian embassy in Washington responded to the report in a statement saying: “No facts or specific evidence of such claims were provided.”

Trump urges supporters to get Covid-19 Vaccine

During an interview with Fox News, the former US President Donald Trump has urged his supporters to get the jab. 

The former leader acknowledged that a large proportion of those who voted for him were hesitant about the vaccine. 

Trump stated in the interview that the vaccine is “great, safe and something that works”. 

While acknowledging the personal choice behind a decision to get vaccinated or not, Trump stated that he “recommended” the vaccine.

Japanese same-sex marriage ban found unconstitutional

In a landmark decision, a district court has ruled that Japan’s ban on same-sex marriage is “unconstitutional”.

Currently, the Japanese constitution defines marriage as being only between “both sexes” and Japan remains the only G7 country that doesn’t allow same-sex marriage.

The case came to multiple district courts after a group of same-sex couples were seeking damages of one million yen (£6,480) per person due to mental suffering.

Translation: Unconstitutional decision! It was decided that not allowing marriage to a couple of the same sex by law is a discriminatory treatment that lacks rational grounds and violates Article 14 of the Constitution, which stipulates equality before the law. It’s a real win!

Whilst these damages were denied, the Sapporo court ruled that “legal benefits stemming from marriages should equally benefit both homosexuals and heterosexuals”.

This ruling is a huge symbolic victory for LGBTQ+ activists with hopes rising that the other district courts will follow this precedent.

The world goes green for St Patrick’s Day

“Happy st. Patrick’s Day! – Dublin, Ireland by Giuseppe Milo is licensed under Creative Commons

St Patrick’s day celebrations around the world will still go ahead despite Covid-19 restrictions. 

The traditional annual parades which take place in Dublin and Belfast to mark the day of the Irish patron saint, will be streamed online for the second year running. 

While many St. Patrick’s Day events around the world have taken to online, many countries have kept up the Tourism Ireland’s Global Greenings initiative of turning landmarks green. 

Over 65 countries and over 650 landmarks will go green for the campaign, including the Colosseum, Rome and the Sydney Opera house. 

While parades will not be taking place in Chicago, the annual dying of the river green will still go ahead. 

Prince William and Kate Middleton took to social media along with leaders of Commonwealth countries to wish everyone a happy St Patrick’s Day.

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