Category Archives: national news

Russia-Ukraine War

By: Edmund Shryock

For the last 3 weeks, the world has looked upon Russia and Ukraine as their conflict appears to escalate on a daily basis. At the same time, the world looks upon the United States and NATO for a response to the largest conflict Europe has seen since WWII.

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine stems back to 2014 after Russia invaded the peninsula of Crimea (which was a part of Ukraine). Tensions between the two countries escalated to a boiling point in February 2022, as Russian troops were sent from the Russian-Ukrainian border into Ukraine as part of a “Special Military Operation.”

On February 24, explosions were heard throughout Ukraine as the Russian invasion was launched, shocking NATO as countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States warned of serious economic sanctions on Russia if an invasion were to commence.

The Russian invaders met fierce resistance from the Ukrainian military, crushing the idea of a swift victory of Ukraine. This provided hope for NATO as they realized that Ukraine could possibly defeat the Russians. This resulted in numerous NATO countries sending weapons and supplies to the Ukrainians to effectively combat the Russians.

A hero that has emerged through this conflict is the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who has demonstrated bravery and loyalty to Ukraine in its darkest time. He vowed to not leave the capital city of Kyiv despite being advised to. He continues to address his people and the world, even though his city is being shelled constantly and he has been marked as “enemy number one” by the Russians. Zelenskyy’s determination for justice and victory over tyranny offers a hope for the survival of Ukraine.

On Wednesday, March 16, President Zelenskyy addressed Congress asking for the United States’ support by establishing a no-fly zone over Ukraine. This plea came after Russian missile strikes on civilian areas and military facilities. However, the United States is against setting up a no fly zone over Ukraine as it could lead to American fighters being engaged in direct combat with the Russians. This could potentially lead to a full scale global war, with the high possibility of going nuclear.

As the war approaches its first month, the world holds its breath as tensions rise and sanctions continue to be put out against Russia’s economy. Support and aid continue to pour into Ukraine and those affected, as a diplomatic resolution to this war does not appear imminent.

Round-Up of World News

By: April Zavala

Gas prices have reached a skyrocketing price, and they may be here to stay. Prices began taking off two years ago when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit, and Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine that occurred only three weeks ago was like throwing a lit match into a can of gas. Then again, those in control of gas prices will always find an excuse to raise gas prices because they will benefit from it. President Joe Biden recently put a ban on Russian oil imports, which was announced Tuesday, March 15. There is a fear that this will only make the situation worse.

Thousands of Brazilians have gathered outside Congress in Brasilia to protest against a set of bills that they say threaten the Amazon rainforest and the Indigenous people living in it. The event began and is being led by musician Caetano Veloso, who brought together other marquee artists as well as more than 200 non-profits groups. The bill has languished in Congress since Bolsonaro presented it in 2020. But war in Ukraine has threatened the supply of fertilizer from Russia to Brazil’s farmlands, which forced the administration to push for an emergency vote.

North Korea will launch a number of reconnaissance satellites in coming years to provide real-time information on military actions by the United States and its allies. Kim Jong-Un said “a lot” of military satellites would be put into sun-synchronous polar orbit in the period of a five-year plan announced last year. North Korea says it conducted two tests of satellite systems on February 27th and March 5th. Authorities in South Korea, Japan, and the United States say the tests involved launches of ballistic missiles. The launches drew international condemnation and the U.S. military said on Thursday it had increased surveillance and reconnaissance collection in the Yellow Sea. Kim defended the satellite work as gathering information as well as protecting North Korea’s sovereignty and national interests.

Denmark’s prime minister on Wednesday delivered a face-to-face apology to six living victims of a 1950s social experiment in which 22 Greenlandic children were taken from their families and sent to Denmark to be integrated into Danish society. They had taken children between four and nine years old and shipped them to Denmark. Then, the colonial power, in 1951 tried to re-educate them as “little Danes.” The children were supposed to return to Greenland and be part of a new Danish-speaking elite that would help modernize the Arctic island’s Inuit population. The children were never sent back to their families but were either adopted by Danish families or sent back to Greenland to be placed in an orphanage, where they were forced to speak Danish and had little or no contact with their relatives.

Empty streets and exhausted medical staff. Social distancing and drive-by funerals. Protests and vaccine rollouts. Pictures remind us of a world transformed by the COVID-19 pandemic, now over the two-year mark.

Strange But True! Odd News from Around the World

By: Oliver Cisneros

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2022/02/03/pentagon-security-finds-chicken-henny-penny/6646499001/

Chicken Wandering around the Pentagon

“The loose hen was found early Monday morning near the U.S. Department of Defense headquarters, the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, Virginia, wrote on social media.”

https://www.foxla.com/news/cow-wanders-onto-210-freeway-in-lakeview-terrace-area

Cow Loose on the Streets

“A steer is safe in a pen after leading authorities on a chase along the freeway, through a parking lot, and into a local yard Wednesday afternoon.”

https://www.npr.org/2022/02/12/1080142361/valentines-day-roach-zoo-name

Name a Cockroach for Valentine’s Day

“The Bronx Zoo’s Name a Roach program, now in its 11th year, offers an unusual way to show your undying love. For $15, you can name a Madagascar hissing cockroach after your special someone. The money benefits the Wildlife Conservation Society, a nonprofit organization, the zoo’s website says.”

Dog Saved with Sausages

“Volunteers from a drone pet rescue organization became desperate to find Millie, a Jack Russell-Whippet cross, so resorted to attaching her favorite snack to the devices to lure her to safety.”

https://news.sky.com/story/bette-midler-west-virginia-governor-jim-justice-raises-dogs-backside-in-the-air-and-tells-actress-to-kiss-her-hiney-12527782

Bette Midler Told to “Kiss a Dog’s Hiney”

“The governor of West Virginia lifted up his dog, raised its backside in the air, and told actress Bette Midler to “kiss her hiney!” – as bizarre scenes played out in the state’s capitol building.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/02/15/mexico-birds-falling-sky/

Birds Suddenly Drop From the Sky

“The residential street in Cuauhtémoc — a city in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, some 216 miles away from Texas — was seemingly quiet when, in one fell swoop, a cloud of birds suddenly dropped from the sky.”

https://www.nbcnews.com/pop-culture/pop-culture-news/-batman-screening-interrupted-real-bat-released-theaters-prank-rcna19247

Live Bat Disrupts Batman Movie

“A moviegoer released a live bat at a recent showing of “The Batman” in Austin, Texas — forcing theater employees to interrupt the movie as animal control officers tried to remove the flying mammal from the premises.”

Biden: A Year in Review

By: Edmund Shryock

President Biden’s politicized first year as President came to a close, after facing challenges of the pandemic, inflation, immigration, and foreign policy. Americans are curious to see if Biden accomplished what he wanted to in year one. Here is a look into 5 things Biden was able to accomplish in his first year as President

  • Passing of a 1.9 Trillion Dollar Covid Relief Bill- In March of 2021, President Biden signed a $1.9 trillion Covid relief package known as the “American Rescue Plan,” which was to offer a $1,400 dollar stimulus to a majority of Americans. $350 billion was going to K-12 schools to reopen and local and state aid.
  • Rejoined The World Health Organization- As one of President Biden’s first acts as President, he signed letters retracting former President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the World Health Organization (WHO). This was supported by the appointment of Dr. Anthony Fauci as the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, allowing the U.S. to become a full participant in the WHO as the pandemic continued.
  • Removed Travel Ban from Several Muslim Countries- Speaking of Biden striking down decsions made by his predecessor, Biden removed the Muslim travel ban set in place by Trump in 2017. This allowed for travel from several Muslim majority countries to be allowed for the first time in four years.
  • Signed Juneteenth National Independence Day as a Federal Holiday- On June 17, 2021 President Biden signed into law the “Juneteenth National Independence Day Act” which honors the date of the last slaves being notified of their freedom. This was the first legal public holiday signed into law since Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was signed into law in 1983 by President Reagan. 

Signed a Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill- President Biden signed a new legislation into law in November, that would disperse $1.2 trillion into America’s infrastructure such as bridges and roads. This bill was agreed on by both parties, with $550 billion of that going into American roads, bridges, waterways, and airports. This is the first part of Biden’s two part infrastructure plan that is known as “hard” infrastructure. With the second part consisting of a climate and economic package of $1.75 trillion called “Build Back Better” that has not been passed by the senate.

The Situation in Ukraine 

By Political Correspondent Edmund Shryock 

In late 2021, Russia placed around 70,000 troops on the border with its neighbor Ukraine. This number would rise to about 127,000 troops by mid January 2022. Tensions between the U.S. and Russia are on the rise due to the border standoff.

The United States responded to Russia in regards to their massive troop buildup on the Ukrainian border, on Wednesday, January 6. As a method to deter Russia from invading Ukraine. U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, told reporters on Wednesday that the U.S. response “sets out a serious diplomatic path forward should Russia choose it.”

Reports from the Kremlin deny an attack on Ukraine, but blame NATO for expanding its influence in Ukraine posing a threat to the Russian Border. NATO, however, believes that Russia is in no place to invade Ukraine, and will face serious consequences and tough sanctions if they do.

The Escalation to the Ukrainian Crisis

The situation in Ukraine stems back to 2013, when Ukraine was working out a trade deal with the European Union (EU), but at the last minute suspended talks with the EU. This angered many Ukranians who were intent on having this deal with the EU, having them rise up in protest against this. 

Why did Ukraine suspend the trade deal in 2013?

Ukraine’s then-President Victor Yanukovych was an avid supporter of Russia. Reports of pressure from Moscow against Yanukovych making a deal with the EU was the reason Ukraine suspended the talks.

Ukrainians revolted against the government in anger against the influence that Russia had in their government. Eventually, they overthrew the government and removed Yanukovych from office, in which he fled in exile to Russia. He was replaced by Oleksandr Turchynov as “acting” Ukrainian President to Russia’s dismay. Russia came out in 2014 saying that they do not regard Turchynov as the legitimate Ukrainian President. He was succeeded by Petro Poroshenko in 2014, who was succeeded by Volodymyr Zelensky in 2019.

As Yanukovych fled Kiev, Russia set its sights on the autonomous peninsula south of Ukraine, Crimea. In March 2014, Russia invaded and eventually annexed Crimea (who had high loyalties to Russia) within a matter of days. Believing that it was acting in the best interest of Crimea’s Russian speaking citizens, Russia’s referendum “certifying” the annexation was not recognized by NATO or Ukraine. NATO placed economic sanctions on Russia as a response. 

Pro-Russian separatists declared their independence from Kyiv shortly after in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine, prompting heavy fighting. This led to a cease fire agreement to be moderated by France and Germany in Minsk 2015. However, this ceasefire was violated numerous times until this day.

Why might Russia Possibly invade Ukraine?

Russia believes that Ukraine has broken the Minsk agreement and is stirring up tensions between the two countries. This was brought about as Ukraine has been receiving more support from NATO than it has in recent years. This is seen as a threat for Russian security as NATO support expands eastward.

This prompted Russia’s President Vladimir Putin to demand agreements from NATO that would keep them from expanding eastward towards Russia. Putin believes that if NATO does not agree to these terms and continues expanding the way they have been these last few years, and that Moscow would have the “right to choose ways to ensure its legitimate security interests,” stated by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in December 2021. 

Ukraine’s Reasons to be Prepared for a Russian Invasion

Ukraine believes that they have the right to join NATO if they want to and Russia can not prevent them from doing so.

Also, a recent coup plot was discovered to overthrow the current Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky which led many Ukranians believing that Russia is trying to undermine the Ukrainian Government and put in a pro-Russian President. 

Finally, Ukraine believes that the recent energy crisis that is within Ukraine has been sparked by the Russians, leading the Ukrainian military to prepare for an invasion with NATO support. There may be possible sanctions to be placed on Russia, and numerous battlegroups in the eastern part of NATO’s reach and the Black Sea. As the U.S. has evacuated families of U.S. ambassadors out of Ukraine, they have placed 8,500 U.S. troops on “high alert.”

The world watches and waits to see what will happen next, as leaders discuss and negotiate the potential fate of Ukraine, trying to avoid the largest conflict in Europe since WWII.

Gubernatorial Races in NJ and VA

By Political Correspondent Edmund Shryock

Virginia and New Jersey’s Democratic Governors were up for reelection on November 2, 2021 after months of campaigning to gain support throughout their states. The results sent shockwaves through the political world as Republican candidates gained more support than expected. 

Virginia’s incumbent candidate Terry McAuliffe was supported by President Biden before the election, while his Republican opponent Glenn Youngkin, distanced himself from the support of former President Trump’s endorsement.

  In New Jersey, incumbent Governor Phil Murphy squared off against Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli. As the night progressed, Ciattarelli would take the lead. However, as the vote continued to pour in, Phil Murphy would manage to squeeze out a victory. This makes Murphy the first Governor to be reelected in New Jersey history in 44 years. 

The results of these Gubernatorial elections could provide insight into the type of election the country will see in the 2022 midterm elections. Also, it provided Republicans with momentum as the 2024 Presidential election looms over the nation. Democrats learned that they should not underestimate Republican votes in typically “Blue States” in future elections. So now the country looks forward as both sides prepare for critical elections in 2022 and 2024. 

SEA 9/11 Ceremony

By Diego Avalos

The tragedies were massive. 2,996 people died and over 6,000 were injured after the tragedy that ensued the morning of September 11, 2001. Two aircrafts struck the Twin Towers in New York City and one struck the Pentagon in Washington D.C. The final plane also known as flight 93 landed in a field in Pennsylvania after attempting to crash into the White House. 19 Al-Qaeda members were the hijackers of the four different aircrafts, the most notorious of them being Osama bin Laden. This has been America’s most tragic event so far (the day of September 11, 2001). It affected Americans daily lives severely in many different ways. 

Every year Southeast Academy High School has a ceremony to remember all of the lives that were lost on that tragic morning. This ceremony consists of emergency responders, Norwalk city council, and the cadets of Southeast Academy. The ceremony also includes the flag folding team, and a 30×20 foot flag held up by two cranes. Many cadets take pride in partaking in the ceremony, and some cadets come around 5:30 to help set up for the ceremony.

There was a massive change to our ceremony this year because of COVID-19 health and safety measures that were in place. Usually there are fire fighters, police officers, and emergency responders who attend the ceremony. Another aspect that was missing from previous years was the presence of John Glenn’s band and color guard. The changes made to this year’s ceremony resulted in a much shorter memorial, but not in any way less important. 

Mayor Perez, a guest speaker at the ceremony this year, helped cadets understand the value of the ceremony a little more. When cadets know that the mayor will come, it symbolizes that the ceremony is something important- so important that even the mayor attends. She has spent most of her life in Norwalk and decided to run for mayor, since she believes that it is important to have someone who will put everyone’s perspective into practice and tries to figure out the best situation for all of Norwalk’s residents. She considers what is best for everyone using programs to help the community grow stronger.

After the ceremony, everyone goes back to class with the thought of all who lost their lives that day. Many of our guests paid tributes to our fallen heroes. This tragedy forever changed Americans’ daily lives. After this event all Americans were traumatized for a while, but we  stood as one nation, and 20 years later, we still do.

This Month in History: September

By Edmund Shryock

1. 1939 – WWII Begins in Europe: On September 1st, 1939, Adolf Hitler’s armies swept into Poland. Poland was also invaded by Russia at the same time. This would be the spark that would drag the French and the British into another war with Germany. This war in Europe would eventually turn into a global conflict. Most commonly known as “The Second World War.”


2. 2001 – 9/11 Terrorist Attacks: On the morning of September 11th, 2001 the lives of millions of people would be changed. Four American commercial planes were hijacked and turned into missiles against the World Trade Center, The Pentagon, and possibly the U.S. Capitol. There were 2,996 deaths that day, and the country had to unite. Airport security would be strengthened as a result, and America would declare war on Afghanistan shortly thereafter,  that would end up ending 20 years later. 


3. 1862 – Battle of Antietam: On September 17th, 1862, the deadliest day in American military history would take place. The Confederate army, under general Robert E. Lee, met heavy resistance from Union forces under George B. McClellen. The fighting began at dawn and lasted throughout the day, and by the end of the first day 26,000 men were killed, missing, or injured.


4. 1960 – First-Ever Televised Presidential Debate: Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy squared off in the first televised Presidential debate in the election of 1960. This took place on September 26th, 1960. This new way of meeting the Presidential candidates allowed more people to turn out for the election. This debate also gained Kennedy support from people who did not know him, as he looked calm and collected, unlike Nixon.


5. 1955 – James Dean Dies: On September 30th, 1955 the 24-year-old movie star James Dean died in a car crash, abruptly ending his promising acting career. He was made famous with movies such as Giant and Rebel Without a Cause. Dean’s death was a tragedy as he made a vast influence on\ teenage lifestyle in the 1950s for numerous teens.

Should colleges require students to be vaccinated?

By Monse Juarez

The decision has been made by several colleges and universities across the country: students will be required to get the Covid-19 vaccine. Some exemptions from this requirement include religious and medical reasons. Aside from the exemptions, there has been pushback by Republicans and even from parents of students. However, the majority of students have not tried to fight the decision at which colleges have arrived. It is clear that different groups have formed their own opinions about the Covid-19 vaccine, however the real question is: Should colleges require students to be vaccinated?

To answer this question, society must first consider if it is actually legal for colleges to set this requirement. According to Harvard Law Professor, Glenn Cohen, colleges aren’t exactly breaking any laws. On the other hand, there aren’t any laws that explicitly say it is allowed. The Covid-19 vaccination roll-out for college students has been controversial for this very reason. The law doesn’t explicitly forbid or allow college institutions from setting vaccination requirements. In reality, the pushback comes from individual states that have decided to ban Covid-19 regulations like masks and vaccinations.

Clearly, Covid-19 vaccinations are needed to make sure that people are safe. So in reality the Covid-19 vaccination requirement that has been implemented by several colleges across the country, is not exactly illegal. Some colleges already require that students receive flu shots, and all public schools require vaccinations for things like MMR and chickenpox. So the Covid-19 vaccination requirement is actually not as far-fetched as some may believe.

Asian-American Hate Crimes a Step Backward

By Edmund Shryock

As the pandemic ruined summer plans and normal schedules, for some people it fueled a hate against Asain-Americans causing violence to spring up around the country. This is a major step back from the progress that Americans made in breaking down the racial barriers in the last 60 years. 

After the attacks on Pearl Harbor in 1941, America declared war on Japan, officially entering the United States in WWII. However, war with Japan created hatred towards Asian-Americans as the U.S population believed that they were spies. This led to President Roosevelt signing into action Executive Order 9066 which forced hundreds of Japanese-Americans to be sent to internment camps even though most were American Citizens. 

In 2020 the whole world came to a stop due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. As scientists tracked the location to where the pandemic started, they found out that it originated from China. This gave birth to conspiracy theories on how the virus started causing numerous Americans to have anger towards Asian-Americans believing they were the main cause. These tensions were only escalated when then-President Donald Trump would use terms such as the “Kung Flu” and “China virus” when referencing the Coronavirus.

Now with Joe Biden as President, he has now faced the issue of Asian-American hate spreading across the country. Los Angeles Times staff writer Leila Miller reported that, “The Los Angeles Police Department documented 15 hate crimes against Asian Americans in 2020, more than double the previous year, according to a new study by the agency.” This goes to show the destruction caused by hatred and stupidity. (picture via)

In my opinion, I believe that the only way to stop the racial hate and unite this country is to educate each other and actually discuss our differences. American musician Daryl Davis put it best in my opinion: “There’s a difference between being ignorant and being stupid… For me, an ignorant person is someone who makes the wrong decision or a bad choice because he or she does not have the proper facts. If you give that person the facts and the proper information you have alleviated that ignorance, and they make the right decision.” Through this education process we can unite and look past race and skin color as a whole, making the world safer for generations to come.

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