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Parkland shooting takes seventeen lives, prompting nationwide walkouts and local activism
- On February 14, seventeen were killed and seventeen others were injured in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. This shooting prompted movements across the country in protest of the current gun safety laws which many believe do not effectively protect citizens. Wellesley High School participated in this movement in March when students staged a walkout.
The United States Senate confirms Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court after a contentious hearing process
- In October, the Senate voted 50-48 in favor of confirming Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court after President Donald Trump nominated him in July. On July 30, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford wrote a letter to Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein accusing Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school. This letter was released to The Washington Post and Christine Blasey Ford was asked to testify at Kavanaugh’s hearings. This event was polarizing for the country, with both Democrats and Republicans accusing each other of mishandeling the situation.
Kids in a cave captivate the globe: Thai youth soccer team survives 17 days in flooded cave with help from international rescue effort
- On June 23, a Thai soccer team made up of twelve teenagers, aged eleven to seventeen, and their 25 year old assistant coach entered Tham Luang cave in Thailand. The team was trapped in the cave with very little food for eighteen days due to flooding. The team was found alive on July 2 and a rescue team comprised of expert cave divers from all over the globe worked to get all twelve boys and their coach out of the cave safely by July 10. Out of over 100 divers, there was one fatality when former Thai Navy SEAL Saman Kunan died from a shortage of oxygen. The rescue effort captivated the world, with over 10,000 people involved and a united effort by over 100 countries to save the team.
Death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi sparks global questioning of the state of press freedom
- Saudi-Arabian journalist and columnist at The Washington Post, Jamal Khashoggi, was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 by agents of the Saudi government. As a journalist, Khashoggi was critical of the Saudi royal family and yet, although proven by the CIA and supported by an audio of Khashoggi’s killing released by Turkish intelligence forces, the Saudi government continues to deny that they ordered Khashoggi’s murder. The incident has been interpreted as a crime against freedom of the press to many, and, as a result, multiple countries have put economic sanctions on Saudi Arabia and global skepticism of the Saudi government has grown.
Trump administration’s “Zero Tolerance Policy” leads to separation of families at the Mexican border
- In April 2018, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that anyone who attempted to cross the Mexican-American border illegally would be prosecuted in a federal court. This policy meant that all children who were brought to the border illegally were separated from their parents because the federal detention centers could not hold minors. In 2018, over 500,000 people were detained at the border and 2,654 children were separated from their parents.
California wildfires warn of our changing environment
- California wildfires, specifically the Camp Fire in Northern California, burned through forests and towns in November 2018, killing over 44 people and destroying more than 200,000 acres of land. These fires as well as the hurricanes, volcanoes, and other extreme weather over the past year represent the deadly effects of global warming on the environment.
Led by largely first generation players, France wins their first World Cup in 20 years
- On July 15, France beat Croatia 4-2 in the World Cup final, marking the first win for their country since 1998. Notable of France’s win is the team’s diversity, as some fifteen of the 23 members of the team are of African descent. Although 21 out of the 23 were born in France, many are from immigrant families. Nineteen year old stand-out forward Kylian Mbappé also made history as being the second teenager to ever score in a World Cup final.
Political data firm Cambridge Analytica mishandles fifty million Facebook users data
- When Facebook agreed to allow data firm Cambridge Analytica access to user data, they did so under the agreement of it being for educational use. Yet, in early 2018, it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica used up to around fifty million users’ personal preferences and information for personalized political advertisements and propaganda. This provoked much controversy surrounding Cambridge Analytica’s ties to the US government and Russia.
With voter turnout reaching a 50-year high, Americans elect the most diverse group of congressional representatives ever
- Democrats took control over the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm elections by flipping 40 seats; this is their largest win in the House of Representatives since the aftermath of the Watergate scandal in 1974. Republicans maintained their control over the Senate by flipping four Senate seats in their favor.
Young champions of the 2018 Winter Olympics prove themselves against Olympic veterans
- 17-year-old snowboarders Chloe Kim and Red Gerard both took home gold medals for Team USA at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. Chloe Kim earned the title of the youngest female snowboarding gold medalist for her performance in the women’s snowboard halfpipe. Despite sleeping through his alarm and losing his jacket, Gerard managed to win gold in men’s slopestyle.
President Trump and Kim Jong Un held a historic summit, marking the first-ever meeting between leaders of the two nations
- President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un held a historic summit together in June, marking the first-ever meeting between leaders of the United States and North Korea. In the closed-door meeting, the two discussed denuclearization in North Korea, and the President agreed to remove the US Naval presence near North Korea.