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5 News Stories Unrelated to Covid-19

It seems at the moment like everything we see on the news is related to coronavirus, whilst other current affairs have been pushed to the side lines. This article will list five current events that you might have missed, from the Black Lives Matter protests to the World’s largest electric plane taking flight.

Black Lives Matter

Protests have rapidly spread throughout America following the murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minnesota. Last year, the police in America killed 1,099 people and black people were three times more likely to be killed than white people. To make matters worse 99% of killings by police between 2013 and 2019 did not end with the officers being charged. Although Derek Chauvin, the officer responsible for Floyd’s death, has been charged with third degree murder he is yet to be sentenced, and the other officers present have not been charged. People have been taking to social media to raise awareness, share petitions and contribute to donation pages aimed at ending systemic racism. At the time of writing, the Justice for George Floyd petition has over 17 million signatures.

Same-sex marriage in Central America

On the 26th May Costa Rica became the first country in Central America, and the sixth in Latin America, to legalise same-sex marriage. The move comes after the country’s constitutional court ruled back in August 2018 that the ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional. Although they face considerable religious opposition, Latin America is beginning to normalise LGBT rights with gay marriage now legal in Argentina, Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay and parts of Mexico. Whilst there is still a lot of work to do to protect LGBT rights in Central America, this move promises the start of a cultural transformation in Costa Rica.

SpaceX

On Sunday 31st May it was confirmed that the Dragon capsule, carrying US astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, had docked on the International Space Station. The SpaceX Nasa mission successfully launched from Florida on Saturday 30th May after its original launch date, Wednesday 27th, had to be postponed due to bad weather conditions. The mission significantly marks a new era of space travel, as Nasa begin partnering and purchasing services from the commercial transport sector.

El Salvador prisons 

Back in April shocking pictures emerged of the inhumane conditions inside the prisons of El Salvador. These distressing images saw thousands of inmates stripped to their underwear and lined up in such close proximity that they were pressed up against one another. The measures were introduced following a four day period at the end of April in which there were 77 murders in El Salvador that were supposedly linked to gangs in the country. The photos show how the prisoners were huddled together as their cells were searched for anything linking them to the outbreak of violence. Gang culture has been a key issue in El Salvador since the brutal civil war in the 1980s which erupted because of massive inequalities between a suffering majority and a wealthy few.

All Electric Air Travel

On 28th May the World’s largest all-electric commercial air-plane completed its first test flight. The 9 passenger Cessna 208 flew for nearly thirty minutes when it took flight in Washington, USA. The flight is being hailed as a massive step forward in the search for cleaner air travel, a change that is much needed. In 2018 the total carbon emissions from all commercial operations reached 918 million metric tons according to the International Council on Clean Transportation. Whilst further developments are needed to significantly reduce the weight of batteries, this small success is a positive indication for things to come in the future.