RationalWiki:What is going on in the world?/February 2020

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February 2020[edit]

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25the World Israel Israeli scientists are on the cusp of developing the first vaccine against the coronavirus. If there are no complications, the vaccine should be ready to be released into the market in 90 days.
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21United States First medical drugs shortage hits the United States. The FDA refuses to tell which drugs are in shortage and where they are made
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16United StatesWashington. First COVID-19 death in the United States has been reported in Washington state.
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10European UnionUnited Kingdom It has been revealed after the thirty-year rule on cabinet papers that an article written by Johnson in the Telegraph in 1990 that was put into in the briefing pack, influenced Thatcher’s eurosceptic viewpoint on the EC president Jacques Delors which led to her downfall later that year.
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6France Due to COVID-19, France has temporary banned all public gatherings with more than 5000 people for public health reasons, including scrapping this year’s Paris half-marathon which was planned for this Sunday.
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11United StatesKentucky. Kentucky court forces man wrongly imprisioned to re-pay a privately owned prison for the costs of incarceration
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11the World United States Germany The Coronavirus has claimed nearly three thousand lives, and two new cases appeared in California and Oregon. UPDATE: After Pence's nomination to leading the response, the US stock market has a bad weekly percentage drop, the worst since the recession while fears of a recession in Germany are growing
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16Poland A third of Poland, estimating approximately a 100 municipalities and local governments, have declared themselves to be LGBT-free zones
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14United StatesAfghanistan The United States is to sign a deal with the Taliban over a NATO withdrawal in fourteen months time, provided the Taliban ends its fighting in that period.
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29United StatesLynching is now finally considered a federal crime. The bill will go to the Republican-controlled Senate.
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26United StatesUS Marine general orders the removal of all Confederate paraphernalia from all Marine bases worldwide. Because, apparently, that's a thing now in the US military.
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30United States An appeals court has dismissed a lawsuit by PragerU against Youtube over restricting its content, stating that the video-sharing platform is a private forum. As so, it not subject to free-speech requirements under the First Amendment.
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25United KingdomA historic victory for climate activists, plans for a third runway at Heathrow airport been ruled illegal by the court of appeal, saying decision to give the go-ahead was not consistent with the Paris agreement. While Heathrow has said it would seek to have the verdict overturned in the supreme court, without government support, regardless of legal success, wider prospects for its expansion plans will be limited.
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16United StatesWisconsin. Multiple fatalities reported in a mass shooting at the Molson Coors plant, in Milwaukee.
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13United StatesFlorida. Video shows cop arresting six year old and tying her with ziptie, she was "charged with battery" but the charges were dropped.
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15GermanyGermany’s highest court at has struck down a 2015 law (§217) which completely bans euthanasia.
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39United StatesOnly the best people, right? Ken CuccinelliWikipedia, Trump's acting deputy secretary of Homeland Security and a member of the White House task force on the coronavirus outbreak, turns to Twitter to help him find the coronavirus outbreak map. You're all going to die.
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6AustraliaJapanAustralian school cleaners offered jobs cleaning Diamond Princess in Japan. Their union doesn't think it's a great offer but some have taken it up.
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17EgyptFormer Egyptian strongman, Hosni Mubarak, deposed in the Arab Spring of 2011, has died, aged 91.
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14European UnionSpainAustriaCroatiaItaly As the continent is swept in a coronavirus outbreak, the European Union pledges €230 million to combat the plague
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8Hong Kong Basic protective gear against the Coronavirus is unaffordable to 70% of Hong Kong's working class families, according to a survey
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17Indonesia The head of the Child Protection Commission has received complaints after discouraging mixed public swimming as men will ejaculate at the sight of women, and women will be impregnated from it if they are sexually active.
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16United Kingdom Neo-Nazi groups System Resistance Network, Sonnenkrieg Division and PKK groups Teyre Azadiye Kurdistan and Hezen Parastina Gel are to be formally proscribed as terrorist organisations.
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21South Sudan Tentative peace forged in South Sudan after decades of war
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30United StatesNew York. Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein has been found guilty of both third-degree rape and a criminal sexual act in the first degree at his trial in New York. This case has been seen as a landmark case in the #MeToo movement.
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10Australia This issue affects Western Australia The RSL veterans association in the state of Western Australia has prohibited the usage of Indigenous symbols and languages such as the Aboriginal flag in Remembrance ceremonies after a noted song was performed in an Indigenous language. The prohibition has been criticised by Indigenous groups and the state government.
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23DenmarkNorwaySwedenSAS, the national airline of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, launch an ad that says, "What is truly Scandinavian? Absolutely nothing." They drop it after less than a day due to a load of online outrage. The far-right have had plenty to say about it and the agency that made the ad received a bomb threat.
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16United StatesVirginia. Heerak Christian Kim, a Korean-American fundamentalist Christian preacher is running for Congress in Virginia as a Republican. He's rather open about his antisemitism.
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22United KingdomFalling sales and payouts of the phone-hacking scandal have meant that this year, News Corp’s Sun newspaper has posted a £68 million loss.
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13United KingdomAccording to a source in the Home Office speaking to the Sunday Times, the security service MI5 doesn't trust the Home Secretary Priti Patel with some of its intelligence and as so withdrawing some its information to her. Update: MI5 reject the claims
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35United StatesCalifornia. "Mad Mike" Hughes' rocket stunt to "prove" that the Earth is flat went exactly as you expected: in a blaze of glorious insanity that claimed his life. At the time of the fatal accident, he was being filmed for a Science Channel series called Homemade Astronauts.
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10United StatesPuerto Rico Puerto Rico's officials are undermining a rooftop solar movement in favor of natural gas
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5IsraelRide-sharing app Gett has been sued after an undercover investigation found there is a hidden service on the app which allows Jewish-Israelis to receive only other observant Jews to serve them and avoids Arab-Israeli drivers.
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3United StatesAfghanistan US and Taliban sign peace deal to "reduce violence."
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9United StatesMississippi. Mississippi "fetal heartbeat" abortion ban struck down by federal judge.
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10United StatesMassachusetts. Researchers at MIT have used machine learning to search drug company "libraries" for new antibiotics, finding a powerful drug that can kill TB and other bacteria, which they named "halicin" after a science fiction computer. Maybe antibiotic armageddon is not yet upon us.
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8United StatesSouth KoreaDuring a rally, Donald Trump pisses and moans about a South Korean movie, Parasite, winning Best Picture at the Oscars. The film's US distributor, Neon, responds: "Understandable, he can't read."
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29United States Roger Stone has been sentenced to 40 months in prison.
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21Portugal The Portuguese Parliament decides whether to decriminalize euthanasia amid protests in the capital's streets. Right-wing parties want a popular referendum while the Communists criticise this by claiming the government should expand healthcare instead. UPDATE: The Parliament legalizes euthanasia
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22United StatesSouth Dakota. An academic accreditation agency suspended by the Obama administration in 2016 for accrediting scams but reinstated by Trump's Department of Education in 2018, is under fire for accrediting an organization called "Reagan National University" that has no faculty, no students, no classrooms, and has never awarded a legitimate degree to anyone. The same accrediting agency was responsible for bestowing accreditation on the scam school ITT Tech and several others.
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10GermanyShooter in Hanau, Germany kills ten people including his mother, before killing himself. He was believed to be motivated by racist far-right beliefs and some of his victims were Turkish.
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27NetherlandsDutch liberal party D66 has put out a bill in parliament which will allow daycare centres the right to refuse admittance to unvaccinated children. The bill has had backing from many parties in the Tweede Kamer, but the government has said it not supporting this proposal.
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22United KingdomGreeceCyprusItalyIn the Brexit negotiations, Greece, Cyprus and Italy have put a motion asking that the UK should put in measures to prevent fraudulent movement of “cultural objects” like arts and antiquities. Critics say the cause is designed to push the UK to return the infamous Parthenon MarblesWikipedia (aka Elgin Marbles) back into Greek hands.
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15United StatesUtah. Utah’s senate has unanimously voted a bill that would decriminalise polygamy.
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36GermanyA study by University College London and the German Institute for Labour Market Research has found that in the five years since the minimum wage of €8·50 per hour was introduced in Germany, productivity has risen AND unemployment didn’t rise as naysayers predicted.
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35United StatesDelaware. Youth organization Boy Scouts of America has declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy, because of the number of pedophiliac abuse cases against the organization.
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14United Kingdom Following a recent spate of terrorist incidents in Northern Ireland, the New IRA has turned its sights on Sinn Féin, who they see as traitors to republicanism over their support for the police services. That PSNI is now aware of these plans also indicates the organisation has been successfully infiltrated.
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12PortugalFrancethe World Scandal in the soccer world as Porto's Moussa Marega quits match over racist abuse
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27United StatesGermanySwitzerlandIt has been revealed that the Swiss specialist communications equipment company Crypto AG who makes secure telephony equipment, which was used by many governments throughout the world including Ireland, Iran, India and Pakistan, was a joint American-German front company.
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6IrelandDespite spending €38 million over the last five years on the nationwide postcode system called Eircode, only 6 in 10 people never or rarely use the codes.
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28United KingdomAndrew Sabisky, an advisor to Boris Johnson, calls for enforced contraception for the poor, believes black people are stupider than whites, and compared women's sports to the Paralympics. He's also promoted the use of the drug modafinil which allegedly lets you exist on a couple of hours' sleep. EDIT: he quit.
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16United StatesThe Washington Post finds a 1990 booklet containing the wit and wisdom of Michael Bloomberg and republishes it online. Non-paywalled coverage is available from The Guardian.
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22United KingdomThe new Chancellor to replace Sajid Javid has ordered public services to accept a 5% cut to their funding, so their funding could be "re-prioritised on other priorities", seemingly in direct opposition to his predecessor's declarations of the end of austerity in the UK. (although whether he was telling the truth depends on your political perspective) This bodes very badly for public services already on life support after austerity from the Cameron government, which are also about to lose the funding from the European Union keeping parts of the UK like Cornwall afloat.
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27United StatesUS Justice Department, apparently acting on the will of President Trump, overrules its own prosecutors' recommendation of a 7 to 9 year prison sentence for convicted felon and Trump confidant Roger Stone.
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12United Kingdom In a move that has surprised everyone, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid has resigned. There have been reports of tension between Javid and Boris Johnson for sometime. Javid was reportedly pushed over the edge after being ordered by Number 10 to fire all his advisors.
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24United StatesArizona. The Trump Wall project continues, with Native American graveyards being blown up, wildlife displaced, and underground aquifers polluted.
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17United KingdomAfter three prime ministers, outcry from environmental groups and Tory MPs, and a budget that has been more than tripled to a colossal £106 billion, Phase 1 of the HS2 railway network has finally been confirmed. Ironically, what will be Johnson's most expensive project, both monetarily (besides Brexit) and environmentally, will benefit the northern constituencies who gave him his supermajority very little - rather, since Johnson is not expected to raise taxes, it will likely deprive them of even more resources.
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30United KingdomThe law allowing same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland has been enacted, with the first wedding being between Robyn Peoples and Sharni Edwards in County Antrim. This means now same-sex marriage is now legal in all parts of the United Kingdom.
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31ChinaAn extremely gutsy Chinese academic has publicly blamed Xi Jinping for the Coronavirus 'catastrophe' that has now hit over 1000 deaths. This is an overwhelmingly rare occurrence, due to people's fear of the man who looks like iconic children's character Winnie the Pooh, and it's not an understatement to say Xu Zhangrun's life is now in danger.
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8United KingdomIn another development in the (unfortunately) ongoing Windrush scandal, after being told to stop flights sending 50 people to Jamaica after knowingly depriving them of legal advice, the Home Office deliberately ignored the court ruling and attempted to force them onto the flights anyway - some were fortunately stopped in time, but some others - around 20 - were successfully put on a flight.
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12United KingdomWe're gonna build a bridge, and we're gonna make Mexico pay for it
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6GermanyIn the fall-out overusing the support of the far-right AfD in creating Thuringia’s government, Germany’s defence minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has resigned as leader of the federal centre-right CDU. She has also announced she would not be the party’s candidate for chancellor in the 2021 general elections, leaving a headache for Mutti Merkel.
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35Switzerland62% of Swiss voters and 23 cantons voted yes in a referendum on whether to include sexual orientation in the country’s hate-crime legislation, clearing the way for its passage..
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15ThailandThai soldier goes on shooting rampage, kills 21. UPDATE: The suspect was shot dead by the police and the military.
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6Afghanistan The lingering legacy of Daesh in Afghanistan
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36CanadaRussia Jordan Peterson won't be active in public life for the foreseeable future, as he's having a terrible time recovering from benzodiazepine addiction, which he went all the way to Russia to get treated the way he wanted (story, statement from his daughter) - going cold turkey on benzos by means of a medically induced coma, a detox method near-guaranteed to cause the serious neurological damage she says he is now showing.
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40China “Good people don’t live long, but evil lives for a thousand years” - Rage and anti-government dissent in China, after 34-year old doctor Li Wenliang, silenced and arrested by police for raising the alarm over coronavirus, becomes a martyr by dying of it.
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21IrelandUnited KingdomDissident republicans are strongly suspected to have placed bombs discovered by Northern Irish police on a ferry that was due to cross the Irish sea on Brexit day, another event adding to an increasing risk of a 21st century reawakening of the Troubles.
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18YemenThe UN is scaling back food aid to Yemen due to war risk and obstructionism. Yemen is currently the world's largest humanitarian crisis.
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21United StatesA 32-year-old United States citizen is the latest person to die in Border Patrol Custody.
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16Malawi Malawi's top court, after widespread and deadly protests, has annulled the results of the May 2019 presidential election, citing an unauthorised use of Tippex/Wite-Out to alter figures.[No, not The Onion]
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21United StatesTrump has been acquitted on both charges by the Senate (to no one's surprise), thus ending a historic impeachment trial. Mitt Romney was the only Republican to vote to convict.
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34United Kingdom After one of Boris Johnson's aides stops journalists from The Mirror, The Independent, The i, PoliticsHome, and the Huffington Post from attending a briefing at No. 10 Downing Street, all of the political journalists present, including ones from such diverse organizations as the BBC, The Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, The Sun, and the Daily Mail, decide to walk out in solidarity.
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24United Kingdom Boris Johnson's government is seeking to bypass human rights conventions to force through terror laws, because it's the "right thing to do". Where have we heard this before...
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25United KingdomIreland Graham Linehan is compiling a database of 'gender-critical' Irish therapists willing to abuse young trans people. Stonewall, a UK-based LGBT+ charity, has called for a long overdue ban of the washed-up comedy writer from Twitter for his support of conversion therapy, and obsessive harassment of transgender people, through the hashtag #BanGlinner.
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17China Hong Kong The total number of coronavirus deaths have overtaken those of the 2003 Sars epidemic and cases have been spotted in Hong Kong.
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26United States Rush Limbaugh diagnosed with advanced lung cancer and receiving treatment.
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27United KingdomPolitical journalists in the UK are boycotting Downing Street briefings, after an attempt from government officials to ban journalists from publications critical of the government.
UPDATE: The government has falsely claimed that the reporters "barged in and demanded to be included", contradictory both to testimonials from government-approved journalists, and to the fact that the journalists barred were normal political correspondents.
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15United States One Million Moms got really pissed at a Super Bowl ad featuring drag queens. Here is GLAAD's response.
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13United Kingdom Suspected terrorist attack in South London as armed police shoot dead a man after he stabbed several people.
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34European UnionUnited KingdomSpainGibraltarThe EU will back Spain in claims for the territory of Gibraltar, meaning the UK will have to strike a deal with Spain directly in order to keep control. Loss of the territory would be a significant loss for British prime minister Boris Johnson, and would indicate the tone for his premiereship post-Brexit.
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16United KingdomThe Church of England says that any sex outside of a heterosexual marriage "falls short of God's purpose for human beings." The archbishops of Canterbury and York apologize for any hurt that statement has caused, although the Church has not withdrawn it.