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Fortnightly News Roundup 14th – 28th October 2018

Enipniastes eximia, the "headless chicken monster" (Photo credit: NOAA)
Enipniastes eximia, the "headless chicken monster" (Photo credit: NOAA)
Enipniastes eximia, the “headless chicken monster” (Photo credit: NOAA)

Being well informed isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be time consuming. In this feature, The Yorker is bringing you a fortnightly roundup of politics free national and international news. From the stories you’ve seen to some you might not have, this is everything you need to know from the past two weeks.

The attempted bombings of Trump critics

Last week, a series of packages were sent to various Democrats and critics of President Trump. These packages contained pipe bombs. So far, 12 mail bombs have been found, including packages addressed to Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, CNN, the actor Robert De Niro (an outspoken Trump critic), and several other current and former members of Democratic governments. Fortunately, none of the bombs exploded. According to law enforcement officials, Cesar Sayoc Jr., 56, of Florida was taken into custody on Friday morning. Investigations of his social media accounts showed that in 2015, he had little regard for politics, but in recent years, posts made and shared by Sayoc show a pattern of political hatred, specifically focused at the left. His van, which locals have said has been his home for the past several years, is adorned with various stickers, mostly showing support for President Trump and other right-wing propaganda. President Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that Sayoc “appears to be a partisan,” but Trump tweeted: “A very big part of the Anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News. It has gotten so bad and hateful that it is beyond description. Mainstream Media must clean up its act, FAST!” 

Further developments in the death of Jamal Khashoggi

Four weeks after the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi officials have admitted that he was killed by a team of agents sent from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital. However, so far, his body has not been found. Saudi officials claim that Khashoggi’s body was wrapped in a rug and disposed of by a “local collaborator”, therefore they have no knowledge of his body’s location. However, this contradicts intelligence reports and comments made by those familiar with the Saudi government. They say that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is a micromanager, and it would be impossible for an operation of this scale to occur, and for him to not know about it. Moreover, some of the men that have been identified as being involved in the killing, have also been identified as close aids to the Crown Prince.

The biggest issue is that Saudi Arabia is seen as a key ally in the region. Acting as a stable force against Iran and political Islam. Much trade that the UK does with Saudi Arabia is in arms, although some question the real value of the goods and services sold to Saudi Arabia. So far, the response from the U.S., UK, and France has been muted, with the UK revoking the visas for the 18 men accused of being involved, and the U.S. taking similar steps. It seems that these countries are waiting for the joint Saudi-Turkish investigation to conclude before formulating a coordinated response. However, President Trump said, “the cover up was one of the worst in the history of cover ups,” and the consequences could be “very severe.”

Rare swimming sea cucumber spotted near Antarctica

For only the second time, a sea cucumber commonly known as the “headless chicken monster” (pictured above) has been captured on video. The team were gathering information on areas of the Southern Ocean to see which areas, if any, would be able to withstand deep sea fishing. The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), whose members represent 24 countries and the European Union, are considering whether to create three large protected areas along East Antarctica. So far, Russia and China have blocked the proposals, but it is hoped that these new findings will help the case for establishing these protected areas.

What else do you need to know?

In what is thought of as the worst anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history, 11 people have been shot and killed in a Pittsburgh synagogue. Six people, including 4 police officers, were also injured, and President Trump called it “wicked act of mass murder”, but suggested that it would have been better if there had been an armed guard posted at the synagogue.

The death toll from Hurricane Michael rose to 29.

Hurricane Willa made landfall in Mexico as a category 3 storm.

A 6.8-magnitude earthquake hit off the coast of Greece, but no casualties have been reported.

At least 12 people died in flash floods in southwestern France.

A snowstorm in the Himalayas killed at least nine climbers in Nepal, including a world record holder.

Just 11 days after being given the go ahead to restart fracking, the operation was stopped after a 0.8 magnitude earthquake in Lancashire.

A category 5 hurricane wiped a Hawaiian island off the map, and this will cause serious damage to the green turtle population.

A study has found microplastics in our faeces.

The European Parliament approved a ban on single use plastics and they hope it will go into effect by 2021.

Commuters in Istanbul can exchange plastic bottles and aluminium for subway fare at metro stations’ new “reverse vending machines”.

The front-runner of the Brazilian election as said that the country’s environmental policy is “suffocating the country”, and his campaign promises present a danger to the Amazon.

Cases of a polio-like disease have risen sharply in the U.S. over the past few months.

An advertising campaign by Philip Morris, maker of Marlboro cigarettes and one of the world’s biggest tobacco firms, has been criticised by charity Cancer Research for its “staggering hypocrisy”. The campaign, called Hold My Light, suggests enlisting family and friends to help you give up, or switch to heated tobacco products, also sold by Philip Morris.

It has been revealed that cervical cancer screenings are down across England. About three million women have not had a smear test for over three years.

A team of UK surgeons were able to repair the spinal cords of two foetuses with spina bifida in a procedure usually performed after birth.

Canada legalised recreational marijuana, becoming the second country, after Ecuador, to do so.

China opened the world’s longest sea bridge, linking Hong Kong and Macau.

According to a report by the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, Africans now account for the highest instances of French spoken as a day-to-day language.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan, begun their first official royal tour after getting married. They also announced that Meghan is pregnant and is expecting in the Spring

Search for U.S. Mega-Millions winner continues, with the winning ticket being worth $1.6 billion (£1.25 billion). This is the second highest jackpot ever recorded.

And finally

Couples costume ideas this Halloween.