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Fortnightly News Roundup 27th May-10th June 2018

Fuego volcano with fumes, to the right: Acatenango volcano, Guatemala
By Luisfi - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10103261
Fuego volcano with fumes, to the right: Acatenango volcano, Guatemala
By Luisfi – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10103261

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.


Grenfell Tower Inquiry

One of the biggest stories of the past fortnight were the revelations from the Grenfell Tower Inquiry. The fire itself lead to the deaths of 72 people, so the inquiry has begun with fact finding, taking evidence from residents, the London Fire Brigade, lawyers, and experts. The Fire Brigade’s ‘stay put’ policy has been criticised, with experts saying that the residents should have been evacuated sooner. However, the Fire Brigade Union (FBU) has asked the inquiry to consider whether firefighters were but in an “impossible situation”, both because this sort of fire was unprecedented in the UK, and multiple safety failings. Moreover, the reports of the fire experts said many basic fire precautions were missing or badly installed. The most well-known of the issues is the building’s external cladding, which, according to the reports, was incorrectly installed and was the primary cause of the spread of the fire.

Terrible excuses for not appointing women executives

Another shocking report this week came from the government-backed Hampton-Alexander Review. The review body aims to increase the number of women on FTSE boards and improve gender balance in FTSE leadership. The FTSE (often pronounced ‘footsie’) is a summary of the largest companies in the UK. The most common is the FTSE 100 which is made up of the 100 largest companies. The report, however, asked a range of FTSE 350 Chairs and CEOs, and despite a major drop in the number of top companies with all made boards, there were still some shocking excuses that came out when asked why there were not more women on their board. Some of these explanations included ‘they don’t fit in’, ‘they don’t want the hassle’ and ‘all the good ones have already gone’. Unsurprisingly, this has caused outrage and for many has provided proof that businesses have more work to do.

Guatemala Volcano Eruption

On the 3rd of June, Guatemala’s Fuego volcano erupted at about noon local time. It is one of Central America’s most active volcanoes and this latest eruption has caused more casualties than any recorded in previous eruptions of Fuego. At least 69 people are known to have died; most of them from the villages on the slopes. The main reason for the sheer number of deaths come mostly from the nature of the eruption. It was not the classic slow-moving lava that killed all those people, but what’s known as pyroclastic flow. Fuego is what’s known as a stratovolcano, and when one of those erupts, a rock layer is smashed into tiny dust particles. These mix with hot ash and gases to form a giant cloud. Eventually, this cloud will collapse under its own weight, and it is that mixture that forms the pyroclastic flow. This flow moves very quickly down the mountain, they can reach a speed of up to 450mph and temperatures between 200C and 700C. Essentially, they are almost impossible to outrun destroy everything in their path. While the eruption has stopped for now, the danger of heavy rains causing other disasters such as mudslides is still present. Large areas remain covered in ash and the Guatemalan authorities calculate that 1.7 million people have been affected by the eruption.

What else do you need to know?

On 30th of May, Harvey Weinstein was indicted by grand jury on three charges including rape. According to Weinstein’s lawyer, Ben Brafman, Weinstein will plead not guilty and “vigorously defend against these unsupported allegations that he strongly denies”.


Denmark has become the latest European country to pass a ban on full-face veils. Read more about the ban here.


In lighter news, 103-year-old Rosemary Powell, a former World War Two nurse, will retire from selling poppies after 97 years. She is thought to be Britain’s longest serving, and oldest poppy seller and the Royal British Legion said Mrs Powell’s efforts had been “nothing short of phenomenal”.


Hong Kong marks the 29th anniversary of the Tiananmen square protests, the only place on Chinese soil where the anniversary is openly marked. The Hong Kong Free Press reports here.


A law change in the UK will see UK learners being allowed to drive on motorways. However, they can only do so with an approved driving instructor in a dual-control car.


The first comedian to ever win Britain’s Got Talent has been crowned. Lost Voice Guy, who’s cerebral palsy effects his ability to speak, uses a voice synthesiser for his act.


A bit of news that shocked some and bemused others, this baby’s first word was ‘Alexa’.


It seems that the UK literally has ‘a dancing Queen’ as apparently the monarch loves to boogie to a bit of Abba.


A Dutch company is solving a bricklayer problem with the world’s first commercially developed 3D-printed home. Read more here.


Fossil trails show that oldest animal tracks ever discovered. Tiny ocean-dwellers walking on land roughly 550 million years ago.


Argos reckons they know what the top toys this Christmas will be. Find the full list here.


For a roundup of what happened in politics this May, see this article by our Comment & Politics Editor, Isabelle Kennedy.

And finally

Another two weeks past, another dog video. This time, a dog that’s very excited for food.