Friday, January 31, 2020

What Happened in January 2020

Friday, January 31, 2020

It’s only the last day of the first month of the year, yet numerous momentous events had already happened.

Early this month the US government ordered the killing of one of Iran’s top military officials over the threat of an imminent attack against America. Consequently, the Iranian general’s death increased volatility in the region.  After being impeached by the House of Representatives for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, President Trump’s fate—whether or not he will be removed from office—is being deliberated upon in the ongoing Senate impeachment trial. The legal claims that the president’s motives are unknowable and that he can do whatever he wants threaten to upend the Office of the President.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex giving up their royal titles was covered by the international press more lengthily and forcefully than Britain’s official departure from the European Union—which is today, 31 January 2020.  Boris Johnson campaigned on the slogan “Get Brexit Done” and, unlike his predecessor Theresa May, he did get it done. What Brexit really means for trade, Britain’s economy, the backstop, local residents, foreign workers, and travelers, though, is still unclear.

Taal Volcano erupted which wreaked havoc in many provinces in the Philippines. It’s just recently that those who had been forcibly evacuated were able to return to their homes. And then comes another disaster. Yesterday, just when the World Health Organization declared global emergency over the outbreak of the novel coronavirus that has already spread to 15 countries and claimed 170 lives, the Philippines announced its first case. This morning, from the moment I left the house to the time I entered our office building, I counted 238 people wearing face masks. The sight of all those people wearing masks is fairly alarming. Yesterday’s announcement and the fearmongering over the virus in social media are causing mass hysteria.  

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