This is the second update for the ongoing Ukraine War, in hopes that it will help inform and educate members of our CVU community on global affairs and events. By informing our local communities, we can stay informed on the affairs of other countries and the actions taken by our countries leaders in response.
Ahead of the coming G7 summit; hosted by Germany, questions have been raised over the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. The conflict is one of many that the nation’s leaders have said to be discussing, with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelenski to attend the summit virtually. The summit has been called due to a recent call that occurred between Zelenski and President Biden in early December.
According to NBC News, Putin has recently conducted a visit to Belarus where Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated the country was Russia’s “number one ally” and the Kremlin hinted at its potential plan to conduct a “special military operation” with Belarus.
CNBC has also reported that multiple Russian drones have struck key infrastructure points in Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv, with Ukrainian forces claiming to have shot down over 30 “kamikaze” drones within the city. This event demonstrates how drone warfare may be a precursor to how future wars will be fought not with boots on the ground, but with machines programmed to kill.
Although the war is still ongoing, hopefully developments at the upcoming G7 summit can pave the road for a swift end to the almost year long conflict that has claimed thousands of lives in the process.
Although the ongoing Ukraine conflict is thousands of miles away, it is important for our CVU community to stay informed of real world events even when we are not directly affected.
Since the beginning of the conflict in late February, the Ukrainian forces have steadily begun to push back against the Russians, although it is still an uphill climb. Steady advances have been made against the Russians in the Ukrainian city of Kyiv, and other areas of Ukraine’s Eastern front.
According to NPR, on September 19th, a Russian missile has also reportedly detonated within just 900 feet of a Ukrainian nuclear reactor, which would be the second strike against a nuclear facility since the start of the war. This event has elevated previous concerns of safety, and potential nuclear disasters that could occur from these strikes.
As of September 10th, Ukraine has recaptured the Russian held territory of Izium, discovering mass graves of hundreds of people, soldiers and civilians, although the full extent of the potential massacre is unknown, sparking the call for more investigation into possible war crimes.
On September 20th, President Putin ordered the partial militarization of an additional 300,000 reserve troops, as a message that the Ukraine conflict is far from over. In the same address, Putin again hinted at a possible nuclear threat, further escalating tensions with the West.
CANADA– “Getting caught with your pants down” took on a whole new meaning when a Canadian Parliament member was seen stark naked during a meeting of the House of Commons. Covering up your camera has become crucial now that we are more dependent on technology for meetings.
Representative William Amos of the Quebec district, Pontiac, joined a virtual meeting of the House of Commons Wednesday April 15th where, after going for a jog, Amos came back to his office to change into his work clothes. As he began to disrobe, unaware that his camera was turned on, Amos was as surprised as everyone else in the meeting when one of his colleagues allerted him that he was undressed in front of the camera.
Amos later sent out in an email issuing an apology, “I sincerely apologize to my colleagues in the House of Commons for this unintentional distraction. Obviously, it was an honest mistake and it won’t happen again.”
Amos was visible only to parliament members and staffers on an internal video conference feed and because he was not speaking his image did not show up in the public feed.
A liberal party colleague, Mark Holland, said, “I don’t think there was any ill intent. It’s certainly an unfortunate circumstance,” as previously reported.
I think this mishap should act as a cautionary tale to all of us as we continue to rely on virtual meetings to take the place of regular meetings during the pandemic. As advised by Holland, “You’ve got to really always assume that the camera is on and be very careful anytime you wander near it.”
In our highly polarized political climate, controversial issues seem to highlight the news every day. It seems as though both sides of the political debate are so far apart that they both are unable and unwilling to hear the other perspective. Students grades 5-12 are continuously trying to find their own political views through consuming media and exploring existing opinions.
How should schools, the places designed for learning, help in that process while also providing different and unbiased perspectives to allow for students to discover what they believe? According to Pew Research Center, “A decade ago, the public was less ideologically consistent than it is today. In 2004, only about one-in-ten Americans were uniformly liberal or conservative across most values. Today, the share [of those] who are ideologically consistent has doubled. 21% express either consistently liberal or conservative opinions across a range of issues – the size and scope of government, the environment, foreign policy, and many others.” So, how does this disparity affect schools and students?
The way to arrive at truth is to listen with an open mind and to state opinions with the intention to help students understand their point of view, not to instigate disputes. Students and teachers must practice freedom of speech in classrooms, maintaining a neutral platform that questions all perspectives and allows for objective discussions.
We can’t seem to get anything done. Our economy’s GDP growth rate and inflation rate has been fluctduating around 2%, indicating one of the worst recoveries after a major recession in the history of the United States (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). Our politicians are particularly struggling to pass laws around healthcare and tax reform among other issues. What does that mean for us? We may see an unhealthy rise in prices, a lack of jobs, and the U.S. government may even shut down due to the inability to decide on a budget.
Is our government taking the appropriate steps to combat our stagnating economy? Americans have the appetite but congress can’t seem to compromise. The polarization both between Democrats and Republicans and between the members in each party makes resolutions of certain issues impossible.
Take the healthcare issue, for example. Many of the reasons why Republicans can’t agree on a healthcare bill are because of different ideologies and re-election thinking. As President Trump mentioned in his pre-election campaigning, he would repeal Obamacare and replace it with something “much better and less expensive.” However, the unpopular Obamacare bill has remained unchanged, mainly because our politicians are so divided on what should be implemented as a replacement.
It’s official. No matter how you feel about it, Donald Trump is going to be president of the United States, and there’s nothing we can do about it. This could prove to be the most significant election in U.S. history in a very long time. He has promised to do things that no other candidate has ever even mentioned, many of which are questionable in their legality, morality, and are more often than not, straight-up ignorant. He has insulted every minority out there, repeatedly called global warming a hoax, convinced a large percentage of the general public that Barack Obama wasn’t born in the US, and has been accused of sexually assaulting multiple women.
And yet, with all of these potential negatives and the general scandal surrounding him, he is going to become the 45th president. This election has driven a deep divide in the country between the liberal-leaning and the conservative-leaning. Right now, our number one priority should be healing that divide, and Donald Trump needs to work on this himself — choosing Steve Bannon, the CEO of Breitbart News, as the chief advisor was a terrible move for unity due to his affiliations with the alt-right movement. Breitbart news has published pieces with headlines such as “Would You Rather Your Child had Feminism or Cancer” and “There’s No Hiring Bias Against Women, They Just Suck At Interviews”. Either of these headlines should disqualify him from being chief advisor immediately.
While Donald Trump may not be making the best choices himself, this doesn’t mean we should do the same. The country needs to come together despite our differences, and yelling “F**k Trump!” repeatedly isn’t going to accomplish this task. Instead, let’s all move forward together.
One of Vermont’s very own, “a guy next door” (figuratively and literally), Bernie Sanders is running in the 2016 Presidential Election as a democrat. Bernie Sanders was born in Brooklyn, NY. He was a congressman in Vermont for the better part of 16 years and is now in his second term in the US Senate.
One of Bernie’s major concerns is bringing this country out of poverty. According to berniesanders.com, “(Bernie) Increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour by 2020. In the year 2015, no one who works 40 hours a week should be living in poverty.” He wants people who work full time, no matter what they do, to get a good, fair pay.
Another one of Bernie’s major concerns is caring for our veterans. This is very near and dear to a lot of people’s hearts and it is a topic of concern for many. Right now, the care for our veterans who have come back from war is disgraceful, shameful and unacceptable. Bernie wants to give them more care, the care that they deserve. According to berniesanders.com, “Sen. Sanders believes that just as planes and tanks and guns are a cost of war, so is taking care of the men and women who we sent off to fight in the war. It includes caring for the spouses and children who have to rebuild their lives after the loss of a loved one. It includes caring for the hundreds of thousands of veterans with multiple amputations or loss of eyesight, post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. It includes veterans who are having difficulty keeping jobs in order to pay their bills, and it includes the terrible tragedy of veterans committing suicide.” Focusing on this issue will be very beneficial to many, the least we can do is care for people who risk their lives for our safety.
BURLINGTON – Vermont Sn. Bernie Sanders kicked off his presidential campaign on Tuesday May 26 surrounded by thousands of people on the Burlington Waterfront.
The rally featured Vermont classics such as Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, who not only served 70 pounds of their iconic Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, but also spoke in agreement with Sanders’ cause. Jerry Greenfield has been fighting to get big businesses out of politics, just like Bernie Sanders has, since the 2010 court ruling on Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which enabled corporations to spend unrestricted amounts in elections.
Vermonters and out-of-staters alike came to witness the current senator’s 35 minute speech covering his plans to start a “political revolution to transform our country economically, politically, socially and environmentally.”
Sanders wants to focus on income equality, calling it the “the great moral issue of our time.” Along with that, he’ll create a $1 trillion jobs and infrastructure program, decrease the influence of money in politics, rebalance taxes, and instate a Medicare-for-all health care system.
After finishing another series of rally events in New Hampshire, Sn. Sanders will head to Iowa to continue his presidential campaign.
As the scare of Ebola has come and gone in the United States, measles have fallen under the radar. That doesn’t mean that measles outbreaks have stopped. In fact, in the last year alone there have been over 644 reported cases in the U.S.. That is the most, by far, the United States has seen in over fifteen years. These outbreaks are only occurring because we have let our guard down and put millions of children at risk.
Would you send your child to a school where the classrooms are practically a germ pool where diseases like the measles are waiting to attack your child’s immune system? If the children of this country were vaccinated, going to school wouldn’t be the number one way for a child to contract a virus in the U.S..
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, “2 out of 3 adults and one out of three children in the United States are overweight or obese… and rising consumption of sugary drinks has been a major contributor to the obesity epidemic.” In Vermont, the proposed bill (H.B. 235) is to charge an extra two cent tax on every ounce of sugary beverage distributed in the state. This is a change that would benefit Vermonters in many ways. This tax would not slow obesity rates, but it would raise millions of dollars for the state and encourage healthy decisions.
There have been many health studies that show how big of a negative impact sugary drinks have. There is no doubt that the high sugar content in these drinks can be detrimental to one’s health, especially if consumed in a high amount. Barbara Frankowski, a Pediatrician for the University of Vermont, said that, “Obesity in Vermont has increased from 11 percent to 25 percent since 1990.” She went on to say that sugary beverages have caused about one-fifth of weight gain in the U.S. population from 1977 to 2007.
Hinesburg– In the state of Vermont, a new law went into place that bans the use of any handheld device while driving. The hope for this was to reduce the number of accidents caused by talking on the cell phone and using other devices.
So far, the law seems to be working. Last year, according to the Vermont Highway Safety Alliance, there were 70 traffic deaths caused by people using any handheld device. As of December