In the News This Week

by Debra Brown

Lori Lightfoot Chicago

Each Wednesday, we recap the most important headlines from our global community to keep you up to speed on world news.


Lori Lightfoot Becomes the First Black Woman Mayor of Chicago.

Lori Lightfoot made history as she defeated Toni Preckwinkle in a runoff election to become the next mayor of Chicago, becoming the first black woman and first openly LGBT person to hold the position in the city.

Lightfoot, 56, has never held elected office, but has served as the head of Chicago’s police board and its police accountability taskforce, which was established by current mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2015 amid criticism of his administration’s handling of the murder of Laquan McDonald by the former police officer Jason Van Dyke, who was convicted in 2018.

In electing Lightfoot, Chicago will become the largest US city to be led by a black woman mayor.


France  Becomes First Country In Europe to Ban All Five Pesticides Killing Bees.

France becomes the first country in Europe to ban all five pesticides researchers believe are killing off the insects. Farmers warn it could leave them defenseless in protecting valuable crops against other harmful insects.

France is going further than the European Union, which voted to outlaw the use of three neonicotinoids, clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam, in crop fields. France has banned these three, along with thiacloprid and acetamiprid, not only outdoors but in greenhouses too.

Despite campaigns to reduce pesticides, France increased their use by 12 per cent between 2014 and 2016.

The United Nations warned last year that 40 per cent of invertebrate pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, risk global extinction.


Venezuela Strips Opposition Leader of Immunity.

A pro-government lawmaking body installed by President Nicolas Maduro voted to strip the opposition leader Juan Guaidó of parliamentary immunity, paving the way for his potential arrest.

Juan Guaidó is recognized as the interim president by dozens of countries including the United States and European Union member states.

The Venezuelan government has barred Mr. Guaidó from traveling, frozen his bank accounts, begun investigating him on terrorism accusations, and prohibited him from running for office.

The opposition does not recognize the Constituent Assembly, a congress created by Mr. Maduro two years ago as a means of finding a way around the opposition-controlled National Assembly.


Fifth Grader, Raniya Wright Dies Two Days After Fight in Classroom.

A South Carolina fifth-grader who was injured in a fight in her classroom has died, school officials said.

The student, Raniya Wright, died two days after the fight with no weapons involved at Forest Hills Elementary School in Walterboro, Colleton County School District officials said.

A student has been suspended until an investigation into the incident is completed, school officials said. It’s unclear whether that student was involved in the fight.

There have been no arrests, and authorities have not filed any criminal charges in connection with Raniya’s death, the sheriff’s office said.


Zuzana Čaputová Becomes the First Woman Elected as Slovakia’s President.

Zuzana Čaputová, a 45-year-old lawyer and anti-corruption campaigner, won 58.4% of the votes and will take office in June.

Prior to her entry into politics, Čaputová was a civil activist best known for blocking a planned landfill site in her home town in 2016. She also played a role in anti-government protests that broke out after the murder of the investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancee, Martina Kušnírová.

The Kuciak murder threw a spotlight on links between officials and corrupt networks. Police have charged five people, including a millionaire with alleged links to Smer, the wealthiest political party in Slovakia, of ordering the killings. Čaputová has promised to make changes that will strip the police and prosecutors of political influence.


Plastic Bags to Be Banned in New York; Second Statewide Ban, After California.

New York State lawmakers have agreed to impose a statewide ban on most types of single-use plastic bags from retail sales.

The plan, proposed a year ago by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, would be the second statewide ban, after California, which banned bags in 2016. Hawaii also effectively has a ban in place, since all the state’s counties bar such single-use bags.

New York’s ban, which would begin next March, would forbid stores to provide customers with single-use plastic bags, which are nonbiodegradable. The ban would have an additional element allowing counties to opt in to a 5-cent fee on paper bags, revenue that would go to the state’s Environmental Protection Fund as well as a separate fund to buy reusable bags for consumers.


U.S. Measles Cases Surpass Last Year’s Total in First Three Months of 2019.

Measles spreads across the U.S., with outbreaks in four states infecting more people in the first three months of 2019 than in all of last year, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC has confirmed 387 cases across 15 states from Jan. 1 through March 28, compared with 372 cases in all of last year.

Measles is highly contagious, infecting up to 90 percent of unvaccinated people who are exposed to it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Photo Credit: The Chicago Tribune

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