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ICYMI, Cramm This Book is coming on February 15! Cramm This Book is a dive into the history that’s shaped the world as it is today, looking at the wars, the movements, the disasters, and more. Pre-order your copy today!


THE HIGHLIGHTS

Ukraine is on everyone’s minds. 

 

THE BACKGROUND.

Ukraine and Russia have always had a…complicated relationship. For decades, Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union, but it gained its independence when the USSR was dissolved in 1991. Since then, Russia’s continued to have a pretty strong grip on Ukraine. Fast forward to 2014. Ukraine is facing widespread protests, so it revamps its gov and kicks out a lot of pro-Russia lawmakers. So Russia did the natural thing and invaded Crimea (a region of Ukraine) with the help of pro-Russia separatists. 

 

THE DEETS. 

Over the past month, there have been a lot of reports suggesting that Russia could be looking to invade Ukraine. See: tens of thousands of Russian troops are massing along the Ukraine border, Prez Vladimir Putin demanded “legal guarantees” that NATO (a major military alliance) wouldn’t expand eastward and add Ukraine as a member…the list goes on. Cue some countries hitting the panic button. 

 

THE HAPPENINGS. 

Enter: US-Russia talks in Geneva, which saw American and Russian officials getting together to chat about, well, all of the above. The meeting lasted more than 7 hours. The goal? Find a diplomatic path to ease tensions and avoid violence. That could be tricky, since Russia reallllllly wants the US and NATO to roll back military activity in Ukraine and Eastern Europe, and the US reallllllly wants Russia to withdraw all troops from Ukrainian territory - both of which the other is unlikely to do. 

 

THE TAKE. 

These talks could reshape Europe as the world knows it. TBD, TBD, TBD.


THE ACTION

CORONAVIRUS: Everyone’s talking about Novak Djokovic. The tennis star got an apparent vaccine exemption to compete in the Australian Open, but when he arrived, Australian officials canceled his visa and detained him at an immigration center. Now, it looks like a judge has weighed in…and overturned the decision to revoke Djokovic’s visa, claiming Djokovic wasn’t given enough time to respond. Speaking of vaccines, thousands of people took to the streets across Europe to protest new vaccine restrictions. Hint: Austria, France, Germany, and Italy have all cracked down on the unvaccinated in recent weeks. Also making headlines: Uganda is finally reopening schools after the world’s longest covid shutdown. And Chicago’s public schools canceled classes again amid a battle over whether to go remote. 

 

WORLD: All eyes are on Kazakhstan. Reminder: last week, people took to the streets in Kazakhstan in droves over a fuel price hike, but the protests quickly evolved into a greater cry for democratic reforms. It wasn’t long before the situation turned violent, with Prez Kassym-Jomart Tokayev ordering security forces to “open fire to kill without warning” in an attempt to crush the unrest. At least 164 people were killed as a result. Now, it looks like Tokayev is declaring victory over what he’s calling a coup attempt organized by foreign terrorists. Meanwhile, a court in Myanmar just sentenced Aung San Suu Kyi to another four years in prison. The former civilian leader was found guilty of multiple charges, including possession of unlicensed walkie-talkies. This comes after Myanmar’s military took over in a coup. 

 

USA: Yesterday, a fire broke out at a high-rise Bronx apartment building. At least 19 people were killed, including 9 children. More than 60 people were injured, with 13 people in critical condition. Authorities say the fire started with a faulty space heater and spread across hallways and units after a door was left open. Stay tuned. In other news, US greenhouse gas emissions bounced back sharply in 2021 after a record 10 percent decline in 2020. See: emissions rose by 6.2 percent last year, fueled by a rise in coal power and truck traffic as the economy came back from the pandemic. While the uptick will pose a challenge to Prez Biden’s plans to significantly cut emissions, experts say it could have been a lot worse. 


WHAT TO KNOW

Bob Saget:” who passed away at the age of 65. His cause of death is still unknown. Rest In Peace. 


SAY WHAT?

“Norway Tells Military to Return Underwear After Service Ends Because of Dwindling Supplies” - an actual headline

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