International Tidings – November 19, 2019

Dozens of koalas being treated for burned paws and singed fur

As of Tuesday, Nov. 12, more than 85 fires have burned across Australia’s east coast, 40 of which officials warned were not controlled. The fires burned more than two million acres of land causing dozens of koalas to be rescued and treated for burned paws and singed fur at the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie, the only facility of its kind in the world. Cheyne Flanagan, the clinical director of the Koala Hospital, stated “[the koalas] are terrified.” According to The New York Times, “Rescuers have not yet been able to confirm the scope of the loss because some of the blazes are still raging.”

 

Germany mandates measles vaccine

On Thursday, Nov. 14, Germany passed a law aimed to stop the spread of measles. Commencing next March, all children seeking to attend preschool must get vaccinated for measles. According to The New York Times, “Under the law, immunizations will also be required for adults born after 1970 who work with children in public institutions, such as day care centers, schools or hospitals. Exceptions will only be allowed for medical reasons and only a doctor can grant them.” Those who refuse to get vaccinated will face fines of several thousand euros.

 

Chile to hold poll on new constitution

On Friday, Nov. 15, Chilean lawmakers agreed to hold a poll in April 2020 on the nation’s constitution due to protests that have started in recent weeks about the nation’s dictatorship. According to the Washington Post, “The April referendum, according to the agreement, would ask voters if they want a new constitution and, if so, whether it should be drafted by ordinary Chileans or a combination of those citizens and lawmakers. The writers of a new constitution would be chosen in October 2020, when regional and municipal elections are scheduled to be held.” While this is a milestone for Chile, analysts are cautioning that violence on the streets may continue. 

 

New Chinese browser promises legal access to banned websites

With China having banned many international social media websites, even having or using a VPN, a virtual private network, may cause a user jail time. However, on Friday, Nov. 15, a little-known Chinese company announced they would be releasing the first web browser that allows users legal access to Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Kuniao, or Coolbird, is said to give Chinese users the ability to access these social media websites, but according to the Washington Post, there is a  catch: “browsing history will be tracked… Users must also abide by a peculiar set of terms and conditions that seemed to echo government-speak: They must respect “The Seven Bottom Lines” — including the law, the socialist system and the national interest. And they must adhere to “The Nine Do Nots”: Do not oppose the Chinese constitution, or harm national security, disclose state secrets, or subvert national sovereignty — the list goes on.”

Photo: T. William

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