Global Headlines (Issue 1)

by Smrithi Sambamurthy, TALON People & Seniors Editor

Afghanistan falls to Taliban control

Michelle Liu

The Afghan government crumbled on Aug. 15 as the Taliban took charge of Afghanistan. Afghanistan’s fall came nearly 20 years after the U.S. invaded the country and overthrew the Taliban in 2001, dismantling al-Qaeda operations in Afghanistan. According to Associated Press (AP), President Biden announced a full troop withdrawal by Aug. 31. President Ashraf Ghani fled the country and Afghan officials surrendered to the Taliban in a number of cities. Panicked citizens crowded Kabul’s international airport in hopes of escaping. In a Joint Statement released by the U.S. Department of State, 72 countries have agreed to assist the departures of foreign officials, allies and Afghans, stating, “The Afghan people deserve to live in safety, security and dignity. We in the international community stand ready to assist them.”

Haiti Earthquake Causes Mass Destruction 

Michelle Liu

A 7.2 magnitude earthquake devastated Western Haiti the weekend of Aug. 14, according to AP. The country struggles to regain strength as 1,300 casualties have been reported, around 300,000 people were injured and 1 million were left displaced. According to NPR, the severity of the destruction can be credited to several components, including its geographic location between two major tectonic plates and architectural vulnerability caused by infrastructure designed to withstand hurricanes. As for recovery, the situation continues to escalate due to the lack of medical professionals and equipment such as basic medication, operating tents and surgical equipment. Over a decade ago, a similar 7.0 magnitude earthquake left over 200,000 dead and much of the population in shambles, with the delayed arrival of medical supplies worsening the mortality rate. The U.S. Coast Guard, UNICEF and several other organizations have been working to send disaster relief and prevent the situation from deteriorating.  

New health pass mandate incites protests in France

Provided by Cady Chen

The French government has implemented mandatory pandemic health passes to motivate more people to receive the vaccine as cases rise due to the delta variant, causing thousands to peacefully protest in retaliation all over France. The law requires residents to have these health passes in order to access most places and events with over 50 people and use public transportation. In addition, all healthcare workers are to be vaccinated before Sept. 15 or risk losing their jobs. According to AP News, protesters questioned the safety of the vaccine and claimed the mandate infringes on a citizen’s freedom of choice. However, the passes have been effective so far as polls show an increase in vaccination across the country and majority support for the new law.

As Delta variant cases rise, CDC recommends booster shots for immunocompromised 

Quxia Chen, grandmother of Lucy Ge (12), receives her first dose of the Moderna vaccine at Valley Health Center Tully on Jan. 21. (Lucy Ge)

On Aug. 16, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that immunocompromised individuals receive a booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine and potentially the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as well to protect against new variants of the virus. AP reports that the Biden administration has agreed that the rest of the American population (age restrictions not specified yet) could receive their third shot eight months after their second dose, provided the Food and Drug Administration approves. Priority will be given to higher-risk people such as seniors and healthcare workers. The World Health Organization (WHO), however, has advised that countries that have a higher vaccination rate, such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada, should hold off on the booster shots for at least two months until more people around the world can receive their first dose, suggesting global immunization is key to gaining control over the pandemic.