World & Nation: News in brief

United States : On Feb. 21, the Supreme Court suggested that it might end affirmative action in public colleges and universities, reversing the race-based admission policy approved in the high court in 2003. The ruling in question will come as a response to an appeal from Abigail Noel Fisher who claims she was rejected by the University of Texas at Austin because she was white. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the court’s decision to hear the case surprised many and suggests that the justices were interested in repealing affirmative action despite the 2003 ruling which suggested that the high court wouldn’t revisit the issue for 25 years. “This case has the potential to cut across all of higher education,” said President of the University of Michigan Lee Bollinger to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Argentina:  A train crash in Buenos Aires, Argentina, resulted in 49 deaths and over 600 injuries, when the train slammed into a barrier at the end of a platform during rush hour on Feb. 22. “We assume that there was some fault in the brakes,” said Transportation Secretary JP Schiavi to the BBC. According to BBC correspondent Vladimir Hernandez, much of Argentina’s rail network is dilapidated and in need of repair. In fact, this train wreck is just one of many in recent years, including a similar incident in 2011 which resulted in 11 deaths. However, the most recent accident marks Argentina’s worst train crash in over 40 years.

Nigeria: A 40m-wide section of the Atlantic Ocean has been set ablaze, following an explosion that killed two workers on the KS Endeavor exploration rig owned by Chevron. According to BBC, the gas-fueled fire, located 10km off the Nigerian coast, could burn for months before fizzling out. Nigeria, which is the largest oil producer in Africa, is working with Chevron to neutralize the damage from the blaze. Despite Chevron’s statement that the situation is now under control, scientists are conducting tests to determine whether local food or water has been contaminated by the gas. Many living nearby have left their homes and local chiefs are asking Chevron to relocate more, according to BBC.

Yemen:  On Feb. 21, an uncontested presidential election marked Yemen’s transition to a new era of democracy. After 33 years under Ali Abdullah Saleh’s authoritarian rule,  an estimated 80 percent of the nation turned out to vote, ultimately electing Abd-Rubbu Mansour Hadi as their new president, reports the Christian Science Monitor. However, northern Shi-ite rebels and southern separatists showed their opposition on Tuesday, disrupting what would have otherwise been a peaceful election. While Yemen remains precariously divided, many remain hopeful for the future. “Right now Hadi is the only hope for this country,” said 45-year-old pharmacist Ahmed al-Sharafi to the Christian Science Monitor. “No other man in Yemen enjoys such broad political backing from so many competing factions. We have to pin our hopes on him.”

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