News in Brief

United Kingdom

An online poll by the National Environment Research Council in the United Kingdom to name a high-tech polar research ship ended. While users chose the name “Boaty McBoatface,” the name may not be used at all. Minister of Universities and Science Jo Johnson indicated to Newsweek that the NERC wanted a name “that fits the gravity and the importance of the subjects that this boat is going to be doing science into.” According to the NERC, the ship will primarily study the climate in the Antarctic, can travel 19,000 miles without refueling and will launch in 2019.

South Korea

South Korea is under scrutiny for its treatment of people detained on the streets of Seoul prior to the 1988 Summer Olympics. The Associate Press reported the government rounded up many individuals and sent them to one of 36 facilities, the largest called Brothers Home. There, men and women were abused, raped and even killed by authorities. From 1981 to 1986, the AP found the number of inmates nearly doubled in the country. The South Korean government has done little to address or acknowledge former detainees. The nation will host the Winter Olympics in 2018.

Ecuador

On April 16, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake occurred near the coast of Ecuador. According to Reuters, the quake killed close to 500 people, left 107 missing, injured 4,000 and displaced more than 20,000. Emergency responders in Ecuador and across South America were quick to react, while aid workers from the U.S., Cuba and other nations pledged to join disaster recovery efforts soon. Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said his country would spend billions of dollars to rebuild in the next few years. The quake came two days after a 7.0 quake hit Japan across the Pacific.

Russia

As Russia endures a recession and economic sanctions, the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration estimates that just over half of average income, 50.1 percent, was spent on food products in February, the highest ever recorded. Unemployment and poverty rates are increasing, according to latest statistics. The downturn in the Russian economy has been attributed to the decline in oil prices worldwide. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans spent 9.8 percent of their per capita disposable income on food in 2014.

United States

On April 19, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit found that a policy at a high school in Gloucester County, Virginia, prohibiting a transgender student from using the boys’ restroom was discriminatory. The ruling comes after the passage of House Bill 2 in neighboring North Carolina, a law prohibiting transgender people from using bathrooms not designated for their biological sex. The 4th Circuit ruling affects the law of the land from Maryland to South Carolina, potentially impacting the legality of HB2 in North Carolina, where the American Civil Liberties Union has sued the state.

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