This Week in Headlines

Elizabeth Alton

Though time can feel like it’s moving slowly in quarantine, while we stay inside a lot is happening in the world around us. Here’s a guide to some of the major headlines of the past week.

  1. Possible Russian Bounties on US troops

A few days ago, intelligence was released by the New York Times suggesting the possibility that Russian bounties were held over US troops in Afghanistan. What does that mean? That Russia may have been paying the Taliban to kill US soldiers. Though the allegations have been denied by President Trump, Russians’, as well as the Taliban, data on finance transfers may suggest otherwise. Intercepted data instead detected financial transfers from “a bank account controlled by Russia’s military intelligence agency to a Taliban-linked account”. Russia’s turbulent relationship with the US, from notable aggressions during the Cold War, to the suspicion of interference in the 2016 election, is no secret. On top of all of this, Trump’s insistence that “he never saw the intelligence” is raising some question.

     2. COVID Skyrocket in the US

While new COVID cases seem to be on the decline in NYC, the same unfortunately can’t be said for the rest of the country. LastThursday saw the US as a whole set a record for New COVID cases (above 55,000). For perspective, the highest spike back in April (when NYC was feeling the brunt of the cases) was only around 37,000 new cases. New data shows Arizona, Florida, and Texas emerging as new epicenters for the outbreak, and contact tracing is doing everything it can to keep up. Meanwhile, the UK is lifting non-essential travel bans for around 90 countries, not including the US. Only time will tell how long it will last. Also, if you’re interested, a quick Google search of “covid cases usa” will reveal graphs of new cases per state. It’s a great way to keep track of the curve in real time.

     3. The Fourth of July 

Saturday was the fourth of July: America’s celebration of independence, complete with barbecues, fireworks, and red, white, and blue. This year’s celebration brings with it a lot of reflection about the origin of our country and the meaning of the holiday. With the Black Lives Matter movement rightfully taking a spotlight, discussion is emerging about the values of our country, and whether the Fourth of July can really be called the “true independence day”.  As another fourth of July comes and goes, it’s important for us to reflect on American history: the good, the bad, and the ugly.