What Else is Happening Besides Coronavirus?

News Stories Snubbed by the Pandemic Panic

a man reading the news

The Covid-19 pandemic has taken the spotlight and occupied a majority of news sources’ attention. On one hand this is important for keeping the public up-to-date on the state of the pandemic in regards to health and economics. On the other hand, coronavirus is not the only thing going on in the world. To take your mind off the pandemic while in quarantine, here are a few other news stories being pushed to the side.

The Ethiopian Dam

Tensions Rising to War


The Cure for Genetic Blindness

The CRISPR Treatment to Revolutionize Medicine

For the first time ever, the CRISPR treatment has been injected into a genetically blind patient. CRISPR is a revolutionary treatment using the protein, Cas9, which edits DNA. The best part is it can be done while the patient is still alive and allows doctors to alter their DNA on an incredibly specific level. While CRISPR has been around for a while now, previously it had only been used to treat cancer and Sickle Cell Disease by removing cells and using CRISPR, then injecting it back into the body. In this new treatment, CRISPR will work within the body and overtime restore vision in patients with genetic blindness. This incredible treatment could not only spell the end of genetic blindness, but also change the entire medical industry with a simple treatment for genetic defects. 


Spanish King Embezzlement Scandal

Offshore Bank Accounts in the Monarchy

Former king Juan Carlos Alfonso was caught smuggling 1.2 million euros to a secret account in Panama in order to set up a ski resort and luxurious mansion love nest with his mistress in Switzerland. His own son had shared the news about the Swiss bank account. Following this, the Spanish courts arranged to cut off his salary. His son Felipe, current king of Spain, has financially separated from his father amid scandal and vowed to “preserve the prestige” of the Spanish monarchy. It is unclear if Juan Carlos Alfonso will face any legal ramifications. 

White House

The EARN IT bill

The End to Encryption

This bill had its first hearing today. Despite remaining foreign to news coverage, this bill has implications that affect every American. The bill proposes that any website that does not follow the list of “best practices” will be stripped of their section 230 protections. These protections stop any blog host from being held liable for their users' posts. Without these protections, websites would be held accountable for the posts their users make, meaning they could be sued for offensive or slanderous material. In addition, the list of “best practices” includes zero end to end encryption and access to any digital message sent. The implications of this are worrying. EARN IT essentially strong arms websites into providing its users digital messages to the government for scanning by either forcing them to cooperate or stripping the site of its protections that allow it to operate without being sued out of existence. This means that the government will have full access to any digital message and the ability to scan its contents for language that raises red flags.

Cracked sidewalk

Earthquake in Zagreb

Croatia’s Disaster

Croatia’s capital Zagreb has been hit by a 5.4 magnitude earthquake, killing 26 people. The area had not experienced an earthquake of similar magnitude for 140 years. Zagreb’s famous cathedral has taken major damage as well, the southern tower fell from a height that once marked Croatia’s tallest building. In addition to this, 63 educational facilities and most museums have been destroyed by the quake. Zagreb’s issues begin to mount as the earthquake has made containing the coronavirus especially difficult. The capital struggles to relocate displaced victims while the city lockdowns to mitigate its growing infection numbers. 

Locust Swarms

South African Food Shortage as Locusts Destroy Crops

In 2018 a series of cyclones from the Indian Ocean hit an area of the Arabian Peninsula, causing increased rain and flooding along with ideal conditions for locusts to breed. When a second cyclone hit during a period of their breeding cycle in which most locusts dry out and die off, the population exploded creating swarms three times the size of New York. The locusts have stormed South African crops in order to feed their massive numbers, threatening South Africa with a devastating food shortage. 


Comet C/2019 Atlas Y4

Uplifting News

Capping off all this bad news, here’s something nice. A naked eye comet will appear in the northern hemisphere in April. While the comet has the possibility of breaking up as it passes the sun and arrives closer to earth, there is a good chance if you track it and look out at the right time you might be able to catch a glimpse. Binoculars are recommended. 

Abby Marsh

Abby is a Student at Pitt majoring in Communications.
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