The Week in World Affairs: Jan. 17-24

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Possible debris from missing Malaysian plane discovered

According to Malaysia’s national news agency Bernama, on Friday, Jan. 22 a fisherman identified a piece of debris off the coast of Nakhon Si Thammarat province. The large piece of metal is currently speculated to be from the missing Malaysian Airlines flight 370.

The commercial flight containing 239 passengers went missing on March 8, 2014 when it vanished from radar. The flight departed from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and was en route to Beijing. The families of those who were on the flight were unaware of their loved ones’ fate until last year, when a piece of debris was discovered on Reunion, an island in the Indian Ocean.

Experts are saying it is too early to know the origin of the scrap of metal, and an investigation must take place. Officials also speculate the debris might have originated from a source other than MH370. Raised rivets on the edge of the ocean-worn metal suggest that it could be a piece of a rocket. The Japanese government has launched rockets in the area over the past two years.

On Monday, the Thai Air Force was scheduled to send a team to bring the scrap metal to Bangkok.

Olympics will take steps to prevent the Zika virus in Rio 2016

Concerns have been raised over the Zika virus in Brazil, and the effects it will have on the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympics this summer. Games spokesman Phil Wilkinson stated on Jan. 24 the Olympic and Paralympic venues will be inspected daily for bodies of standing water that could contain mosquitos in order to prevent the Zika virus.

The virus is spawned from the insects, and can be contracted through a bite. The symptoms of the virus consist of joint pain, red eyes and fever that can last up to a week. This virus poses a danger to women who are or are planning to become pregnant. The Zika virus generates a rare neurological condition, called microcephaly, which causes babies to be born with extraordinarily small heads, and sometimes deadly developmental delays.

Since the start of 2015, there have been 3,700 cases of microcephaly in Brazil, which is a drastic increase compared to the 147 cases recorded in 2014 by Brazil’s Ministry of Health.

The Olympic committee has been in contact with Rio’s Municipal Health Department and will be issuing guidance on health related issues to those in attendance. Wilkinson also brought to light the Olympics will take place during Brazil’s winter months of August and September, which are dryer and cooler in nature, resulting in less mosquitos.

Tunisia puts nationwide curfew into action

On Friday, Jan. 22 the Tunisian government started enforcing a nationwide curfew, from 8 p.m. through 5 a.m. Young people rioting in response to the lack of job availability caused the government to impose the curfew.

The violent acts of the Tunisian youths began last Jan. 17 when one climbed to the top of a transmission tower in protest, and was electrocuted. This sparked dynamic violence over the week, with each night increasing in severity.

The protests reflect the result of a weak job market, which has been on the decline since 2015, when the country of Tunisia suffered a variety of suicide bombing attacks. The attacks spanned from the capitol, Tunis, to the tourist destination of Sousse. The Islamic State group (commonly known as ISIS) claimed both attacks.

The tourist market has historically driven Tunisia’s economy, but the country’s dangerous reputation has hindered it. Its unemployment rate sits at 15 percent — and the rate is 30 percent for the youth demographic. The young people of Tunisia have stated the protests are a sign of desire for employment.

Andrew Haubner

Andrew Haubner is the General Assignment Editor at the CU Independent. A senior from New York, he can be found on twitter @a_g_haubner.

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