‘My life matters more than a piece of paper.’

On any given day many students may try to avoid going to class. But on April the 20th this year bunking will correspond with a youth movement aiming to draw attention to gun law reforms.

On the anniversary of the Columbine school shooting in 1999, a number of both teachers and students plan to boycott the classrooms hoping to send a clear message to Congress.

Social media such as Twitter has helped to develop and coordinate the movement by connecting like-minded individuals and draw national and international attention.

On Change.org a petition started has had over 56,000 signatures (as of this piece being written) calling for legal change from Congress to prevent further school shooting deaths.

“There has been too much complacency on the part of politicians when it comes to gun violence. The time to act is now!” –  Lane Murdock (petition starter)

In regard to the movement itself, the origin is unclear. A separate school walkout is planned for the 14th of March in honour of the students lost in the Parkland shooting supported by Women’s March on Twitter.

Taking matters into their own hands as well, government inactiveness and fear has driven a number of parents to invest in bulletproof backpacks for their children. American company Bullet Blocker reported a 30% sales increase since the Wednesday shooting.

When put to the test, the backpack managed to stop pellets and rounds from handguns but still was not able to stop full metal jacket bullets from the AR-15 used last week.


With warming political relations, is Korean reunification possible?

As North Korean athletes arrive in South Korea for the winter Olympics, discussion about co-operation and reunification has been prompted.

North Korea appears supportive and positive about such discussions, urging “all Koreans at home and abroad” to “promote contact (and) cooperation between North and South Korea”

In the South, however, protests met the North Korean hockey team as they arrived and a poll suggested that 70% of South Koreans were opposed to the joint hockey team, concerned that their players would, in consequence, get less playing time.

Across the sea, reports have come out suggesting that China would support a unified Korea if it meant peace in the region.

The Chinese ambassador to the United States stated: “China would support reunification if it is the will of the Korean people. “As long as it’s peaceful, it’s independent (and) by the Korean people, China will support it,”

The big question though remains, Is reunification ultimately possible? And how? 

According to Statistics by Seoul National University’s Institute for Peace and Unification Studies in 2017 (and reported by Smithsonian.com), just under 25% of respondents did not believe reunification was possible. However, the same poll found that almost 54% of South Koreas felt it was necessary.

And discussions about what sort of system a reunified Korea would adopt is also a point of disagreement.  Whilst just under half would like to keep the same democratic system, other suggestions include a hybrid of the two or the continuation of both systems.

The 1990’s and early 2000’s saw some positive discussion and progress between the two nations, however, that appeared to stall when North Korea began nuclear and missile tests, as well as provoking behaviour.

And whilst communication and dialogue have improved between the two Koreas in recent months, the idea of reunification is still abstract. However, with both countries appearing to take steps in the right direction, only time will tell.

“The two Koreas fundamental ideological difference make it difficult to conceive a credible reunification strategy,”  – Anwita Basu, analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit (CNN)



Uk forewarns aid cuts

The United Kingdom has announced they will begin to cut foreign aid to developing countries failing to invest in their own citizens.

The country who now provides £13 billion each year overseas is calling for governments to take more responsibility and step up. Failing to do so would influence the UK’s economic support.

This new approach was developed after fears that foreign aid provides no incentive for countries to invest their own money and resources into things such as healthcare.

However, some have raised concerns of suddenly stripping aid from countries who really need it, and believe that even with taking self-supporting steps, there still a significant need for aid.

As reported by the BBC,  the UK government is legally required to spend 0.7% of their gross national income on overseas aid.

The announcement coincides with the United States decision to withhold 65 million dollars in aid to Palestine

Mexico’s war on media

Whilst driving through the Mexican border town of Nuevo Laredo, on a Sunday afternoon independent reporter Carlos Domínguez, aged 77, became the latest victim in a string of attacks against journalists.

According to CPJ (Committee to Protect Journalists), in 2017 6 journalists with journalistic motive killed, and another 3 unconfirmed.  They reported in their annual findings that:

“…Away from conflict zones, Mexico was the deadliest country…making it the third worst nation for killings worldwide.”  -CPJ

Of at least 95 journalists killed since 1992, CPJ determined journalism as the motive of 43.

The drug war gripping parts of the country has developed “silenced zones” where stories on crime or the Cartels are deliberately left alone or blurry in order to protect staff.

In light of this, authorities and government are unable to offer much help, and corruption is not uncommon either.

Despite this, many media workers continue to report, write, blog regardless of the risk. They know that any piece could be their last, but are determined to stand up to those oppressing both them and others.

They are Mexico’s last defenders of press freedom.

Opinion piece: How Twitter is writing itself into the history books.

With a little blue bird and 140 characters, Twitter is fast writing itself into the history books thanks to the help of the United States 45th president Donald Trump.

Mr Trump has taken to social media in a way that no other president has done before. Unfiltered and clearing speaking his mind, the president uses the platform to directly speak with not only his own country; but also the entire world.

With over 45 million followers, the globe now turns to Twitter each day to find out whether the country is at war with North Korea and the links to the latest New York Times and CNN pieces regarding him.

Quite frankly. Twitter has become the new newspaper when it comes to Mr Trump, America as a country and global politics.

And with all this, the social media giant is able to simply rub its hands together and chuckle, knowing that Mr Trump’s presidential legacy and their application have become indefinitely intertwined and their name is not going anywhere fast.


Why Italy remains unsympathetic over the #metoo campaign

Italian actress Asia Argento is one of the latest to accuse Hollywood giant Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault.  However, it has been revealed that she has not faced the same sympathy in her own country that she has abroad.

The actress reported that she felt “doubly crucified” by both the assault and by some reactions from Italy since sharing her story and temporarily moved to Berlin to escape.

“I am being shamed by the Italian media…”

– Argento in an interview to Variety (News.com.au)

So why has the #Metoo campaign not had the same effect in Italy, that it has across much of the rest of the world?

News.com.au reports that many question the length of time been the incidents and the allegations since many of the accusations coming forward are from multiple years ago.

However, as The New York Times investigates, Italy’s unsympathetic response may reveal something deeper about their own culture.

President of Italy’s Chamber of Deputies, Laura Boldrini discussed how it wasn’t the fact harassment did not occur in Italy, but the fact there are strong repercussions for those who do speak up.

 “They know that in this country, there is a strong prejudice against them.”

–  Laura Boldrini, president of Italy’s Chamber of Deputies (The New York Times)

This creates a silencing effect and explains both some of the reactions to Asia Argento’s story and why the #Metoo campaign has not had the same response in the European country.