Heathrow’s Problem

Featured Image: With an area of 1,214 ha (3,000 acres) and 80 million annual passengers, Heathrow Airport is the biggest and busiest airport in Europe.

Thursday, 13 June 2019, London, United Kingdom – Heathrow Airport, the primary international airport for London and major global hub airport, has a problem. Despite handling 80 million annual passengers last year, it only has two runways. For context, LAX has four runways. Rival European airports like Madrid Airport, or Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, also have four runways. Amsterdam Airport has six and Dallas-Fort Worth has seven. With just two runways at Heathrow, London’s international hub is just barely squeaking by. It continually suffers from overcrowding and delays, and a TripAdvisor poll rated it as the worst airport in the world.

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Wooden skyscrapers

Featured Image: If built, the W350 tower in Japan will become the tallest wooden skyscraper in the world.

Saturday, 1 June 2019, New York, NY – A Japanese company named Sumitomo Forestry has ambitious plans for a 70-story, 350 m (~1150 ft) tall skyscraper made almost entirely of timber. Its planned date of completion is in 2041 and its cost estimate is around $5.6 billion. In addition to becoming the tallest wooden skyscraper in the world, the building will also feature a steel skeletal frame to protect it from earthquakes, as well as numerous green balconies to connect the building’s residents to nature. According to Sumitomo Forestry, “The aim [of the building] is to create environmentally-friendly and timber-utilizing cities where [cities] become forests through increased use of wooden architecture for high-rise buildings”.

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Lost at sea for 438 days

Featured Image: Jose Salvador Alvarenga, pictured above, upon his arrival in the Marshall Islands after being lost at sea continuously for 438 days.

Thursday, 2 May 2019, Mexico City, Mexico – World records. There are all kinds of them and pretty much anyone can set one. Most importantly, people try to break world records that have already been set in the past. But one world record that nobody wants to break for sure, is the world record for the longest amount of time spent lost at sea. Jose Salvador Alvarenga, an El Salvador native and a fisherman working in Mexico, holds this world record – he was lost in a boat in the Pacific Ocean for a mind-boggling 438 days. That’s over a year! Even more staggering is the distance he ended up travelling – he floated, in a 25-foot-long fishing boat, from Mexico to the Marshall Islands, more than halfway across the Pacific Ocean.

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Australia Day

Featured Image: Australia Day is supposed to represent all Australians, but controversy still lingers over its symbolisation of the struggle of the country’s Aboriginal peoples.

Saturday, 26 January 2019, Sydney, Australia – Today is Australia Day, Australia’s equivalent of America’s Fourth of July. On this day the Australian Government’s official celebrations include citizenship ceremonies, awards and knighthoods, and a controversial re-enactment of the arrival of the First Fleet. Indeed, Australia Day commemorates the anniversary of the arrival of British ships in Australia on 26 January 1788, to claim British sovereignty over the country’s eastern coast. And this simple fact has generated enormous controversy surrounding the discrimination, subjugation, and near-extermination of Australia’s indigenous peoples.

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Saudi Arabia and Arms

Featured Image: More than 16,000 civilians have been killed in Yemen’s civil war, with most deaths caused by airstrikes (Washington Post)

13 January 2019, Cairo, Egypt – On 9 August 2018, a fighter jet, belonging to a coalition led by Saudi Arabia and consisting of other regional allies, dropped a bomb on a busy marketplace in a small village in Yemen. The bomb ended up falling on a school bus and killed 40 children inside. The Saudi coalition has conducted thousands of these airstrikes in Yemen, and they have intentionally targeted civilians a third of the time. The United Nations has denounced the attacks on civilians as possible war crimes. And it was later found that the bomb that killed the children on the school bus was made by the Lockheed Martin Corporation. This bomb was made right here in the U.S. and it’s being used to target civilians in Yemen.

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Colombia’s Hippo Problem

Featured image: Hippos

Sunday, 16 December 2018, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Pablo Escobar (1949-1993) was the most powerful drug lord ever and the richest criminal in history. His Medellin Cartel supplied 80% of the cocaine smuggled into the United States, and by the time of his death in 1993 his estimated net worth was 25 to 30 billion dollars. Pablo Escobar’s power, wealth, and violence created huge problems for Colombia, but everyone forgets about another problem that he created for the county: hundreds of invasive hippos.

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Northern Ireland

Featured Image: The Troubles, a guerrilla war in Northern Ireland that lasted from the late 1960’s to 1998, resulted in the deaths of 3,600 people and injuries to thousands more.

3 September 2018, London, United Kingdom – On 23 June 2016, the British people voted to leave the European Union, and in March 2017, PM Theresa May (who the BBC called “a dead woman walking”) began the process to leave the European Union, and the UK will be kicked out in March 2019. According to Brexiters, the purpose of the vote was to allow the UK to regain control of its economy and its borders. But today, we will be focusing on the latter, and how the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union could create a crisis at the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

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