10-14 Feb Weekly News


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Feb 14, 2020


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Mass wedding goes ahead in Korea despite coronavirus

Six thousand couples did not stop the coronavirus from celebrating their happy day. The brides and grooms from sixty countries got married in South Korea on Friday, despite the health scare from the coronavirus. There were 24,000 guests at the wedding. Some of them were renewing their marriage vows. The church was prepared for the mass wedding. Staff handed out sanitizer and surgical masks. They also checked the temperature of the couples.

The Unification Church is famous for its mass weddings, which started in 1961. Hundreds of thousands of couples have walked down the aisle. Some couples met for the first time at the ceremony. A newlywed spoke about tying the knot amid the spread of the coronavirus. He said: "Since coronavirus is going around...I wore a mask to be on the safe side." A 23-year-old bride didn't wear a mask because she wanted to be beautiful for her husband.


Brazil sends security force to fight deforestation

Brazil has asked its security forces to help fight deforestation in the Amazon. The Brazilian government is worried that a dangerous level of trees is being cut down in the world's largest rainforest. There are fears that there could be a big increase in deforestation in 2020. The year has already started badly for the trees and our environment. Deforestation in the Amazon doubled in January compared with the same month in 2019. A new report says that many areas of the Amazon produce more CO2 than oxygen. The reverse is meant to happen. The Amazon is often called "the lungs" of the planet. It plays a vital role in helping the Earth's environment as it changes CO2 into oxygen.

Brazil's Justice Minister, Sergio Moro, approved the setting up of a special security force to help track down and stop illegal loggers. There was a big increase in the amount of illegal logging in 2019. This happened at the same time as damaging fires that swept across large swathes of the rainforest. The security force will consist of police with special military-style training. They will work with environmental agency officials. Change also needs to come from regional governments. Some governments in the region are selling off land to developers. This is accelerating the pace of deforestation. To make things worse, the regional governments are doing little to replenish the jungle.


New York City bans cashless stores

New York City lawmakers have banned cashless businesses. With the non-stop push to replace cash with plastic or digital payments, officials decided cash is still important in our lives. Stores, restaurants and other outlets can no longer refuse cash. Officials want people to be able to pay with notes and coins. Businesses in New York City will not be able to insist that customers use cashless payments in any transactions.

Businesses could get fines of up to $1,500 for not following the law. Critics say cashless businesses discriminate against the poor and "communities of color". They say many people do not have bank accounts or credit cards. A city resident said: "It's incredibly discriminatory not to accept cash because some people can't get credit." An opponent of the bill said it puts government in "the business of business in a way that we don't have the right to."



Thailand is in mourning after a soldier went on a shooting rampage at a military base and a nearby shopping mall over the weekend, killing 29 people and wounding dozens more. Police eventually killed the gunman after trying to negotiate with him. Thai officials said the gunman started shooting after an argument on the military base, and then drove to the mall in a stolen military vehicle. Eyewitness accounts reveal the gunman was precise and relentless with his shooting, and at times the gunfire was nonstop. The scene was so chaotic, it took hours for police to evacuate terrified shoppers and locate the gunman in the mall.



Four men have been arrested in Northern Ireland over last year's murder of Northern Irish journalist Lyra McKee. The men were taken into custody under the country's anti-terror legislation, since the New IRA, a dissident Republican group, admitted to and apologized for her death. McKee, a 29-year-old journalist and LGBT activist, was shot dead during a night of political unrest near the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Her death temporarily united leaders from across the normally fractious Irish political scene and cast the ongoing struggle between Irish nationalists and British unionists in a newly tragic light.


Seattle hospital deaths

Seven children at the Seattle Children's Hospital have now died from a mold infection since 2001. In the most recent case, a five-month-old infant had been battling an Aspergillus mold infection for months before passing away. The hospital has experienced persistent Aspergillus mold problems, and had to shut down its main operating rooms in May and November of last year after the hospital detected the mold in the air. Several families of sickened and deceased patients have joined a class action lawsuit against the hospital, alleging that hospital managers knew as early as 2005 that the transmission of Aspergillus into its premises could be related to its air-handling system. The hospital said it was "incredibly sorry for the hurt experienced" and out of respect for privacy would not share details about its patients or comment on specific cases.


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