summer extravaganza: issue twelve

Western Europe

The Silent Skies Above
by Aidan O’Connor

image credit: Kevin Coombs (Reuters)

France’s skies fell silent on Friday as air traffic control strikes brought major disruption to flights across Europe. Ryanair, EasyJet, and British Airways are amongst the airlines which were forced to cancel flights on Friday. The strikes, taken by the air traffic control union SNCTA, are a consequence of disputes over inflation, wages and staff shortages. They are set to be followed by a further three days of strike action at the end of the month. 

Along with cancellations, the disruption over French airspace has caused many airlines to divert flights around France, extending some flight times significantly. Domestic flights, however, were still functioning due to minimum service laws protecting the operation of air travel within the country. As with many of the labour disputes occurring all over Europe it is yet to be seen if this strike action will lead to a resolution.

Respect shown for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
by Connor Crout

image credit: Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (Flickr)

A queue started this week for mourners to pay their respect to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by passing her coffin, located in Westminster Hall. The queue, which stretched along the River Thames, started on the Albert Embankment and is being monitored by more than 1000 volunteers.

Queen Elizabeth II, born Princess Elizabeth of York, reigned for 70 years and 214 days, making her the second longest reigning monarch in history only behind Louis XIV of France. 

In addition to the fact that YouGov polls placed her as the most well-liked member of royalty, people have queued up to approximately 19 hours. Even celebrities, such as ex-footballer David Beckham who queued for 14 hours, have been spotted in the queue, waiting to see her coffin, demonstrating the respect for her held by her subjects.

North America

Mexico tiptoes towards justice with arrest of senior military officials
by Harvey Young

image credit: Daniel Case (Wikimedia Commons)

Unfortunately, Mexico is no stranger to abductions with the country having officially registered over 100,000 people as missing or disappeared in May. The disappearance of 43 students in Mexico in 2014 was especially shocking, sparking widespread outcry both at home and across the globe. Tragically, authorities have said that the abducted students had likely been handed over to drug gangs and murdered, with remains of three students being found in July 2020.

However, recently there has been a small move towards justice for these crimes: On 15 September, Mexican authorities arrested two military officials and retired army colonel Jose Rodriguez Perez for their alleged involvement in the mass abductions.

Whilst this development will start to provide answers to grieving and distressed loved ones, it remains to be seen if all those involved can be brought to justice.

Hurricane Fiona’s catastrophic consequences for the Caribbean 
by Kate Nuttall

image credit: Lara Balais (Agence France-Presse)

Hurricane Fiona, a category 1 storm, has struck Puerto Rico and surrounding areas, bringing with it winds of up to 86 miles-per-hour and disabling the island’s entire electricity grid. Its impact was most extreme in the southwest of the island, causing  flooding and landfall before moving further west toward the Dominican Republic.

This hurricane takes place five years after hurricane Maria of September 2017, a category 5 hurricane that is commonly thought of as the most devastating natural disaster to hit the northeast Caribbean area. There were over 3,000 total casualties as a result of hurricane Maria. Two deaths have been reported in Puerto Rico as a result of hurricane Fiona so far (19 September). Another person has been killed in Guadeloupe as a result of the flooding.

Central America

Shock and sadness after festival stampede
by Eleanor Austin

image credit: Stringer (Reuters)

Devastation was seen in Quetzaltenango in Western Guatemala on the morning of 15 September after the Xelafer festival, which celebrates the nation’s independence day, ended in a stampede. Officials from the local hospital have stated that nine individuals have died as a result, including two children, as well as at least 20 people injured. 

The stampede started at the end of Bohemia Suburbana’s set as they closed the festival. It has been reported that there were only two exits in the festival, meaning that once this set had finished, many were crushed as masses of people tried to leave. Some who were at the concert claim that poor weather conditions made this even stampede deadlier. Following this catastrophe, the city manager, Amilcar Rivas, has heavily criticised the concert organisers, a local beer maker, highlighting that their security and crowd control was not adequate for the size of the festival.

The world’s coolest dictator heads for reelection: El Salvador slides into authoritarianism
by Neo Allert

image credit: Salvador Mendez (AP Photo)

On Thursday, 15 September, Nayib Bukele, El Salvador’s president, announced that he had decided to run for reelection in 2024 – a move explicitly prohibited by the country’s constitution. Bukele, however, seems certain about the legitimacy of his candidacy. He bases his renewed bid for reelection on a controversial Supreme Court ruling, stating that presidents can seek a consecutive term in office despite being forbidden by the constitution. The ruling remains questionable as the Court was appointed by lawmakers aligned with Bukele.

Many fear that this ruling will pave the way for a revival of authoritarianism in El Salvador. Calling himself ‘the world’s coolest dictator’, Bukele enjoys high approval ratings. His record concerning human rights, however, has been less than favourable. Since the beginning of his presidency he has often been criticised for concentrating power in his hands and showing a great disdain for human rights.

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