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Hurricane Devastation in the Caribbean

After the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma left the Caribbean in shambles, the islands are yet again faced with severe damage from another Category 5 hurricane: Hurricane Maria.

Catastrophic damage has been recorded in the Dominica, killing at least seven people so far in its path of destruction. Maria is not expected to let up at all as the storm heads toward Puerto Rico. The storm has record-breaking strength, with winds reaching up to 160 mph.

Puerto Rico, the next area to face Maria’s wrath, housed many refugees attempting to escape the impact of Hurricane Irma. People are encouraged to seek shelter and to remain indoors while this life-threatening hurricane makes landfall as the countries in Maria’s path declare states of emergencies.

The island’s Public Safety Commissioner, Hector Pesquera, strongly urged citizens to evacuate. “Otherwise you are going to die,” Pesquera said.

Evacuation is near impossible for many residents in the Caribbean, however, as many cannot afford to evacuate the country. Much of the damage caused is already estimated to cost $1 billion to repair.


Persecution of Muslims in Myanmar

Muslims in Myanmar have been facing severe discrimination since March 2016, and the systematic persecution has become increasingly more violent. The country’s government, which is a Buddhist majority, has backed the persecution of minority Rohingya Muslims, refusing to acknowledge them as citizens and restricting access to national identification cards.

Although the government denies involvement, the UN suspects that Myanmar’s army has been committing ethnic cleansing of Muslims of all ethnicities. Buddhist mobs have been terrorizing Muslims, killing over 200 of them in the last 18 months, as well as burning mosques, homes, and businesses. Almost 150,000 Muslims have been displaced into refugee camps as more than 400,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh.

Myanmar’s leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, spoke out against the human rights violations on Tuesday but refused to criticize the military.  She also said that she’d be happy to let the Rohingyas back into the country if they passed a “verification” test.  

Suu Kyi is also a Nobel Peace Prize winner.  

North Korea Fires Second Missile over Japan

Despite the international community’s demand that North Korea halt its nuclear program, the country launched yet another missile over Japan, the second one in the last six months.

The UN has placed further sanctions on North Korea for failing to halt their nuclear tests, but the country has remained defiant. Nearby countries, including the United States, have been outspoken against North Korea’s tests, and many have been considering a military response.

North Korea has responded to the UN’s sanctions threatening to “sink” Japan and turn the United States into “ash and darkness.” The international community is taking North Korea’s threats seriously, as countries test missiles capable of intercepting a potential attack from North Korea.


Manafort Once Again a Suspect in Russia Probe

US government investigators wiretapped President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, under confidential court orders and the intelligence collected sparked concerns, putting Manafort at the center of the Russian interference probe.

Special counsel, Robert Mueller, is up-to-date with the information gathered, which suggests Manafort encouraged Russian meddling in the 2017 presidential election. Although the evidence is currently not conclusive, further investigations are being conducted.

Manafort has denied knowingly communicating with Russian intelligence agents as well as denied colluding with Russia to interfere with the US presidential election. Both the White House and Manafort’s spokesperson have declined to comment.


Hurricane Watch: Jose

Although Jose is expected to remain far from the East Coast, a tropical storm warning is in effect as coastal communities will face most of the impact.

Rhode Island residents, especially in coastal communities, are encouraged to stay out of the water during Jose. Strong rip currents, high surf, and coastal flooding are expected, as well as high wind speeds and heavy rainfall, which may cause many power outages.

Hurricane Jose is expected to dwindle by Thursday, but strong winds and rain are still possible.