Pipeline Protests Shut Down Canadian Rail System

Written by Charlotte Powers

The Canadian economy is coming to a grinding halt as thousands of protestors construct rail blockades across the country. The protests are in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en people, an indigenous population in Western Canada. The Wet’suwet’en are protesting the construction of a natural gas pipeline through their territory.

The Coastal Gaslink Pipeline is a 416-mile-long natural gas pipeline that runs across the Canadian province of British Columbia. The pipeline is owned by TC Energy, who was given a contract to build the pipeline in 2012. 

Controversy began when it was revealed that several sections of the pipeline would run through the traditional lands of many First Nations, the self-governing indigenous populations of Canada. The hereditary chiefs of one such nation, the Wet’suwet’en, declared that they would not allow the pipeline to be built on their land. 

Wet’suwet’en land was never ceded to the Candian government, which means that the Wet’suwet’en maintain sovereignty of their land under Candian law. However, TC Energy began work on the Coastal Gaslink Pipeline anyway. Protestors from Wet’suwet’en and elsewhere began blockading the access road to the construction site, which prompted the Supreme Court of British Columbia to issue an injunction against the protesters on Dec. 31, 2019. 

The protesters defied the injunction and continued to refuse access to pipeline construction workers. On Jan. 1, 2020, the Wet’suwet’en chiefs served an eviction notice to the Coastal Gaslink Company. The notice warned the pipeline workers that they were “currently trespassing” on unceded Wet’suwet’en land. 

Hoping to prevent an escalation in the protests, the government of British Columbia reached out to the Wet’suwet’en, offering seven days of meetings to negotiate a favorable outcome. However, the talks broke down after only two days, on Feb. 5.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) intended to enforce the injunction by arresting the Wet’suwet’en protestors and disassembling their roadblock. On Feb. 10, the RCMP arrested more than 80 protesters on Wet’suwet’en land and in Vancouver, including several of the First Nation’s matriarchs. Journalists, who had previously been prohibited from entering Wet’suwet’en land by the RCMP, were permitted to document this raid. One video from that raid depicts a RCMP officer aiming his sniper rifle at the protestors.

Standing in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en, protesters began blockading roads and railways across Canada. CN Rail, one of Canada’s largest rail companies, announced that it would be halting all of its trans-continental shipments due to the blockades. Via Rail, Canada’s leading passenger rail service, announced that they were cancelling more than 150 trains for at least a week.

The continued blockades have forced the Canadian federal government to come to the table. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote to the leaders of the Wet’suwet’en and the rail blockades, making clear his intention to work toward a resolution with the protesters. “As you know, our government has been clear that there is no more important relationship to me and to Canada than the one with Indigenous peoples,” Trudeau wrote on Feb. 13.

While the protests were originally focused on the construction of new pipelines, they have greatly increased their scope, critically examining how the Canadian Government treats its indigenous populations, particularly when it comes to unceded land.

Democratic Candidates Face off in New Hampshire and Nevada

With the 2020 Presidential Election approaching on Nov. 3, the Democratic nominees are facing a series of primaries that will ultimately determine who will run against President Donald Trump. The series of primaries and the resulting debates began on Feb. 3 in Iowa, where a variety of difficulties resulted in no clear winner. Instead, Senator Bernie Sanders narrowly came in first, followed closely by Mayor Pete Buttigieg with Senator Elizabeth Warren in a distant third.

After the uncertainty that filled Iowa, New Hampshire had clearer results. The New Hampshire Primary took place on Feb. 11 with 10 candidates competing for the state’s 24 delegates. Voting kicked off around 6 a.m. and continued until the closing of the polls at 8 p.m. eastern time. Sanders took a slight lead with nine delegates and 76,324 votes compared to Buttegieg’s nine delegates and 72,457 votes. 

“This victory here is the beginning of the end for Donald Trump,” Sanders told supporters in a speech following the results. Sanders, the 78-year-old Senator from Vermont who rose to fame in the 2016 Presidential Elections, is running his campaign based on self-described “democratic socialist” policies.  Sanders’ platform includes the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, and expanded Social Security. He has become the leading progressive candidate following Warren’s lagging third place in Iowa and fourth place in New Hampshire.

Sanders holds a narrow lead over fellow Iowa-frontrunner Pete Buttigieg, the 37-year-old comparatively moderate Mayor of South Bend, Indiana. His platform includes the Medicare For All Who Want It plan, improvement of K-12 education, and an agenda for housing justice. He is vying for the moderate Democratic vote with Senator Amy Kloubachar from Minnesota, who placed an unexpected third in New Hampshire with 58,796 votes and 6 delegates, and former Vice President Joe Biden, who has remained relatively low in the polls in both Iowa and New Hampshire, receiving only 8.4% of the votes in the latter.

Two other candidates dropped out following the results of the New Hampshire primaries:  lawyer and businessman Andrew Yang and Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado. The remaining candidates will continue on to the coming primaries, including the Nevada caucus on Feb. 22 and the South Carolina Primary on Feb. 29.

In preparation for the Nevada Caucus, six candidates took to the debate stage on Feb. 20 in Las Vegas, adding former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to the stage for his first presidential debate. Bloomberg is a latecomer to the Democratic primary, he will not be on the ballots of the first four states to vote .. Bloomberg is running on a platform that includes gun safety and an expansion of the . His first debate was full of blows from the other candidates, with mentions of his “stop-and-frisk policies”  in NYC from Sanders, questions over when he will turn over his tax returns, and criticisms of his history of alleged sexual harassment. 

The debate, which lasted two hours, spanned a variety of issues including healthcare, gun safety and education. All six candidates took shots at each other and as they approached the Nevada Primary on Nov. 22.

29 Dead, 58 Injured in Thailand Massacre

Written by Charlotte Powers

A shooting spree in the Thai city of Nakhon Ratchasima, commonly known as Korat, has left 29 dead and another 58 injured. The shooting occurred over the course of 18 hours on Feb. 8 and 9. The perpetrator of the violence was reported to be a soldier in Thailand’s army. The attack does not appear to have been politically motivated.

The violence began on the Suatham Phithak military base, where the shooter was to have a meeting with his commanding officer, Colonel Anantharot Krasae, regarding a “land-selling commision fee,” according to CNN. The meeting quickly went south when the shooter killed Krasae as well as Krasae’s mother-in-law, Anong Mitchan. The shooter then stole several assault rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammunition from the base before escaping in a stolen humvee.

The shooter proceeded to the Terminal 21 shopping center in Korat, where he indiscriminately fired into the crowd. The shooter made his way to the fourth floor of the shopping center, where he reportedly took hostages and posted several updates to his Facebook profile. Facebook quickly responded by deleting the shooter’s posts and profile.

Over the next several hours, more bursts of gunfire were heard coming from the Terminal 21 shopping center. Thai police had sectioned off a two kilometer radius around the shopping center as they waited for military reinforcements to arrive.

At one point during the standoff, police brought the shooter’s mother to the shopping center in an attempt to de-escalate the situation. However, she was never able to make it into the mall. She stated that her son had depression and a bad temper, and claimed that she did not see a point in trying to talk him down.

More than five hours after the initial attack in Terminal 21, the police had cleared the bottom three floors of the shopping center. The army then issued a statement requesting news outlets to stop coverage of police operations, as they feared the shooter was watching the reporting.

Throughout the night, sporadic bursts of gunfire were heard coming from Terminal 21, as special operations forces entered the building to confront the gunman. At 9 a.m., police announced that they had killed the gunman.

This massacre, perpetrated by a highly trained soldier, has opened a discussion in Thailand about abuses that exist within the military and about the wider role that the military plays in Thai society. Thailand’s commander-in-chief of the army, General Apirat Kongsompong, held a press conference on Tuesday, Feb. 11, where he promised an “overhaul of the army.”

During his press conference, General Kongsompong revealed that the shooter had been mistreated by his commanding officer in the past, and that the issue of superior officers abusing their subordinates was widespread in the Thai army. Kongsompong announced that he would be creating a channel of communication where members of the army could report abuses by their commanding officers directly to Kongsompong himself. Kongsompong hopes that this solution will help prevent other abused soldiers from resorting to violence.

Seahawk Baseball Team has High Hopes Heading into Season

Coming off a 8-25-2 2019 campaign, The St. Mary’s College of Maryland Baseball team hopes to build off of last season and put together a winning season. According to SMCMathletics, the team is welcoming in seven new freshmen. The ballclub is led by fourth year head coach, Bernie Stratchko. 

One member of the team who has been a key player for the ballclub is Andy Collins (‘21). The junior from Arlington, Virginia is slated to play a key role for the Seahawks this season. Last season, Collins posted a .263 batting average in 80 at bats. 

When asking Collins what the outlook for the season is, he stated “Overall the team is looking pretty solid for this upcoming season. I believe we have improved in all aspects of our game and we are really excited to see the results of all our hard work during the off-season.” While stating that the team has improved greatly off the off-season, he explained that he still recognizes what the team still needs to build off of from last season. Collins stated “We are definitely looking to continue our offensive success from last season. We have a lot of returners from last year who are very experienced at the collegiate level.” He went on to say “We have a few key players that suffered injuries that limited their play last year and having them back will be a huge addition. There were a couple series last season, Frostburg State and Salisbury mainly, where we really showed that we could compete with any team when we played our game. If we play like that the whole season we should be successful.”

One player who the ballclub is welcoming aboard for the upcoming season is James Becker (‘23). The outfielder from Hagerstown, Maryland is looking forward to his first year on the ballclub. When asking Becker what brought him to St. Mary’s he stated “The school provided excellent academic opportunities for my career path and the drive to bring home the school’s first conference championship.” Becker went on to mention his aspirations for the season, remarking “My personal aspirations are to do my job to the best of my ability and contribute to helping the team win.”

This season the team is hoping to have the chance at a title in the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC). CAC play begins on Saturday, March 28 when the team faces off against York College at their home field. While the conference schedule is strong, the team still has confidence in their ability to compete. Collins argues “We want to win. It’s a long season, about 40 games, before the CAC playoffs begin. We want to build our momentum as the season goes on so that we can make a deep run through the playoffs and take home the championship. We’re going to take it one game at a time and take care of business each day. This team is like a family and we’re all dedicated to doing whatever it takes to win.” Becker echoed the same sentiment of confidence when asked about the outlook of the team for the upcoming season as he stated the goal is to “compete at a higher level than ever before here at St. Mary’s.” 

Collins reassured his faith in the coaching staff and their ability to guide the team to a successful season as he stated “Coach Stratchko is going to put us in the best situation to win every game. He’s coming into his fourth season as our head coach and he expects a lot from this team. Coach Willard and Coach Covey will be huge assets for us this season. All three coaches have been a driving force for this team and have shown complete dedication to this program.”

The team returns home to face off against Hampden-Sydney on Saturday, February 29 in a double header with the first game beginning at 11 a.m. Come out and support the Seahawks as they look to embark on a season full of successes and milestones.

Seahawk Lacrosse Season is Underway

The St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) men’s lacrosse team got their season going with a roaring start. In their opening match of the 2020 season, the Seahawks took down visiting Randolph College by a score of 22-1 (Feb. 8). 

While it took SMCM six minutes to find the back of the net, once they did they never really looked back. The first period was the most dominant for the Seahawks, as junior Dominic Venanzi, junior Ben Claffee, and sophomore Jude Brown each scored twice in the frame. Sophomore Abe Hubbard also was able to net his own goal in the first quarter, giving the Seahawks a 7-0 advantage. Although SMCM yielded a goal to Randolph in the second quarter, they were still able to score five of their own. These came off of the sticks of Claffee, junior Jeremiah Clemmer (2), senior Erich Wuesthoff, and sophomore Jack Brocato. 

SMCM finished the second half of the game with six goals in the third quarter and four goals in the fourth quarter. Two of these goals came from Claffee, who finished the day with a team best five goals on five shots. Senior Jack Conway also had a strong second half, notching three goals of his own. Brown ended up leading the team in points, gathering two goals and six assists. In total, the Seahawks finished the day by pounding the Randolph net with 49. They added on to this with 38 ground balls and 17 faceoffs won. Sophomore Kyrle Preis played the whole game in goal, stopping 10 out of the 11  shots he faced, according to smcmathletics.com. 

The second game of the young season for the Seahawks took place at the US Lacrosse Hall of Fame in Sparks, MD. This Feb. 15 match was against the No.19 Dickinson College Red Devils. Dickinson jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, which eventually turned into a 4-2 lead by the end of the first quarter. The Red Devils came out hot in the second quarter by quickly scoring two more goals, giving themselves a 6-2 lead. However, the Seahawks answered back with three straight goals, two of them from Venanzi, to bring the score to within one. However, SMCM failed to score at all in the third quarter and Dickinson was able to score six goals of their own. This gave the Red Devils an insurmountable lead, as they cruised to a 15-8 victory. Both Venanzi and Brocato tied for the team lead in goals on the day with two apiece. Venanzi also led the team with three assists in the game. As a team, the Seahawks combined for 23 shots, 27 ground balls, and27 turnovers, according to smcmathletics.com. 

SMCM is coming off of a 2019 campaign where they went 10-8 overall and 3-3 in the Capital Athletic Conference (CAC). They experienced a CAC tournament first round exit after a heartbreaking 12-10 loss to Frostburg State University. This had been their best season in terms of wins since the 2013 season, so the Seahawks are certainly looking to maintain this recent success. They have 14 games remaining this season to make that happen.

SMCM Hosts CAC Swim Championships

The St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) mens and womens swim season has officially concluded for the 2019-2020 season. Once again, SMCM hosted the CAC Championships at their very own Michael P. O’Brien Athletics and Recreation Center (ARC) from Feb. 12-15. Swimmers from Christopher Newport University (CNU), University of Mary Washington, Salisbury University, Southern Virginia University (SVU) and York College of Pennsylvania all traveled to the ARC to compete with SMCM swimmers. 

On the men’s side, the CAC championship opened up with the 200 yard medley for a fourth place finish with Seniors Peter Orban, Andrew March, Ryan Akhavem and First year Anri Cifuentes-Robinson with a time of one minute and 38 seconds. The 800 yard freestyle relay featured Sebastian Ludwig, Jack Kennedy, Nate Donoghue and Orban with another fourth place finish in a time of seven minutes and 18 seconds. By day two, Seniors Ryan Akhaven and Peter Orban competed in the In the 200 yard IM with fifth and sixth places respectively. Key performances on day three included  Kennedy with a second place finish in the consolation final with a time of 1:48.09 in the 200 yard freestyle, Cifuentes-Robinson finished third in the consolation final of the 100 yard breaststroke and Orban took second in the 100 yard backstroke championship final by finishing with a time of 52.61 seconds. The men’s team placed third overall. 

The SMCM women’s swim team also had stellar performances. Day one featured Rileigh Krell (‘22), Bailey Edgren (‘22), Christina Trnkus, (‘22) and Carolyn Sutton (‘20) with a third place finish in the 200 yard medley in a time of 1:49. Edgren came back to join Brenna Litynski, (‘22) Paige Adelsberger, (‘23)  and Anna LaPoint (‘21) in the 800 yard freestyle for a third place finish. By day two LaPoint swam to a sixth place finish in the 500 yard freestyle with a time of 5:22.06. Becca Sonnenberg (‘20) began the session with a sixth place finish in the 500 yard freestyle with a time of 5:22.06. Next,  Sonnenberg brought home a 13th place finish in the 200 yard IM with a time of 2:24.37. The relay of Litynski, Leila McCloskey (year), Trnkus, and  Sutton finished in third place in the 200 IM with a time of 1:40.29.  Litnyski ended her season on the third day with an individual big win in the 50 yard freestyle with a time of 24.72. The women’s team finished in third place overall. 

Elizabeth Johnson and Peter Orban were both selected as the CAC scholar athlete of the year. Johnson notes “I will miss going to practice everyday and all the crazy quirky random things that would come with it.” However, she is excited to hang out with her teammates outside of the water to catch up on other things– such as going to the docks. Orban reflects on his training as he did less yardage overall and spent more time working on his race pace. “I did a lot of training on the power towers, which really helped me improve my top speed,” Orban adds. Both Orban and Johnson agree that one of their favorite memories this season has been the fact that they were both selected from SMCM as the CAC scholar athlete of the season.

St. Mary’s Basketball Regular Seasons Conclude

Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams at St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) have completed their regular season games and the first round of their respective playoffs. The SMCM men’s team finished with an 8-17 record overall, while going 3-7 in Capital Athletic Conference (CAC) play. In the first round of the CAC Tournament, the Seahawks upset the Salisbury University Sea Gulls by a score of 79-74. This was head coach Chris Harney’s 250th victory at the helm of the Seahawks, according to smcmathletics.com. 

In this Feb. 22 playoff matchup, the Seahawks began the first half with some sloppy play, committing seven turnovers. Luckily for them, the Sea Gulls were only able to score two total points off of these mishaps. With around two minutes remaining in the first half, SMCM strung together nine straight points and gave themselves a 33-28 lead at the break. While the second half was just as competitive, the Seahawks once again used a nine point run with under four minutes left to seal their victory. First year Gary Grant finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds in the win. SMCM will travel to Christopher Newport University on Feb. 26 to square off in the CAC Semi-Finals, according to smcmathletics.com. 

In the regular season the Seahawks and Sea Gulls faced each other twice, with each school winning a closely contested game. The first of these two regular season matchups took place on Jan. 18. Behind 21 points from junior forward Miles Gillette, seven assists from senior guard Reggie Rouse, and nine rebounds from junior center Jack Foley, the Seahawks were able to hang on to a 68-65 victory. This included some clutch late-game free throws from Rouse. The second matchup between the two teams took place two weeks later on Feb. 1, but this time the Seahawks were not as fortunate as they fell 84-80. This game was so tightly played that the Seahawks’ largest lead of the second half was only by two points. While Salisbury held an eight point advantage in the final minutes of the game, SMCM came storming back to come within two points with just 20 seconds remaining. While the comeback fell short, Gillette once again led the way with 26 points and six rebounds. Sophomore Dee Barnes chipped in 19 points as well in the effort, according to smcmathletics.com. 

In the regular season, Gillette led the squad in points per game (PPG) with 17.3. Grant concluded the season with 16.3 PPG and Barnes added 13.9 PPG. In terms of assists, Rouse led the way with 2.2 assists per game (AST/G), while first year Jalen Hayes averaged 1.8 AST/G and senior Justin Milstead averaged 1.6 AST/G. Gillette averaged 7.6 rebounds per game, while Foley averaged 7.0, according to smcmathletics.com. 

The SMCM women’s basketball team recently had their season conclude. They finished their season with a 3-21 record and went 0-10 in the CAC. In the first round of the CAC Tournament, they traveled to York College of Pennsylvania and were defeated by a score of 79-58. This was a great improvement for SMCM, as they had played York in the final game of the regular season and lost 103-67.

The first quarter of the playoff game was very successful for the Seahawks, as they took an early 18-14 lead. However SMCM only managed to score nine points in the second quarter, which put them down 40-27. Despite a late fourth quarter surge, the Seahawks were unable to reclaim the lead. Senior Gina Seifert put on quite a show, dropping a career high 34 points and 11 rebounds. Sophomore Kelli Jenkins and junior Kyaira Priest each finished with ten points, according to smcmathletics.com. 

Seifert averaged 13.8 PPG in the regular season, while Priest finished with 10.4 PPG. Seifert also collected 7.5 rebounds per game and first year Stephanie Howell averaged 6.0, according to smcmathletics.com.

Coming Off A Championship Season, The Washington Nationals Look To Defend Their Pennant

After winning the Major League Baseball (MLB) World Series Championship in 2019, the Washington Nationals have arrived to spring training in West Palm Beach, Florida with the hopes of defending their crown under the leadership of third year manager, Dave Martinez.

In 2019, The Washington Nationals shocked the world. The team entered the playoffs without winning their division, as they clinched a Wild Card spot. While getting into the playoffs is no small feat, they were not the favorites to take home the hardware heading into the playoffs. However, they were able to ride on the backs of their superstar players: Anthony Rendon, Juan Soto, Trea Turner and Stephen Strasburg.

While the team is returning many of their players as they head in with the hopes of defending their titles, they are without their star third baseman, Anthony Rendon. During the off-season, Rendon signed a seven year, 245 million dollar deal with the Los Angeles Angels. Rendon was a home-grown National as he was drafted sixth overall in the first round of the 2011 MLB draft. Not only was his presence felt in the field, but it was also felt in the lineup. Rendon batted third for Washington in their championship run. The loss of Rendon is huge as Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post states “[Rendon] was their best offensive player, a human metronome in the middle of their order, a big reason a miracle turnaround ended with history.”

However, the Nationals must quickly find a way to replace the production of Rendon. Though the team is surely going to miss Rendon’s play, the organization’s number one prospect, and former first round pick is slated to be handed the keys to the daily duties of third base. Manager Dave Martinez has said to the media frequently that the third base job is Kieboom’s job to lose. Kieboom acknowledges the shadows that he is following in with Rendon, but he is not letting that get in the way of his outlook on the season. In an interview with ESPN, Kieboom stated, “I am not going to come in here and be Anthony Rendon. That is not who I am as a player. He is in a class of his own.” He went on to say in the interview, “That is not my job to try and live up to what he has done. My job is to go play my game.” In his minor league career, Kieboom is sporting a .287 batting average. While he is sure not to live up to the stardom of Rendon, the Nationals are hoping he can be the answer at third base for the future.

While the team lost Rendon, they are largely bringing back the same lineup and pitching staff they won the World Series with. The team inked World Series Most Valuable Player, Stephen Strasburg, to a seven year 245 million dollar deal in the off-season, presumably making him a National for life. In addition to bringing back Strasburg, the team brought back catcher, Yan Gomes, utility infielder Asdrubal Cabrera, reliever Daniel Hudson and face of the franchise Ryan Zimmerman. 

The team was able to add free agents who are going to be key pieces for a shot at another title. They brought in former Brewers standout first baseman, Eric Thames, who is a career .244 hitter. The team also linked a deal to solidify the bullpen as they brought in former World Series Champion, Will Harris, who has pitched to a career 2.84 earned run average. In addition to Thames and Harris the Nationals were able to bring in former Yankee and Marlin, Starlin Castro. With the departure of Brian Dozier, Castro is slated to platoon at second with Howie Kendrick. Castro is sporting a .270 career batting average.

As they look to defend their title, the team has one goal in mind: Go 1-0 every day. Under the leadership of Dave Martinez, the team is sure to have success again in the 2020 season.

The Birds and the…Wait No More Bees

If there were any kind of insect to be given the label “cute,” it would have to be the bumblebee. In addition to being docile and environmentally helpful creatures, they are also among the more friendly species of bee, which makes them easier to study. However, as is becoming more common nowadays, the population of bumblebees in North America is rapidly declining. The frustrating part of this problem is that people know the root of the issue, but continue to do nothing to change it. What is even more disconcerting is that even if the people in power wanted to do something to combat this issue, we are quickly approaching the point where nothing can be done.

According to nationalgeographic.com there are more than 3,000 species of bees in the United States. Of those, about 40 fall under the genus Bombus, the species classified as bumblebees. However scientists have noted a staggering drop in the entirety of the bee population. According to sciencedirect.com, in 2009 the total number of bumblebee colonies were estimated around 72.6 million. Since then there has been a 40% decline, landing them a spot on the endangered species list in 2017, and their numbers have only continued to fall. This is a very prominent problem to the natural balance of the earth. Bumblebees and other pollinators such as honeybees help pollinate the flora that humans need to survive. Removing an entire species of pollinators from the ecosystem spells disaster for the environment as a whole in the future.

There are a number of causes that trace back to the endangerment of bumblebees. One of them is the specific pesticides that farmers use on their crops to protect against pests. Some of these pesticides are toxic to bees and have proven fatal. If these toxic chemicals are introduced to a beehive through the pollen that is collected from those crops, then the entire hive is at risk. The worst part about this is that the farmers responsible are well aware yet are taking very few steps to rectify this mistake. Some have tried other methods that don’t include bee killing chemicals to protect their crops but few have worked. Some have even proven to be just as harmful. 

The other main cause of the deaths of bumblebees is the change to the climate. Though so many people try to deny it, the climate is gradually shifting out of balance, causing the globe to grow warmer and warmer. Bees are cold blooded and extremely small. It doesn’t take much to shift them into extreme temperatures, be it hot or cold, and if that happens, they could die. Since the climate is getting warmer, this is causing bees to overheat much quicker and at a more harmful rate. 

There have been attempts to pass laws that will combat the falling bee population, however,  these laws, projects and proposals continue to be blocked by those in the government due to the fact that many believe that climate change is a hoax. There are real adverse effects. Because of human carelessness, we are losing entire species of animals and insects that are vital to survival. It may just be the bees now, but soon it could be humans. We will not be the only ones suffering if we continue to ignore what is important. If we choose to continue in this way, we may lose our fuzzy, buzzing little pals forever, and that is only the start of what we could lose.

Traumatic Brain Injuries Causing Trouble For US Troops

As of Monday, January 13, 109 United States service members have been diagnosed with a mild traumatic brain injury, commonly called a concussion. This follows the January eighth Iranian missile attack on the al-Asad airbase in Iraq, where United States troops were housed. A statement issued by the Pentagon discloses that nearly 70% of service members diagnosed have been treated and returned to duty. This statement followed the initial statement that declared no United States service members were injured or killed in the course of the missile attack. This raised concern that these injuries are not being taken seriously as the symptoms of headaches, mild confusion, and dizziness can be easily dismissed. This is a fair concern, as the most severe traumatic brain injuries can result in death. Early diagnosis and treatment are important, in ensuring that the injury is not exacerbated.

Anyone who has played a sport, or spent time around people who do, knows that concussions, while fairly common in the course of contact sports, are taken very seriously. From a high school level on, baseline testing is required so that in the event of an injury, the severity can be assessed and properly treated. 

A few years ago, information on chronic traumatic encephalopathy — a neurodegenerative disease caused by repeated head injuries, prevalent in sports like football and boxing — circulated, and sparked outrage as well as a desire for more awareness among athletes, coaches and families. The studies that resulted from this provided evidence of the potentially deadly ramifications of untreated brain injuries. 

That being said, a concussion in and of itself is far from a death sentence. When properly diagnosed and treated, a concussion can be recovered from in 7-10 days, the danger lies in blowing off the symptoms or the instructed treatment. In terms of the brain injuries of the service members in Iraq and the conversation surrounding them, what causes concern is that these numbers were not given initially, giving the impression that it was potentially something that was hidden from the public. On the other hand, symptoms of concussions and other brain injuries can take time to manifest themselves, and the initial information given may have been accurate at the time. 

From the numbers in the January 13 statement from the Pentagon, it appears that the injuries are being treated, and that service members involved in this and future incidents will continue to be screened and treated as needed. This, coupled with the assurance from General Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that service members diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries will continue to be monitored after they have been returned to duty, offers some confidence that the injuries are in fact being taken seriously. However, these initial numbers and promises can only go so far, and the real test of how well service members with traumatic brain injuries are being treated and how seriously the consequences of them are being taken will come in the years ahead.