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- News recap – Bitesize story summaries from over the past week – 28th December to 3rd January - January 3, 2017
Assad closes in on Aleppo
As the Syrian army closes in on regaining full control of Aleppo, residents and aid workers trapped in the city have said the conditions are desperate and the streets are “full of dead bodies.” Assad’s Russian backed army is said to control up to 98% of the neighbourhoods previously under rebel control.
Residents have been making desperate pleas over texts, tweets, videos and various media. The messages have either asked for help, shown the world the situation they are going through or to say goodbye as people are fearing they will die or be arrested by government soldiers.
Abdulkafi Alhamdo, a teacher turned activist posted a video on Monday outlining the situation. In it he says: “Just yesterday, next door all the building collapsed and many people were killed. You might not understand what we are suffering here. We wanted freedom, we didn’t want anything else but freedom. I hope that something can be done and that we can leave and that we can speak together once more … I hope you can remember us.
With Aleppo in Assad’s hands, the rebels will be dealt a terrible blow. But, President Assad will still be far from restoring his control over Syrian as huge swathes are still under rebel control and, as of last Sunday, Islamic State retook Palmyra.
Solomon Islands Earthquake
On the 8th of December, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck off the Solomon Islands. The quake immediately prompted authorities to issue a tsunami warning. The earthquake was measured to be at 25 miles, around 40km, deep. Deeper earthquakes are considered to be less dangerous even at such a high magnitude.
The earthquake was followed by several large aftershocks. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center measured waves of up to 12cm for about 30 minutes after the earthquake. The tsunami warning was lifted not long after. This is the 3rd large earthquake to hit in the last 5 weeks.
Clinton’s popular vote
Hilary Clinton’s popular vote lead over Donald Trump has grown to more than 2.5 million. This result was reported as the 2016 election results continue to be tallied. Jill Stein, the Green Party nominee is leading recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania although most experts agree that the possibility of overturning the election results are virtually non-existent.
Neo-Nazi group National Action to be banned in the UK
Labelled as “racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic” by the Amber Rudd (UK Home Secretary), National Action will be the first group extreme right-winged group to have their activities proscribed under British terrorism laws. This means that any members or supporters of the group could face arrests and charges.
Amber Rudd said in a statement; “I am clear that the safety and security of our families, communities and country comes first. So today I am taking action to proscribe the neo-Nazi group National Action. This will mean that being a member of, or inviting support for, this organisation will be a criminal offence. National Action is a racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic organisation which stirs up hatred, glorifies violence and promotes a vile ideology, and I will not stand for it. It has absolutely no place in a Britain that works for everyone.”
The ban will come into effect on Friday (16th December 2016) after an order was settled on in Parliament which will see National Action outlawed under the Terrorism Act 2000.
Buzz Aldrin health scare during South Pole trip
Former astronaut Buzz Aldrin had to be emergency airlifted during a trip to the South Pole. Aldrin was flown to a medical facility in New Zealand after he experienced fluid on his lungs during the expedition. The 86 year old is now recovering and is reported to be in good spirits.
As Southern Rail strike, Transport Secretary says “get back to work”
The UK’s Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, has said that the Southern Rail staff currently on strike should “get back to work” and end a “completely unnecessary” dispute. Facing calls to quit over the debacle, Chris Grayling also labelled the industrial action as “union militancy at its worst.”
All 2242 of Southern Rails weekday services have been halted due to a strike by members of the ASLEF and RMT unions over a long-running dispute over driver-only trains. Hundreds of thousands of commuters are currently facing the worst rail disruption in decades as three days of strikes have begun.
Members joined picket lines outside deserted stations as commuters took the day off, worked from home or attempted to make their trip on another mode of transport. Southern runs trains that link parts of Kent, Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire with London and are a vital route for many thousands of people.
News Recap Team
We understand that this is not everything that happened over the last week and would love to include more. If you have an interesting news story, email it (with an image) to [email protected] and we will feature it in our next article.