Hot Spots and Current Events

By: Kevin Lin, Kent Seitz, Abdullah Alam, Abby Clark.

History is not only the events of the past; history is being created right now. The major events of today’s world write the history book of tomorrow. Recent events are constantly shaping the society of today and tomorrow such as terrorists in Russia, turmoil in the Middle East, natural disasters around the world, the World Cup in South Africa, and major Senate bills. All these topics present great issues to the world, but as they are dealt with they help create a stable future.

Russia: Metro terrorist attack

The recent terrorist attacks in Russia made a profound impact on Russia and its citizens. On March 29th, 2009, two women suicide bombers killed 39 people on the Moscow metro (Russian Police Release Subway Bomb Suspects’ Photos). The attack was totally unexpected since it was the first terrorist attack in six years (Pan). Medvedev, the president of Russia, said in response to the attacks, “It is difficult to prevent such terrorist attacks and provide security on transport” (Medvedev Calls for Tightened Security after Moscow Metro Blasts). This tragedy sparked a new urgency in national security. About the matter, Kadyror, President of Chechnya, wrote “terrorists must be hunted down and found in their lairs, they must be poisoned like rats, they must be crushed and destroyed” (Russian Police Release Subway Bomb Suspects’ Photos). The terrorist bombing of the Moscow metro was a tragedy that reminded the government to keep a keen watch on national security.


Middle East:Somali Pirates & Israeli-Palestinian Land ConflictAround Somalia, pirates seize ships and request ransoms of millions. The pirates occupy the area between Yemen and Somalia, an area in which 20% of the world’s shipping passes (Wood 1). However, the pirates are difficult to defeat. The main difficulty with stopping these pirates is the area that needs to be patrolled which is about “the size of western Europe” (Wood 1). Another issue with capturing the pirates is their ability to conceal their identity. “When they see a naval frigate coming, they dump their weapons, boarding ladder, and even satellite telephones over the side” (Wood 1). This deception works and as a result few pirates get caught. The reason for these pirates lies in Somalia since it’s government and people are unstable. Fortunately many counties are willing to help such as the EU and maybe one day this problem may be a thing of the past (Wood 1).
The Israeli-Palestine conflict is one that has caused tension (based on border disputes) between the two countries and throughout the Middle East for years. There have been attempts to resolve the conflict with a series of peace talks and negotiations (Wood 2). The peace talks were interrupted as trouble arose when the Israeli government announced that it would commence annexing the land upon which two Muslim and Palestinian holy sites stand. This immediately caused Palestine to back out of the negotiations, and the move by the Israeli government was criticized harshly by many Middle Eastern nations (“ME Anger at Israeli Escalations”). Until this matter can be resolved and the border disputes of the two nations worked out the areas shows no sign of becoming peaceful and stable nations.

Natural Disasters: Haiti Earthquake, Hurricane Katrina, Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill
Haiti Earthquake
In our present lives, natural disasters impact the world greatly. The recent Haiti earthquake on January 12, 2010 affected not only Haiti, but the rest of the world as well. This particular earthquake was especially devastating since it was a powerful 7.0 magnitude (the most powerful in Haiti since 1770) coupled with Haiti’s lack of construction standards. The quake was also near the large city of Porte-au-Prince, the home of 2 million people (Fox). The earthquake affects the whole country as two million people have been left homeless and three million needed emergency aids. However, many countries have been very generous to help the recovery effort. The United States alone donated 171 million dollars in a week and continued to donate (hubpages). This earthquake can be a learning experience for the world regarding building safety and preparation.
external image cathe.jpgexternal image intensity.jpg
above left: a before and after picture of a cathedral in Haiti
above right:a map showing the areas affected by the earthquake.

Hurricane Katrina
Natural disasters don’t only affect poor countries; developed countries can be devastated as well as shown by Hurricane Katrina. On August 29th 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall close to New Orleans (Katrina State of Emergency 18). The hurricane was especially dangerous since the majority of New Orleans is slightly below sea level and the levee is only 14.5 feet high. The storm surges however, were predicted to reach over 20 feet, flooding the city (11). When Katrina made landfall, the 120 mph winds tore through the city for 12 hours causing massive destruction (21). New Orleans was just a small piece of the destruction; many cities experienced the same destruction as New Orleans. Fortunately the United States donated generously to help those in need. The federal aid given totaled to 62.3 billion after only 2 months. In addition, the Coast Guard contributed to the cause saved 33000 lives (176). Now a few years later, those cities affected are well onto their way to recovery.

external image 800px-Katrina-noaaGOES12.jpg above: a virtual representation of Hurricane Katrina

Deepwater Oil Rig Spillexternal image oilslickundergraphicjpg-57e28ddd55b0847f.jpg
A recent tragedy that occurred is the Deepwater Oil rig oil spill. An explosion of undetermined cause hit the rig on April 20th. Although the rig was damaged, the major damage was less apparent at the beginning. The oil began to leak out and just two weeks later the amount leaked was estimated anywhere from 1.6million gallons to an enormous 11 million (BP Will Pay For Gulf Oil Spill Disaster). However, the oil is still flowing out, which makes clean up difficult since the oil in the gulf is being replenished everyday. Currently, the clean-up efforts are focusing on sealing off the leak so the problem can be contained. Another problem with the oil spill is the actual removal of the oil. Often times, the clean up is more damaging to the environment that the oil is (Recovery Efforts After Gulf Coast Oil Spill Could Be as Damaging as Its Cause). However, efforts are well under way to solve this problem and the damage is not so severe to the point of no recovery. Regardless of the final outcome, the effects it will have on the future are tremendous. right a diagram showing the oil spill
World Cup in South Africa:
external image World-Cup-tickets.jpg In South Africa the World Cup is to start on June 11, 2010. South Africa as a nation is excited to host the month long international soccer tournament held every four years, but does face many challenges in preparation. First South Africa is a poor country; the “unemployment rate stands at around 27 percent” (Brown 2). Accompanied by this unemployment rate are South Africa’s high crime rates. In order to shed its image of poverty and crime, officials have maximized security (police have trained more than 40,000 recruits); police escorts follow teams to and from practice as well as search anyone who enters the stadiums. With security at its best, the other preparations for the festivities have been completed: stadiums have been built and celebrations organized (Brown 1). The only remaining challenge the country faces is selling the remaining 500,000 tickets to the local population. This has not been a challenge in previous host countries, but due to South Africa’s unemployment rates this is proving to be inconvenient to World Cup organizers (Brown 2). As the date to the World Cup opening match approaches many people around the world are excited, and hundreds of thousands people flock to South Africa to enjoy the festivities (Brown 1). In turn tickets are sold to a globally diverse crowd. The World Cup in South Africa promises to be a groundbreaking step for the nation from its crime infested and impoverished background towards a respectable internationally friendly nation.

Health Care Bill of 2009:

Government bills have a large effect on the future. One such bill that will affect the United States for a long time is the 2009 Healthcare Bill. The bill is incredibly detailed with plans for future years through 2018 and beyond (US Healthcare Bill Would Provide Immediate Benefits). However, all of the details go towards a common goal. The White House website says, “Health reform will make health care more affordable, make health insurers more accountable, [and] expand health coverage to all Americans” (Health Care). However, these benefits will come at a great cost: the new plan will require a government spending of 94 billion dollars (Pros and Cons of the Healthcare Reform Bill). This extra money comes from the increased taxes the upper class will receive (Pros and Cons of the Healthcare Reform Bill). Is this new change good or bad? The following few years will determine the success or failure of the new healthcare plan.

external image s-OBAMA-SIGNS-HEALTH-CARE-BILL-large.jpg
What Have We Learned?
All around the world today, history is being made. Russia’s future security measures will be changed after the terrorist attacks. Peace in the Middle East must be reached through negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians. Somalia’s unstable waters must be protected from pirates. Natural disasters greatly affect the world and must be dealt with accordingly. The World Cup in South Africa hopes to bring a new outlook of the nation to the world. Finally the US healthcare bill hopes to bring about a better healthcare system to the nation. These events today shape the world of tomorrow, and if each of the aforementioned issues is dealt with properly then future promises to bright and peaceful.

Why was the Haiti Earthquake so destructive?
a. The earthquake was very powerful
b. There were no construction standards
c. It struck near a large city
d. All of the above

Works Cited

Allaby, Michael.
Hurricanes. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2003. Print.

"Beneath The Oil Slick." The Times Picayune. Web. 12 May 2010.

Brown, Kyle. “South Africa Faces Challenges as World Cup Approaches.”
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2 March 2010. Web. 9 May 2010.

Brown, Kyle. “World Cup Tickets Too Pricey For Many Locals.”
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 22 April 2010. Web. 9 May 2010.

“BP Will Pay For Gulf Oil Spill Disaster.”
National Public Radio. 3 May 2010. 9 May 2010.

"Emergency Ministry Workers Carry the Body of a Victim." The Washington Post. Web. 12 May 2010.

“Fast Facts: Haiti Earthquake.”
Fox News. 13 January 2010. Web. 9 May 2010.

Freese, Barbara.
Coal: A Human History. New York: Perseus, 2003. Print.

"GeoEye Satellite." BBC. Web. 12 May 2010.

“Haiti Earthquake Facts.”
Hub Pages. 2010. Web. 9 May 2010.

“Health Care.”
The White House. Web. 9 May 2010.

"Hurricane Katrina Regional Imagery." NOAA Satellite & Information Service. Web. 12 May 2010.

Katrina State of Emergency
. New York: Lionheart Books, 2005. Print.

“Katrina's Statistics Tell Story of Its Wrath.”
The Weather Channel. 21 August 2009. Web. 9 May 2010.

“Medvedev Calls for Tightened Security after Moscow Metro Blasts.” Vamban Online. 29 March 2010. Web. 9 May 2010.

“ME Anger at Israeli Escalations.” British Broadcasting Company. 1 March 2010. Web. 9 May 2010.

"Obama Signs Health Care Bill." The Huffington Post. Web. 12 May 2010.

"Obama Signs Health Care Reform Into Law ." Youtube. Web. 13 May 2010.

Pan, Phillip. “Russia Braces for Terrorism’s Return as 38 Die in Subway Bombing.”
The Washington Post. 30 March
2010. Web. 9 May 2010.

“Pros and Cons of the Healthcare Reform Bill.”
Squashed. 20 March 2010. Web. 9 May 2010.

“Recovery Efforts After Gulf Coast Oil Spill Could Be as Damaging as It’s Cause.”
Science Daily. 4 May 2010. Web. 13 May 2010.

“Russian Police Release Subway Bomb Suspects’ Photos.”
CNN. 30 March 2010. Web. 9 May 2010.

Scorpions. "Rock You Like a Hurricane." Love At First Sting. Mercury, 1984.

"Security cameras at the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince ." Youtube. Web. 13 May 2010.

"Shake Map."
USGS. Web. 12 May 2010.

"South Africa World Cup."
Top News Sports. Web. 12 May 2010.

“US Healthcare Bill Would Provide Immediate Benefits.”
Reuters. 19 March 2010. Web. 9 May 2010.

Wood, Paul. “Can Somali Pirates Be Defeated?”
British Broadcasting Company. 20 November 2009. Web. 9 May 2010.

Wood, Paul. “Netanyahu Hopeful of Compromise at End of Talks in US.”
British Broadcasting Company. 25 March 2010. Web. 9 May 2010.