Weekly News 2/7
By Matthew Aguilera
Brussels, Belgium: Many countries in Europe move to loosen coronavirus restrictions which have proven to be relatively ineffective at curbing the spread of the disease, with politicians across the continent “…deeming many public-health measures increasingly unnecessary” (Bloomberg). The movement away from these restrictions is largely due to the success of health-care systems in handling the omicron variant of the coronavirus, as it proves to be a variant with much milder symptoms in contrast to those of the previous two years. With the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries already having taken measures to discard any previously existing coronavirus restrictions, countries like France and Austria are moving the fastest to remove restrictions. School mask mandates and nightclub closures will be suspended in France, whilst restrictions on restaurant hours will be removed in Austria. These developments on the continent are much more liberal than those in other parts of the world like Asia, with leaders there “…holding to stricter lockdown measures or even tightening them” (Los Angeles Times).
Montgomery, Alabama: An effort to redraw Alabama’s congressional lines to “…create a second district in which Black voters could elect a representative of their choice” (The New York Times) was reversed by the Supreme Court on Monday, with Justice Kavanaugh writing that “…judicial tinkering with election laws can lead to disruption and to unanticipated and unfair consequences” (The New York Times) when an election is near. Given that African Americans only hold a majority in one of the state’s districts, a lower court had ordered for the creation of a second district in which Black voters would hold a majority, a move which drew much of its support from the Voting Rights Act. While the state acknowledged that the current district lines created a natural voting bloc on the basis of race, it argued against the creation of a second majority-Black district “…because it would divide the suburbs of Mobile” (NPR).
…the former President’s aides “…were either preoccupied with helping him overturn the election, trying to stop him or avoiding him.”-The New York Times
Palm Beach, Florida: The National Archives last month received “…boxes of documents, letters, gifts, and mementos” (The New York Times) that former President Donald Trump had kept at his Mar-a-Lago club, objects which should have been handed over to the federal government upon his leaving of office. According to the Presidential Records Act, Presidential records must be transferred to the National Archives so as to allow for proper preservation, a law passed after the Nixon Administration’s efforts to withhold important documents from federal consumption. Whereas these items would have regularly been transferred to the National Archives at the closure of a Presidential term, the process was stalled given that the former President’s aides “…were either preoccupied with helping him overturn the election, trying to stop him or avoiding him.” (The New York Times).
St. Johns County, Florida: Officials working for the St. Johns County School District reported that “… a new school is in the works for the northwest part of the county” (News4Jax), with the location of the school being designated as within the Shearwater neighborhood off of County Road 210. The school will be a K-8 institution, meaning that it will enroll students from kindergarten up to the eighth grade. Given its proximity to other schools in the area, the school will relieve overcrowding “…at nearby Freedom Crossing Academy, Timberlin Creek Elementary School and Switzerland Point Middle School” (News4Jax).