Weekly News Update 2/27/22
Moscow, Russia: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday moved to formally recognize two pro-Russian separatist states within eastern Ukraine, Donetsk and Luhansk. The announcement was made during an hour-long speech in which Putin claimed that “…Ukraine was a historical accident that the U.S. had turned into a launchpad to attack Russia” (Wall Street Journal). Upon the recognition of the two regions, Russian forces with the intention to provide “peacekeeping functions” (CBS News) were sent into those territories, a move which has sparked controversy in the International community as to whether it constitutes an invasion. Having not yet imposed the severe sanctions promised on Russia in the event of an invasion, President Joe Biden on Monday signed an executive order that “…prohibits new investment, trade and financing by U.S. persons to, from, or in the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic regions of Ukraine” (CNBC).
Tallahassee, Florida: Florida legislators will vote on Tuesday on House Bill 1557, otherwise known as the “Don’t Say Gay” amendment. The bill would “…explicitly require schools to inform parents of their child’s sexual orientation, and put a deadline on how soon they must tell the family” (News Channel 8). The proposal comes amid a nation-wide move to increase parental control and influence in education, with the basis for this legislation specifically being that it would “…reinforce fundamental right of parents to make decisions regarding upbringing and control of their children” (Florida Senate). The law would also prohibit the discussion of any topics relating to homosexuality or gender identity, with Governor Ron DeSantis condemning discussions on “…choosing your gender” (CBS News) whilst in school.
Ottawa, Canada: Protests which had been staged on multiple crossing-points between the United States and Canada by truckers were quelled on Monday, with Canadian police clearing out the protestors and making several arrests. The crackdown comes as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was granted emergency powers, privileges which “…allows authorities to declare certain areas as no-go zones” (ABC News), in addition to reserving the ability to freeze the bank accounts of any who resist. Despite the end of protests, the Canadian legislature on approved an extension of the emergency powers grant, with the justification being that it would allow the government to “…cope with any future demonstrations” (Wall Street Journal) that may arise in protest to pandemic and public-health restrictions.
St. Augustine, Florida: The iconic Tom’s Fruit and Gifts souvenir shop in St. Augustine found new ownership earlier this month, with Robert and Nicole Nettles purchasing the shop for just over $1.3 million. Having been in operation since 1976, the shop had “…continued to be a popular draw for both locals and tourists” (St. Augustine Record). The original owner, Tom Grohowski, passed away at the age of 99 in January of 2022. Although the new owners have yet to re-open the location, the Nettles have “…created a Facebook page for their new business” (St. Augustine Record), in which they claim the iconic location will be the same old landmark, but with a new twist.