Happy Friday, Care2 readers! Here’s a brief summary of this weeks happenings, brought to you by your fearless Care2 bloggers.
Earthquake in Japan
As I am writing this post, news is constantly coming in about the 8.9 earthquake in Japan last night. As of this morning, a tsunami has hit Hawaii, and more large waves are reaching the U.S. Coast. As a result of the earthquake, Japan has declared a state of emergency at one of its nuclear facilities after a report of a cooling system failure.
Since this topic is breaking news, click here for the latest Care2 coverage. Our hearts go out to everybody who has been affected by these destructive acts of nature.
In an unexpected turn for the worst on Wednesday evening, Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate decided to vote to strip public employees of their collective bargaining rights, despite the absence of the Democratic Senators, who were still out of state in protest. The legality of this move is questionable.
Care2 also reports these protests from a different angle. By fighting against unions, Governor Walker is trying to eliminate the middle class. Jessica Pieklo reports that Republican leaders in Wisconsin are attempting to weaken the working middle class, which is seen as a base for the Democratic Party. Mahlon Mitchell, President of the Wisconsin Fire Fighters Union, says in an interview that the middle class needs to stick together when labor rights are threatened.(The Wisconsin Fire Fighters Union has been an active participant in the protests, even though their union benefits are specifically left out of Walker’s bill.)
As Jessica Pieklo reminds us, despite the passage of the union busting bill, the fight in Wisconsin is far from over. The momentum from these protests will continue to inspire activists in Wisconsin and throughout the country to stand up for their rights as workers.
Take Action: Sign the petition against Governor Walker’s attack on Wisconsin unions.
Protests in the Middle East
Egypt: As the Egyptian revolutionaries struggle to begin a new government, more conflicts are breaking out, most notably between Christians and Muslims. 11 people were killed in the suburbs of Cairo, as Christians protested the burning of a church in the village of Soul last week. This violence will undoubtedly need to be considered in the days to come as Egypt forms its constitution.
Libya: President Muammar Gaddafi continues to use force to try to destroy the rebel strongholds fighting against him, Kristina Chew reports. Although rebels are determined to fight against the repressive government, Gaddafi is using strong force and his large bank account to quell the rebellion. Meanwhile, Western reporters are being targeted and at times tortured by pro-Gaddafi forces. Will Gaddafi stop at nothing to retain power in a country that has turned against him?
Who’s next?: With so much animosity towards regimes in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia has banned all protests in anticipation of a Day of Rage planned for today. China has tightened its restrictions on journalists, partly as a reaction to the ‘Jasmine Revolution‘ that threatened to begin protests in China earlier this year.
International Women’s Day
Tuesday was the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. What a great reason to celebrate the important contributions of women around the globe! In the United States, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton marked the occaision with a moving speech.
Read more Care2 coverage of International Women’s Day here.
As women around the world celebrated their accomplishments, feminists in Egypt were facing threats. Egyptian women participated alongside men in the protests that ousted Hosni Mubarak from office. However, when they gathered in Tahrir Square on International Women’s Day, men shouted “Go home” and “Not valid!” Care2′s Robin Marty reports. Hopefully the revolutionary forces in Egypt will learn that it is impossible to begin a democracy without the participation of half of the population.
Thanks (or no thanks) to New York Representative Peter King, Islamophobia has been at the forefront of this week’s news. Conservatives have been increasingly wary of Muslim Americans, and this might affect the 2012 elections, Robin Marty reports.
Rep. Peter King’s “investigation of radical Islam” began this Thursday, with an emotional opening statement by Rep. Keith Ellison (a heartbreaking video accompanies the article). Later, Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee speaks out against the hearings, calling them an “effort to demonize and castigate” an entire group of Americans.
Despite King’s insistence that the Muslim American community is a hotbed for terrorism, studies show that the majority of “terrorist plots” are carried out by non-Muslims. Many of these plots come from white supremacists and right-wing extremists. King’s hearing will not focus on these groups.
Many public figures felt the need to speak up against this swarm of hatred against Muslim Americans. The Obama Administration is doing its best to assure the American people that they do not consider the Muslim American community to be a significant threat to U.S. security. Furthermore, the mayor of Dearborn, Michigan (the city with the largest Muslim American population in the U.S.) tells us that King’s accusations against Muslim Americans are “just not true.” Muslim Americans are a very important part of American society, and they are being unfairly targeted by conservatives. Hopefully, King’s hearings will not lead to more violence and hate crimes against Muslims in the United States.
Animal Welfare Success Stories
Congratulations to Wisdom, America’s oldest known bird, who just gave birth a few weeks ago! At age 60, the Laysan albatross is estimated to have raised 35 chicks in her lifetime.
A new study shows that elephants are on the same intelligence level as chimpanzees and dolphins. During the study, the elephants even tricked the scientists giving the tests. What amazing creatures!
In our Rescue of the Week, Ashley Owen Hill tells the story of a sick, abused dog she rescued from death row at a local animal shelter. Although the dog was on the verge of death, Ashley was determined to give him the best week of his life before he passed. This moving story shows us that it’s never too late to make a difference in an animal’s life.
That’s all for me, folks. Thanks to all the Care2 bloggers for keeping us up to date on all the most interesting news. And thanks to our wonderful readers for getting involved and making a difference. Please take a look at these adorable piano-playing poodles to brighten up your Friday. Have a wonderful weekend!