Rohingya people are suffering

The United Nations Human Rights Office recently announced that the situation of the Rohingya people is of grave concern. The rate of violence against the Rohingya in Myanmar has gone down, however, it still persists. The remaining Rohingya people are still being forced out of their homes in Myanmar and into Bangladesh.

The Rohingya are a Muslim minority group who live in the nation Myanmar. The government of Myanmar doesn’t consider them to be citizens even though many of them were born there and have lived there for many generations. It considers the Rohingya to have illegally come from the neighboring country of Bangladesh and doesn’t offer much support for them. The group has been discriminated against for many years. Over time, some Rohingya people have left their homes and run away from Myanmar because of terrible living conditions or fear for their lives.

In August of last year, the situation in Myanmar intensified. The nation’s troops and some locals started killing the Rohingya in large numbers, causing an exodus of people. In the last 7 months, about 700,000 have fled Myanmar into Bangladesh. With such a large population entering Bangladesh, it has been hard for the nation to accommodate all the people. There isn’t enough shelter, food, water, and medicine for them.

Myanmar, also known as Burma, received its independence from the United Kingdom in 1948. From 1962 until 2010, Myanmar was ruled by military governments. In the last few years, Myanmar has been going through changes and is moving towards becoming a more democratic country. Almost 90% of Myanmar’s population is Buddhist, and about 4% is Muslim.

Aung San Suu Kyi is a very famous leader of Myanmar known for peacefully protesting the military regime that was ruling Myanmar. She fought for freedom and human rights in the country. She has now become part of the nation’s government. Suu Kyi has been awarded many prizes including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 and the Elie Wiesel Award in 2012. On March 6, the Elie Wiesel Award was taken away from her because she has not said or done anything to help the Rohingya people.

Image Credits: U.S. Department of State for Suu Kyi’s image, https://www.unocha.org and David Parker for Rohingya people images, Google.com for the map of Myanmar image
Sources: http://www.ohchr.org, https://www.ushmm.org, New York Times, https://www.unocha.org, CIA World Factbook

Billionaires in the world

Forbes, an American magazine, comes out with a list of the world’s billionaires (in US dollars). The richest person in the world this year is Jeff Bezos, the American who is the CEO of Amazon (image). He made US$39 billion in just this last one year, bringing his total worth to US$112 billion. He is the first person in the Forbes list to ever cross into the 12-digit mark. Forbes calls these billionaires “The Three-Comma Club” as three commas are used to represent their fortunes. Bill Gates, an American who co-founded the software company Microsoft and runs the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is in the number 2 spot with US$90 billion. Gates had held the top spot for 18 of the past 24 years. Warren Buffett, the American CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, holds the third place with US$84 billion.

Amazon was founded in Seattle in 1994 by Bezos. The company started off as an online bookstore. As Amazon’s logo portrays, the company now sells everything from A to Z. Bezos also started the aerospace company Blue Origin, and owns the American daily newspaper The Washington Post.

There were 2,043 billionaires in the world last year. This year, the number has gone up to 2,208. The total net worth of all the billionaires is US$9.1 trillion. The United States has the largest number with 585, followed by China, Germany, India, and Russia. The state of California in the United States has 144 billionaires. If California was a country, it would be ranked 3rd for the most billionaires. You can view the complete list of the billionaires here.

Here is a video about Bezos.

Image Credits: https://twitter.com/jeffbezos for Bezos’ image, Amazon.com for its logo, https://www.forbes.com for the billionaire’s image
Sources: Forbes.com, Amazon.com

The 90th Academy Awards

The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, were held on March 4. They are one of the world’s most famous movie awards and are held annually in Los Angeles, U.S.A. The movie ‘The Shape of Water’ won the Best Picture award. The Best Actress in a Leading Role award went to Frances McDormand for her role in the movie ‘Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri’. The Best Actor in a Leading Role award went to Gary Oldman for his role in the movie ‘Darkest Hour’. The Best Animated Feature Film award was won by ‘Coco’. You can see the other winners here.

The first Oscars were held in 1929. The winners at the Awards are given an “Oscar”, a 13½-inch tall statuette of a knight on a reel of film holding a sword. It is unclear how the nickname came about, but one popular story is that a librarian who worked for the Academy mentioned that the statuette looked like her Uncle Oscar.



There was a fiasco at an Oscar after party. McDormand lost her Oscar. A man named Terry Bryant was found at the party with her Oscar, and he has been charged for stealing it. While at the party, he even posted a video on Facebook with the Oscar.

Here is a preview for one of the Oscar Animated Film nominees called ‘Loving Vincent’.

The film is about the painter Vincent van Gogh. Every one of the 65,000 frames of the film is an oil-painting hand-painted by 125 professional oil-painters.

Did you know?

The Razzie Awards, also known as the Golden Raspberry Awards, were held a day before the Oscars in Los Angeles. These are considered to be an “Academy Awards spoof”. Oscars celebrate the best in films, whereas Razzies pick the worst. The worst picture award went to ‘The Emoji Movie’. The worst actress award went to Tyler Perry for her role in ‘BOO! 2: A Medea Halloween’. The worst actor award went to Tom Cruise for his role in ‘The Mummy’.

Did you know?

Saudi Arabia lifted a 35-year-old ban on movie theaters and held the first public screening of a movie earlier this year. The Emoji Movie was the first movie screened.


Image Credits: http://www.foxsearchlight.com for the image of McDormand, https://www.oscars.org for the images of the Oscar logo and the statuette
Sources: www.oscars.org, http://lovingvincent.com, Los Angeles Times, http://www.razzies.com

First women’s race in Saudi Arabia

On March 3, Saudi Arabia held the nation’s first women’s race ever. It was a 3 km (1.9 mile) run, and 1,500 women participated. Mizna al-Nassar, a 28-year-old engineer, won with a run time of 15 minutes. Many of the runners wore a hijab (a head scarf) and an abaya (a robe).

Women don’t have the same rights as men in Saudi Arabia. There are a bunch of “cannot do’s” for women. However, the country has been making changes in recent years.

In 2012, Saudi Arabia sent women for the first time to take part in the Olympic Games. Women were allowed to vote and stand in the local election for the first time in 2015. Last year, women were allowed to go into a sports stadium. Recently, positions have opened up for women in the military. Women will be able to drive in the country starting June this year.

On the other hand, most women still cannot leave the country, get a job, marry, or divorce without the permission of their male guardian (who is their father, husband, brother, or son). When Saudi women go outside their homes, they are required to wear a hijab and an abaya.

Image Credits: http://english.alarabiya.net for the Saudi women runners and soliders image
Sources: http://english.alarabiya.net, BBC

A new Coca-Cola drink in Japan

The Coca-Cola Company will be launching a new drink in Japan that includes alcohol with sparkling water and flavoring. This will be the first time the company is offering an alcoholic drink in Japan. Coca-Cola keeps trying out new products. In 2016, it introduced nearly two new products globally per day. In Japan, the company launches about 100 new products every year.



Coca-Cola was invented in the United States in 1886 by a pharmacist named John Pemberton (image). Pemberton initially sold the drink for medicinal purposes, and claimed that it cured a few diseases. A man called Asa Candler bought the formula of the drink and went on to create the Coca-Cola Company in 1892.

Here is a video about this news story.


Did you know?

A 12-ounce can of Coke contains over 9 teaspoons of sugar.

Image Credits: http://www.coca-colacompany.com for the images of Pemberton and Coke’s logo
Sources: http://www.coca-colacompany.com, CNBC, https://www.wired.com, https://www.livestrong.com, http://money.cnn.com

Pi Day 2018

Remember to celebrate “Pi Day” on March 14. Pi (Greek letter “π”) is the name of a constant number in mathematics that represents the relationship between a circle’s diameter (its width) and its circumference (the distance around the circle). The value of the number is 3.1415926535… (and its digits go on forever).

Since March 14 is written as 3/14 in some countries, this day is celebrated as Pi Day. Many people eat and gift food in the shape of a circle (pizza and pies) to celebrate the number. The mirror image of “3.14” spells “PIE” (image).

Some nations where the date is written as day/month celebrate Pi Approximation Day on July 22. This is because the fraction 22/7 is used as an approximation of pi.

Albert Einstein, one of the world’s greatest scientists, was born on Pi Day. When you look at the image, you most probably see Albert Einstein. Now squint your eyes, who do you see now? The Hollywood actress Marilyn Monroe’s image is hidden in there.


Image Credits: http://www.piday.org for the 3.14-PIE shirt image and the Pi Day image, http://cvcl.mit.edu for the Einstein-Monroe image
Sources: http://www.piday.org, http://cvcl.mit.edu

A bit more news

The Berlin International Film Festival ended on February 25 in Berlin, the capital of Germany. It was an eleven day festival with over 21,000 visitors from more than 130 countries. The best film award called the Golden Bear was won by the movie ‘Touch Me Not’.

International Women’s Day 2018 (IWD) was celebrated on March 8. IWD is a day when people show respect and appreciation for women. It is also a day when people mark achievements of women. Many women took part in celebrations and marches around the globe. The McDonald’s restaurant chain flipped its golden arches logo in some locations in the United States to honor IWD. This year’s IWD campaign theme was Press for Progress. The first IWD was celebrated on March 19, 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland.

On some remote islands off of the Antarctic Peninsula’s northern tip, scientists have discovered a colony of Adélie penguins. It’s not just a colony, but it’s a super colony with over 1.5 million penguins on Danger Islands. How did scientists find these penguins? Well, simply because of penguin poop (called guano). The American space agency NASA had satellite images of the islands. These images showed large poop stains meaning there have got to be large numbers of animals on the islands.

Six pictograms used by toilet manufacturers in Japan have now been accepted as a global standard by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Last year, an association of toilet makers in Japan decided that toilets manufactured will all have the same symbols on the control panels. The pictograms on the toilet buttons tell a person what the toilet will do if the button is pressed. The symbols were agreed upon by the Japanese manufactures and were sent to ISO to become an international standard.

Astronomers have detected signals from some of the first stars in our universe. These signals are estimated to be about 180 million years after the Big Bang. Many scientists believe that our universe was created with a “Big Bang”. The whole universe was inside something smaller than the tip of your pencil. That little point suddenly expanded and created all the matter in the universe. In fact, even today our universe is still expanding. Our universe is approximately 13.8 billion years old and our planet Earth is about 4.5 billion years old.

Here is a a clip showing the Adélie penguins and a video about the signals from the first stars.

Image Credits: https://www.berlinale.de Berlin International Film Festival’s logo, https://www.internationalwomensday.com for IWD’s theme image, NASA for the Danger Islands image, Wikipedia for Danger Islands map image, http://www.meti.go.jp for the toilet pictogram image, N.R.Fuller, National Science Foundation for the image of the timeline
Sources: https://www.berlinale.de, https://www.internationalwomensday.com, http://fortune.com, https://www.cnet.com, NASA.gov, https://www.stonybrook.edu, http://www.meti.go.jp, https://www.iso.org, http://www.newsonjapan.com, https://www.nsf.gov, http://news.mit.edu, https://www.nasa.gov

President Zuma resigns

South African President Jacob Zuma (image) resigned on February 14. He had been the leader of the nation for 9 years. He is 75 years old, and currently has 4 wives and more than 20 children. He was brought up by his mother who struggled to make a living. Zuma did not receive a formal education. As a young boy, he joined the fight against apartheid. He was thrown into jail along with Nelson Mandela.

Zuma was respected for his fight against apartheid. However, his presidency was marked with corruption, accusations, and scandals. He was asked by his own political party to step down. Cyril Ramaphosa (image) has taken over as president of South Africa.



One of the biggest issues that South Africa faced was apartheid, where people of different races were treated differently and led separate lives. Apartheid went into effect as an official policy in the country in 1948. The schools, hospitals, restaurants, and beaches that people could go to depended upon their race. The majority of South Africans were black people, and the minority were white. The white people were favored over the others, and were treated in a superior manner. Apartheid came to an end in 1991.

Nelson Mandela was born in a small town in South Africa in 1918. His name was Rolihlahla Mandela, and he was given the name “Nelson” by his school teacher because it was common practice for school children to be given “Christian” names. He studied to become a lawyer. In the 1950s, he became involved in trying to bring an end to apartheid. He was arrested in 1962 and spent 27 years in a prison on Robben Island. While in jail, he became a strong symbol for the fight against apartheid. He was finally released in 1990. The country held its first multi-racial elections in 1994. Mandela won, becoming the first black president of South Africa. Mandela died in 2013. He is remembered for his fight against apartheid and for his beliefs that all people are equal, regardless of skin color, religion, or background.

Here is a video about this news story.

Did you know?

South Africa’s second largest city, Cape Town, might run out of water very soon. The city officials had predicted that the day will be in April, but now have pushed back the day to July.

Image Credits: https://www.gov.za for the images of Zuma and Ramaphosa, http://www.sahistory.org.za for the White Area sign and Mandela’s image
Sources: Newsy, BBC, https://www.biography.com

New exoplanets discovered

NASA’s Kepler space telescope has discovered 95 new exoplanets. This brings the total number of verified exoplanets to over 3,700. An exoplanet is a planet outside our solar system that orbits a star other than the Sun. These planets have all been discovered in the last 30 years. The first scientific detection of an exoplanet was in 1988, and the first exoplanet was confirmed in the 1990s.

When an exoplanet is discovered, you keep hearing about whether or not the planet is in the “Goldilocks zone” (or “habitable zone”). Remember the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears? Goldilocks doesn’t like the soup that is too hot or too cold; she likes the one that has just the right temperature. She doesn’t like the bowl that is too big or too small; she likes the one that is just the right size. If a planet is in the “Goldilocks zone”, it implies that it has just the right size, temperature, and distance from its star to be in the “habitable zone” or, in other words, to support life on it. Most scientists believe water is needed to have life on a planet, and therefore, they look for planets which could contain water.

Kepler’s mission is to find planets where life could exist. Kepler took off from the United States in 2009. It is trying to find Earth-sized planets that might have temperatures similar to Earth and have water. To find such planets, Kepler watches stars in certain regions in our galaxy. When a planet passes in front of its star, there is a small decrease in the brightness of the star.

By observing these decreases, Kepler can determine the presence of a planet, the time the planet takes to orbit the star, the mass of the planet, and even its temperature. This provides a good indication of whether or not the newly discovered planet is Earth-like or not.

Kepler is named after the German astronomer and mathematician Johannes Kepler, who died in 1630.

Here is a video about Kepler.

Image Credits:  http://kepler.nasa.gov for Kepler and planets’ images
Sources: NASA, http://exoplanet.eu, https://www.britannica.com, https://www.usatoday.com

KFC has chicken problems

What is Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) without chicken? KFC had to shut down many of its restaurants in the United Kingdom because it didn’t have enough chicken. It changed its chicken supplier and ran into some delivery problems. It has about 900 restaurants in the UK. The company tweeted: “The chicken crossed the road, just not to our restaurants.”


KFC is an American fast food restaurant chain. Its specialty is fried chicken. It was started as a restaurant by Colonel Harland Sanders in the 1930s.

There are a whole bunch of chicken-crossing-road jokes. Here are a couple:

Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side.

Why did the dinosaur cross the road? Because chickens hadn’t evolved yet.

Image Credits: http://kfcfoundation.org for Sanders’ image, https://www.kfc.com for its logo
Sources: https://www.kfc.com, https://www.cnbc.com, http://www.kidspot.com.au