State of emergency in the Maldives

The government of the Maldives has declared a state of emergency. This gives extra power to the government police to make arrests and ban public gatherings. Two senior judges of the country’s Supreme Court were arrested. The Supreme Court had ruled that people who have been jailed because they oppose the government’s policies or are from different political parties should be released. However, the country’s President Abdulla Yameen refused to do that, and instead declared a state of emergency. A day later, the remaining Supreme Court judges took back the Court’s ruling. Yameen has been the president since 2013.

In 2016, the government of the Maldives withdrew from the Commonwealth group. This is because the Commonwealth complained to the Maldivian government about its treatment of people who oppose the government. Many of these people had been jailed. The Commonwealth is a group of 52 countries most of which were part of the British Empire in the past.

The Maldives is a country in the Indian Ocean made up of nearly 1,200 islands. The country is famous for its white sandy beaches, blue water, coral reefs, palm trees, and stunning resorts. The country’s beauty attracts many tourists. The capital of the Maldives is the busy, bustling city of Male (image). The Maldives’ official language is Dhivehi. It was under the control of the British for almost 80 years and got its independence in 1965.

Here is a video about this news story.

Image Credits: http://www.presidencymaldives.gov.mv for Yameen’s image, Shahee Ilyas for Male’s image
Sources: http://thecommonwealth.org, BBC, TRT World, ABC News, http://www.presidencymaldives.gov.mv, CIA World Factbook

A change to O Canada

The Canadian Senate has passed a bill that will make the English version of the Canadian national anthem gender-neutral. The anthem, “O Canada”, has a phrase that reads, “in all thy sons command.” The bill changes these words to “in all of us.” Before it becomes the law, the bill has to get approval from the country’s governor general. “O Canada” officially became the country’s anthem in 1980. The national anthem has a French version as well.

Justin Trudeau (image) is the prime minister of Canada. Canada has a monarch, and her name is Elizabeth II. She is also the Queen of the United Kingdom. Canada is a Commonwealth country.

 

 

 

The maple tree and the beaver are two of Canada’s national symbols. One of the country’s landmarks is the CN Tower (image) located in Toronto. French and English are the official languages of the country. Canada is the second largest country in the world by area (after Russia), and it is the country with the longest coastline. Ottawa is its capital.

 

 

 

Image Credits: https://pm.gc.ca for Justin Trudeau’s image, https://www.canada.ca for the beaver’s image, Wladyslaw for the image of CN Tower
Sources: https://www.canada.ca, https://pm.gc.ca, http://www.cbc.ca, CNN, http://thecommonwealth.org

2018 African Nations Championship

On February 4, Morocco beat Nigeria to win the 2018 African Nations Championship, a soccer tournament held every two years among countries in the African continent. The score was 4-0. The tournament was held in Morocco and sixteen countries participated. There is another soccer tournament held every two years in Africa. It’s called the Africa Cup of Nations, and it is held on odd-numbered years.

Morocco is a young country, where about 85% of the population is below the age of 54. For comparison, about 60% of the population in Japan is below the age of 54. Morocco’s capital is Rabat, and its largest city is Casablanca. Most of the country’s population follows the religion of Islam. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the “oldest existing, and continually operating educational institution in the world” is the University of Karueein (image), founded in 859 AD in Fez, Morocco.
Image Credits: http://www.cafonline.com for the image of the Morocco team, Abdel Hassouni for University of Karueein’s image
Sources: http://www.cafonline.com, http://www.maroc.ma, CIA World Factbook, Guinness Book of World Records

60th Annual Grammy Awards

The Grammy Awards, considered very prestigious in the music industry, were given out on January 28 in Los Angeles, USA. The “Song of the Year” award went to “That’s What I Like”, by Bruno Mars. The “Album of the Year” award went to “24K Magic”, by Bruno Mars. The “Best Pop Solo Performance” went to “Shape Of You” by Ed Sheeran. There were many other awards. You can see the list here.

 

 

“Grammy” is short for “gramophone”, and the trophy that is awarded is in the shape of a gramophone. The Grammy Awards are held every year and were first held in 1959. You can watch “That’s What I Like” here.

 

 


Image Credits: https://www.grammy.com for Grammy’s logo, http://www.brunomars.com for Mars’ image
Sources: https://www.grammy.com

Backwards Day

Hope you did something backwards on January 31, the annual “Backwards Day”.  People do all sorts of things backwards – walk, talk, run, read, write, wear clothes inside out, and many other backward things.

 

Did you know?

Leonardo da Vinci sometimes used “mirror writing.” He would write from the right to the left, with the individual letters reversed. Here is a website where you can write like he did.

Image Credits: http://www.sparkpeople.com for Backwards Day image
Sources: https://nationaldaycalendar.com, https://www.mos.org

Google doodle competition

The company Google is holding its annual “Doodle 4 Google” competition for kids in the United States. On some days, Google has a special logo with a drawing around the letters g-o-o-g-l-e, which is called the Google doodle. The theme of the doodle competition this year is “What inspires me.”  The deadline for submitting a doodle is March 2, and the winner will be announced in June. Here is more information about the competition. You can see last year’s winning image here.

Image Credits: google.com
Sources: https://doodles.google.com/d4g

New words

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) recently added over a thousand new words and phrases to its dictionary. A few of the entries are “hangry” (adj, bad-tempered as a result of hunger), “mansplaining” (v, of a man: to explain something needlessly, overbearingly, or condescendingly), and “me time” (n, time devoted to doing what one wants). Here is a link to the whole list of the new additions. OED makes updates to its dictionary four times a year. Here is a video about how many words there are in the English language.

Image Credits: http://www.oed.com for its logo
Sources: http://www.oed.com

Two presidents win a second term

Presidential elections took place in the Czech Republic, and the current President Milos Zeman won another term. He won with just over 51% of the votes. Zeman is 73 years old and is known to be pro-Russia and anti-immigration.

The Czech Republic used to be part of another nation called Czechoslovakia. In 1993, Czechoslovakia split into two countries, one was the Czech Republic, and any guesses for the name of the other country? It was Slovakia.

 

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez was sworn in for his second term. He is 49 years old. Some of Hernandez’s promises are to create jobs, tackle corruption, unite the nation, and decrease crime and violence. According to the constitution of Honduras, a president could only serve for one term. However, the Supreme Court of the nation gave Hernandez the go-ahead to run for a second term. There have been many complaints by Hernandez’s opponents of fraud during the elections.

 

The capital of Honduras is Tegucigalpa. Soccer is the most popular sport. In fact, the game even led to a war! Honduras was playing against El Salvador to qualify for the 1970 FIFA World Cup, when fans insulted and harassed each other’s teams. The tension between the two countries, which was already high, was further increased, and a four-day war broke out between them.

Image Credits: Presidencia de la República for the image of President Juan Orlando Hernandez, OISV for Zeman’s image
Sources: https://www.usnews.com, https://www.nytimes.com, http://www.aljazeera.com, http://adst.org

Earthquake in Taiwan

A powerful earthquake of magnitude 6.4 on the Richter scale struck off the east coast of Taiwan near Hualien City. Many homes, buildings, bridges, and roads were damaged. Over 200 people have been injured.

Taiwan is an island at a distance of about 100 miles (160 km) from mainland China. The status of Taiwan is a controversy. Taiwan has its own government and runs its own economy. China considers Taiwan to be a part of itself. Many countries agree with this but still do business with Taiwan as if it is a separate nation. Many Taiwanese want Taiwan to be an independent country.

Here is a video about China and Taiwan, and another about earthquakes.

Image Credits: https://earthquake.usgs.gov for the image of Taiwan’s earthquake location
Sources: https://www.taiwannews.com.tw, NowThis World

Falcon Heavy lifts off

On February 6, SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket lifted off from Florida, USA. It was its first test flight, and it was successful. It is now the most powerful operational rocket in the world by a factor of two. According to SpaceX, it can lift into orbit “a mass greater than a 737 jetliner loaded with passengers, crew, luggage, and fuel.” What object did the rocket carry into space on its first mission? It was Elon Musk’s old red Tesla car with a mannequin in the driver’s seat.

 

 

 

SpaceX was founded in 2002. Musk (image) is its CEO. The company’s ultimate goal is “to enable people to live on other planets.” Musk is a 46-year-old entrepreneur born in South Africa. He also helped create the electric car company Tesla Motors.

Here is an animated video about Falcon Heavy.

 

Image Credits: SpaceX for Falcon Heavy’s image, Steve Jurvetson for Musk’s image
Sources: SpaceX, BBC, http://www.latimes.com