From February 18th to 25th, take a moment and bite into your favourite current affairs sandwich.
Two young Kiwi athletes made their Olympic dreams a reality this week and will be coming home with more than just the weight of their skis and snowboards in their bags. That’s right… New Zealand took home two medals this year! History was made when snowboarder Zoi Sadowski-Synnott managed to stick the landing of a trick she had been working on but never landed in competition before. She became the youngest New Zealander to win a Winter Olympic medal, until skier Nico Porteous dethroned her with an impressive halfpipe run. The 16-year-old athletes both won a bronze medal in their chosen events, and have been beaming with joy ever since. It had been 26 years since a Kiwi won a medal at the Winter Games, until this pair came along and blew everything out of the water… or shall I say the snow?
Adding to New Zealand’s success this week was the announcement of the annual New Zealander of the Year. Pay equity campaigner Kristine Bartlett was the recipient of this year’s award for her tireless efforts campaigning in the realm of equal pay. She made it her duty to ensure women were being paid as much as men in the support and care workers sector. Thankfully, her work paid off with over 50,000 staff around the country getting significant boosts. Other New Zealanders were also recognised for their efforts to make our country a better place, including the CEO of StudyTime, an organisation which helps students get NCEA E’s (excellences) with ease.
February 22nd is an important day for New Zealanders, especially those who reside in Christchurch. From when the alarm clocks of the Cantabrians ring to wake, thoughts and memories of loss rush back to their minds. It is a day to commemorate the 185 lives lost. The annual earthquake memorial took place in the central city, with residents reflecting on the pain the city had to endure. Ever since, the city has been finding ways to become more resilient after the tragedy. The memorial was visited by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who promised that she would do anything she could to help the children of Christchurch, who grew up with memories of the earthquake, “some of them may not have directly experienced tragedy and loss; but they will always have a sense of it around them.”
Last week’s school shooting at a Florida high school sparked outrage from students nationwide that not enough is being done on gun control. Protests outside of the White House led to action being taken around the topic of gun control, such as proposing that the buying age be raised from 18 to 21, and a rumoured ban on bump stocks, which make guns fire at a quicker rate. Critics have argued this won’t make a significant impact on gun violence in the United States, a statistic among the highest in the world. School walkouts in protest of the current gun laws are expected to occur later this year, with the intent of making it harder for people in the United States to obtain firearms.
Activists in the United States are outraged at President Trump after he announced a plan to give teachers guns to prevent school shootings. He announced the upcoming policy on Twitter, to his millions of followers, saying “Armed Educators (and trusted people who work within a school) love our students and will protect them. Very smart people. Must be firearms adept & have annual training. Should get yearly bonus. Shootings will not happen again – a big & very inexpensive deterrent. Up to States.” Members of the famous right-wing National Rifle Association have stated that it takes a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun, in support of Trump’s policy to arm teachers. The policy has been ridiculed and scrutinised to the full extent by protesters in support of gun control.
This week, chicken lovers and fast food connoisseurs alike have been shocked by the news that famous fried chicken restaurant KFC ran out of chicken. Various KFC franchises in the UK had to shut down due to shortages of chicken. You may not think this is a major issue, but some people claimed this as a “crisis” akin to the apocalypse. The closure of Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants led disgruntled customers to chaos, with some resorting to calling the police. An advert has surfaced from the brand starting with the line “A chicken shop without any chicken. It’s not ideal.” KFC may have been paying too much attention following the age-old saying “don’t count your chickens before they hatch.”
Former Prime Minister Bill English is set to be replaced on Tuesday, with 5 MPs vying for the role of National Party leader. Will it be car crusher Collins, the former transport minister dubbed “Simon Tunnels”, the MP for Selwyn, the former finance minister who got a sex toy notoriously thrown at his head, or mystery man Mark Mitchell? Until Tuesday, the race is on, and the debate on who will lead New Zealand’s biggest political party has only just begun.
The Super Rugby season kicked off faster than some of the players can run, with the BNZ Crusaders defeating the Chiefs from Hamilton. Games will be played in order to secure finals places in August.