D’you ever have one of those achingly embarrassing moments where everyone starts talking current events and you realise that you have no idea what they’re on about? Ick. I feel ya. Ignorance is never a good look. Here’s a brief round up of what’s going on in the world this week, and what it means.
The Chinese stock market plummeted
The Chinese stock market has been in trouble for a while, but this latest dip has been dubbed ‘Black Monday’ and is alarming people world-wide. More than half of China’s leading businesses have frozen sales of their shares and the government are loaning money out to people who want to buy up the remaining stock (which, in theory, would stabilise the market) – but the crash hasn’t stopped. It’s being likened to the Wall Street Crash, with many worried that this strain on the world’s second-largest economy will have a domino effect. Big US companies rely heavily on business from China and even UK brands are finding that their stocks are losing value. The bottom line is: global economy isn’t doing fantastically as it is, and we’re all pretty tangled up with China’s dealings.
Europe’s migrant crisis
Last year 3,500 people lost their lives crossing the Mediterranean to seek asylum in Europe from war zones like Iraq, Syria and Libya. Since the beginning of 2015, more than 2000 have died in the same circumstances – and it’s only August. The crisis hit the headlines again this week when the Italian Coastguard led a massive rescue mission after receiving distress calls from more than 20 vessels trying to reach Europe. Opinions are tense and drastically divided – humanitarians are pleading for European powers to minimise casualties and create safer routes, while others are reluctant to put a strain on European resources for those who are entering Europe illegally. EU Leaders Angela Merkel (Germany) and François Hollande (France) are to meet in Berlin to discuss Europe’s response to the crisis.
Attempted shoot-up on a French train
Last Saturday a gunman was overpowered by several passengers after he opened fire on a train from Amsterdam to France. His apprehenders included two off-duty US soldiers, their US civilian friend, a British businessman and an American-French professor (who is receiving treatment after being shot in the back and neck). Initially the attacker, Ayoub el-Khazzani, claimed that he had found a case full of weapons the night before and intended to use them to rob passengers on the train. Since then it’s been discovered that el-Khazzani had watched an extremist video on his phone minutes before opening fire, so the case is now being treated as a possible terrorist investigation. The men who thwarted the attack and averted massacre and tragedy were awarded France’s highest honour (Legion d’honneur) by French president François Hollande on Monday.
And in other news…
At Beijing Capital airport, a woman was said to have downed a full bottle of Rémy Martin cognac after being told she couldn’t bring liquids through security. She promptly passed out and was deemed too drunk to fly.
A 12 year old boy tripped while wandering an art exhibition and punched a hole through a 350-year-old painting worth $1.5million. The museum hosting the painting confirmed that the piece is permanently damaged, but they won’t be seeking compensation from the child’s family.
A British couple have admitted to faking the husband’s coma so that he could escape trial. He’d been caught stealing £40,000 from his neighbour, but managed to avoid sentencing by pretending to be a quadriplegic and in a coma for two years.
The Walking Dead spin-off, Fear the Walking Dead shattered records when it aired on Sunday. The 90-minute pilot was the most-watched premiere in US history, with 10.1 million viewers.
Police caught a penguin wandering the streets of Peru on Saturday (and named him Pingui!) The poor thing is said to have avoided dog attacks and traffic accidents, but will soon be moved to a safe penguin habitat local to his rescuers.
Featured image by Horia Varlan.