By Grace Ostuni
On the afternoon of April 11, a fire began at a recycling plant in Richmond, Indiana. Because plastics were burned, the smoke from the fire is considered toxic.
“There is a host of different chemicals that plastics give off when they’re on fire, and it’s concerning,” said Steven Jones, the Indiana Fire Marshal.
Officials issued evacuation orders for residents within a half mile of the fire. Additionally, residents living outside of this area are encouraged to shelter in place. The Richmond Community School District cancelled classes on Wednesday, April 12, encouraging people to follow these guidelines.
Since Wednesday morning, the fire has been contained to the factory property. The property cannot be saved, but the surrounding buildings will not be destroyed. The Wayne County Health Department has said that its main concern is smoke. The EPA will be involved in monitoring air quality 24 hours a day.
Richmond mayor Dave Snow said that the owner of the factory will be held responsible for the fire. “He has been warned several times. We have an unsafe citation that was issued to him,” said Jones.
The cause of the fire has not yet been disclosed. President Joe Biden has offered his full support and additional federal assistance.
On April 10, six people were killed and eight were injured during a shooting at the Old National Bank of Louisville, Kentucky.
Connor Sturgeon, an employee of the bank, used an AR-15 to open fire on his coworkers, thirty minutes before the bank opened to the public.
Among the injured was police officer Nikolas Wilt, who was shot in the head and is stable but still in critical condition. Sturgeon was killed after exchanging shots with the police.
“Our city is heartbroken,” says Mayor Craig Greenburg. “These…victims should not be dead – just like everyone else who was killed by gun violence in our city, in our country, should not be dead.”
Sturgeon live-streamed the shooting on his Instagram page. This video was quickly taken down by Meta.
According to his mother, Sturgeon struggled with depression but showed no signs of aggression or violence. On Monday morning, he told his roommate he was suicidal. Police say he also left a note.
On Wednesday night, the city held a vigil to grieve the five victims.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a six-week abortion ban on April 14. It will take effect if the state Supreme Court votes to overturn its past ruling.
The new law would allow for some exceptions to the abortion ban, such as saving a woman’s life. Additionally, abortions for pregnancies resulting from rape, incest or human trafficking would be legal until 15 weeks, so long as the woman has documentation.
If a physician performs an abortion that does not fall under these exceptions, he or she would be punished by up to five years in prison. If a woman dies during an illegal abortion, the physician who performed it could receive a sentence of up to 15 years.
The legislation would also provide about $30 million in funding to support parents and families. This act supports DeSantis’ campaign pledge to prevent abortion after the detection of a heartbeat.
“We have the opportunity to lead the national debate about the importance of protecting life and giving every child the opportunity to be born and find his or her purpose,” said Republican Representative Jenna Persons-Mulicka.
Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, said the proposed ruling is, “is out of step with the views of the vast majority of the people of Florida and all of the United States.”
On the morning of April 13, North Korea launched a missile in the direction of Japan.
Millions of people in Hokkaido, a Japanese island, received an evacuation order. However, this order was soon revoked, with authorities saying there was no way the missile would land on or near the island.
Some citizens expressed their confusion at why there would be an evacuation order on a missile that would not even come near their island. However, authorities said they were addressing the threat with the information they had at the time.
The missile fell into waters outside of Japan’s exclusive economic zone and appeared to be a mid or long-range ballistic missile fired from an area near Pyongyang. South Korea say that they believe it is a new type of ballistic missile.
“This launch is a brazen violation of the multiple UN Security Council resolutions and needlessly raises tensions and risks destabilizing the security situation in the region,” said Adrienne Watson, the National Security Council spokesperson.
She continued, “The United States will take all necessary measures to ensure the security of the American homeland and Republic of Korea and Japanese allies.”
Hundreds of thousands of union activists protested in front of the Paris headquarters of luxury goods company LVMH on Thursday, April 13.
They were protesting a retirement reform bill that would increase the age of retirement from 62 to 64. The vote for the bill is on Friday.
LVMH owns companies such as Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior. Instead of increasing the retirement age, these activists are calling for the rich to be taxed more.
“You’re looking for money to finance pensions? Take it from the pockets of billionaires,” Sud Rail union leader Fabien Villedieu said.
Garbage collectors and incinerator workers are planning on joining the strike.
France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, is not withdrawing the bill. He says he is not worried about the outcome of the vote and is already planning on implementing it before the end of 2023.
Macron says, “the country must continue to move forward,” and these reforms are necessary. This is the twelfth day of strikes, and the trade unions claim these protests will continue if the bill passes.
The European Space Agency launched the JUICE spacecraft to explore Jupiter and three of its moons on Friday morning.
The spacecraft was launched from French Guiana after being delayed due to adverse weather conditions.
“The main goal is to understand whether there are habitable environments among those icy moons and around a giant planet like Jupiter,” said planetary scientist Oliver Witasse.
JUICE is short for “Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer.” The spacecraft is scheduled to reach Jupiter in July 2031. Experts told reporters that JUICE will use the gravity of four planets to conserve energy.
“This will be the most accurate gravity assist maneuver ever done,” said ESA scientist Alessandro Atzei.
JUICE is also set to become the first spacecraft to orbit a moon in the outer solar system. This cost of the mission is about $1.65 billion.
NASA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, and the Israel Space Agency are partners on this mission. The end of the expedition is scheduled for September 2035.