US Army announces dischargement of all unvaccinated soldiers
The United States Army has officially announced plans to begin discharging all unvaccinated soldiers. The largest and oldest branch in the military was late to the announcement; the Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy have already started discharging the unvaccinated. 96% of Army personnel have voluntarily received the vaccine, with 3,300 of the remaining personnel subject to dischargement. According to the same report, while over 3,000 personnel have claimed and requested permanent medical or religious exemptions, only six of these have been granted. Included in this group are not only active duty but civilians and private contractors. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said this is a critical national security issue.
Biden administration attacks ISIS leaders; draws criticism, praise
The leader of the Islamic State and at least 12 citizens were killed in a suicide explosion after a U.S. special operations raid attacked a compound in Syria Feb. 3. The goal of the raid was to arrest or kill Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, ISIS leader, without leading to civilian deaths. However, when the ISIS leader and one of his top lieutenants detonated their own explosives in order to commit suicide, at least 12 civilians, including women and children, were killed. The Biden administration has praised the raid, arguing that al-Qurayshi still represented a major threat to American security and safety concerns. Opponents of the move argue that the terrorist provided little to no threat, and that the 12 unassociated civilians did not either.
US sends 3,000 troops to Europe; readies to deter aggression
The U.S. Department of Defense has made the decision to send 3,000 troops to Germany, Poland and Romania. A spokesperson for the Pentagon clarified after the move was originally brought into public attention that the troops, who won’t be permanently stationed in Europe, will not be fighting in the ongoing Ukraine crisis. However, the spokesperson has stated that while the troops will be working for a variety of goals and positions, one of the main ones is to deter aggression. The Pentagon also referenced Article 5 in the official statement, a NATO document that equated an attack on one ally to an attack on all.
International Olympic Committee holds meeting with Chinese tennis star
The International Olympic Committee (IOC), after plenty of international ire and attention, has met with Peng Shuai, the Chinese tennis star, in order to understand her situation. The ire and attention came after she exposed a Chinese Communist Party official for sexual assault. In late November 2021, the IOC claimed they started discussions with Shuai over the phone in order to ensure her wellbeing and safety. Shuai disappeared from social media shortly after the first allegations surfaced. The IOC reported positively on her safety after the in-person meeting and has announced they will continue communication with the former leading international tennis star.
NASA announces plan to decommission International Space Station in 2031
After both concerns and drama on the international level between the U.S. and Russia, NASA has announced and begun preparations for the end of the International Space Station (ISS). NASA has decided to retire the aging station, destroyed by debris and wear and tear. Within days of the announcement, several public firms came out and announced their own plans to replace the ISS. Some of the American firms include Axiom Space, Blue Origin and Nanoracks. SpaceX has announced multiple plans for the replacement station.
German archbishop argues to loosen celibacy rules for priests
Before a meeting of Catholic German bishops began Feb. 3, Archbishop Reinhard Marx of Munich commented on some documents that put blame of the Germany sexual abuse crisis on Marx, his direct predecessors and even included Pope Benedict XVI. Marx stated that, while priests don’t need to get married for sexual reasons, they could gain something from not being lonely. Marx claims that this gain would result in less sexual assault from priests in the Church.