News Briefs

Veronica Novotny



Will Smith slaps Chris Rock during Oscars over joke about Smith’s wife

Comedian Chris Rock took the stage Sunday night at the 94th Academy Awards Ceremony to present the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature. But, after he made a joke at Jada Pinkett Smith’s expense, her husband, Will Smith, walked onstage and slapped Rock. Rock had compared Pinkett Smith to G.I. Jane, referencing her recent hair loss due to the autoimmune disease alopecia. Smith published a formal apology on his Instagram page Monday, writing, “My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally.”

First female Black SCOTUS nominee enters confirmation hearings

The nomination hearings for Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman to be nominated to the Supreme Court, began March 21. Coming out of four days of lengthy hearings, Jackson received high praises from Democrats and harsh criticism from Republicans. Republicans pressed Jackson on a variety of issues but received no answer when they asked her to define the word “woman.” In the viral clip, Jackson said that she cannot provide a definition since she is “not a biologist.” Cory Booker, D-N.J., praised Jackson in a clip that went viral, telling her, “Today, you’re my star. You are my harbinger of hope.”

USA likely to qualify for World Cup 2022

The United States men’s national soccer team (USMNT) won 5-1 over Panama Sunday at a qualifying match for the Qatar World Cup. Christian Pulisic, who plays winger and attacking midfielder, scored a hat trick during the match. Wednesday’s match in Costa Rica was scheduled to guarantee the U.S. spot; the U.S. could win, tie or lose by less than a six-point margin and make it into the cup. USMNT’s neighbor Canada has already qualified for the World Cup with a 4-0 win over Jamaica the same day. The World Cup will be held in Qatar from Nov. 21 to Dec. 18.



Pope Francis consecrates Ukraine, Russia, whole world to Mary

Pope Francis prayed an act of consecration entrusting “ourselves, the church and all humanity, especially Russia and Ukraine,” on the solemnity of the Annunciation, March 25. Francis led a Lenten penance service in St. Peter’s Basilica and prayed for an end to war and the spread of peace. Over 5,000 people were in attendance, both inside St. Peter’s Basilica and watching on screens in the outdoor square, according to the Vatican. Andrii Yurash, Ukraine’s ambassador to the Holy See, was in attendance.

Russian billionaire possibly poisoned at Ukraine-Belarus peace talk

Roman Abramovich, who owns the Chelsea football club, developed sore eyes and peeling skin after attending peace talks on the Ukraine-Belarus border at the beginning of March. Two Ukrainian negotiators were also reported to be affected. One unnamed U.S. official was quoted by Reuters as saying that Abramovich’s symptoms could possibly be an environmental response rather than intentional poisoning.

Canada, US sign agreements with EU to wean off Russian oil

Canadian Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, the country’s head of natural resources, said March 24 that Canada would increase its exports to offer other countries an alternative to Russian gas and oil. Both Canada and the U.S. have signed agreements with the EU in the past week to increase their exports to countries in the EU. Around 10% of the oil that the EU gets from Russia every year will now be provided by the U.S. instead. Canada is the fourth-largest oil producer in the world after Russia, Saudi Arabia and the U.S.