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The World This Week: Mars Touchdown, Texas Blackouts And A Missing Dubai Princess

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As we near the end of February, it’s safe to say it’s been nothing less than a week of turmoil and triumphs. From a NASA landing on Mars, a state-wide blackout in Texas and a missing Dubai princess to mention a few developments. 

Here are five noteworthy stories from around the world.

1. Here’s a NASA rover on Mars.

U.S agency NASA has successfully landed a rover called Perseverance on the equator of Mars. It landed in a deep crater called Jezero, which scientists believe held a huge lake billions of years ago.

This is the second one-tonne rover put on the red planet by NASA, which, unsurprisingly, is an extraordinarily complicated feat. NASA engineers celebrated their hard work, erupting with joy at the news of touchdown.

The space mission will look for signs of past life for the next two years, take pictures and samples of the most interesting rocks to earth at the end of the decade.

2. Texas is under a blackout.

Millions have been left without power in Texas after a deadly winter storm tore through the Southern US this week and caused power blackouts at treatment facilities.

Freezing temperatures have also caused major water pipes to burst, leaving at least 12 million Texans left to boil their tap water as it may be contaminated. At least 50 people have died so far.

US President Joe Biden has approved a state of emergency for Texas, which was completely covered in snow last weekend, with temperatures reaching under -18C. The state’s energy grid has been overwhelmed with a surge in demand to try battle the cold.

Meanwhile, high-profile Texan senator Ted Cruz found himself in a different kind of storm. He was caught fleeing to sunny Cancun, Mexico while his constituents were left without power and water. Cruz has now returned to Houston, after a barrage of online criticism and memes.

3. Boris Johnson pledges to give extra vaccines to poorer countries.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged to donate surplus COVID-19 vaccines to poorer countries and cut the time needed to produce a jab by 100 days. Chairing a G7 summit, Johnson is looking to dismantle accusations that rich countries are hoarding jabs while poorer countries are left to fend for themselves.

Russia and China are threatening to escalate a vaccine diplomacy war, by sending their own vaccines directly to Africa. Meanwhile, French President Macron has unveiled a proposal to send 5% of Europe’s vaccines to Africa immediately, with the backing of German chancellor Angela Merkel.

At least 194 million jabs have been administered worldwide since vaccination programmes began.

4. The first protester has died as Myanmar faces an on-going coup.

A 19-year-old young woman has become the first to die in an anti-coup protest in Myanmar after being shot in the head.

Myanmar has been submerged in protests following a military coup that overthrew its democratically-elected government.

Mya Thwe Khaing has become a martyr in the fight for Myanmar’s democracy but her death is just a drop in the ocean of civil disobedience. Her image has been painted and hung in huge posters in the capital.

The military’s strategy against protestors seems to be to ‘wait them out’ until economic hardships and exhaustion drive them off the streets.

5. United Nations is demanding proof that the Dubai ruler’s daughter is alive.

The United Nations human rights office has asked the United Arab Emirates for proof that Princess Latifa, daughter of Dubai’s ruler, is alive.

BBC recently shared an alarming video of Princess Latifa were she claims her father is holding her hostage in Dubai after trying to escape in 2018. She said she feared for her life.

The video prompted global calls for a full-scale investigation into the situation.

In 2018, Princess Latifa tried to flee Dubai to start a new life, away from the oppressive shackles on women in UAE. Days later she was captured by police on a boat in the Indian Ocean and was sent back. There has been radio silence ever since.

Is there an international news piece you think we’ve missed? Comment below 

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Sam is an over-caffeinated artist fighting for a cooler and freer world, one article, song or impromptu protest at a time. Hit her up with thought-provoking ideas or dreams at [email protected] or @princess.wonderful on Instagram.

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