Over 70 Syrians Dead in Chemical Attack in Douma—
Hundreds of Syrian civilians exhibited symptoms of exposure to toxic chemicals and medical workers have reported that over 70 have died of suffocation in a suspected chemical attack on April 8 in the rebel-held town of Douma. Rescuers and aid groups say that the attack was executed by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government. State news media denied government use of chemical weapons and said that the videos of civilians suffocating to death in Douma were fabricated by the rebel group, Army of Islam, to garner international support. The British Foreign Office has called for an immediate investigation, while the Russian Defense Ministry denied government use of chemical weapons. The suspected attack occurred during a long push by the Syrian government to retake towns east of Damascus, an area known as Eastern Ghouta. Civilians may have been more susceptible to chemical attack, as many were hiding in basements to avoid present conflicts with the Syrian government. Russia has warned against launching military action in Syria while U.S. President Donald Trump promised a “forceful” response to the attack.
Bus Crash Kills 15 of Canadian Men’s Hockey Team—
Fifteen people died when a bus carrying Canadian Junior Hockey League team, the Humboldt Broncos, collided with a tractor trailer on a rural road in Saskatchewan on April 7. Among the dead are at least nine players, the team’s head coach Darcy Haugan, an assistant coach and two people from a local radio station. The players were aged 16-21. The remaining 14 people on board were injured and the driver of the tractor trailer was not injured. Authorities have said that there is a continuing investigation into the cause of the accident. The community-owned team has won two national championships and the town has a strong connection to the team, as the arena is considered the center of the community. Hotels have offered family members of victims free accommodations and a Gofundme page has raised over $1.5 million for the team. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement of support and called the town’s mayor and the team president offering his sympathy.
Texas to Deploy National Guard to Mexican Border—
After U.S. President Donald Trump said that he would order military presence to the southern border of the United States, Texas dispatched approximately 250 Texas National Guard troops. President Trump said that the troops are needed to combat what he called a looming threat of drugs, crime and illegal immigrants from the southern border. Defense Secretary James Mattis signed an order April 7 to authorize funding for 4,000 National Guard troops through Sept. 30. Additionally, the Guard will deploy ground surveillance vehicles and aircrafts. Arizona and New Mexico governors have also committed to sending state troops down, while governors from Montana and Oregon have refused to send their own units. Other governors have voiced their support or opposition of the order, with some saying that the militarization and troops are unneeded. Under the order of deployment, each individual governor has control of their own state’s troops, while the federal government will nance the initiative.
Former Brazilian President Turns Himself Into Police—
Ex-President of Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva turned himself in to the police on April 7 to begin serving a 12 year sentence for corruption charges. Da Silva had previously stated that his conviction would pose no threat in his bid for a third term. Da Silva played a pivotal role in helping to build a leftist party that led Brazil for over a decade. Just before surrendering to authorities, da Silva spoke to a crowd outside a metalworkers union and said that the conviction was only an effort to block his vision of uplifting poor people to attend university and buy homes. The crowd of supporters physically blocked him for hours before allowing him to surrender. The imprisonment ends the race between da Silva and current President Michel Temer. Temer replaced da Silva’s successor, Dilma Rousse, after she was impeached in 2016. Temer holds center right policies and has been accused of corruption.
Former Senator Daniel K. Akaka Dies at 93—
Known for his success in securing recognition for Asian Americans who fought for the United States in World War II, former Senator Daniel Akaka died April 7. He had previously been in the hospital for several months. Akaka was a Democratic Senator representing Hawaii in Congress for 36 years and was the first native born Hawaiian elected to Congress. Akaka was a teacher and principal in Hawaii before changing paths to lead anti-poverty efforts in the 1970s. A World War II veteran himself, Akaka chaired the Veterans’ Affairs Committee and sat on the Armed Services and Homeland Security committees. He sponsored legislation in the 1990s which eventually led to the bestowment of over twenty Medals of Honor to Asian American veterans, as only one had been awarded during the war. Akaka also led unsuccessful legislative efforts to recognize native Hawaiians as indigenous people so they could also receive federal funding.
US Surgeon General Advises Civilians Carry Naloxone—
U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams issued a national public health advisory on April 5, recommending that more American civilians carry naloxone, a drug used to reverse opioid overdoses. The surgeon general specifically notes that friends and family of those at risk for an overdose should have the drug on hand. Naloxone works immediately to restore breathing for those overdosing from opioides by blocking the brain’s opioid receptors. The drug’s effects can last for an hour and a half, giving the user enough time to seek further medical attention. Naloxone comes in various forms and can be administered as a nasal spray commonly called Narcan or injected directly into a patient’s muscle using a syringe or auto injector. The drug is available at any pharmacy and some states allow over the counter purchase.