GP Noteworthy News: What Happened in May 2020?

What happened in May 2020? For those clueless about what has happened in the month of May, let us summarise all of the noteworthy news!

Here are 16 of the key highlights, developments and stories that happened in May 2020!

What happened in May 2020, from 2/5/2020 to 8/5/2020?

Summary of Noteworthy News from 2/5/2020 to 8/5/2020

1. Two white males convicted for murder of Ahmaud Arbery

The father-son duo armed themselves with a .357 magnum and shotgun and chased Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed black male. He was jogging around Brunswick, Georgia.

The McMichaels claimed that Arbery looked like a local burglary suspect and attempted a citizen arrest.

A video of the fatal shooting was seen as evidence that Arbery was racially profiled and wrongfully murdered.

This is emblematic of America’s perennially problematic gun laws, as well as racism against African-Americans.

2. Failed Macuto Bay raid by Venezuelan dissidents and US-based private military company

The Macuto Bay raid was intended to be an infiltration of Venezuela to overthrow the government led by Nicolas Maduro.

The Maduro administration accused US and Columbia for masterminding the attack, in which both countries denied.

Juan Guaido, disputed acting president, accused Maduro of trying to create a state of confusion, diverting attention away from issues like gasoline shortages, prison riots and the COVID-19 pandemic.

While such allegations cannot be confirmed, political pin-pointing is highly unproductive and detrimental to international co-operation.

3. Germany passes law banning gay conversion therapy for minors

Minors will not be allowed to take part in medical interventions aimed at changing or suppressing their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Health Minister Jens Spahn, who is gay himself, announced the plan to ban practices such as hypnosis and electric shocks, which are scientifically baseless, since 2019.

4. COVID-19 researcher on the cusp of significant findings shot dead

Research Professor Bing Liu was shot dead in what police said was a murder-suicide over an “intimate parter”.

Authorities claimed that there was no evidence to suggest that his murder was connected to his research. Bing Liu was on the verge of making significant findings toward understanding the cellular mechanism and basis of COVID-19.

This fact was quickly sensationalised by conspiracy theorists. They asserted that he was murdered by a corrupt government for exposing the truth.

What happened in May 2020, from 9/5/2020 to 15/5/2020?

Summary of Noteworthy News from 9/5/2020 to 15/5/2020

5. Microplastics are everywhere, study finds

Microplastics have been found in many places such as honey, milk, beer and seafood. More shockingly, they are also find in salt, water and air – things that no one can avoid.

6. Arrested Hong Kong protestors tortured regularly: Civil Rights Observer

The human rights group issued a report accusing the police of systematically torturing protestors, saying that they were subjected to “cruel or inhuman treatment or punishment”.

They interviewed 45 protestors that were arrested and detained. Protestors said they were assaulted physically and sexually, while others received delayed medical attention and were forced to sign and record statements without the presence of their lawyers.

7. Drop in pollution may bring hotter weather and heavier monsoons

The dramatic improvements in air quality is attributed to the close-to-global lockdown. This could increase sunlight and affect weather patterns.

Air pollution across Asia, Europe and the US has dropped as much as 60%.

The lack of haze has made skies bluer and some people in Northern idea have been able to see the Himalayas for the first time in 30 years.

In the most extreme scenarios, simulations suggest the hottest day of the year may be up to 4C hotter by 2050, with around one third of that increase due to cleaner skies.

8. Coronavirus may never go away: World Health Organisation

“The virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities and this virus may never go away.”the emergencies director told a virtual press conference in Geneva.

A report by the WHO’s mental health department warned of another looming crisis in the form of psychological distress, anxiety, fear and isolation.

What happened in May 2020, from 16/5/2020 to 22/5/2020?

Summary of Noteworthy News from 16/5/2020 to 22/5/2020

9. Man sentenced to death on Zoom call in Singapore

Punithan Genasan was told he would be hanged for masterminding a 2011 heroin transaction as Singapore was in its Circuit Breaker period.

It is one of just two known cases – the other being Nigeria – where a capital punishment verdict has been delivered remotely.

The Human Rights Watch criticised Singapore’s use of Zoom to mete out capital punishments.

“It’s shocking the prosecutors and the court are so callous that they fail to see that a man facing capital punishment should have the right to be present in court to confront his accusers,” said the Human Rights Watch.

10. Australian poll finds 1 in 8 blame Bill Gates and 5G for coronavirus

A poll conducted by Essential Research found that one-fifth of all 18 to 34-year olds said they believed Bill Gates was involved in the creation and spread of COVID-19. They also found 5G to be complicit in the pandemic.

Surprisingly, these numbers decreased with age. Only 13% of 35-54 year-olds and 8% of the 55+ cohort believed in the conspiracy theories.

11. Malicious tweets targeting epilepsy forums trigger life-threatening seizures

The tweets included flashing strobe lighting and flickering psychedelic spirals. Some initially concealed their triggering imagery, making it more difficult to protect people vulnerable to their effects.

These tweets are being investigated as a hate incident, after at least 200 seemingly coordinated messages were sent to the Epilepsy Society and its supporters.

One triggering gif, sent in response to a person with epilepsy celebrating 263 days without a seizure, included the caption: “Time to break the streak babe”.

12. Scotland bans companies based in tax havens from accessing coronavirus bailout money

The Scottish Parliament approved measures brokered by the Scottish Greens to prohibit firms or individuals who are registered in tax haven, or are a subsidiary of an offshore company, from getting support grants.

“Any company which avoids its responsibility to contribute to society should not be getting handouts when things go wrong,” said Patrick Harvie, the Scottist Green party co-leader.

What happened in May 2020, from 23/5/2020 to 29/5/2020?

Summary of Noteworthy News from 23/5/2020 to 29/5/2020

13. George Floyd, a black man, dies in police custody after white officer kneeled on his neck

George Floyd died after a white officer handcuffed him and kneeled on his neck for several minutes as Floyd pleaded that he could not breathe.

Protests against police brutality have been held in cities across the US, including Minneapolis, Denver, New York and Oakland following the killing of George Floyd.

The officer who kneeled on Floyd and three others involved were fired. The US attorney’s office and the FBI in Minneapolis they were conducting “a robust criminal investigation”.

14. Trump signs executive order to narrow protections for social media platforms

The move came as the US president stepped up his attacks against social media giants after Twitter fact-checked him over a false assertion that mail-in voting leads to widespread voter fraud.

Under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, tech companies currently enjoy broad immunity from lawsuits stemming from what users post because they are treated as “platforms” rather than “publishers”.

The executive order is designed to pressure regulators to  curtail that immunity.

”Section 230 protects American innovation and freedom of expression, and it’s underpinned by democratic values,” Twitter said. “Attempts to unilaterally erode it threaten the future of online speech and internet freedoms.

15. Costa Rica becomes first Central American country to legalise same-sex marriage

In August 2018, Costa Rica’s Supreme Court of Justice ruled that the prohibition of same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado, who supported same-sex marriage during his candidacy and marched during the 2019 pride parade in San José, shared a message of support for marriage equality.

“Thanks to your work over decades, Costa Rica recognizes the rights you always deserved and returns a little of the liberty that so often was limited. You, your partners, your families, your children will have the same rights as any other person, couple or family in this country.”

16. China approves Hong Kong national security bill, creating broad powers to quash unrest

China’s legislature approved a plan to suppress subversion, secession, terrorism and seemingly any acts that might threaten national security in the semiautonomous city.

“We are a very free society, so for the time being, people have the freedom to say whatever they want to say,” said the chief executive, Carrie Lam, noting, “Rights and freedoms are not absolute.”

The prospect of a national security law has prompted an immediate pushback in Hong Kong, where protesters are once again taking to the streets.

This undermines existing commitments to protect the rights of Hong Kong people and drastically erodes Hong Kong’s autonomy.

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