Beutner will step down from LAUSD role this summer
Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner announced he will step down from his post when his contract expires on June 30. Beutner oversaw proceedings for what he called “a long three years.” Under him, the LA Unified saw the most tumultuous year with schools closing down for in-person classes because of the pandemic, and Beutner even held down the fort during the teachers’ strike of 2019. His tenure was also marked by criticism when it came to appointing some previously-laid off police officers on school grounds as “Climate Coaches.”
Caitlyn Jenner announces run for California Governor
In a powerful win for transgender rights, former Olympian and reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner announced her decision to run for California Governor on Friday. Her campaign will be historic and it comes amidst calls to recall the current governor Gavin Newsom. The 71-year-old Jenner is a Republican, but her announcement came at a time when fellow party members are pushing to curtail transgender rights across the country.
Biden becomes the first U.S. President to recognize the Armenian genocide
President Joseph Biden became the first American president on Saturday to formally recognize the mass killings of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire in 1915 as genocide. His move could potentially sour relations with Turkey but it also planted Biden as a humanitarian leader. This weekend, Biden received favorable poll results from ABC regarding his first 100 days in office. The Los Angeles Times even stated that he moved from a centrist standpoint to a stance that was much more left-leaning than his Democrat predecessors.
Unblinking BJP watches a diseased India
India’s second wave of COVID-19 infections made the country break an unenviable record. On Monday, with almost 400,000 new cases, India marked the world’s highest daily caseload for the fifth straight day. The sudden worrying spike appears to have no end in sight. 2021 is an important year for India politically, as several states are conducting assembly elections that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) aims to win. The BJP is also credited for spreading misinformation based on religious claims about the pandemic. Currently, India is experiencing vaccine and oxygen shortages. Britain, the United States, and most notably, Pakistan have extended aid in terms of supplies but the Indian government is yet to accept the offers.
Hospital fire in Baghdad kills 82
Eighty-two people were killed in a huge hospital fire in Baghdad on Saturday night. The disaster at Ibn al-Khatib Hospital also left 110 injured. Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has said that 10 million Iraqi dinars ($6,800) will be given to the family members of each victim. He also suspended Health Minister Hassan al-Tamimi and Baghdad Governor Mohammed al-Atta during an emergency session with his cabinet Sunday. The two officials will be questioned about their involvement with the blaze. No reason has been determined for the cause of the fire, though initial reports blamed an exploding oxygen cylinder. Investigations are underway.
A surprising Oscar night of wins and upsets
The 2021 Oscars saw a lot of firsts in good ways and bad. Chloe Zhao became the first woman of color to win the Best Director award, for Nomadland. Frances McDormand came a step closer to being the most decorated winner in the Best Actress category when she bagged the award for Nomadland too. Currently, McDormand has three Best Actress Oscar wins. If she wins one more in the category over the course of her career, she will tie with Katharine Hepburn who has the most wins here (four). On the other hand, eight-time Oscar nominee Glenn Close tied with Peter O’Toole for the most nominations by an actor or actress without a single win. Nominated for Hillbilly Elegy, Close lost to Minari’s Yuh-Jung Youn for Best Supporting Actress.
This year’s ceremony also ended awkwardly because of a sudden switch in the order of the awards. Usually, the night ended with the Best Picture category. But this time, they relegated it to third from last and chose to announce Best Actor at the end. The reason: to end the night on a touching note because Chadwick Bose was expected to win the award posthumously for Maa Rainey’s Black Bottom. But, Anthony Hopkins surprisingly won the honor for The Father instead To make matters anticlimactic, he was absent from the ceremony, causing an abrupt end. Viewership also crashed this year, falling below 10 million for the first time.
The Fight of the Joshuas
A friendly yet competitive Fight of the Joshes ensued on Saturday as the result of an internet joke meant to be a bright spot during the pandemic. On April 24, 2020, a man named Josh Swain created a Facebook group chat consisting only of other Josh Swains. Soon after, coordinates were given to meet at Air Park Green Area in Lincoln, Nebraska to engage in a playful “war” where only the winning Josh could retain his name. Exactly a year later, this Internet-famous event finally took place. About 1000 people showed up, 950 of whom were spectators. Fifty of these people were named Josh but there was only one other Josh Swain. So there were two Josh Fights: one between the two Josh Swains and the other a small-scale battle among fifty Joshes.
A picture-perfect Dragon landing
A SpaceX Dragon Capsule flawlessly docked with the International Space Station on Saturday, sending four new astronauts to their new home at the outpost and set the stage for four others to return to Earth on another SpaceX ferry ship. The Dragon’s former inhabitants are Crew-2 commander Shane Kimbrough, Megan McArthur, European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet and Japanese flier Akihiko Hoshide.
Drug abuse killed more than COVID in San Francisco
Talks of San Francisco becoming an increasingly dangerous city have done the rounds amidst locals for a while. But this weekend, their fears became a bit more real when the city reported high cases of deaths by drug overdose. The New York Times even mentioned that fatal overdose took more lives in 2020 than the pandemic itself. Drug addiction killed 713 people last year, while 257 succumbed to COVID-19.