Briefs News

World in brief: Weinstein convicted, more climate protests, updates on COVID-19 and Buttigieg drops out of Democratic race

Harvey Weinstein was convicted in the rape and sexual assault of two women, on Feb. 24. The charges will carry up to 29 years behind bars. Accusations against Weinstein began in 2017, sparking the #MeToo movement, gathering global attention and encouraging victims of sexual violence to come forward. Weinstein’s lawyers have said they will appeal, as reported by The Associated Press. Weinstein was acquitted on two other accounts of predatory sexual assault.

On Friday, Bristol welcomed Greta Thunberg, as an estimated 22,000 people took to the streets to participate in the “Youth Strike 4 Climate” protest. The young climate activist marched alongside those in attendance in the southwestern English city, reports The Globe and Mail. Thunberg’s movement has continued globally, as frustrations with impending climate change increase. “I will not be silenced while the world is on fire, will you?” asked Thunberg.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) continues its global sweep, affecting over 60 countries. The death toll worldwide has reached at least 3,000 and infected 88,000 people around the world. The virus has caused lockdowns and emptied streets, affecting the financial markets. Countries are losing their tourism revenue across Asia, Europe and the Middle East. France has temporarily closed the iconic Louvre as of Sunday, in fear of the virus spreading further, reports The Associated Press. 

Former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg, announced on Sunday he was backing out of the race for  the Democratic presidential nomination. The Guardian reports that Buttigieg was unable to make progress in Nevada and South Carolina. After Joe Biden’s win in the South Carolina primary on Saturday, Biden hopes to establish support from Buttigieg in order to win the nomination. Though the Democrats are competing for the nomination, they have a common goal. “Our goal has always been to unify Americans to help defeat Donald Trump and to win the era for our values,” said Buttigieg, as reported by Variety.


Graphic by @sundaeghost

Briefs News

World in Brief: Another win for Bernie Sanders, COVID-19 shuts down northern Italian cities, bees in California, fatal earthquake in Turkey.

Bernie Sanders won the Nevada caucus on Saturday Feb. 22, continuing his Democratic lead after the third primary contest. With strong support from the Latino voters in the Nevada caucus, Sanders finished with 47 per cent, reported The Guardian. Joe Biden took second place, at 24 per cent. Buttigieg was third, with 14 per cent. Elizabeth Warren was fourth, with 9 per cent. Next up for the democrats, the South Carolina race.

There have been two deaths in Italy as a result of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), with seventy-nine confirmed cases of the virus. A dozen towns in northern Italy have shut down as a result. The origin of the virus in Italy, has been linked to a man who hadn’t travelled to Wuhan. Those who died were a man and woman in their 70s, though it has not yet been confirmed whether the woman died from the virus or an underlying health problem. Towns affected in Italy have closed schools, businesses, restaurants and sporting events, reports The Associated Press.

A swarm of 40,000 bees shut down a California block, sending five people to the hospital, including three first responders last Thursday. Firefighters and police responded to a call for a single bee sting, soon realizing that an entire block had been covered with bees. The bees had stung seven people, two did not need hospital treatment. One firefighter had been stung 17 times. Firefighters and a professional beekeeper were able to safely remove the hive situated on the roof of a Hampton Inn. Some of the bees were killed, while others left the area, as reported by CNN.

Nine people were killed by a 5.7 magnitude earthquake in eastern Turkey on Sunday morning. The earthquake also struck western Iran, injuring 75 people, with no reported fatalities. Turkish Health Minister, Fahrettin Koca, said that 37 people had been injured and nine are in critical condition. The earthquake also affected 43 villages in Turkey’s mountainous regions. Twenty-five ambulances, a helicopter and 13 emergency teams have been sent to aid the public. The Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate (AFAD) of Turkey has said 144 tents for families had been set up, reported The Associated Press.


Graphic by @sundaeghost


What’s up with Lilly Singh?

Lilly Singh’s comedy in her YouTube videos is overly theatrical for my taste.

However, there is no denying her accomplishments as an Indian and openly bisexual woman in the media. In an article from The Globe and Mail, Singh is praised for redefining late-night TV on NBC. Hosting her own show, “A Little Late with Lilly,” an accomplishment traditionally dominated by white men, is impressive, to say the least.

Furthermore, Singh’s jokes are not without their share of controversy, and criticism. Some ever took their disapproval to online platforms.

“The Curious Case of Lilly Singh,” a YouTube video by user j aubrey, nitpicks Singh down to her core. It should be noted that j aubrey is male and, well, white. He has been critical of many other large YouTubers such as Lele Pons and Tana Mongeau. In December 2018, Forbes released a list of the most successful YouTubers. No women were mentioned on this list, so Singh took to social media to voice her disapproval. “If you already have more success than you know what to do with, nobody wants to hear you complain about representation,” j aubrey said. The YouTuber criticizes her for “playing the victim” despite her financial success.

In her late-night show, Singh often uses white people as the focus of her jokes. What is wrong with this exactly? Well, nothing in my opinion, but j aubrey seems to think that if she wants to make jokes about race, she should do so in a creative manner.

He focuses on her “racism” towards white people with her punching-up humour. “It’s the way she shoves her identity down her audiences throat,” he said. This is hardly a step in the right direction. Singh’s punching-up humour is not racist towards white people. You cannot be racist towards a group of oppressors, sorry, j aubrey.

This is a dangerous mindset to have when it comes to race, feminism and the representation we see in the media. This is not where growth occurs, but rather where it remains stagnant. Singh is an oppressed minority, and painting her as some kind of bitter feminist for voicing that recognition in the workplace is still very much unequal, is another gripe in an unfair, white male power balance. We have been able to make small steps of progress in regards to discrimination, but these small steps have only occurred from speaking out. Prejudice is rooted in the framework of society. Having these discussions is vital in the fight for equality.

While the comments Singh has received from j aubrey are neither here nor there, she has been the topic of legitimate criticism from the Black community. McKensie Mack wrote a viral essay in 2017 on modern day blackface. Mack states that Singh also steps in and out of blackness, like many white people. That she performs “a stereotyped version of Black culture and identity.”  Singh has dressed in chains, rapped on a basketball court and worn cornrows for her YouTube videos. However, while on the cover of magazines, Singh’s chains are nowhere in sight. Mack criticized Singh for using Blackness as a costume, “she puts on Blackness in the morning and takes it off at night.” She has also made jokes at the expense of the Punjabi community on air. Singh told Jessica Alba while interviewing her on her show, that her children wrapping towels around their heads would look like her Punjabi friends. She later took to social media to apologize for the joke. Singh has failed to acknowledge how her comedy has been seen as offensive to the Black community. It would be worth acknowledging her mistakes with appropriation.

Though, as far as I’m concerned, if you are offended by Singh’s punching-up humour, then in the words of comedian Stephen Fry, “well, so what?” 


Graphic by Victoria Blair.


Internal politics: what happened with CUT THE CRAP?

When Cut the Crap, a political party on campus, ran for the 2019-20 Concordia Student Union’s (CSU) general elections, their goal was to disintegrate misleading information. The team wanted students to be able to understand what was going on at the CSU. This message resonated with the students and they were victorious during last winter’s elections.

Yet, shortly after elected, they were disqualified. Team member Danielle Vandolder-Beaudin communicated online with a potential voter, asking if they had voted. Vandolder-Beaudin then sent the student names of her fellow teammates, encouraging the student to vote for them. The action was ruled as a violation of polling regulations.
Cut the Crap later decided to appeal the decision to the judicial board.

“The initial reaction was, of course, disappointment and shock,” said Eduardo Malorni, CSU student life coordinator. “But it was motivating after the shock had worn off.”

The party was successful in its appeal. All members, apart from Vandolder-Beaudin, were reinstated.
After the initial commotion of the disqualification, reinstatement, and the beginning of a new school year, things have been quieter. Yet, a lot of things remain to be done. Their campaign had put the focus on the sanitation and improvement of the bathrooms, an online opt-out system for unwanted fees and extending the nomination period for elections.
“We are talking to people, contacting deans and writing clear policies,” said Malorni. “We are still going through it. The improvement to the bathrooms specifically, must go through administration. We are working with the administration to pass it through the council. There is a multitude of meetings going on.”

The CSU is an essential part of Concordia, a union that advocates for undergraduate students and provides important services. The CSU provides students with access to vital resources, i.e. health insurance, a job and housing board and daycare, among other things. The CSU works alongside the faculty associations to represent the students on campus. The four faculty associations are responsible for each faculty they represent.

“A lot of people are intimidated by these big organizations, but we work together in a variety of ways,” said Malorni. “The CSU is more overarching. The faculty associations are more specific in their mandates than we are. For example, ASFA – Arts and Science Federation of Associations – is responsible for a lot of events on campus.”

Though they are not partners, both strive for positive goals for undergraduate students. They help each other as best they can to continue to provide the student body with essential resources and experiences.
Campus politics can appear intimidating, Malorni believes. Though, it is fundamental students become involved with their campus politics. Executives are present in the office during office hours, allowing students to voice opinions or concerns to the CSU. Malorni stressed that students should, “come to the office and talk to us about issues, we are here to help.”
This semester’s first CSU council meeting will be taking place on Sept.19. At that point, Cut the Crap will be presenting the work they have done thus far to the council.


Feature photo by Mia Anhoury

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