Photo: La Soufriere, a volcano on St. Vincent, erupted for the third time in its history on April 9. Credit: Reuters, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-56707956.
Stories to follow:
B-117 COVID-19 Variant Causing Concerns. The B-117 COVID-19 variant, first identified in the United Kingdom and responsible for continued border closures between the U.K. and Europe, is now the dominant strain of COVID-19 across the United States. In February the B-117 variant accounted for roughly 11% of all cases, but by March the number spiked to 27%, and estimates are that the number has since doubled again. The variant, which is more contagious and increasingly considered more deadly, is complicating efforts at controlling the spread of the coronavirus within the United States, despite relatively strong vaccination rates. Notably, vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson are effective against the variant.
Death of Prince Philip. Husband of the ruling British monarch Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip passed away on Friday, April 9, at the age of 99. Over the course of his near century-long life, Prince Philip presided over a difficult time for the British monarchy, as decolonization following World War II and calls for additional government accountability reduced the power of the royal family. With little direct role within the monarchy, as husband of the Queen, Prince Philip involved himself with numerous charities and philanthropic efforts across the British Isles and abroad. Over the course of the weekend, condolences from statesmen around the world flooded in, including from President Biden.
Eruption of La Soufriere. For only the third time in its history, the La Soufriere volcano erupted the morning of Friday, April 9, expelling an ash plume over 20,000 feet into the sky before erupting again later in the afternoon. Since that event, the volcano continues to numerous additional explosive events. Located on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent, residents around the island woke to strong Sulphur scents, extensive ash fall and orders to evacuate. Currently, over 7000 people have been asked to leave their premises in the dozen closest districts surrounding the volcano. The ash is so severe that residents in Barbados, over 100 miles to the east, have been asked to stay indoors. Nemo, the St. Vincent emergency management organization, is monitoring the situation.
Tensions in Taiwan. Tensions between Taiwan and China continue to rise, with new statements from top officials of each country using increasingly provocative language. On April 7, Taiwan’s foreign minister, amid increasing worries regarding China’s military buildup, stated that the Taiwanese are willing to defend to themselves “to the very last day.” In response, an unnamed Chinese official added that the people of Taiwan are “dashing into a war that they cannot win,” according to the Global Times. Taiwan is considered a rebellious province to the Chinese government in Beijing, while the Taiwanese consider themselves a self-governing island. Concerns regarding a potential military campaign for reunification continue to grow as China’s military grows stronger. In an affirmation of America’s commitment to Taiwan’s sovereignty, the USS John S McCain sailed through the Taiwan Strait, prompting protests from China.
Violence in Myanmar. The situation in Myanmar continues to deteriorate, with the Associated Press reporting an additional 82 pro-democracy protesters killed in one day (Friday, April 9) in the city of Bago, as Myanmar security and military forces continue their crackdown. Friday’s death toll adds to a total of over 700 protestors and bystanders killed since the military began its coup in early February.
Happening this week:
Join WeAct NYC for a 5K Virtual Fun Run. In honor of Earth Day (April 22), WeAct for Environmental Justice is hosting a Virtual Fun Run to raise awareness about environmental activism. Click here to learn more.
In Your Free Time:
Check out Talea Beer Co! Open since mid-March, Talea Beer Co. is New York City’s first-ever woman-owned-and-run brewery and taproom. Located at 87 Richardson Street in Williamsburg, this 9,000 square foot space serves everything from coffee and cold brews to beers from over 30 taps. You can find out more here!
This week’s Monday Briefing was brought to you by Saarthak Madan.