Global Headlines of the Week: Ukraine-Russia tension, U.S. troop withdrawals, Johnson & Johnson blood clotting

Shane Stryker, Digital Reporter

It’s easy to get caught up in the daily news cycle here at home, but oftentimes we miss important events that occur nationally, as well as beyond our borders. These events, no matter how small, play a role in our own lives and in the lives of those in our nation and across the world.

This past week has been no exception. Let’s break down four events over the past week you might have missed.

Ukrainian President visits front lines of border with Russia

Following released footage of Russian armored vehicles driving towards the Ukrainian-Russian border, which has seen violent conflict since 2014, the country of Ukraine has been preparing for the worst.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky decided that he was going to visit the front lines in order for the Ukrainian troops to understand that they have full political support, according to an exclusive article done by CNN.

Footage and pictures have been released of Zelensky in trenches and running across “no-man’s land”, with the goal of reaching the front lines to spark motivation and show support for his military.

Growing tensions between Russia and the western allies are reaching a boiling point, and it is evident that the world is holding its breath to see what happens next.

U.S. extends removal of troops from Afghanistan to September 11

It has been almost 20 years since the United States first sent troops to Afghanistan in response to the Al Qaeda terrorist attacks in 2001, but the remaining troops have been set to come home by a Sept. 11 deadline, according to an article done by Reuters.

This is a result of an agreement with the Taliban organization of Afghanistan for the United States to remove their troops from the disputed country.

This decision from the Biden administration is an extension on the original May 1 deadline imposed by the former President Donald Trump, but Biden says that it is likely that the remaining 2,500 U.S. troops will be back home before the Sept. 11 deadline.

Biden stated that the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan will not be decisive in achieving peace and that the U.S. will continue to support alternative peacemaking processes in Afghanistan without military force.

Johnson & Johnson vaccine blood-clot concerns

Only a month after the AstraZeneca vaccine blood-clotting cases appeared in Europe, several similar cases have been reported in the U.S. through the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Following this news, the U.S. has been advised to halt administration of the vaccine, so that further caution can be taken in the fight against COVID-19, according to an article done by The New York Times.

In a statement from Johnson & Johnson, the company stated that the safety and well-being of those who use their products are their main priority, and said that they support the pause in a desire for caution.

As of now, there have only been 6 cases of blood-clotting out of the 6.8 million doses administered, all 6 cases being women between the ages of 18 and 48. The CDC and FDA are now reviewing the data of the rare cases, in hopes to solve whatever issue may be occurring.

Millions gather for religious celebration in India despite COVID-19 concerns

The Hindu tradition of Haridwar Kumbh Mela occurs every 12 years in Haridwar, India, and entails millions of Hindus coming to submerge themselves in the Ganges river for spiritual healing.

The celebration is common in the Hindu religious practices. However, this year’s Kumbh Mela is controversial with the continual rise of COVID-19 cases in India.

Millions of Hindus have already gathered in Haridwar as India surpasses Brazil in their running total of COVID-19 cases, according to an article done by BBC.

Images show any people gathered in close proximity, with little to no social distancing apparent.

Officials have stated that they are attempting to enforce social distancing guidelines, but it is virtually impossible with the amount of people gathering on the banks of the river.

Shane Stryker can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @shanestryker.