Worldwide Wednesdays: The Finale

Ben Martin , Contributor

Welcome to the last Worldwide Wednesday where, for the last time, we’ll be covering this week’s biggest stories in politics, entertainment, and business. While I haven’t exactly been the most consistent host, I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. It’s been an exciting week which means an interesting finale. Kicking off last week we had a huge scare in the NFL with Damar Hamlin collapsing during the Bengals Bills game on Monday night. We also had a continuation in the wild ride that choosing a new speaker of the house has become, with Mccarthy finally taking the seat after vying for it 15 times. While I’m a bit late on this one, it’s too important to not talk about Bryan Kohbergers, who was arrested on December 30th for the stabbings of 4 students at the University of Idaho. Lightening the mood a bit, we saw the first ever union at Microsoft officially recognized on January 3rd. And on Sunday we saw the chaos in Brazil escalate as supporters of the former president, Bolsonaro, storm government buildings in a massive riot. Now, let’s jump right in.

A scary scene emerged on Monday night football last week when Bills safety, Damar Hamlin, collapsed on the field after a big hit. He suffered cardiac arrest on the field, but his heartbeat was restored by medical staff on the field and he was taken away by ambulance. The game was initially only going to take a 5 minute break, but with the severity of the situation, the coaches of both teams decided to postpone the game. This postponement was eventually turned into a cancellation as Hamlin’s situation was determined critical for the next few days. Thankfully, Hamlin seems to be making a full recovery and the Bills are carrying on with their incredible season beating out the Patriots on Sunday. Both teams and many in the stands wore Hamlin’s number 3 in support during the pre-game warmup. 

Chaos on the US house floor reached a breaking point on Saturday when Kevin McCarthy was finally able to convince enough of the house of representatives to elect him speaker of the house. The multi week saga concluded with Mccarthy’s 15th try to gather enough votes finally being successful. This battle has highlighted the rift that has formed in the republican party and even though Mccarthy finally pushed through the opposition, his position is still questionable. His disagreements with some within his own party will reduce his power and make it more difficult for republicans to rally around certain bills in the house. We are yet to see how much this political battle will affect the balance of power within the house. 

The nation’s attention was focused, for weeks, on police in Idaho as they tried and failed to detain a suspect for the murder of 4 students at the University of Idaho on November 13th. As many people began to believe that no suspect would ever be found, Bryan Kohberger was arrested on December 30th at his family home in Pennsylvania. Police have been slowly building a case against Kohberger and DNA evidence along with a matching footprint has created a relatively strong case against him. Kohberger is a 28 year old PHD student who studies criminology and is now faced with 4 counts of first degree murder. This case is still just getting off the ground and not much is being revealed to the public yet. For now, we wait and see if the prosecution can build a good case against Kohberger and finally give closure to the families who have suffered. 

Last Wednesday, a group of video game testers finalized the creation of the first union in Microsoft’s history. The workers, all of whom originated from Microsoft ZeniMax studios, began organizing in November and sent in their vote in December. Microsoft decided to stay neutral on the topic and when the workers voted to unionize, they signed off on the union without a fight. This news comes amongst a wave of new unions across the US as many workers are fed up with bad working conditions and low pay. Large companies such as Starbucks and Amazon have been fighting the creation of unions for the last few decades, but support for these unions has grown substantially in the last few years, making them more difficult to disband.

Riots broke out on Sunday in Brazil’s capital, Brasilia, as supporters of former president Jair Bolsonaro stormed government buildings in a mass riot. The balance of power in Brazil has been on thin ice the last couple of months as power transferred from Bolsonaro to the new president, Lula de Silva. Riots have crept up over the last few months, but culminated in a large riot in the capital as over 1500 were arrested for trespassing on government grounds. Bolsonaro has denounced the riots in a tweet while his supporters are demanding a military coup. Brazilian officials are still tracking down those involved and continue to make arrests throughout the week.

And that’s all for Worldwide Wednesdays. It’s been a pleasure keeping everyone updated (almost) every week. While this may be the last you’ll see of me, maybe an ambitious new journalism student will continue this column next semester. 

Signing off