Welcome back to school!! I hope you got some much needed rest over the summer. I personally did not; actually I am pretty sure you didn’t either. I hope you at least had some fun! We at the Oppy have had a rough summer since many of our veteran writers abandoned us (they graduated, but same difference), and our small board just got a whole lot more intimate (we are hiring and we don’t bite, we promise!!). While you were tiring away at your internship (daily happy hours), slogging through those summer classes (international vacations) and working on yourself (six hour Netflix binge) – you’ll be shocked to learn the earth continued to spin and somehow news kept on breaking. In case you are just snapping out of that summer comatose and need a quick catch up on what you missed – I’ve got you covered. Here is a round up of some news (I promise, not all depressing) from around us.
Queen Elizabeth II dies, aged 96
Queen Elizabeth II, the longest serving British monarch, passed away on September 8, 2022, ending her 70 year reign. Her personal popularity across the world has been incredibly influential in maintaining the peoples’ support for monarchy in the United Kingdom. She reigned the Commonwealth during periods of immense change; the Northern Ireland conflict, the decolonization of Africa, the death of Princess Diana and more recently, Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic. While some celebrated the awe-inspiring life of this powerful monarch, others reflected on the heinous legacy of colonialism by the British Empire and its enduring aftermath on the world. Though I am no fan of monarchy, I must admit – Meghan Markle does not need a crown to be a Queen.
Biden announces tentative agreement to avert impending rail strike
Heated union contract negotiations have brought US freight railroad workers to the verge of a strike. Over 40% of US long distance trade happens over rail; and a strike could cost the US over $2B a day. The railroad workers are struggling through labor cuts, no paid time off, diminishing benefits and grueling schedules while the industry at large is navigating a worker shortage. In contrast, BNSF (Owned by Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway) and Union Pacific, America’s largest railroad corporations reported record profits in 2021. On September 15th, Biden announced that a deal had been struck with the unions representing over 115,000 rail workers, promising “..rail workers will get better pay, improved working conditions and peace of mind around their healthcare costs.” The agreement has not been ratified yet, and business groups are urging Congress to pass legislation curbing workers’ rights to carry out a strike.
Protests Erupt in Iran over Morality Police
Last month, Mahsa Amini, a 22 year old Kurdish Iranian was arrested for exposing her hair and was killed in the custody of the Iranian morality police. Her death shook the nation and has instigated large protests, where women have taken to the streets removing their hijab in protest, chanting ‘Women, Life, Freedom’. The Iranian government, led by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has responded to the protests with violence and by suppressing internet access in many regions of Iran. In solidarity with these brave women and men, protests have broken out in many cities around the world including London, Auckland, New York and Paris.
Adobe Acquires Figma for 20B$, as tech fights a slump
Adobe acquired Figma, a web-based collaborative design software for a whopping $20 billion. This sweet deal made founder of Figma, Dylan Field, college dropout turned entrepreneur, a multi-billionaire. The acquisition has been particularly newsworthy, considering the tech IPO drought in recent times. While many tech companies in the US are tightening their belts this fall, some are wondering if Adobe overpaid for this acquisition – when Figma’s latest valuation at $10B was half the purchase price. Analysts are watching with bated breath, if Lina Khan, chairwomen at the FTC and active crusader against tech monopolies will take notice of Adobe eating up their emerging competitor.