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International news: five events you might’ve missed over the break

Updated: Jun 7, 2023

After 15 rounds of voting, Republican Sen. Kevin McCarthy defeated Democrat Hakeem Jeffries for Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. Photo courtesy of

Classes at Belmont University ended in the middle of December and started again Jan. 11.

This near month-long break was needed for many students, but a break for students doesn’t mean a break for the world.

While students were at home snuggling with their pets and eating home-cooked meals, here’s five newsworthy events from around the world they might’ve missed: Nursing strikes in the United Kingdom

On Dec. 15, the Royal College of Nursing– a UK nurses' union– began a nationwide strike against the government's lack of pay increase for nurses.

Those on strike are trying to, “rectify the years of real-terms pay cuts that are pushing people out of the nursing profession and putting patient safety at risk,” according to RCN’s official website. “The RCN’s pay position is clear. We expect to see a pay award that goes 5% above inflation.”

RCN is urging nurses to not go to work on days when strikes have been organized and to participate in picket lines.

This, however, should not affect a patient’s health due to the derogation process: if a nurse is deemed essential to the operation of the hospital, they are derogated and working will not end the strike.

No government action has been taken. RCN is planning to strike again Wednesday, Jan. 18 and Thursday, Jan. 19. The U.S. House select committee’s ruling on January 6th

On Dec. 19, the U.S. House Select Committee found former President Donald Trump as the “central cause” for the January 6th riots and would be recommending action to the Department of Justice.

The report explains the major reasons for finding him guilty include pushing the false narrative of election fraud, refusal to step down as President, Trump’s attempts to pressure the former vice president and the DOJ to make false claims and the refusal to use his power to stop the rioters.

These claims barely scratch the surface of the findings of the Committee. The full report can be read here. European LGBTQ+ bills

Both Scotland and Spain passed progressive transgender rights bills on Dec. 22.

Scotland’s Gender Recognition Reform Bill amends the Gender Recognition Act 2004 and provides for legal recognition of a transgender identity in a simpler way.

“The Bill changes the process to get a gender recognition certificate. A GRC is a certificate that legally recognizes that a person’s gender is not the gender that they were assigned at birth, but is their ‘acquired gender’,” according to the Scottish Parliament’s official website.

That bill waits for royal assent.

Spain’s Spanish Congress of Deputies passed a bill that allows people over the age of 16 to change their identity on their ID. Before this, a legal change of gender required a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria, according to an article written by BBC.

This bill is a major moment in Spanish history and is met with polarizing responses. It awaits Senate approval to be finalized. Arrest of alleged killer in Idaho

For college students, the mass stabbing of students from the University of Idaho has been a horrifying and too-close-to-home case.

Many were left with a strange sense of relief as Bryan Kohberger, 28, was arrested Dec. 30, two months after the four students were killed in their own home on Nov. 13.

The one surviving roommates' description of the killer, a DNA match between a knife sheath left at the scene and trash outside of his parent’s house, video canvassing and cell data tracking allowed for the arrest, according to the affidavit.

He has been charged for all four deaths and has yet to enter a plea, though a trial is to be expected. Speaker of the House

Every time there is a new congress, which is every odd-number year after elections, the speaker of the United States House of Representatives is up for election.

On Jan. 3. the speaker of the House must win by a majority, which proved to be a hard task for this year's candidates Republican Sen. Kevin McCarthy and Democrat Hakeem Jeffries.

Sen. McCarthy finally won by four votes near 1 a.m. after 15 rounds of voting, according to an NPR article.

The first ballot had 234 votes, meaning 218 votes were needed for majority. Jeffries, though receiving nine more votes than McCarthy, only had 212 due to opposition from far-right voters.

This required a revote.

"There have been 435 voting members of Congress since 1913, and in all that time, only twice has a speaker of the House not been elected on the first ballot,” according to The Washington Post writer Gillian Brockell.

The speaker holds arguably one of the most influential roles in the U.S. government with tasks such as running the House, setting the agenda and working to keep their party, historically the majority, banded together. The speaker is also the next in line to take the role of President after the Vice President.

This story was compiled by Gracie Anderson

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