Compiled by Rikke Sponheim
Temperatures in the Arctic during February have reached record highs, which has lead to abnormally cold weather in Europe. Scientists say there is a chance this is a freak event, but these warmer temperatures are becoming more common. Record, or close to record highs are happening much more frequently in the Arctic and many regions such as Greenland have experienced an abnormal number of days above freezing already in 2018. Europe’s colder weather is concerning to scientists because they say that this is not a return to normal winters, but instead that the weather in Europe is what is supposed to be happening at the North Pole.
Papua New Guinea
On Monday, Feb. 26 a 7.5 magnitude earthquake hit the Hela Province, the Southern Highlands and the Western Highlands region of Papua New Guinea. This was the strongest earthquake ever be recorded in Papua New Guinea, and has caused extensive landslides with many aftershocks occurring through Tuesday. So far reports say that at least 16 people were killed, but due to the remoteness of the region and the significant infrastructure damage, authorities have yet to completely assess the damage and it is expected that many more people died.
This past week, Norway announced that semi-automatic weapons will be banned in the country starting in 2021. The ban will come into action ten years after the massacre which killed 69 people, most of whom were teenagers, at a youth camp for the Labour Party. In 2012, a report came out that made 31 suggestions for what to do after the attack, one of which was a ban on semi-automatic weapons.
Mobile phone company Vodafone is working with the government of Ghana to help contain epidemics, such as the Ebola virus, by tracking them. The company has 8.7 million customers in Ghana, and takes data from these customers to track population movements during outbreaks. This data will be used by the government to make decisions about transportation and agriculture, and all data will be made anonymous. Vodafone claims that it will not break any data protection or privacy laws, though some claim that it will be hard to do this kind of tracking while maintaining the privacy of customers.
A man from New York, Yevgeniy Vasilievich Bayraktar, is being held in custody after police found body parts believed to have belonged to a woman who had disappeared after using a dating app to meet up with an American tourist. The woman disappeared on Feb. 15 and had told a friend that she was meeting a male acquaintance. Anonymous investigative sources reported that security cameras showed Bayraktar and the woman entering a condominium and then later just Bayraktar leaving and returning to the property with a large bag. Since his arrival in January, Bayraktar also met with several other women in Japan via dating apps and brought them to the same condominium, but police have confirmed that they are safe.