Oil leak threatens major reef


A grounded cargo ship in the Solomon Islands is leaking metric tons of oil near the largest coral atoll in the world, threatening a major ecological crisis.

The Solomon Trader was carrying more than 700 metric tons of heavy fuel oil when it ran aground in in Kangava Bay at Rennell Island, said the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on Tuesday. About 100 metric tons have spilled so far, already spreading five to six kilometers and washing up on shore according to DFAT.

“There are dead fish and crabs and all that,” Loti Yates, the director of the Solomon Islands Disaster Management Office, told Radio NZ. “The fumes that is coming out from the oil is also affecting communities and I just had a report it’s also impacting on the chicken and birds.”

The southern third of Kangava Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, encompassing a coral atoll treasured in the South Pacific. Australian officials are working with the Solomon Islands in containing the environmental damage.

The ship’s owner, King Trader Ltd., and insurer, Korea Protection and Indemnity Club, offered their “sincere apology” to the people of the Solomon Islands in a statement on Tuesday. The companies are now working on transferring the remaining oil off of the ship, deploying oil spill booms, and cleaning along the shoreline, the statement said.

Despite the international weight of this story, I don’t think that domestic news media outlets devoted as much attention to it as it deserved. If the event took place near a location that receives more U.S. tourists, coverage would’ve been much heavier and reporters would have had included more sources like the citizens directly impacted and experts who could provide insight on the ecological impact the leak is expected to have.

Summit ends abruptly, Kim praised


The second summit meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam, between President Trump and Kim Jong-un ended abruptly Thursday after no agreement could be made over nuclear weapons.

The summit kicked off Wednesday night and the two leaders were expected to sign an agreement; however, Trump said he walked away because Kim was insistent upon the United States lifting all sanctions on the North Korean economy.

Trump said North Korea must give up its nuclear capabilities and halt nuclear weapon production before any sanctions are lifted. However, despite not signing an agreement, Trump felt the meeting to be very productive and even predicting the two leaders will become great friends.

Although the meeting failed in producing the result the United States hoped for, it did solidify how Trump views the North Korean dictator who is accused of human rights violations and committing brutal atrocities upon his people.

Additionally, President Trump failed to publicly denounce Kim’s atrocities and did not address human rights in the summit at all with the leader. Even more concerning, Trump believed Kim’s denial in playing any part in Otto Warmbier’s death.

Otto Warmbier was an American student who was detained in North Korea for 17 months. He was released to the U.S. in a vegetative state and ultimately died from his condition.

It is alarming that Trump has no problem in calling people out, such as credible and qualified reporters, but praises a brutal dictator. The United States stands as a symbol for freedom and human rights; yet this seems to completely contradict that.

Trump said, “He likes me. I like him. Some people say ‘oh, you shouldn’t like him.’ I said, why shouldn’t I like him? I like him.” Maybe he shouldn’t like him because he is a dictator who is responsible for torturing and murdering innocent civilians.

I applaud the many news media organizations for their editorial pieces about Trump praising Kim. Many reporters point to how this is very concerning as Trump seems to be allowing Kim to continue his human rights abuses. It does not seem Kim will relinquish his power and end his oppressive regime in the near future since it seems Trump sees no problem with his rule.