• Isabelle Osborne

The Monthly Wrap-Up: August 2020

In this monthly series, I summarise the major events of the previous month, including political, economical, international, cultural and social affairs that dominated headlines in the UK and across the world. This is not an exhaustive list, but rather aims to refresh and summarise the major headlines that gained attention during the month.

United Kingdom

COVID-19


Travel restrictions put into place: August saw Andorra, The Bahamas and Belgium removed from the travel corridor list, meaning travellers must self-isolate if arriving from these countries. Restrictions subsequently expanded to include Aruba, France, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, and Turks and Caicos Islands. Austria, Croatia and Trinidad and Tobago were also taken off the corridor list a week later. Portugal, Brunei and Malaysia were given the all-clear, and travellers will not have to isolate if returning from these countries.


Face masks: as pupils prepare to return to school in September, secondary pupils will have to wear face coverings in school corridors in local lockdown areas of England. Head teachers in any secondary school will also have the "flexibility" to introduce masks in their schools.


Local lockdowns continue: as Leicester saw a gradual relaxing of lockdown measures, Oldham, Pendle and areas of Blackburn went into local lockdown. This was followed by areas in Greater Manchester, Lancashire and West Yorkshire.


Social


A-Level and GCSE results: after the government faced immense criticism for the failure of their supposedly effective algorithm that replaced national examinations this year, A-Level and GCSE pupils received their teacher predicted grades. The issue led to many A-level students losing university places they had been offered. The head of England's exams regulator, Sally Collier, has quit after the chaos caused.


Harper's Law: after his killers were convicted of manslaughter in July, PC Andrew Harper's widow Lissie Harper has been campaigning for a law to be put in place that states those convicted of killing emergency service workers to be jailed for life.


Miscellaneous


Harry Maguire on trial: the Manchester United captain has been given a suspended sentence of 21 months and 10 days in prison after his trial on the Greek island of Syros. The England defender found guilty of repeated bodily harm, attempted bribery, violence against public employees and insult after arrest on Mykonos. He has since been withdrawn from the England squad.



Global


International Relations


Trump and Tick-Tock: on the first day of this month, Trump claimed he would ban the Chinese video app TickTock in the US, over concerns that the app, owned by Chinese firm ByteDance, could be used to collect the personal data of Americans.


Political


Biden for President: Joe Biden became the official Presidential candidate for the Democrat Party, and made Kamala Harris his potential Vice-President. Harris will be the first black female VP should Biden win the election in November.


Politics in Belarus: throughout August, Belarus saw mass protests that were triggered by an election believed to have been rigged in favour of the longtime leader Alexander Lukashenko. Lukashenko has been in charge of Belarus for 26 years, coming to power in 1994 when chaos ensued after the collapse of the Soviet Union (1991). He is often described as Europe's "last dictator" following his attempts to preserve elements of Soviet communism.


Miscellaneous


Lebanon explosion: on August 4th, a huge explosion in Beirut, Lebanon, killed hundreds of people, in addition to destroying homes and buildings. The blast killed at least 100 hundred people, and injured more than 4,000 others. The blast was caused by 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored unsafely in a warehouse, a fertiliser used in agriculture and as an explosive. For more information, read my blog post here.


75th Anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs: 6 and 9 August marked 75 years since the US dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, leading to the end of World War Two. It is thought that approx. 140,000 of Hiroshima's 350,000 population were killed in the blast, and that at least 74,000 people died in Nagasaki.


Leaked oil in Mauritius: in what some scientists have called the country’s worst ecological disaster, hundreds of tonnes of oil were dumped into the sea by a Japanese carrier at Riviere des Creoles, Mauritius.




All information, facts and figures used in this article are cited to the BBC News website.

Words are all we have.

 - Samuel Beckett

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By Isabelle Osborne