News updates around the world

Earthquakes, groundhogs, political disputes, tragedy: 2023 has already been a newsworthy year.


German Chancellor Olaf Scholz inspects tanks at a training center in Osterholz, Germany. photo by David Hecker; photo courtesy Getty Images.

by Tierney Flavin, Features Editor

Pope Benedict passes away Dec 31, 2022. 

Pope Benedict XVI passed away Dec 31, 2022 in Vatican City at 95.

Benedict stepped down from his papacy in 2013, citing old age as the main factor. He became the first Pope to step down in nearly 600 years.

Benedict’s time as Pope was surrounded by controversy regarding the Church’s sexual abuse allegations. In a final letter published by the Vatican following Benedict’s death, he wrote, “I can only express to all the victims of sexual abuse my profound shame, my deep sorrow and my heartfelt request for forgiveness.”

Benedict’s funeral took place Jan. 5 and was presided over by current Pope Francis.

Protests take over Peru

Protests in Peru persist as demonstrators fight against the new President Dina Boularte, the country’s Constitution and Congress. These outbursts follow the arrest of President Pedro Castillo in December 2022 for attempting to dissolve Peru’s Congress and evade impeachment. 

In recent days these protests have become increasingly violent: the death toll climbing to 55, according to USA Today. These protests are centered in the region of Ayacucho, which welcomes thousands of tourists each year. Despite its large tourist population, Ayacucho’s citizens struggle to stay afloat in its post-COVID-19 economy. Castillo spent much of his presidency serving this community. 

The protests have since expanded into other parts of Peru. This includes areas of economic and social significance like Machu Picchu, which has been closed indefinitely despite its status “as one of the most important heritage sites in the world,” according to

President Biden agrees to send tanks to Ukraine

As the conflict between Russia and Ukraine nears its one year mark, the US is poised to send 31 tanks to aid the Ukrainian fronts. President Biden met with German leaders Jan. 20 after weeks of “intense” conversations. The two nations ultimately agreed to both send tanks to Ukraine. Biden was previously reluctant to send the tanks due to possible Russian retaliation.      

 The US Pentagon is working on developing a program to train Ukrainian soldiers to operate the machinery. The government is not sure how long it will take to get the tanks up and running on Ukrainian fronts. It could take “months,” according to the Associated Press.

Tyre Nichols’s death sparks outrage

Memphis police initially pulled 29-year-old Tyre Nichols over for “reckless driving” on Jan 7. Three days later, Nichols passed away in the hospital from injuries sustained after he was beaten by five police officers who pulled him over. The officers have since been charged with multiple felonies — including second-degree murder — and at least six more first responders have been placed on leave in connection with Nichols’s death. Body cam footage of Nichols’s fatal encounter was released on the evening of Jan 28. 

The footage was met with public outrage and protests against ongoing instances of police brutality. Nichols’s family has asked for the protests to remain peaceful. 

2023’s climate

The morning of Feb. 2, groundhog Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, predicting six more weeks of winter. For New York City, though, it seemed winter had just begun a day prior. The city recorded its “first measurable snowfall” in 328 days on Feb. 1. And as the “Polar Vortex” begins to dip toward the Equator, the Northeast region of the United States experienced frigid wind chills and blizzard-like snowfall last weekend. Across the country, in California, storms persisted throughout the month of January causing atmospheric rivers. The state experienced power outages, deadly flooding and extremely strong winds as the new year rang in. 

Conditions outside of the US are similar. The same “Polar Vortex” has brought temperatures in China to unprecedentedly low numbers. In Turkey, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Monday—the strongest earthquake to strike the country since 1939. Emergency rescue teams continue to measure the death toll as it surpassed 7,000 as of press time and over 24,000 more were injured, according to CNN

Similar extreme weather events are predicted to persist throughout 2023, according to climate experts at Virginia Tech.

A new House Speaker

After Republicans took the House majority in the recent midterm elections, the House needed a new Speaker. Republican Kevin McCarthy eventually took the position, but not until after the fifth-longest Speaker vote in history at 15 ballots.          

The Majority leader was faced with a split within his own party — just over a dozen Republican members holding out against McCarthy. The floor became unruly over the course of the four-day election process. Former President Donald Trump called for unity within the Republican party. 

On Saturday, Jan 7, around 1 a.m., a 15th and final round of ballots were cast. McCarthy took a four-vote lead and became the Speaker of the current House of Representatives.