What in the world is going on? This week’s news briefs you should know about

By Arianna M. Erdman, Managing Editor

     The news has been rife already with mountains of political stories and tragic events across the nation and the globe. 2018 is shaping up to have some pretty startling or even depressing news feeds. To hopefully brighten up your year and keep it from feeling like doomsday is right around the corner, here are a few great pieces of news for the world that you may not have seen on FOX or CNN.

1)      Hong Kong has recently announced they would join in the fight against the ivory trade. Ivory trading has a long and complicated history, and it has deeply chipped away at the wild elephant populations in Africa and Asia. In recent years, more and more governments have been targeting the ivory trade with fines, regulations, and now, outright bans on the sale of ivory. For the most part, people who deal in antiques made of ivory will still be able to trade or sell these items, so long as they meet the growing standards of proving that they’re not recently harvested. However, it looks like Hong Kong and many other governments across the globe are tightening the strings on the global purses, and new ivory items, if made of real ivory and not a synthetic lookalike, will cost hefty fines and lengthy jail sentences.

2)      Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, is set to fire the Falcon Heavy rocket to Mars. Earlier in the month, a test run showed that the rocket’s propulsion systems seemed to be working, and that it should be able to make it off the launch pad and, hopefully, through the atmosphere. The plan is to send the rocket to Mars in order to drop off, of all things, a Tesla Roadster. This isn’t the first space venture of Tesla’s. A previous attempt to launch one of the Space X rockets failed when it fell out of orbit. However, there is still hope for this launch, and if it goes off without any issues, Tesla will be the first private company to launch a rocket into space, furthering Musk’s plans to get people to Mars.

3)      Chinese scientists have successfully cloned a living monkey using the same technology that cloned Dolly the sheep. The announcement came last week and created a huge buzz in the scientific community. This is the first primate to be successfully cloned in history. While it is yet to be seen how well the monkey will grow and survive maturity, some are already seeing the potential of this technology for human use. Numerous ethical questions will need to be answered, but the potential application for organ generation in the medical, at the very least, could be a staggering step into the future for mankind.

4)      Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JP Morgan will be assembling a team in order to figure out how to provide better, faster, more affordable and more advanced health care for their employees and the American people at large. Pooling the massive financial resources of some of the largest companies in the world, the corporate giants will attempt to fund research into what is causing the bloated health care costs, as well as investing in health care innovation. They hope to make procedures faster, safer, and more affordable for the general marketplace. Even if the venture fails to produce all of the results they’re looking for, the potential for health care innovation in a nation that already leads in health care technology is something that everyone could support.

5)      Steps are being taken across the globe and online to stop the spread of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, or currencies that exist online with no physical backing. China is enacting bans on the currency, while Facebook is banning advertisements promoting cryptocurrencies, and the stocks for them are beginning to spiral out of control as they crash out in the stock market. While proponents of the cryptocurrencies argue that they’re the currency of the future, current economic trends and current security technology make it nearly impossible to keep large quantities of unbacked currency secured. Perhaps in the future this technology could resurface in a more protected form, but for now, taking steps to pause its advance is probably the best way to go.