by Abigail Staggemeier
Director of Operations
Halloween Eve of 2018 marked perhaps the most intriguing headline to grace Antarctic news. Our saga unfolds at Bellinghausen Station, a Russian research facility located within the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica, where Russian scientist Sergey Savitsky stabbed a co-worker who spoiled the ending of a book he’d been wanting to read. The victim, a welder (and alleged serial ending-spoiler) by the name of Oleg Beloguzov, was immediately evacuated to a hospital in Chile where he was reported as being medically sound. Spoiler alert: things didn’t end well for the sulking Slav. Savitsky awaits trial and remains in custody in Saint Petersburg. While the jury is still out, it’s safe to assume there will be plenty of books where he’s going.
In Brazilian news, the country’s President-Elect Jair Bolsonaro has been the subject of continuing protests. Bolsonaro’s controversial stance on many social issues, exemplified by his proclamation that he would “rather [have] his son die than be gay”, translates to an immense unpopularity among Brazilian youth, women’s support groups, and the LGBTQ+ community. His election has sparked a series of protests, often recognizable by the chant of “ele não” [not him]. Other reproaches are less subtle: signage calling Bolsonaro a fascist pig and linking him to the Brazilian Neo-Nazi movement are prolific. The election of the far-right candidate marks a distinct shift in Brazilian politics, breaking the country’s nearly twenty year streak of leftist presidents. However, Bolsonaro’s election hasn’t elicited anger from all. U.S. National Security Advisor, John Bolton, warmly congratulated Bolsonaro, calling him a ‘like-minded partner’ in fighting against socialist regimes in neighboring Latin American countries.
Meanwhile in Europe, Venice is experiencing the worst flooding in ten years, with at least ten victims already confirmed dead. Roughly 70% of the city was reported as being underwater on Monday, following intense rain and wind storms earlier this week. Competitors of the annual Venice marathon, which took place on October 28th, were faced with less than prime running conditions and unique obstacles, such as five feet-deep floodwaters and drifting debris. As with all marathons, the competition provided runners with the chance to demonstrate the resilience of the human spirit (albeit with increased odds to overcome). In a remarkable display of resolution, one Paralympic competitor crossed the flooded finish line in his wheelchair.
In domestic news, a fraudulent security agency by the name of ‘Surefire Intelligence’ was caught attempting to pay women in exchange for their accusing Special Counsel Robert Mueller of sexual misconduct. The best part? LinkedIn profiles of the companies’ non-existent department heads all featured stock photos or photographs of renowned actors. The face of Surefire’s ‘Deputy Director of Operations’ was borrowed from the online profile of a Michigan-residing minister, while the company’s ‘Financial Investigator’ and ‘Station Chief’ are none other than Christoph Waltz and Israeli supermodel, Bar Refaeli. It didn’t take long for legitimate investigators (with the aid of curious social media users) to uncover the truth behind Surefire: spearheading the smear campaign against Mueller were prominent conspiracy theorists Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl.
Image by Alessandro Dias