Stuff YOU Should Know

Posted by on Feb 2, 2017 in Stuff You Should Know

Trump Meets with Prime Minister May

Last Friday, President Trump held his first meeting and news conference with a foreign leader, British Prime Minister Theresa May. May, a conservative, took office after the British voted in favor of “Brexit,” or the withdrawal of Britain from the European Union (EU).

During the press conference, President Trump praised Brexit, calling an independent Great Britain a “blessing.” At the same time, both Trump and May reaffirmed the close ties that the U.S. and the U.K. share, and said that they are beginning to lay groundwork for a special trade agreement between the two nations.

Other issues that came up in the conference included NATO and terrorism. During his campaign, Trump spoke out against NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization), but he and May have since both pledged their commitment to it. Free trade is especially important to Prime Minister May as she tries to negotiate trade relationships for a newly-independent Britain with growing economies outside of the EU. Both leaders also discussed working closely to fight terrorism and cooperating to improve security.

Prime Minister May also extended an invitation to the president and First Lady to visit the U.K. later this year, which President Trump accepted.

Dig Deeper Before his meeting with Prime Minister May, Trump pointed out his decision to return a bust of Winston Churchill to the Oval Office. (President Obama had moved the bust elsewhere.) What do you think President Trump meant by this symbolic gesture? How might he hope May and the British people react?

Meeting with Mexico Cancelled

Throughout his campaign for the presidency, Donald Trump spoke often about his plans to build a wall between Mexico and the southern border of the United States, as well as his plans to make Mexico pay for the wall. He also criticized Mexico for sending drugs and criminals into the United States, and for engaging in unfair trade practices.

Despite growing tensions since then, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has taken the diplomatic road and done little to respond to Trump’s accusations. However, once Trump became president and signed an executive order to start construction on the planned wall, President Pena Nieto gave in to political pressure from Mexican citizens and cancelled a planned meeting with President Trump last Thursday.

For decades, the United States and Mexico have worked together on issues such as trade, security, and migration. Now, however, that delicate relationship is threatened. Historians have said that relations between the two nations have not been this bad since the presidency of Calvin Coolidge.

The next day, Trump and Pena Nieto spoke on the phone. Though they both claimed it was a productive talk, neither leader has changed his position on the fundamental issue of the wall (and who will pay for it).

What Do You Think? It is estimated that the wall between the U.S. and Mexico will cost between $12 and $15 billion. Should President Trump go ahead with his plans to begin construction on the wall, despite resistance from both Americans and Mexicans and no clear plan about who will pay for it? Why or why not?

World’s Oldest Gorilla Dies

On January 17, Colo, the world’s oldest known gorilla, died in her sleep in her enclosure at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Columbus, Ohio. At 60 years old, Colo, nicknamed “The Queen,” nearly doubled the average life span for her species, living long enough to become a great-great-grandmother and gain international animal-celebrity status.

Full-length view of two captive gorillas (Gorilla sp.) in a zoo, Germany. Credit: Carol Yepes/Getty Images

Full-length view of two captive gorillas in a zoo. Credit: Carol Yepes/Getty Images

Colo was born in 1956, the first gorilla in the world to be born in captivity. She was not even supposed to have been conceived: her parents, Mac and Millie, were kept in separate enclosures until a young zookeeper began putting them together at night. Colo’s birth was a surprise and the first opportunity humans had to learn about gorilla’s gestational period. The zoo built her a special nursery, and more than one million people came to visit her during her first year of life. Her birth made international headlines, and the mayor of Columbus passed out “It’s a girl” cigars. Eventually, during her long life at the zoo, Colo became a mother of three, grandmother of 16, great-grandmother of 12, and great-great-grandmother of three.

In  December, she celebrated her historic 60th birthday with hundreds of visitors, presents, and a cake made of apples and tomatoes (her favorite food). She also had a malignant tumor removed from underneath her arm, though it is unclear whether or not that had any impact on her death.

In the days immediately following her death, members of the zoo staff and Colo’s gorilla family were able to spend some time with her body. Eventually, she was cremated, with her ashes to be buried at the zoo in an as-yet undisclosed location. The Columbus Zoo also designated a special area outside its entrance for visitors who would like to mourn Colo and honor her memory.

What Do You Think? The zoo’s Facebook announcement about Colo’s death was shared more than 25,500 times and received more than 3,000 comments. Why do you think people had such a strong reaction to Colo’s death? How does the public’s reaction to Colo’s death compare to the reaction to the death of Harambe, another gorilla, at the Cincinnati Zoo last summer?