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The Spill: An Old Favor

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Ireland Repays an Old Favor

Ireland is helping Native Americans during the Coronavirus pandemic. They are paying back a favor from more than 100 years ago.

Starting in 1831, Native American tribes were forced to march the Trail of Tears. They had to move on foot from Mississippi to Oklahoma, a 500-mile journey. One of those tribes was the Choctaw. Nearly one-third died from disease and starvation. In 1847, the Choctaw Nation asked for help.

At the same time, in Ireland, the Irish potato famine was ruining crops. Between 1845 and 1849, one million Irish died from hunger.

Despite their own problems, the Choctaw Nation donated $170 to the Irish. This equals more than $5,000 in today’s money.

Now, 173 years later, Native Americans are suffering from the Coronavirus. Many living on reservation lands don’t have good hospitals. They have no internet, poor housing, and other issues. Government help has not yet reached them.

The Irish are paying back the old favor. They raised more than $2.5 million for food, health supplies, and water for the Navajo Nation and Hopi Reservation. An Irish donor, Pat Hayes, wrote, “From Ireland, 170 years later, the favour is returned! To our Native American brothers and sisters in your moment of hardship.”

Gary Batton, chief of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, said that “We have become kindred spirits with the Irish in the years since the Irish potato famine. We hope the Irish, Navajo and Hopi people develop lasting friendships, as we have.”

Murder Hornets Arrive in America

There’s been a lot of talk about giant “murder hornets” that have reached the United States, in Washington state.

No one is sure how these insects, natives of East Asia and Japan, came to America. These hornets have large stingers with powerful venom.

Chris Looney, an entomologist (bug researcher), said, “I am very worried.” On the other hand, he doesn’t want Americans to get too scared because of the name “murder hornets.” He added, “I worry people are already scared enough of insects.”

The hornets are most dangerous to honeybees. The honeybee has no defenses against the Japanese hornet. When the larger insects find honeybee, they attack it. In 90 minutes, the Asian hornets can destroy an entire bee colony. They will live in the honeybee nest for a week or so. Unlike American bees, Japanese honeybees have evolved with the giant hornets and have a way to defend themselves.

The Asian hornets are “giant” with orange and black markings and large stingers. They are the world’s biggest wasp, nearly two inches long. They form colonies that include one queen and her workers. They can fly a dozen miles from their hives in search of food, and their favorite meal is the honeybee.

Imagining Baseball Fans

What do you do when you’re a baseball team during a pandemic? Playing the sport in an empty stadium is just not the same as playing in front of cheering fans. In Taiwan, the Rakuten Moneys team filled some of the empty seats with dummies and cardboard cutouts of “fans.”

The dummy fans sat in the stadium where fans would normally sit. They wore in the Rakuten Monkeys’ team colors and face masks. A band of robots played music from the bleachers. Aside from team members and staff, the only humans allowed were the cheerleaders.

As the players took the field, an announcer said, “Welcome to the one and only live sports game on the surface of the planet.” Most countries have stopped playing sports because of the Coronavirus.

Monkeys manager Tseng Hao-Chu said his players are receiving “imagination training” to think of fans celebrating, jumping up and down, and cheering them on from home.

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