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The Spill: Firework Fights

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New Year’s Firework Controversies

Countries across the globe celebrate the New Year with fireworks celebrations at midnight. This year, some places thought about canceling their displays.


In Sydney, Australia, the fireworks show went ahead after around 300,000 people signed a petition protesting the display. The region is suffering from extreme fires and smoke pollution in the air, and some people thought the fireworks show should be canceled.

Sydney Mayor Clover Moore defended the celebration, saying it would “give hope to people at a terrible time.”

Hong Kong

One city did cancel its fireworks display – but it was due to political reasons. The Chinese city of Hong Kong has experienced political protests for several months, and the protestors thought New Year’s Eve was no reason to stop. A fireworks display was canceled due to “security concerns” as people formed a human chain in the area.

Students in Hong Kong have been protesting the government in mainland China, which they think is trying to take over their city. “I hope people can continue fighting in 2020,” said one protestor, 28-year-old engineer Eric Wong.

The city’s leader, Chief Executive Carrie Lam, on the other hand, urged a new start in the new year. “Let’s start 2020 with a new resolution, to restore order and harmony in society. So we can begin again, together,” she said.

Protestors Storm U.S. Embassy in Baghdad

On the last day of 2019, protestors attacked the United States embassy located in Baghdad, Iraq.

The U.S. has held a presence in the Middle Eastern country of Iraq since the beginning of the Iraq war in 2003. The war officially ended in 2011.

The U.S. has embassies in different countered around the world – Americans traveling and living outside the U.S, can go to a nearby embassy if they need help. A protest was held at the Baghdad embassy on December 31, and demonstrators broke into the building. No embassy staff members were hurt during the event.

President Trump blamed Iran – a county that neighbors Iraq – for the attack, although Iranian leaders later said they were not involved.

Trump ordered 750 soldiers to go to the region. Mark Esper, the defense secretary, commented that “The United States will protect our people and interests anywhere they are found around the world.”

America’s Most admired Men and Women

Barack Obama

Every year, Gallup polling company surveys Americans to find out who the most admired people are across the U.S.A. This year, the most admired man in America is… two men! President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama tied for first place. This is Obama’s 12th time to win the top spot, while it is Trump’s first.

Some other men in the top 10 list included businessman Elon Musk, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Pope Francis, and the Dalai Lama. Not every recipient was famous, however. According to Gallup, some Americans named a friend or relative as the person they admire the most.

Michelle Obama was named the most admired woman in America. Second place went to First Lady Melania Trump, and teen climate activist Greta Thunberg was joint third with television host Oprah Winfrey and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Queen Elizabeth of England appeared in the top ten for the 51st time.

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