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Illustration by Jordyn Carias

8 Die in Gas Explosion

In New York City eight people have died and dozens were injured due to a gas explosion on March 19. According to ABC News, the blast occurred only 15 minutes after a report from a neighbor stating they smelled gas. The building was on top of a 127 year old gas main, partly made of cast iron.  CNN reported that it is possible that leaks from the old gas mains are becoming a trend in the nation’s oldest cities. Before the explosion, the New York-based Center for an Urban Future stated in a report that New York's aging infrastructure "could wreak havoc on the city's economy and quality of life," according to CNN.

Tests were taken of the soil around the buildings that exploded in East Harlem and although no gas levels should have been present, they were found to be at 20 percent. It has not been determined that the explosion of the buildings was caused by a gas leak, but these high gas levels increase the likeliness. ABC News stated that the victims of the accident died due to blunt trauma, smoke inhalation and burns.

Deadly Stampedes for Jobs Occur in Nigeria

When 500,000 Nigerians were invited to apply for 4,566 Nigerian government positions, 16 were killed in the stampedes to get there, according to Fox News. In Nigeria, the current unemployment rate is 24 percent, meaning 41 million Nigerians are unemployed. For those younger than 24 years old, the rate raises to 38 percent. The Nigerian Interior Minister, Abba Moro, held those who died responsible for their own deaths, saying they “lost their lives through impatience,” as reported by Fox News. Activists as well as the Education Rights Campaign blamed the Ministry for bringing in more applicants than the centers could accommodate. Moro is also blamed for not providing enough security; the Education Rights Campaign is asking for his resignation.

ABC News explained that seven people died at the Abuja National Stadium, which can hold 60,000 people, but 65,000 applicants were asked to attend. The remaining deaths occurred in Minna, Port Harcourt, Dutse and Bennin City. According to ABC News, Nigeria has one of the world’s fastest-growing economies because of their role as Africa’s largest oil producer, however the stampedes show how desperate the situation still is.

Crimea Votes to Secede from Ukraine

On March 16 Crimea overwhelmingly voted to secede from Ukraine and join Russia, which, according to the New York Times, falls under a public referendum that was proclaimed illegal by Western leaders. Crimea was part of Russia from the late 1700s to 1991. Annexation by Russia may cause costly complications at a time when Crimea is bracing an economic slowdown.

The overwhelming 95 percent of Crimean voters in favor of secession have caused the US and European allies to reconsider how they will levy the punishments against Russian officials. The New York Times reported that President Obama talked to Russian President Vladimir Putin on March 16, stressing that the “Crimean referendum should not be recognized by the United States.” He encouraged Putin to resolve the crisis diplomatically. According to Fox News, the Crimean parliament gathered on March 17 and inquired about Moscow’s annexation.