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News Roundup: Israel’s Politics, Iran’s Protests, and Greta’s “Twin”

Israel Faces Big Political Changes

Israel is facing two large political changes. The country has had two elections that didn’t result in a government. After the last election, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tried to form a government, but failed. His opponent, Benny Gantz, also failed. It seems likely that Israel will soon hold its third election this year.

But the bigger news is that Mr. Netanyahu, who has led Israel for the last 13 years, has been charged with several crimes. This has never happened before in Israel’s history.

Benjamin Netanyahu in 2018
Israel is facing two large political changes. The first is that the country may soon have to hold its third election this year. The second is that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (above), who has led Israel for the last 13 years, has been charged with several crimes.
(Source: US Department of State, via Wikimedia Commons.)

Mr. Netanyahu has been accused of accepting money and gifts to misuse his power as prime minister. He’s also accused of working to change rules to help a TV company that agreed to promote him.

Mr. Netanyahu denies the charges and has no plans to step down. It’s not clear what will happen, but it could take months to sort out.

Violent Protests in Iran Over Fuel Price Increases

Violent protests broke out in Iran on November 15 after fuel costs were increased by as much as 300%.

These days Iran is not making much money by selling its oil. That’s partly because the US has been leading many countries to punish Iran by making it hard for the country to buy and sell things with other countries. The US wants Iran to stop working on nuclear weapons.

So life in Iran has become harder, and the cost of buying things has gone up sharply for ordinary people. The jump in fuel prices caused people to protest across the country. Some protesters gathered peacefully. Others started fires at banks and gas stations.

Protesters in Iran set fire to a gas station.
Violent protests broke out in Iran on November 15 after fuel prices were increased by as much as 300%. Some protesters gathered peacefully. Others started fires at banks and gas stations. The picture shows a gas station damaged in the protests.
(Source: Fars News Agency [CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons.)

The government’s response was quick and harsh. Over the last week, more than 1,000 people have been arrested and over 100 people were killed.

Iran’s government turned the internet off for most of the week. They wanted to make it harder for the protesters to organize, and to keep news of the protests from getting out of the country.

The government says the protests are over now. There are some signs that the internet is being turned back on.

Internet Buzzes Over Greta Thunberg’s 120-Year-Old “Twin”

Several weeks ago, a woman was shocked to spot a familiar face in an old black-and-white photo hanging on a restaurant wall. The photo showed three children looking for gold during the gold rush in Canada.

But the girl in pigtails looked exactly like Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teen who began the climate strike movement.

Three children operating rocker at a gold mine on Dominion Creek, Yukon Territory, ca. 1898
Many people were amazed to see how much the girl in pigtails in the 120-year-old black-and-white photo looked like Greta Thunberg. The picture was taken between 1897 and 1901 by Eric Hegg, who was famous for his pictures of the gold rush.
(Source: Eric A. Hegg [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.)

When the woman posted the picture online, others were amazed at how much the girl in the picture looked like Ms. Thunberg. The picture was soon shared hundreds of thousands of times on social media. 

Some people suggested that Ms. Thunberg traveled through time from the 1800’s to warn people about climate change.  Others thought the picture was faked.

Greta seated with backpack. On the left is her sign in Swedish, which says, "School Strike for Climate".
Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teen who began the climate strike movement, is shown above in the early days of her strike. Ms. Thunberg is now on a sailboat returning to Europe. She hopes to take part in a United Nations meeting on the climate crisis.
(Source: Greta Thunberg.)

But the original photo is in the University of Washington Libraries, and they say the picture is real. It was taken between 1897 and 1901 by Eric Hegg, who was famous for his pictures of the gold rush.

Ms. Thunberg is now on a sailboat returning to Europe. She hopes to take part in a United Nations meeting on the climate crisis.

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