Remembering Mikhail Gorbachev, the USSR‘s Last Leader
Russian news services reported on Tuesday that Mikhail Gorbachev had died at the age of 91. Mr. Gorbachev led the USSR from 1985 to 1991. In his six years in power, he completely changed international politics, and politics inside the USSR.
The USSR And the Cold War
The USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) was a country made up of Russia and many other countries surrounding it. It was also known as the Soviet Union. People in the USSR lived under the extremely strict rule of the Communist Party.
After World War II, Germany was split into East and West Germany. There was a race between the US and the USSR to build up huge supplies of nuclear weapons. The two sides set up complicated weapons systems targeting each other, each hoping to keep the other side from attacking first. This was known as the Cold War.
The USSR broke up in 1991. Most of the smaller nations that were part of it, like Ukraine, are now their own countries.
Mr. Gorbachev saw the dangers in the Cold War. He took steps to make compromises with the US – the country that had been the USSR’s biggest enemy. He worked out agreements with US presidents to reduce the numbers of nuclear weapons on both sides, and to improve relations between the countries. In 1990, Mr. Gorbachev was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize for his work promoting peace.
This image has not been loaded because of your cookie choices. To view the content, you can accept 'Non-necessary' cookies.
Though Mr. Gorbachev was the leader of the USSR’s Communist Party, he wasn’t happy with the way the party ran things. He made changes inside the USSR to make things more free and open.
Mr. Gorbachev also allowed changes in many countries that the USSR used to try to control. One important example was allowing East and West Germany to join together again. By 1991, many of the countries that made up the USSR declared independence, and the USSR fell apart.
Mr. Gorbachev has been praised by leaders around the globe. He was especially popular internationally for helping end the Cold War. In Russia, he’s less popular, since many people believe that Russia lost power while he was in charge.
Japan Declares War on Floppy Disks
Taro Kono is in charge of Japan’s new Digital Agency (DA). The DA has the job of helping the country switch over to computer based systems that work well with each other. One big part of that is switching over to the internet from older, paper-based ways of doing things.
Now Mr. Kono says he’s “declaring war” on floppy disks and similar ways of storing information. Floppy disks were invented in the 1960s, but they have been used less and less since the late 1990s. They were largely replaced by better ways of storing more information, and also by the internet.
Mr. Kono says Japan’s government still has about 1,900 processes that require people to use floppy disks, CDs, or something similar. He says his agency is going to change that, so that people can handle these processes over the internet.
But even though the technology is old, Mr. Kono may have a hard time getting rid of it. Last year, Japan’s government announced a plan to get rid of fax machines. But there were hundreds of complaints. As a result, many offices in Japan’s government still use fax machines.
Tomato Truck Crashes, Covers Highway With Tomato Sauce
On Monday, a truck carrying tomatoes crashed as it was traveling down highway I-80 in California. Luckily, no one was injured. But the accident resulted in tomatoes being spilled all over several lanes of the highway near Vacaville.
The accident happened at around five in the morning. It took several hours to clean up the smashed tomatoes. This caused a serious traffic jam.
Though some people were upset at the slow traffic, others were amused. One person posted this message on social media: “I’m stuck in traffic. Ya’ll go ahead and I’ll ketchup.”