Outside the Circle

Tara Tran and Katy Witkowski

Syrian refugee numbers climb to over 2 million

The United Nations has released information stating that the refugees that have fled out of Syria have surpassed the two million mark, becoming one of the worst refugee crises the world has ever seen. This number has doubled in the past six months. Of this two million, over half are children ages 17 and younger.

Along with these refugees, an estimated 4.5 million people in Syria have been forced to leave their homes due to the violence, destruction and carnage. That is more than one out of every four Syrians being forced to leave their homes due to the war.


Japanese tsunami-damaged nuclear power plant still leaking toxic water

One of Japan’s huge storage tanks in the Fukushima power plant, which was damaged in a tsunami in 2011, has leaked 300 tons of toxic water, calling for Japan’s nuclear regulator to pronounce this as a Level 3 serious incident. It is speculated that more leaks from other containers are present.

Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority has released information stating that the radiation levels have spiked over 20 percent since the initial readings. The recorded values have risen as high as 2,200 millisieverts; enough to kill a person in hours.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., where the radioactive water is leaking, is currently in the process of developing a plan to prevent even more damage. The Japanese government is urgently attempting to fix the issue, especially with the possibility of this impacting Tokyo’s bid to host the 2020 Olympics.

The current solution is to freeze the ground around the tanks; while this method has been previously utilized in the construction of tunnels, nothing has been done on a scale as large as these leaking tanks of toxic water.


Ariel Castro commits suicide in prison

Ariel Castro, convicted to life in prison and 1,000 years for kidnapping and sexually assaulting three Cleveland-area women, was pronounced dead at a hospital near his correctional facility in Orient, Ohio last Tuesday.

Nearly one month after the trial, Castro was found in his cell hanging from a bed sheet, according to the correctional facility spokesperson. Although previously on suicide watch, he was not under constant surveillance when this occurred.

Members of the neighborhood where Castro kept three women captive for over 10 years felt both satisfaction and dismay from what happened. “[He] took the easy way out,” James King told Associated Press, who lives down the street from the now barren lot Castro’s house once stood.

Although regarded as suicide by officials, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio called for a full investigation of the incident.

“As horrifying as Castro’s crimes may be,” stated executive director Christine Link, “the state has a responsibility to ensure his safety from himself and others.”


64-year-old becomes the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without shark cage

Last Monday, long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad swam from Cuba to Key West, Florida, becoming the first person to do so without a protective shark cage. All she had on her was a suit and special mask to protect against jellyfish stings. Her last attempt failed after swelling from being stung in the tongue.

This attempt was her fifth since 1978 and her fourth since she turned 60. The swim took 52 hours. Nyad seriously began swimming in seventh grade, when Jack Nelson, who was a famous Olympian and Hall of Fame coach, mentored her.

Nyad had high hopes of swimming for the Olympics, but was unable to when she got a heart infection known as endocarditis. This, however, did not stop her from accomplishing her dreams.