10 major news events no one paid attention to in the last week because of the coronavirus pandemic

ncolarossi@businessinsider.com (Natalie Colarossi)
March became the second busiest month in the US for gun sales, as nearly 2 million firearms were sold in wake of the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu, File)

Associated Press

  • The coronavirus pandemic has dominated headlines over the past two months, as countries scramble to contain their outbreaks and the death toll climbs higher each day.
  • But news is happening outside of this crisis.
  • From legal blunders in the FBI to a UN investigation on Syrian airstrikes, here are 10 major events you may have missed in the news this past week. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The coronavirus pandemic has swept the globe, infecting more than 1.3 million people and killing at least 76,000 as of April 7, according to Johns Hopkins University.

For the past two months, headlines have been dominated with news of the virus, as countries scramble to contain the outbreak and the death toll creeps higher each day.

But there is still news happening outside of the crisis.

Here are 10 major world events you may have missed in just the past week, as COVID-19 news continues to take center stage.

A watchdog report showed the FBI has failed to follow its own policies and blundered numerous wiretap applications.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

Win McNamee/Getty Images

In an audit released last week, the Justice Department's Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz revealed that the FBI was not following its internal guidelines for wiretap applications, citing an average of 20 issues per application.

FBI agents are able to submit applications for wiretapping to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which allows them to eavesdrop on people suspected of espionage or terrorism.

However, to do so, agents must adhere to a set of internal policy rules known as the Woods Procedures, to ensure that proper documentation is provided to back up every assertion made in the application. But the audit revealed that in a sample of 29 applications submitted for review, each one was lacking sufficient documentation and did not meet FBI standards.

This report comes after last year's discovery that FBI agents made multiple errors in applications to eavesdrop on President Trump's former campaign advisor during the early stages of the Russia investigation.

Idaho became the first state to ban transgender athletes from playing women's sports.

A protestor holds a transgender flag.

AP Photo/Robin Rayne

Last week, Idaho Gov. Brad Little passed a bill that bars transgender athletes from participating in women's sports.

The Fairness in Women's Sports Act addresses differences between male and female athletic abilities and claims the issue is a matter of physiology. The bill bars students who were born male from participating in a team of girls or women, even if they identify as female.

The bill states that "Men generally have denser, stronger bones, tendons, and ligaments and larger hearts, greater lung volume per body mass, a higher red blood cell count, and higher hemoglobin," and says that testosterone benefits could not be removed with hormone treatments.

The bill also claims that having separate-sex teams is a way to promote equality between male and female athletes.

A second bill Little passed says a birth certificate can be amended only within one year of its filing, prohibiting transgender people from changing their sex designation on the certificate.

Both bills have received backlash from the  LGBTQ+ community and activist groups.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been restricting free press amid the coronavirus outbreak.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks to the media inside the parliament house premises on the first day of the winter session in New Delhi, India.

Adnan Abidi/Reuters

Last week, the New York Times reported that India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his political party have been restricting the country's free press since he first took office in 2014.

The situation has grown worse amidst the coronavirus pandemic, as the government scrambles to convince India's population of 1.3 billion people of their heroic efforts to contain the outbreak, according to the Times.

As the outbreak progressed, Modi reportedly pushed for news outlets to publish inspiring stories about his government and suppressed reports of the lockdown which stranded half a million migrant workers. 

Modi has also been accused of harassing journalists, convincing businesses to cut off funding to independent media outlets, and cutting off network broadcasts.

Nearly 2 million firearms were sold in the US in March, making it the second busiest month for gun sales ever.

Americans lined up outside of a gun shop in California as US gun sales spike amidst the coronavirus outbreak.

Patrick T. Fallon/Reuters

An analysis of federal data conducted by the New York Times found that nearly 2 million guns were sold in the US last month, as concerns over the coronavirus spread.

That makes March the second-highest sales month ever for guns in the US. The Times noted that the first spike happened after President Obama was reelected, and in the wake of a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in January 2013.

This upsurge in sales comes at a time when hundreds and thousands of Americans have been infected with COVID-19, and hospitals across the country struggle to treat an influx of patients. The feeling of uncertainty has left Americans stockpiling both food and weapons.

Despite health concerns and sate-wide lockdowns, President Trump has deemed gun shops "essential businesses."

However, reports of massive lines at gun stores across the countries amid social distancing orders have led some to call for their closure. Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York issued a 'PAUSE' order which included gun stores on the list of nonessential businesses that are forced to shutter throughout the state. The National Rifle Association retaliated against Cuomo with a lawsuit.

The Trump administration rolled back Obama-era fuel-economy regulations in a major push against climate change policy.

An electric vehicle.

Getty

After years in the making, the Trump Administration announced a rollback of Obama's 2020 fuel economy regulation plan, which was meant to cut back on gas emissions by requiring automakers to increase the average fuel economy of cars to 54.5 mpg by 2025.

Trump's new plan, dubbed the "Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Rule," severely loosens Obama's regulations and calls for stricter emissions standards by 1.5% each year, as opposed to 5% each year.

Trump claims the new rules will be good for auto safety, consumers, and the environment, but these claims don't par with reality. This policy change is just the latest example of the Trump Administration cutting back on environmental and land protections.

Two forest fires caused Chernobyl radiation levels to spike.

This picture taken on April 5, 2020, shows a forest fire burning at a 30-kilometer (19-mile) Chernobyl exclusion zone, not far from the nuclear power plant.

YAROSLAV EMELIANENKO/AFP via Getty Images

Two forest fires in the Ukrainian village of Vladimirovka, which sits within the 1,000 square mile exclusion zone that was affected by the Chernobyl Nuclear blast, caused a massive spike in radiation levels.

A report by Egor Firsov, head of Ukraine's ecological inspection service shows that radiation levels were nearly five times above normal within the area of the forest fires. More than 120 firefighters were called to the scene to contain the fire, which began on Saturday and raged through Monday morning, according to CNN.

While radiation levels spiked in Vladimirovka, authorities say levels remain normal in Kiev, and within the city of Chernobyl itself.

A UN Investigation on attacks on humanitarian sites in Syria received backlash for failing to cite Russia as a perpetrator.

Members of the Syrian Civil Defence, also known as the White Helmets, load a body onto a stretcher following a reported airstrike on the village of Kafr Naha

AAREF WATAD/AFP via Getty Images

After two-thirds of the UN security council pushed for an investigation in Northwest Syria on humanitarian attacks, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced the UN would file a report.

The investigation was meant to uncover destruction or damage to UN-backed facilities and other humanitarian sites such as hospitals and schools.

On Monday, the UN concluded that the Syrian government and its allies had committed most of the attacks, but it did not specifically name Russia as a perpetrator, despite strong evidence.

Human rights and advocacy groups have criticized the inquiry for having a limited view, claiming that it ignored hundreds of attacks on hospitals, clinics, schools, and medical personnel committed by both the Syrian government and their Russian ally.

Richard Gowan, UN director at the International Crisis Group called the report "mealy-mouthed," and noted that this decision could be an effort to deliberately not offend Russia, in order to cooperate with them in the future, according to the New York Times.

Australia's High Court overturned sexual abuse convictions for Cardinal George Pell, the country's most senior Catholic cleric.

Cardinal George Pell officiates the opening mass of World Youth Day (WYD), in Sydney on July 15, 2008. Pope Benedict XVI who did not attend this mass as he rests, is to lead the six-day celebration starting today for the event which is expected to attract up to 125,000 international visitors and that will culminate in a papal mass before an estimated 500,000 people in Sydney July 20.

WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images

Australia's High Court overturned sexual abuse convictions against Cardinal George Pell, citing "unreasonable doubt," and allowing the cleric to walk free of charges.

The 78-year-old was convicted in December 2018 of two separate counts of sexual abuse against 13-year-old choir boys — one in 1996 and one in 1997, and charges were brought against him in 2018.

One of the charges included sexual penetration of a child, while four others included committing an act of indecency with or in the presence of a child. Pell was Australia's most senior cleric and had previously served as archbishop of Melbourne. He was considered one of Pope Francis' top advisors.

A search mission for two Kennedys who went missing on canoes was called off after authorities found evidence that they had died.

Maeve Kennedy McKean greets Rep. Joe Kennedy, D-Mass., during a rally on the East Front lawn of the Capitol.

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean, 40, and her eight-year-old son Gideon Joseph Kennedy McKean went missing last Thursday in the Chesapeake Bay after setting off in a canoe during a family gathering.

The two reportedly went on canoes to retrieve a lost ball that fell into the water but never returned. On Thursday evening around 5 p.m., they were reported missing, and authorities were given information that two people were seen struggling to return to shore.

But on Friday, around 7:00 p.m., authorities recovered a canoe that matched the description of theirs, without the bodies. The discovery prompted them to call off the search, lending from a "rescue to recovery" in just 24 hours.

In a Facebook post that night, Mckean's husband wrote that it "is clear that Maeve and Gideon have passed away."

McKean was the granddaughter of former US Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and daughter of former Maryland lieutenant governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle officially resigned from the royal family and moved to Los Angeles.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Chris Jackson/Getty Images

On April 1, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle officially resigned from the British royal family, after announcing in January that they would be taking a "step back" from royal duties. The couple will be splitting their time between the UK and North American, and have reportedly moved into a home in Los Angeles.

As a part of their transition away from the royal family, Harry and Markle announced they would shut down their Duke and Duchess Instagram page and websites, and stop using the word "royal" for commercial or charitable opportunities.

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