Author: Billy Read

Billy Read, 17, is a senior at Memorial High School in Houston, Texas. His family moved to Texas from London in 2013. In his free time, he enjoys cheering on London-based Chelsea, playing sports, socializing with friends, and casual gaming. He wants to major in broadcast journalism.
European Union awaits UK vote

European Union awaits UK vote

For the second time since joining the European Union in 1973, British citizens are considering an exit strategy.

The U.K.’s relationship with the EU has become strained in recent years as the block of nations has weathered everything from the financial crisis of 2008 to Syrian refugee crisis.

A high turnout is expected for Thursday’s vote, which pollsters say is too close to call.  The matter was last considered in 1975, when voters decided to stay.

Those against exiting the EU worry that leaving would send the British economy into a recession, said Louis Mylne, an A-level politics student in London.

We would almost certainly enter a recession immediately, the pound has already dropped massively in value due to the uncertainty surrounding Brexit,” Mylne said.

Many Britons favor leaving arguing that would give it full control of its borders. Critics argue EU immigration policies make it easier for immigrants, including possible terrorists, to enter the country, even over the objections of U.K. officials.

But some say this argument is overstated. TCU political science Professor Eric Cox said the U.K. already has exemption to EU immigration policies.

The U.K. opted out of the Schengen Agreement of the EU, which is the agreement that basically adopted a common immigration policy,” Cox said. He added that the U.K. still has border checkpoints, which can halt entry.  

“There are no border checkpoints between members of the Schengen area. Again, U.K. is not part of this, so it is not entirely clear how exiting the EU will affect immigration into the U.K.”

Even the celebrity world of Britain is split, with people such as Sir Michael Caine supporting Brexit, but others such as David Beckham opposing it.

From an economic standpoint, Cox said it is unclear what will happen to Britain and the EU if there’s a split.

“On the one hand, the U.K. never joined the Euro, so from a monetary perspective it is not a huge change,” Cox said. “On the other hand, many European companies use London as a financial hub, which is possible in part because of the overall economic integration of the EU.”

Zika virus shadows Summer Olympics

Zika virus shadows Summer Olympics

This year’s build up to the Summer Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil is filled is tinged with fear.

The Zika virus, which has been linked to severe birth defects, is casting a shadow over the competition set to begin Aug. 5.

On Tuesday, golfer Rory McIlroy, who was expected to compete for Britain, announced he would be skipping the game because of concerns about contacting the virus.

FILE - Infants exposed to the Zika during pregnancy have been born with microcephaly. More than 1,300 babies have born with the birth defect. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)
FILE – Infants exposed to the Zika during pregnancy have been born with microcephaly. More than 1,300 babies have born with the birth defect. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)

Experts from the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta are urging caution, but they did not call for a travel ban. 

“As of right now, the games will not be cancelled, but the plans may change,” said a CDC spokesperson, who didn’t want to be identified.  

The virus is spread by mosquitos. The CDC advises wearing long sleeved clothing and using an EPA registered bug repellant containing: Deet, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus.

The CDC does advise increased caution for pregnant women. Women who were infected by Zika while pregnant gave birth to children with microcephaly. The condition results in babies born with small heads and brains that aren’t fully developed.

For most people, Zika is mild, causing a fever, rash, conjunctivitis and joint pains. However, it does have the potential to be deadly. 

So far, 17 athletes have dropped out of the games. Three cited Zika, including Tejay van Garderen, an American cyclist, whose wife is pregnant.  

Clarence Hill Jr., a sports writer for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, said athletes value lives of loved ones over the games.

“Some people train all their lives for the Olympics, but there is nothing more important than life, which shows the severity of the virus.”