On Jan. 7, the ground literally shifted in Puerto Rico: A 6.4 magnitude earthquake was the most powerful to hit the island in a century. The quake damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses and caused widespread power outages in the U.S. territory.
In Australia, the ground didn’t quake, but it did burn. Wildfires consumed some 26,000 square miles of land and destroyed thousands of homes and businesses. Firefighters warned the blazes might continue into February.
Back in the United States, Ricky Gervais scorched celebrities at the Golden Globe Awards on Jan. 5. The British comedian exposed the divide between Hollywood elites and much of their audiences. He exhorted the actors not to make political speeches if they won an award: “You know nothing about the real world.”
That didn’t stop actress Michelle Williams from using her win to offer an unusual tribute: “I wouldn’t have been able to do this without employing a woman’s right to choose—to choose when to have my children and with whom.”
The speech came a few days before Planned Parenthood officials released their annual report and disclosed the number of abortions they conducted during the last fiscal year: 345,672. The group also reported the amount of funding it received from government grants and reimbursements: nearly $617 million.
Abortion will expose divides in the 2020 presidential election, but a presidential impeachment trial forced several Democratic contenders to prepare to leave the campaign trail. Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Amy Klobuchar faced returning to D.C. for the Senate trial and leaving the road open in early primary states to front-runner candidates Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg.
As American politics rumbled, Haitians marked 10 years since the 2010 earthquake that killed an estimated 220,000 people in the Caribbean nation. They also lamented the political upheaval and demonstrations that ground the nation to a halt over the last few months.
Benjamin Hopp, a missionary with the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, said the resilient Haitians in the churches he serves haven’t lost hope in God’s care for them, but they are weary of the turmoil that has shaken the nation again: “Pray they won’t be discouraged.”