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The Student News Site of Altoona Area High School

Mountain Echo

The Student News Site of Altoona Area High School

Mountain Echo

The best things that happened in 2023

Do you remember these 2023 stories? Take this quiz to find out.

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It’s no secret that 2023 witnessed many horrific atrocities. While it’s important to not be ignorant of suffering, we must also be willing to find hope. In the face of so much evil, this is understandably a difficult task, but it is a necessary one because hope is the first step to making progress. Finding hope can come from the smallest of things, but here are some of the major positive events of the past year…

Deforestation in Brazil at a 15-year low

Under former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, destruction in the Amazon rain forest rose to a 15-year high. In January of 2023, Brazilian citizens voted to make Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva their president. Lula put forth a goal of ending deforestation in the Amazon by 2030. In just his first six months in office, thousands of illegal gold miners from indigenous reserves were driven out of the Amazon and deforestation dropped by 34%.

Innovation in medicine

In December, the Federal Drug Administration approved two groundbreaking therapies for sickle cell disease. Sickle cell causes episodes where people experience excruciating pain that shortens the lifespan of those affected . The newly approved therapies have shown to stop pain for most patients in clinical trials. One of the treatments is the first medical treatment to utilize the CRISPR gene editing tool. The other works by inserting a virus into a sickle cell gene in the person’s stem cell. 

As of right now, both treatments are pricey, but people hope as it gains more steam prices will go down and more people will have access. The treatments are also quite intensive, but given that the only other treatment is getting bone marrow transplants, many are eager to use these new treatments as a way to relieve chronic pain associated with sickle cell.

New women’s marathon world record 

At the 2023 Berlin Marathon, 29-year-old Ethiopian distance runner, Tigist Assefa, shattered the women’s world record. She ran 26.2 miles in 2:11:53, an average pace of 5:02 per mile. This smashes the previous record of 2:14:04

Wins for workers

In May, screenwriters in the Writer’s Guild of America went on strike that lasted 148 days. Shortly after in July, the SAG-AFTRA Actor Union joined them on the picket line. SAG-AFTRA picketed until Nov.9 when 78% of the union members agreed to a new agreement with film studios. Outside of Hollywood, Starbucks workers have exercised their rights as workers. In spite of the aggressive anti-union policies Starbucks has in place, the workers were able to wage some of the biggest strikes in the company’s history and unionized at record levels. The most notable strike of 2023 was the United Auto Workers. Their UAW strike shows that even in the face of decades of anti-union tactics, this blue collar industry was able to make waves in the workers rights movement. 

 Aviation advancements 

2023 was the safest year in aviation history. No accidents occurred that involved large turbofan powered aircraft. In addition, there were only 50 safety emergencies in the past year. The rate of onboard accidents has been on the decline since 2022 and 2023 continued this trend. 

Even though plane travel has become safer, it is a major source of carbon emissions. The company Beta Technologies created an all electric aircraft that has flown as far as 386 miles on a single charge and seats six. 

World’s first eye transplant

Surgeons at New York University Langone Health Center performed the first whole eye transplant in a human. The recipient of the eye is 46 year old military veteran Aaron James who survived a high voltage electrical accident that demolished the left side of his face. Despite James not regaining sight in the eye, this transplant that took 21 hours is being hailed as a major breakthrough. Until this surgery, doctors have only been able to transplant the cornea.

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About the Contributor
Gracie Gioiosa
Gracie Gioiosa, Reporter
After enjoying the intro to pub class so much last year (especially when we got into opinion writing!), I decided to join the news staff this year as a junior. Other than writing, I love reading, biking, running, listening to podcasts and being outdoors. After high school, I hope to go to college and law school and move to Pittsburgh. Until then, I can't wait to have a fantastic year writing for the Mountain Echo!

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