Rounding Up the Heroes and Villains From This Week's Headlines

Rounding Up the Heroes and Villains From This Week's Headlines

QS Staff Writer

Updated November 30, 2023 Updated November 30

By Sabrina Collier & Mathilde Frot

It's been a week of seismic changes around the world, from new presidents in South Korea and France to a shock dismissal at the FBI. Free university tuition has also been a hot topic, with Jeremy Corbyn's Labour party including it in their election manifesto in the UK and, surprisingly, Nicki Minaj lending students a hand in the US.

Not been paying much attention this week? Here are the main stories you've missed, divided up into the week's heroes and villains.


President Moon Jae-in Amid escalating tensions between Washington and Pyongyang, South Korea's newly-elected president Moon Jae-in has vowed to renew diplomatic ties with the North. But, don’t worry, if you’re anxious that Moon Jae-in’s soft-soaping won’t work, this short video on how to survive nuclear war might help you gear up for the apocalypse. As a bonus, here's how a South Korean TV station covered their country's election.

Nicki Minaj Of all the scholarship sources out there, Nicki Minaj is probably the most unexpected we’ve seen in a while. The American rapper has said she’ll pay the tuition fees of fans who can prove they’ve got a perfect 4.0 grade average. Students sent in screenshots of their report cards and mostly asked for less than $1,000 each – but one student asked for $6,000, to which Minaj said: ‘Ok. I'll pay it. If u have proof.’ She ended up choosing 30 fans before her impromptu scholarship program reached its limits and she said ‘Ok u guys. It's been fun. Let me make those payments tmrw then see if I have any money left. I'll do some more in a month or 2’. Keep your eyes peeled everyone.

Labour party Jeremy Corbyn remains an unpopular and divisive figure in the UK general election, but the Labour party's pledge to gradually abolish tuition fees should help them win support with students. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell referenced the pledge earlier this week in advance of the Labour party manifesto being published. A recent poll said 55% of students are planning to vote for Labour.

Carter Wilkerson If you’re on Twitter, you’ll almost certainly have seen this tweet from US teen Carter Wilkerson with a screenshot of him asking for a year of free chicken nuggets from US fast food chain Wendy’s, in exchange for 18 million retweets – “"HELP ME PLEASE. A MAN NEEDS HIS NUGGS." Clearly people are sympathetic to his plight, as the tweet soon went viral and has now been retweeted over 3.5 million times, becoming the most retweeted tweet ever (breaking the previous record set by Ellen with her famous Oscars selfie). Although he hasn’t reached his target (yet), the record-breaking tweet is good enough for Wendy’s, who have awarded him his year of free nuggets, as well as a $100,000 contribution to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption (DTFA), a charity that works to find permanent homes for children in foster care.

Emmanuel Macron So far, so good for the newly-elected French president, although his first major political headache may be on the horizon. Macron has announced 428 names to stand for his party En Marche! in the legislative elections. The list, which includes a Nobel-prize winning math whizz, a former bullfighting star and pointedly excludes the deeply unpopular former Socialist prime minister Manuel Valls, falls 148 names short of the number of people required. This could make achieving a majority in the National Assembly tricky, which would make it hard for the French leader to push through his policies.


Donald Trump In what's been described as the most shocking 48 hours in recent US political history, President Donald Trump fired FBI director James Comey. In an explosive interview with NBC on Thursday, Trump flatly admitted the firing was motivated by “the Russia thing”, contradicting the White House line that Comey was fired because of his mishandling of the Clinton email investigation. Comey’s firing allegedly came days after asking for more “resources” for his probe into Trump campaign’s ties to Russia - which has left Democrats and some Republicans concerned Trump is attempting to influence any ongoing investigation into him and his campaign. One thing's for certain, this story isn't going away anytime soon.

Howard University Five anonymous rape victims filed a lawsuit against Howard University in Washington DC on Wednesday for allegedly failing to investigate their sexual assault claims and reacting with “deliberate indifference” to their plight.

University of Manchester The UK’s largest university is planning to axe 171 posts, the majority of which are academic positions in the faculties of arts, languages, biology, medicine and business, purportedly due to the financial uncertainty following Brexit. However, the university, which employs over 12,000 people, has denied that Brexit is the reason for the cuts, with a university spokesman saying: "These proposals are designed to improve the quality of our research and student experience in some areas and ensure the financial sustainability of the university”.

Betsy DeVos U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has been one of the most controversial appointees of President Trump, and students at Bethune-Cookman University showed their disapproval by booing and turning their backs on DeVos at their commencement ceremony. Watch what happened below.

Australian government Plans are underway to raise tuition fees in Australia by 7.5% over four years, despite the fact almost half of polled Australians (45%) believe university should be free. The results, featured in The Guardian, will be a cause for concern for the Australian government, which is also planning to cut funding to Australian universities by AU$2.8 billion. 56% disapprove of this plan, while 60% disapprove of the plans to increase fees.

Lead image: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (Marvel)

This article was originally published in May 2017 . It was last updated in January 2020

Related Articles

Most Shared

Most Read