News Round-Up 3/13/14

Assorted Stand-Outs:

flickr / twicepix / made in china
flickr / twicepix / made in china

South Asia:

Pakistan

Afghanistan

  • A relatively unknown Taliban splinter group has claimed responsibility for the assassination-style killing of a journalist in Kabul. The group, Feday-e Mahaz, claim the journalist was in fact an MI6 spy from Britain.
  • The top American commander in Afghanistan has warned that pulling out of the country would essentially hand power to Al Qaeda.

Nepal

  • Nepal is one of the few countries in the world to recognize a ‘third gender’, creating a crucial space for its transgender and non-gender conforming citizens. But the struggles faced by Nepalis who fall outside of a traditional male-female dichotomy are very real, as Al Jazeera brings to light.

Sri Lanka

  • Buddhist monks are targeting both Muslims and Christians in Sri Lanka, only five years after sectarian violence nearly tore the country apart. As part of efforts to preserve Sinhalese culture, nationalist monks have turned to violence in what could easily spell trouble for the nation moving forward.

India

  • An Indian court has upheld a previous ruling sentencing four men involved in the gang-rape and murder of a student to death. The case generated controversy across the nation and has led to an international spotlight on India’s sexual assault crisis.
  • Charges in the United States against Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade have been dropped, the latest in an inflammatory case which has soured relations between the two countries.

Middle East/North Africa (MENA):

Egypt

  • Cairo has extended its detention of Al Jazeera staff. One of the journalists, Abdullah al-Shami, is on hunger strike and has been held for over six months.
  • Egyptian elections have been pushed to July 17.

Israel & Palestine

  • In response to rockets shot from Gaza, Israel has responded by striking 29 targets in the area. The army (IDF) denied it had reached a cease-fire, and Egypt has stepped in to mediate.

Syria

  • UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon has appealed to the United States and Russia to ‘salvage’ peace talks in Syria:

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed to Russia and the United States on Wednesday to help revive stalled peace talks aimed at ending Syria’s three-year-old civil war, saying it was time to put an end to the bloodshed that has torn Syria apart.

Syria is now the biggest humanitarian and peace and security crisis facing the world, with violence reaching unthinkable levels,” Ban’s press office said in a statement issued on the third anniversary of the Syrian uprising.

“Syria’s neighbors are bearing the increasingly unbearable humanitarian, security, political and socio-economic effects of this conflict,” the statement said.

Yemen

Southeast Asia:

Myanmar

  • In Myanmar, the poor are going without care following a ban on the group Doctors Without Borders. The group were pushed out in the wake of accusations surrounding a supposed favoring of the country’s oppressed and persecuted Muslim population over its Buddhist majority.

Europe/Eurasia:

Finland

  • Tove Jansson, beloved creator of the Moomins, is being celebrated this year for who she was — a writer, a lesbian, a survivor, and a national treasure. (Blogger note – I spent the first year of my life in Helsinki and the Moomins are integral to my childhood.)

The Ukraine

Germany

  • Putin has Merkel in a corner and all eyes are on Germany’s chancellor as she slowly eyes her Russian counterpart.

Latin America:

Brazil

  • Brazil is turning a blind eye to sexual assault, and it’s hindering a nation on the verge of becoming a global superpower.

Venezuela

  • Continuing weeks of rioting, students clashed again with riot police on Wednesday.

United States:

  • Peter Bergen says Dianne Feinstein is no ‘bomb thrower’ — so this could be interesting.
  • How a military sexual assault case has floundered.

Daily Wow: Just a little girl who loves her brother to warm your cold and dead (or alternatively overworked and worn out) heart.

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