Happy Monday and happy César Chávez day! A civil rights advocate and champion for workers everywhere, he helped to co-found the United Farm Workers union with Dolores Huerta (also a tremendous human) and in Texas, Colorado, and California today is a celebration of his life and work. As I am a Texan, today is hereby declared a blog celebration day.
(Blog note: Still messing around with formatting and structure, so if organization changes from day to day for the time being, apologies!)
- Colorlines has a good piece on the missing heroines of the new Chávez biopic, with a specific focus on Dolores Huerta.
- From the New Yorker: While we can all likely agree that Colbert did not send out THAT incredibly racist tweet, it’s still time to talk about liberal white male privilege, joking, and when humor is and is not appropriate. Also interesting: Spike Lee’s response to that NYT op-ed on Brooklyn gentrification.
- Climate change: Still real and a problem.
- Is belief a Jewish notion? NYT asks, probing religion.
- In Pakistan: Express News anchor Raza Rumi was attacked Friday night in what looks to be a targeted effort against the Express Media group. Rumi has an op-ed on the experience here. The NYT has a beautiful look at ‘Paradise in a Pakistani Valley‘ that showcases life in Swat, where violence and Taliban-linked terrorism have yet to truly erase the quiet tendencies of the valley’s inhabitants. No surprises: Former Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf has been formally indicted in a treason trial regarding his decision to impose emergency upon the country in November of 2007. The decision is the latest in the ongoing hubub surrounding the ousted general. Meanwhile, in Lahore, the IT minister has been asked to consult experts on the country’s YouTube ban.
- As Afghanistan‘s presidential election approaches, all eyes are on the country’s northern region. The ethnic divisions that lie at the core of Afghan struggle will play out there, in a region that is not majority Pashtun, contrary to the country’s south and eastern regions. (Also: The Things They Carried, a look at working elections in Afghanistan.) The Taliban, ever relevant, attacked IEC headquarters on Saturday. On Friday the group attacked a U.S.-based charity in Kabul. In Sar-i-Pul, a candidate for office has been kidnapped, rounding out the list of incidents relating to election-inspired terror.
- AfPak relations are not at their best, and Afghan leader Hamid Karzai has been stepping up his accusations against his country’s neighbor. Pakistan disputes these accusations with vigor. Meanwhile even more he-said-she-said rhetoric is flying as Pakistan confirms that it will indeed be receiving unwanted U.S. military equipment following the country’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.
- Sri Lanka is on a long road to reconciliation, says FP. Some in India have misgivings about their country’s choice to abstain from a UN vote that elected to open a line of inquiry into Sri Lankan human rights abuses throughout the country’s civil war — particularly as Indian elections approach.
- India has commuted Devinder Pal Singh’s death sentence. Meanwhile in politics, the BJP and Congress Party have been ordered to explain within two weeks whether they can form a government together in Delhi.
East & Southeast Asia:
- The search for the missing Malaysian plane was exacerbated by the unwillingness of various Asian countries to cooperate and share information, say some. Also, all we know about the flight is nothing. Which apparently doesn’t shock Malaysians.
- Japan and the United States are coming together to form a permanent consultative body that will deal quickly and efficiently with any situations arising re: the Senkaku Islands, where Japan and China have been experiencing extreme tension. Speaking of Japan, the country will no longer be allowed to mass-slaughter whales in the Antarctic.
- North Korea has vowed to use a ‘new form‘ of nuclear test, putting essentially every nation on earth on red alert.
- Burma is a divided and struggling country, and both a leadership crisis and social unrest are threatening it even further.
Europe & Eurasia:
- France: Anne Hidalgo has been elected the first female mayor of Paris. The Spanish-born mayor coasted to victory in an all-female mayoral race that handed victory to the incumbent Socialists. She ran on a campaign that promised “major investment in housing, transport and green spaces, with the aim of reversing a middle and working class exodus to the suburbs. She has promised to create 10,000 new social housing units and 5,000 kindergarten places.”
- The United States and Russia have agreed to work together to solve the ever-worsening crisis in the Ukraine, but despite best efforts made at talks in Paris the two world powers had little else in common. Sec. of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov went head to head regarding the escalation of events stemming from Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and there appears to have been little ground truly gained. (Also, FP thinks the Russians are coming.) Meanwhile Finland might need to worry…
- (However, Russia is reportedly decreasing its troop levels along Ukraine’s eastern border.)
- Incumbent Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has declared victory for his ruling AKP party in Turkey, despite an ongoing corruption scandal and significant controversy involving his administration’s crackdown on social media and free speech. The election was viewed as a referendum on Erdogan’s 11-year rule, and has now emboldened the country’s leader, who has labeled his opponents ‘terrorists’ and promised a crackdown.
Middle East & North Africa:
- Israel is banking on ten more years of U.S. financial aid and support, despite some recent acrimony between Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and U.S. Sec. of State John Kerry. Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has also been found guilty of corruption by an Israeli court. Elsewhere, John Kerry is returning to the region in an attempt to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks following tension between the two over a prisoner release deal. Diasporic backlash: Some Jews wish Israeli tourists would just stop.
- Two Spanish journalists kidnapped by ISIS in Syria have been freed, and are in the hands of Turkish soldiers.
- Egypt has finally set its presidential election for late May, as an anti-Sisi hashtag hits the internet. Sisi remains a great mystery to nearly all.
- In Bahrain, 13 people have been sentenced to life in prison over a Shia protest against the country’s Sunni-dominated government.
- It is women who bear the brunt of the struggle for Moroccans attempting to enter Spanish-controlled parts of the country in order to generate revenue.
East & West Africa:
- Kenya‘s parliament has passed a bill legalizing polygamy, prompting extreme backlash.
- In what may be the scariest news story of the day, several African countries are experiencing an Ebola outbreak that may well be an epidemic. Guinea and Liberia both have confirmed cases (and over 78 deaths) and suspected cases in Sierra Leone. The source appears to be Guinea, as both the Liberian and SL cases were linked to the former. There is no cure for Ebola.
- Brazil is seeing a massive backlash following an online survey that indicated upwards of 65% of its respondents believe a ‘provocatively dressed’ woman deserves to be attacked or raped. Using the hashtag #EuNãoMereçoSerEstuprada (“I do not deserve to be raped”) Brazilian men and women have taken to the internet in response, leading even President Dilma Rousseff to signal boost the issue from her personal Twitter account.
- Meanwhile, FP wants to know if Venezuela’s protesters can stay the course.
- In the U.S., Defense Sec. Hagel is emphasizing the country’s steps to combat cyberwarfare — especially against the Chinese. In other news, a U.S. agency reportedly knew about flaws inherent within cars sold by General Motors (GM) and chose not to act. And with the deadline fast approaching for the healthcare sign-up, website flaws are still creating some difficulty for last minute applicants. Also, over at the Fed, J. Yellen is determined to improve the current American job market.
- A massive explosion has rocked a Washington State natural gas plant.
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