Happy Friday to one and all. Today is National Grilled Cheese Day, so I hope you are all celebrating in style.
- WaPo scoop: Inside the FBI’s relationship with special operations forces.
- FP scoop: The UN is hinting STRONGLY that Russia rigged the Crimea secession vote.
- Via my news source J. Saeed, here’s an Indian election infographic to break down the world’s biggest democratic transition of power for you.
- Kathleen Sebelius has quit as HHS secretary in a move that comes after the disastrous launch of the Obama administration’s health care website. Obama has nominated OMB director Sylvia Burwell to take her place.
- A federal judge has ordered Indiana to honor a terminally-ill woman’s same-sex marriage.
- A terrifying graphic on just how far down MH370 could be. Prepare to be scrolling for awhile.
- Via HuffPo: A collection of maps to show you just how bad the state of sex education is in the United States.
- Thought Catalog: 18 things white people seem to not understand because…white privilege.
- Can carbon dioxide removal save the planet?
- Pakistani militant infighting’s latest: In Waziristan, at least ten TTP members were killed over internal clashes. Elsewhere, two people were killed in Rawalpindi when a local district court was fired upon indiscriminately.
- JUI-F has announced its withdrawal from government due to ‘reservations’ with policy issues surrounding the government over the course of the past four months.
- When pressed yesterday, foreign ministry spokeswoman Aslam indicated that Pakistan was prepared to work with whoever emerged the victor in neighboring India‘s elections. She additionally renewed the country’s support for Afghanistan‘s democratic power transition.
- Aaghaz-e-Safar, brought to us by Oscar winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, seeks to provide Pakistan with a look at real issues, unhindered by political interference.
- Afghanistan is preparing for a runoff. The frontrunners are Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani, the latter of whom has said he would rather contest a runoff than form a coalition government. If no candidate earns 50% of the vote, the election will go to a runoff (which the IEC says it is prepared for). Abdullah has made moves towards forming a coalition with distant third Zalmai Rassoul.
- In Pictures: Animal attacks in Indian-administered Kashmir.
- Samajawadi Party (SP) leader Abu Azmi thinks that women who have sexual relations outside of marriage should be hanged. This comes after SP party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav’s comments that the death penalty for rapists was ‘unfair’. A sampling of Azmi’s quotes: “Rape is punishable by hanging in Islam. But here, nothing happens to women, only to men. Even the woman is guilty. Girls complain when someone touches them, and even when someone doesn’t touch them. It becomes a problem then… If rape happens with or without consent, it should be punished as prescribed in Islam.”
- Both the BJP and Congress Party have been quick to slam Azmi and Yadav, and Ranjara Kumari, a women’s activist, called for Yadav’s arrest. Regardless of inter-party jousting, high turnout in the Indian election continues. In Jammu and Kashmir, a turnout of 66% was highly praised, and Delhi recorded a 64% turnout, up from its 2009 numbers.
- The ‘mango people’ of India: more on the AAP.
- Sri Lanka is refusing to cooperate with a UN probe.
Southeast & East Asia:
- What does North Korea mean when it says it has a ‘new form’ of nuclear testing coming….
Eurasia & Europe:
- NATO satellite images show that Russia has not withdrawn from its border with Ukraine. Meanwhile Russians want Gorbachev to pay for the loss of the Soviet Empire.
- A top Turkish court rejected judicial control in a blow to Prime Minister Erdogan’s attempts to clamp down on the country’s judiciary and broaden government control following a corruption scandal.
- At the Vatican, Pope Francis is asking for forgiveness for the ‘evil’ committed by Catholic priests.
- Ethnically Jewish Ed Milliband, the leader of Britain‘s Labour Party, is getting in touch with his roots.
- It appears that a right-wing state is forming in Hungary, much to the terror of religious minorities, specifically Jews and Muslims.
Middle East & North Africa:
- Syria looks to be facing a drought as its civil war wages on without end. Meanwhile there has been no move made to investigate new allegations of chemical weapons use, despite a ban placed in January.
- In Syria, no political rights, no women’s rights. Additionally, NYT has a feature on Syria’s ‘lost generation’.
- Haaretz opinion: Passover cleaning and erasing women from Jerusalem’s billboards.
- In yet another blow to peace talks, Israel has hit Palestine with even more sanctions, following a Palestinian move to join 15 international conventions, which Sec. Gen. Ban-Ki Moon has accepted. JP thinks everyone has failed in the peace talks, we should admit it and move forward. Haaretz opinion: Jewish state and egalitarian Zionism.
- Al Jazeera journalists being held by Egypt have denounced their trial as a ‘joke’. The country now has other problems, with Hepatitis C on the rise.
- The Kuwaiti government has ordered a blackout in a court case regarding a ‘plot’ tape which it claims shows an attempted overthrow of the government. Any investigation into the incriminating tape is prohibited.
- The Libyan coastguard have detained hundreds of migrants attempting to leave for Europe.
- The Iraq election business.
- The “Voice of Baghdad”: An Iraqi man triumphs on “The Voice”.
Eastern, Central, & Western Africa:
- NPR: How Rwanda‘s only ice cream shop is challenging cultural taboos.
- Digging for gold in Mali, told via pictures.
- Ethiopian groups are set to stage an anti-gay protest in response to what citizens are calling ‘alarming’ rates of homosexual acts throughout the country. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is behind much of public sentiment, as well as widespread rumors that homosexuals are raping children.
- Human Rights Watch is accusing Kenya of mistreating Somalis.
- Sudan has expelled a UN agency chief for failing to abide by the nation’s laws.
- The only privately-funded abortion clinic in New Brunswick, Canada, has finally been forced to close its doors.
- A 6.1-magnitude earthquake has struck Nicaragua.
- The Navajo Nation has voted to oppose the Washington Redskins’ incredibly racist team name.
- In the U.S., the ideological middle is dead in Congress.
- Pentagon contracts declined 11% in March.
- Overworked America: 12 charts to frame the United States’ worker problem.
- The ‘American Jihadist’ has died of an overdose in Arizona.
- Brandeis University is taking some heat for its choice to revoke an honor bestowed on outspoken critic of Islam Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
- A strong quake has shaken Papua New Guinea, near the country’s Bougainville Island.
- Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott says searchers are confident they have detected pings from the missing Malaysian plane.
- Meanwhile a tropical cyclone has hit Australia – is one of the ‘most powerful’ in living memory.