Welcome back! It’s 2015 and this blog is finally back in the States! The new year has already brought significant chaos: violence in France has kicked off an international debate on free speech and left the country’s Muslims under attack and its Jews eying mass immigration to Israel. A massacre in Nigeria orchestrated by Boko Haram has left the country further stunned, and in the US House Republicans are clashing increasingly with their slightly more moderate Senate counterparts as much as with President Obama. Additionally as a planet we are destroying the world’s oceans and apparently are close to violating the limits of what Earth can offer us. Comforting. Happy 2015, and a happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend to the Americans following this blog!
- On Charlie Hebdo: On cross-cultural representation and art. | AQAP has claimed responsibility though many are doubtful. | A notorious French comic and anti-Semite has been arrested for a post-Hebdo Facebook comment, leading to yet more rancor over free speech.
- France’s Muslims struggle with the line between free speech and a discrimination that directly impacts them.
- The four Jews killed in France have been buried in Jerusalem; Prime Minister Netanyahu has called for French Jews to immigrate to Israel.
- How images of the Prophet Muhammed became forbidden.
- One Tibetan writer would like Mark Zuckerberg to know that he is not Charlie Hebdo. | Pope Francis has some cautionary words for those who provoke Islam.
- We are destroying our oceans.
- It’s going to be a super white, male, heterosexual Oscars.
- Duke University has canceled what would likely have been a welcome move for its Muslim students.
- The Supreme Court in the US will hear a case that may decide the fate of gay marriage.
- Women and militancy.
- The US State Department has named a Pakistani Taliban commander a “global terrorist”.
- Pakistan is banning the Haqqani Network.
- Pakistani police in Karachi clashed with anti-Hebdo protesters this week.
- Authorities in Afghanistan have detained several suspects in connection with the devastating attack in Peshawar that killed around 150 people, most of them children. (Survivors of the attack defiantly returned to school on Monday.)
- President Obama is coming to India—and unprecedented security is coming with him.
- Homophobia continues in India.
- Jammu & Kashmir have no government at the moment.
- Sri Lanka now has a saint.
Southeast & East Asia:
- The remnants of an AirAsia flight that crashed recently near Bali are being gathered.
Europe & Eurasia:
- As the anti-Islamic PEGIDA movement gains traction, Germany‘s leaders struggle to keep the peace.
- Turkey ponders the future of Islam.
- France‘s Muslims have suffered more than anyone else in the time following the Hebdo attacks. French leader François Hollande has vowed to safeguard all of France’s religions.
- Jews in the country are terrified too. However, the bravery of one Muslim man has helped protect some of them.
- Belgian police killed two people in a national raid on suspected militants.
- War between Russia and the Ukraine continues.
- Russia’s hero cat, Masha.
Middle East & North Africa:
- An Iranian MP was attacked while making statements regarding the house arrests of several Green Movement protest leaders.
- Israel’s Labor Party: Young, leftist, socially-oriented.
- Dueling visions of Zionism play out in Israel.
- The closing of a Jewish tomb in Egypt is raising tensions.
- Hamas and Fatah are squabbling again.
- Kurdish Peshmerga divisions are hindering the effort against Daesh/ISIS.
- A Washington Post reporter detained for months in Iran has finally been indicted.
- A Saudi Arabian blogger is facing 1000 lashes.
- 2,000 people were killed by Boko Haram in Nigeria in what is the world’s largest tragedy this year so far.
- Boko Haram is using ten year old girls to carry out suicide attacks.
- An extraordinary doctor in Sierra Leone died of Ebola — why?
- A senior LRA commander from the CAR will be sent to the Hague to face criminal charges.
- Flooding in Malawi has displaced thousands.
- Climbing El Capitain.
- CENTCOM was hacked by Daesh/ISIS supporters.
- A shake-up at the secret service left four people pretty unhappy.
- House Republicans are trying to unravel President Obama’s immigration plan.
- The Mormon church is excommunicating a man for defending LGBTQ rights.
- The mayor of a Mexican town where 43 students went missing has officially been charged.