A happy belated MLK Day to American readers! (MLK Day was marked by protests over the tragic and unnecessary murders of black men all over the country by police officers. There will also be no civil rights charges for former officer Darren Wilson.) This week the King of the House of Saud is dead, Yemen’s government has been toppled by Houthi rebels, Congress is courting conservative Israeli PM Netanyahu to the most extreme objections of the White House, India is preparing for Obama, Pakistan has no fuel, Japan is racing the clock (more or less — it officially ran out today) to save the lives of two of its militant-held hostages, and France’s Jewish and Muslim communities are struggling to balance identity politics with nationalism – for very different reasons. Quite the week.
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- 2014 was the hottest year in recorded history.
- Obama’s SOTU: Liberal-leaning, but still the usual rhetoric. (Full text here.)
- Reactions to Charlie Hebdo: The divide between Turkey and the West.
- Women build successful organizations more than simply smart people on a broad scale.
- Tying the civil rights movement of the American 1960s to today’s LGBTQ rights movement.
- Progressive Pope…but not that progressive.
- The mayor of Paris is suing FOX News.
- John Boehner is inviting PM Netanyahu to speak in a complete and total breach of protocol.
- Democracy grows in Sri Lanka.
- There’s been some chair-throwing in Nepal‘s government.
- Authorities in Bangladesh have detained as many as 7,000 protesters following uprisings.
- Pakistan has denied reports that it was specifically warned regarding terrorist attacks during President Obama’s upcoming trip to India.
- The US has no confirmation that Pakistan has effectively banned two terrorist groups.
- A recruiter for Daesh/ISIS has been arrested in Lahore.
- Conservatives aren’t pleased with opposition leader Imran Khan’s new wife.
- Pakistan has been hit by a severe fuel shortage leading to lines at gas stations and fights breaking out, as well as heightened criticism of the government.
- Afghanistan‘s new leader has officially introduced his cabinet choices.
- In 2016 India will surpass China to be the fastest-growing economy in the world.
Southeast & East Asia:
- On reporting from North Korea.
- After pledging to fund countries battling Daesh/ISIS with $200 million, Japan has now been asked for the same sum in exchange for its two hostages held by the terrorist organization.
- The UN has condemned a Burmese monk’s “sexist” comments.
Europe & Eurasia:
- As of Monday, separatists in the Ukraine had renewed attacks on the airport as tensions between pro-Russian groups and nationalists continued.
- From amateurs to jihadis: Two brothers plotted a massacre in France.
- The future of France’s Jewish community.
- The Germans and gay rights.
- The leader of Germany’s anti-immigrant and anti-Islamic PEGIDA movement has been forced to step down after a picturing featuring him emmulating Adolf Hitler appeared.
- Turkey’s ‘pink prison‘.
- Cut out of Davos? Women.
Middle East & North Africa:
- Heavy fighting broke out early in the week in Yemen, resulting in rumors of a coup. Houthi rebels had encircled the prime minister’s residence by Tuesday evening, with little indicator as to the balance of power in the country. (War ships are in place to evacuate the US embassy if necessary.) On Thursday both the president and prime minister resigned.
- Yemeni society changes under a camera’s lens.
- Iran and various foreign powers are set to meet in February following limited progress at talks in Geneva regarding the country’s nuclear development program.
- Iran has confirmed that an Israeli attack killed one of its generals in Syria recently.
- Israel may be supporting Syrian opposition forces in secret.
- Israel’s Arab parties have united.
- Should Israel protect the Jewish diaspora or its own citizens?
- A Palestinian man stabbed and wounded upwards of 15 Israelis in the back while on a crowded Tel Aviv bus.
- Israeli Bedouins are in uproar over the arrests of several of their own regarding plans to displace 40,000 Bedouins by the government.
- Kurdish fighters have taken a strategic hilltop near Kobani.
- Anti-Charlie Hebdo protests are turning deadly.
- Saudi Arabia has pretty outdated methods of execution and punishment. Its king also died this week at 90, at a particularly sensitive time for the nation.
- Mali is free of Ebola. | The outbreak fades in traumatized Liberia.
- Kenyan police fired tear gas at children protesting the demolition of a playground.
- Boko Haram is continuing to terrorize Nigeria and Cameroon.
- A bomb exploded mid-week near the Turkish delegation in Somalia.
- Racial tensions and xenophobia have led to 150 arrests in South Africa.
- The leader of Venezuela’s whirlwind trip for cash and visibility.
- A prosecutor looking into the 1994 bombing of an Argentinian-Israeli building was found shot dead in his apartment, leading some to cast suspicion on Iran.
- Haiti‘s consensus government has failed to earn a consensus.
- Cuba and the US have begun negotiations.
- Apparently the US Senate needed to vote to decide climate change is a thing.
- GOP female lawmakers have led Congress to drop an abortion ban bill.
- The upcoming SCOTUS ruling on gay marriage may offer a cover to Republicans looking for a way out on the issue.
- A tax cut for the middle class?
- Elizabeth Warren on housing discrimination.
- An Australian smuggler and ringleader has been denied clemency in Indonesia.