Greetings from the other side of a blizzard. Much of the northeastern US was battered this weekend (or less than battered, we hear you were prepared though NYC) and Boston is still recovering from its mountain of snow. Meanwhile confusion has erupted regarding a hostage exchange between everyone’s least-favorite terrorist “state”, Jordan, and Japan; Californians might want to start vaccinating their children; Greece has held what will likely be an historic election; and Hezbollah and Israel are alternating between punching one another and showing a remarkable amount of restraint. Additionally the world marked the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz with the oft-repeated “Never again” vow that seems to be falling on deaf ears in much of Europe.
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- The American Northeast began its week with a blizzard.
- Survivors this week marked the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, amidst a culture of global rising antisemitism.
- NASA wants to send a helicopter to Mars.
- The rise of the medical humanities.
- The weight of geopolitics, from democrats to dictators.
- No one panic but Ebola might be mutating.
- Vaccinating your children is desirable.
- What would one all-encompassing North American passport look like?
- The anatomy of a hunger strike.
- Unpaid internships are terrible.
- In a global survey, girls really should run the world.
- In an iconic and historic moment, President Obama was in attendance at India’s Republic Day celebration. Obama and PM Modi have also sealed a surprising nuclear deal. (China is skeptical of the friendship.)
- On Sunday rebels plunged 80% of Pakistan into darkness.
- Abortion rates have doubled in Pakistan over the course of the past decade.
- Another blast targeting Shia worshipers occurred this week in Shikarpur.
- The EU has issued a warning to airlines over flying in Pakistani airspace.
- The head of the reportedly banned group behind the 2008 Mumbai bombings gave a speech recently in Karachi.
- President Ghani will replace his Cabinet nominees with dual citizenship in Afghanistan. Voting has also begun on his nominees.
- A wave of judicial assassinations has many calling for reform.
- Living a step from death: Pakistani refugees in Afghanistan live atop an old minefield.
- Three American contractors were killed in Kabul on Thursday.
- The Afghan Taliban have confirmed a Beijing meeting for peace talks.
- Sri Lanka‘s new government wants fresh war crimes probes.
Southeast & East Asia:
- A Japanese hostage held by Daesh/ISIS has been beheaded. The fate of the other hostage may rest on a prisoner swap.
- Malaysia’s leader highlights policy reforms and the country’s path forward.
- China is tightening its grip on the internet.
Europe & Eurasia:
- In an historic vote, Greece has rejected austerity and brought leftists to power in a move that has Germany concerned. Relatedly, Greece wants Germany to reimburse it for Nazi war crimes.
- In the Ukraine, the fight rages on.
- Win or lose, Turkey’s Kurds will advance in the next election.
- The Pope may have met with a transgender man.
- France’s Hollande is struggling to hold onto the country’s Jewish population, the third largest in the world.
- Spy drama in London.
Middle East & North Africa:
- Obama and Netanyahu are playing hard politics.
- The Yazidis are asking Israel for help.
- Hezbollah strikes back.
- The Houthis’ overtaking of Yemen may be a blessing in disguise.
- The Kurds were nearing victory in Kurdish Syria at the week’s outset and evicted militants from Kobani by Tuesday. The Peshmerga are now eyeing Mosul; Kirkuk saw fighting Friday morning EST.
- The world’s next country?
- The Kurds reach out to the Syriacs.
- An interview with Bashar al-Assad.
- Concern is growing over the safety of flights to Iraq.
- A Shia militia is said to have slaughtered over 70 Sunnis in a small village in Iraq.
- Marking the anniversary of its uprisings against ousted leader Hosni Mubarak, around 18 people were killed in Egypt in a series of bloody clashes.
- Cairo’s metro fare spikes amidst backlash.
- Attacks in Sinai killed nearly 30 people late this week, causing President Sisi to return home early from a trip.
- An Egyptian court has passed down its first-ever conviction for female genital cutting.
- The tragic state of education in Egypt is drawing ire from human rights activists.
- Keeping Egypt’s free press alive is down to one publication.
- On Wednesday, Jordan said it would swap a demanded militant prisoner in exchange for a Jordanian pilot being held by Daesh/ISIS. The game has since spiraled into hardball: Jordan demanded the release of a Japanese hostage as well, and the militant group promptly threatened the lives of both prisoners in exchange for its sought hostages.
- Obama cut short his trip to India to visit Saudi Arabia and pay his respects to its new king. First Lady Michelle Obama opted out of a headscarf, to the chagrin of some.
- In Libya, violence continues to rage.
- Northern Nigeria is in chaos.
- A minister from the CAR has been kidnapped by gunmen.
- Kenya’s Maasai people have been protesting corruption, with deadly results.
- A South Sudanese militia is releasing thousands of child soldiers as part of a deal made recently.
- A city council in South Africa has voted to name a street after the country’s last white ruler.
- An al-Shabab intelligence chief has quit his job.
- A journalist who first covered the murder of a prosecutor working to uncover the potential cover-up of a 1994 bombing of a Jewish center has fled Argentina because he fears for his life. New revelations indicate that the prosecutor had procured a gun prior to his murder because he did not trust his police guards.
- Cuba wants Guantanamo back.
- Argentina has now dissolved its intelligence agency and is set to shortly replace it.
- President Obama wants a refuge for the Arctic…Alaska Republicans do not. Meanwhile Obama has opened up the option for drilling in Georgia and Virginia along the Eastern Seaboard.
- Same-sex marriage comes to Alabama. | Conservative Oklahoma braces for queer weddings. | One gay Alabama politician is threatening to out her adulterous heterosexual colleagues.
- The name of an American hostage being held by Daesh/ISIS was accidentally let slip to the press. It will not be published here.
- The Supreme Court will take on lethal injection.
- Russian. Spy. Ring.
- Big Brother is watching your car.
- There’s been some drone drama at the White House.
- Bye, sequester.
- Mitt Romney will not be running for president.
- The Australian government’s efforts to locate the long-missing Malaysian plane remain unsuccessful.