Weekly News Round-Up 2/2/15-1/6/15: Hellfire

Congratulations to the Patriots, who won the Super Bowel (Superbowl Superb Owl?)  this week…though Neil deGrasse Tyson’s opinion is all this blog cares about. (That and Missy Elliott.) Apart from that it’s been a somber week — a Jordanian pilot was burned alive in a cage in a move overwhelmingly condemned by people all over the world and one which has pushed his country to take on Daesh/ISIS with a fury. Greece and Germany are going head-to-head over debt while Germany and France multitask attempting to convince Russia and the Ukraine to simmer down. Reclusive author Harper Lee will publish a sequel-come-prequel to To Kill A Mockingbird, a bunch of parents in California won’t vaccinate their children, Australia’s prime minister may be on the way out, and Argentina’s president is struggling with both a case of casual racism and a case of casual murder accusations. Meanwhile TransAsia experienced another tragic plane loss and NYC saw a metro crash in what has to be a terrible week for transportation news.

A flock of starlings is seen as they perform their traditional flight before going to sleep as the sun sets near Rahat, in the northern Israeli Negev desert, on Feb. 2.
A flock of starlings is seen as they perform their traditional flight before going to sleep as the sun sets near Rahat, in the northern Israeli Negev desert, on Feb. 2.

And it’s only February (though DC also has had a remarkably warm winter in light of its northern neighbors being buried under snow).

Musa, a 25-year-old Kurdish marksman, stands atop a building as he looks at the destroyed Syrian town of Kobani on Jan. 30, 2015. Kurdish forces recaptured the town on the Turkish frontier on January 26, in a symbolic blow to the ISIS militants who have seized large swathes of territory in their onslaught across Syria and Iraq.
Musa, a 25-year-old Kurdish marksman, stands atop a building as he looks at the destroyed Syrian town of Kobani on Jan. 30, 2015. Kurdish forces recaptured the town on the Turkish frontier on January 26, in a symbolic blow to the ISIS militants who have seized large swathes of territory in their onslaught across Syria and Iraq.
TransAsia Flight GE235 clips an overpass and hits a taxi before crashing into a river shortly after taking off from a downtown Taipei airport on Feb. 4. The plane had 58 passengers and crew on board.
TransAsia Flight GE235 clips an overpass and hits a taxi before crashing into a river shortly after taking off from a downtown Taipei airport on Feb. 4. The plane had 58 passengers and crew on board.
A man dressed in Red Army World War II uniform walks toward the monument to Motherland during ceremonies marking the 72nd anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad in the southern Russian city of Volgograd, on Feb. 2. The city, which was known as Stalingrad during World War II, suffered six months of intensive fighting that ended with the Red Army's defeat of the Nazis, which marked a decisive turn in World War II.
A man dressed in Red Army World War II uniform walks toward the monument to Motherland during ceremonies marking the 72nd anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad in the southern Russian city of Volgograd, on Feb. 2. The city, which was known as Stalingrad during World War II, suffered six months of intensive fighting that ended with the Red Army’s defeat of the Nazis, which marked a decisive turn in World War II.

 

 

Assorted Stand-Outs:

South Asia:

  • A plastics factory fire in Bangladesh killed 13 of its workers.
  • The country’s opposition leader, Khaleda Zia, has been charged in an arson attack.
  • Drought-ravaged southern Pakistan is turning to solar water treatment.
  • Pakistan’s transgender community is taking a stand.
  • A grenade was thrown earlier in the week at a road leading to multiple schools in Karachi. No one was injured.
  • One Pakistani lawmaker has offered compensation to the families of the Charlie Hebdo attackers.
  • Schools with poor security in Sindh are set to be shut down.
  • ISIS/Daesh claims it has killed a Taliban commander in Afghanistan.
  • Frustrated with a lack of success using both tribal codes and Western legal systems, many people are turning to the Taliban.
  • Activists are protesting a lack of inclusion of women in new leader Ashraf Ghani’s proposed cabinet.
  •  A video of an Indian woman confronting her molester on a plane has gone viral.
  • Multiple people were detained following a series of protests against recent attacks on churches in New Delhi.
  • Hindu nationalism hates Valentine’s Day.
  • A comeback may be happening for one of India’s biggest rabble-rousers.

Southeast & East Asia:

  • Japan as a nation is experiencing national trauma and grief following the double execution of two hostages by Daesh/ISIS.
  • Hong Kong-based protesters have returned to the streets to demand true universal suffrage.
  • 90% of China’s cities failed to meet air quality standards.
  • A renewed call to drop a series of questionable bills in Burma.
  • Ongoing Islamophobia plagues Burma.
  • The U.S. and North Korea are having talks about having talks.
  • Shocked and horrified drivers watched as a TransAsia plane crashed into a bridge in Taiwan earlier this week, killing many of the passengers onboard.

Europe & Eurasia:

Middle East & North Africa:

  • Jordan began the week seeking information regarding its hostage air force pilot, with many Jordanians uniting against the militants holding him. In a tragic series of events, the pilot was reported burned alive by militants on Tuesday; that evening Jordan executed two militants in retaliation. (The UAE has left the coalition against the militants citing concern for its pilots.) Jordan has vowed continued revenge.
  • Jordan has also returned its ambassador to Tel Aviv following a thaw in tensions.
  • Following accusations of bias the leader of a probe into Israeli war crimes in Gaza has resigned. He has been replaced by a U.S. judge.
  • A Bahraini news channel has ceased broadcast following its decision to air an interview with an opposition leader.
  • Houthi rebels have set a deadline to resolve Yemen’s political crisis.
  • Al Qaeda and Saudi Arabia: A love story.
  • Gulf countries are continuing in their regional pattern of curtailing free speech.
  • One Egyptian journalist has been freed and deported and another is expected to be as well having renounced his citizenship.
  • Tunisia’s secular Nida Tounes party is forming a coalition government with Islamist Ennhada.
  • Algeria’s Amazighs celebrate a 3000 year-old festival.
  • Baghdad’s night curfew finally ends.

Sub-Saharan Africa:

  • South Sudan‘s warring sides have signed another peace agreement.
  • A Nigerian writer had some fun at the expense of Americans on Twitter recently.
  • A blast moments after Nigeria’s President Goodluck left a rally seems to have been the work of Boko Haram.
  • An attack at the Cameroonian border left 70 people dead (also the work of Boko Haram).
  • Ebola rates ticked up for the first time in 2015 in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea.

Americas:

Oceania:

Weekly Wow: If the sizes of countries reflected their populations. | PLUTO RETURNS.

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