This blog’s thoughts on last Sunday’s Grammy awards range, but a heartfelt congratulations to the talented Sam Smith! This week brings us a seeming ceasefire between the Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists, the tragic shooting of three young American Muslims, the departure of Jon Stewart from The Daily Show, a full-fledged temper tantrum from a handful of judges in Alabama, and the fact that Ruth Bader Ginsberg apparently likes her wine. Happy weekend to all, stay warm DC residents, it’s going to be a cold one.
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- HSBC reportedly helped conceal $100 billion in Swiss bank accounts. Oof.
- Cricket World Cup approacheth.
- Meet the women behind #blacklivesmatter.
- Mic has a new section: Connections.
- Three Muslims were killed in North Carolina following what appears to be a dispute over parking, though it also clearly appears to be a hate crime. The hashtag #muslimlivesmatter has been trending following a lack of response from mainstream media to their murders. | American Muslims react.
- In a blow to liberal millennials everywhere, their chief source of news Jon Stewart is leaving The Daily Show. This blog admires Stewart and wishes him well.
- Satire, free speech, and Egypt — there’s an Indiegogo campaign going on right now to provide one Egyptian satirist with a podium.
- Analyzing the federal government’s use of the Cloud.
- American hostage Kayla Mueller has been confirmed killed by Daesh/ISIS. Rest in peace.
- A decade after humanitarian reforms, how have IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) fared?
- A WaPo article from last year has been making the rounds again, drawing attention to the double-standards applied to Muslims despite frequent instances of Christian brutality in the name of religion.
- Opinions: The World War Inside Islam.
- Same-sex marriage may be about to have its day.
- Veteran 60 Minutes correspondent Bob Simon was killed in a car crash in NYC this week. He was a phenomenal journalist and will be missed. Also tragic: the death of New York Times critic David Carr. Sad week for journalism.
- How America will look in 2050.
- Fresh Off The Boat is changing a lot about Asian-Americans on tv.
- Daesh/ISIS goes official in South Asia.
- The Afghan police force may have links to the Taliban in Kunduz province.
- The US is escalating a secretive war in Afghanistan, according to reports.
- India is set to probe a black money report connected HSBC (as noted above) to over a thousand Indian accounts.
- An app to provide free internet?
- In a stunning moment the BJP was royally upset by the AAP in a sweep that saw 67 of 70 seats handed to the underdog party.
- Plans to open a temple dedicated to Prime Minister Modi have been scrapped.
- Eight people have been arrested and another allegedly committed suicide following the rape and murder of a Nepalese woman in Rohtak.
- At the beginning of the week India and Pakistan suspended trade across the Line of Control along the Kashmiri border following the detaining of a Pakistani driver caught with drugs.
- Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif wants an overhaul of civil bureaucracy.
- As if a petrol shortage wasn’t enough, Pakistan may now be in for a water shortage as well.
- The Pakistani Taliban concluded the work week by attacking a Shia mosque in Peshawar.
- The impact of displacement on dowries in Sri Lanka is discussed in a new paper via Brookings.
Southeast & East Asia:
- The North Korean film festival.
- Japan’s faltering support for Burmese democracy is troubling many human rights activists.
- Valentine’s Day in Cambodia isn’t very fun at all.
Europe & Eurasia:
- Defiant, Greece’s Tsipras has informed the European Union that the country will not negotiate its sovereignty by succumbing to a bailout extension. No agreement has been reached as of present.
- A young British citizen stands accused of planning to behead a British soldier with plans to die a martyr.
- German Jews are enraged following the admission that a group commissioned to discuss antisemitism will in fact include no Jews.
- A French Socialist candidate edged out the National Front’s competitor in the country’s first electoral test since the Charlie Hebdo massacre.
- Turkey’s pivot away from the West is one worth monitoring.
- Turkey is offering cash rewards to couples for marrying early.
- Ukraine and Russian separatists reached a breaking point as Western leaders scrambled to intervene earlier this week; a deal was reached Wednesday night between powers (with Russia by far the winner). However the ceasefire is set to take place two weeks from now and in the meantime fighting has escalated.
Middle East & North Africa:
- Jordan began the week bombarding Daesh/ISIS in retaliation for the murder of its pilot. In a show of solidarity, the UAE, who had ceased bombing assistance in December, resumed strikes on the terrorist group.
- Aleppo’s citizens are suffering from a fuel shortage in addition to Syria’s terrible civil war during a cold and long winter.
- Syria’s regime claims it is receiving intel from anti-Daesh/ISIS forces. Meanwhile the militants have advanced on Western Iraq.
- The Yazidis take their revenge.
- Hamas continues to assert that it will not recognize Israel, even as Israel seems to increasingly make its peace with Hamas.
- Drama continues over a planned speech from Israel’s Netanyahu set to be delivered before the US Congress.
- Over 20 people were killed in Egypt in a soccer stadium stampede at the beginning of the week.
- Tracking Egyptian legislation, via the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy.
- Two Al Jazeera journalists have been released on bail by the Egyptian government.
- Engaging in regional politics, Assad-style.
- Opinion: We are human rights defenders, but Bahrain says we’re terrorists.
- Western embassies in Yemen are closing, isolating the newly empowered Houthi rebels.
- In a tragic turn of events, more than 300 migrants headed from Libya to Italy appear to have died.
- As Rwanda’s post-genocide generation grows up, one organization is teaching them how to argue about politics.
- Niger will send troops to Nigeria to fight Boko Haram.
- Nigeria’s president denies he played a role in the country’s election postponement.
- US troops will for the most part withdraw from West Africa by the end of April following months of battle with the Ebola virus.
- Experts sent from Argentina to investigate the disappearance of 43 students in Mexico are questioning whether or not the Mexican government has the capability of fully overseeing the country’s internal investigation.
- The murder of Argentinian prosecutor Nisman continues to intrigue with the discovery of an unidentified person’s DNA in his apartment.
- Colombia’s Miss Universe has been invited to peace talks by FARC rebels, who are engaged in a stand-off with the country’s government.
- Colombia’s first legal abortion clinic is a game-changer in the region.
- Netflix is launching in Cuba.
- Alabama is set to become the 37th state to allow same-sex marriage, a legendary moment in the Deep South.
- After fighting Daesh/ISIS for a long time, President Obama is now about to ask permission.
- In a vote along mostly party lines, the Keystone XL bill has passed the House.
- NBC news anchor Brian Williams has been suspended for six months without pay following allegations of embellishment regarding his time in Iraq. Here are a few thoughts re: what could have been a better move.
- Ashton Carter has been confirmed as US Defense Secretary.
- FBI director James B. Comey has acknowledged some “hard truths” about racial profiling.
- Australia’s Tony Abbott survived a no-confidence vote but he may lose his position in the ruling Liberal Party.
- Two people have been arrested on suspicion of plotting an imminent terror attack in the country continent.