Welcome back to the world following a weekend that put many of us in the District into a time warp where only snow existed. If anyone caught the Oscars it was uneventful award-wise but notable speech-wise, with Patricia Arquette delivering a powerful albeit intersectionality-dense speech on working women (supported by Meryl Streep and JLo), Graham Moore sending a touching tribute to queer people the world over, John Legend and Common killing it in a discussion on race in America, and Sean Penn’s racism and xenophobia being appropriately countered by Alejandro González Iñárritu, who may have found the joke ‘hilarious’ but who had this to say: “I want to dedicate this award for my fellow Mexicans, the ones who live in Mexico. I pray that we can find and build the government that we deserve. And the ones that live in this country, who are part of the latest generation of immigrants in this country, I just pray that they can be treated with the same dignity and respect of the ones who came before and built this incredible immigrant nation. Thank you very much.” Peace out, #OscarsSoWhite. [Related: Disney star Zendaya was a class-act after racist remarks were made concerning her hair.]
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- No justice, no peace: George Zimmerman will not face civil rights charges in the murder of Trayvon Martin. The rationale? An incredibly high legal standard, according to the Justice Department.
- In more uplifting news, the Keystone XL pipeline is currently on hold following a veto from the American president. It is only the third veto of his entire presidency.
- Feeding infants peanut butter can apparently reduce the likelihood of allergies. There are a lot of happier babies in the world right now.
- Dear America: Wasting your food is killing the planet.
- The FCC’s fight to preserve net neutrality cleared a hurdle this week as congressional Republicans conceded after a multi-year struggle.
- Climate change, now realer than ever: An Alaskan village will need to be relocated due to drastic changes in the area’s sea ice. Its native Iñupiat residents will become climate refugees.
- American millennials have little to no interest in running for office. As usual, men are more interested than women and more convinced that they can change the system.
- Can courses powered by institutions like Google and Coursera upend the traditional college degree?
- The Weekly Wonk has a reflection on the future of war.
- Crowdfunding an army.
- The head of the UN’s panel on climate change, Rajendra Pachauri, has resigned amidst sexual harassment charges.
- I lived to see the day: Teenagers are leaving Facebook, and/or declining to sign up.
- The fascinating intricacies of geoengineering may cause climate change skeptics to see the light.
- The US is reportedly looking increasingly at slowing its removal of troops from Afghanistan.
- Hats off to the most impressive person of the week: Afghanistan’s only female taxi driver, a single woman, breadwinner, and entrepreneur.
- A massive avalanche in Panjsher province has killed dozens with the death toll still rising.
- Exhausted Afghans are taking matters into their own hands and forming a militia to fight the rising Daesh/ISIS movement growing within the country. Meanwhile the Taliban and the new militants in town are having their own conflict.
- A new agreement will allow Afghan students to study in Lahore, Pakistan, a signal in a potential shift between the two South Asian neighbors who have at times had terse relations. The move also marks the first time the government has used public funds to support international education for its students.
- In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, the government is considering shutting off power and gas to those who refuse to vaccinate their children, despite the constant threat that those seeking vaccines face from the Taliban.
- Thousands of Afghan refugees are fleeing Pakistan and going back the way they came in the midst of rising violence and crackdowns from the Pakistani government.
- Pakistanis are being asked to surrender their fingerprints or give up their cellphones, one of the more interesting approaches to counter-terrorism measures recently introduced by a country.
- Rahul Gandhi is taking a vacation to ponder the future of the Congress Party in India. Mhm.
- Swine flu has claimed the lives of nearly 900 Indians this year so far.
- In a national campaign, approximately 140 million Indian schoolchildren will undergo a deworming treatment.
- Controversy is erupting over one Indian politician’s comments that Mother Theresa, famed for her work in Calcutta, only came to India to convert its citizens.
- Dozens of people were reported killed early this week following a ferry crash in Bangladesh.
- A secular Bangladeshi-American blogger was hacked to death over his atheist views in Dhaka.
Southeast & East Asia:
- Via the Transnational Institute, a desperate plea is going out for land reform in ethnically and religiously divided Burma.
- A man and a woman have been sentenced to two years and six months in jail for taking part in a play viewed as insulting to Thailand’s monarchy. Under the country’s lese majeste laws, considered to be the harshest in the world, an insult to the king (currently the world’s longest-serving monarch, who, at age 87, has been on the throne for over sixty years) can lead to harsh and severe punishment.
- South Korea has officially decriminalized adultery, overturning an old law on infidelity.
- China is reportedly arresting and cracking down on civic groups and their freedoms.
Europe & Eurasia:
- The Ukraine began the week with a spurt of violence, even as a seeming ceasefire remained in place.
- In Photos: The destruction of the Donetsk airport.
- Northern Siberia is warming and the results are terrifying and fascinating.
- Turkey has both an image issue and a border issue, with Daesh/ISIS controlling a good portion of its border with Syria and mounting accusations that Ankara is serving a role in servicing militants with weaponry. (The Washington Post has a fascinating look at the different faces of Turkish Islamic nationalism.) Meanwhile, Turkey, already earning some alarm from women, journalists, and minorities, is now increasingly jailing its outspoken youth. A former Miss Turkey may also be facing jail time — for an Instagram post appearing to mock Turkish leader Erdogan.
- With the help of Kurdish fighters, Turkey was able to evacuate its guards from the Tomb of Suleiman Shah in Syria on Sunday.
- Can the PKK overcome its image as a terrorist organization? Many are wondering.
- Inspired by The Imitation Game, a new petition is calling for some 49,000 British men to be pardoned for the crime of homosexuality.
- Three British teenagers who appear to have left home to join militants in Syria as “jihadi brides” are drawing increasing scrutiny and concern. In a related measure, France seized the passports of six citizens it believed to be headed to Syria.
- The the Welfare State to the Caliphate: Foreign Policy has an article up on how one Swedish suburb has become a breeding ground for jihadists.
- Meanwhile the identity of a British ISIS/Daesh member who has risen to fame due to his starring role in various beheadings has been revealed.
- In an effort to stem the growth of radicalism in Austria, the government has introduced new legislation to implement an Austrian-style Islam that will for the first time provide many previously-demanded rights to the country’s large Muslim population; still, some see it as Islamophobia at its finest.
- France is holding three Al Jazeera journalists for their role in flying a drone around Paris.
- Greece and Europe have agreed to a financial compromise, avoiding catastrophe. Still, there are concessions on both sides. Greece initially appears to have conceded the most but others say that in showing muscle to Germany and flaunting the failure of austerity the bankrupt nation has done what none have dared to do and set a new precedent. (Krugman: Greece’s excess burden.)
- Opinion: Are the Germans going to crash the world?
- A German man who posed as Hitler has resumed his position as the head of anti-immigrant group PEGIDA. In related news and in a move that many find alarming, Hitler’s autobiography Mein Kampf is set to be published in the country for the first time in decades.
Middle East & North Africa:
- Brookings Live showcased President Obama’s Authorization for the Use of Military Force in a talk given this week.
- PS21 has an article up on social media in the age of Daesh/ISIS.
- The case for international involvement in Libya — but only under certain conditions. The Washington Post wonders, will the city of Misrata be a kingmaker in the country’s crisis?
- Saudi Arabia and Iran are engaged in a pseudo Cold War over Yemen, says Chatham House.
- A ten year plan regarding Iran’s nuclear enrichment could be in the works.
- Iran’s Navy has also cheerfully blown up a model of a US aircraft carrier.
- Al Monitor says without accountability, former Iranian leader Ahmadinejad could be making a comeback.
- So much for resigning — Yemen’s President Hadi seems to want his job back despite the scores of Houthi rebels now inhabiting Sanaa.
- Not the most popular person in the world? President Rouhani of Iran who is earning massive opposition from Iranian teachers everywhere following increasing cuts in education spending within the country.
- The UN envoy to Syria faces a steep uphill battle with little to no support from the coalition of nations seemingly looking to end the country’s two year civil war. Meanwhile accusations have surfaced from Human Rights Watch that the Syrian government is using barrel bombs against its citizens.
- Increasingly angry about harassment and violence towards women, a group of Egyptian students have launched Speak Up, a campaign devoted to ending harassment on campus at Cairo University.
- Daesh/ISIS took between 70 and 100 Assyrian Christians captive early this week following the invasion of a town previously controlled by Kurdish forces. They expanded upon that number throughout the week, and have been continuously targeting minorities as retribution for Kurdish territorial gains. Meanwhile, those minorities are uniting and fighting back.
- In addition to murdering thousands, Daesh/ISIS are destroying priceless artifacts, as well as jeopardizing UNESCO world heritage sites.
- The Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian Liberation Organization have been found guilty in a Manhattan trial carried out on behalf of the victims of terrorist attacks committed within Israel and the Occupied Territories in the early 2000s.
- Mossad says Benjamin Netanyahu may have stretched the truth a bit in discussing Iran’s bomb-building capacity.
- Susan Rice, an Obama aide and top security adviser, thinks the Netanyahu-Congress speech is a terrible idea. John Kerry has some thoughts as well.
- Deep in the Algerian Sahara, a movement against fracking has taken on a tone of national fervor.
- Nigeria’s democracy is struggling, both when it comes to fighting terrorism and when it comes to holding fair elections.
- Violence in the country meanwhile continues to escalate: Boko Haram is increasingly using young people (many of them girls) and women to carry out suicide bombings. A brighter spot in the week was the government’s reclaiming of Baga, under Boko Haram’s control since January.
- Chad’s army has joined the fray and is hitting the militant group with everything it has.
- A Somalian terror group, Al Shabab, has threatened various malls and similar spaces in the US, Canada, and the UK. The group also reportedly launched fire mortars at the country’s presidential palace.
- A tireless Ebola worker caring for orphaned children in Sierra Leone has been diagnosed with the disease and is in treatment. In his absence, the orphanage he worked with has been quarantined.
- Gunmen reportedly seized over eighty boys from a displaced persons camp in South Sudan early in the week, according to reports.
- American terrorism warnings may ironically be fueling coastal Kenyan terrorism.
- South Africa is training elephants to sniff out bombs and hunt poachers.
- The ex-Supreme Court chief of Panama has plead guilty to corruption charges.
- A Venezuelan teenager was killed mid-week during protests fueled by the growing economic crisis facing the country.
- In a move many view as suspect, a judge dismissed a case accusing the president of Argentina of covering up the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center.
- Mexico is issuing warnings to its citizens to be careful of the ongoing measles epidemic in the United States.
- The Chicago police department is reportedly operating a black site that it is using to detain and torture American citizens. This is terrifying.
- Brookings has an interesting conversation up regarding the American redefining of marriage.
- Americans focus on the 2016 presidential race, rather than the local races that will directly impact their lives.
- America might have a partial shutdown over the Department of Homeland Security. As of Friday morning House Republicans swerved…but only for three weeks.
- Secretary of State John Kerry has tapped a foreign service officer to be the nation’s first LGBTQ envoy.
- The military is several steps closer to lifting a ban on transgender members serving.
- A ‘whisper campaign’ indicating that a Republican candidate for governor of Missouri was Jewish may have led to his suicide.
- Three Brooklyn men have been detained and stand accused of supporting terrorist organization Daesh/ISIS.
- The grey wolf spotted in the Grand Canyon has already been killed by a hunter. RIP Echo. This is why we can’t have nice things.
- The killer of Chris Kyle was found guilty and will face life in prison. WaPo has some thoughts about why his insanity defense failed.
- Before causing the deaths of two people at a Sydney cafe, a mentally troubled man in Australia reportedly placed 18 calls to the police indicating that a siege was imminent.
- Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has called for stronger charges against citizens accused of aiding and abetting terrorism, including but not limited to revoking their citizenship.
- New Zealand will send a small number of troops to Iraq to train forces.