Weekly News Round-Up 3/16/15-3/20/15: Total Eclipse Of The Heart / One State, Two State, Red State, Blue State

Happy Nowruz (Persian New Year) to all and  a happy belated St. Patrick’s Day to the Irish diaspora — your heritage and culture are rich and proud, no matter what Tony Abbott says (scroll down if confused.) This week saw a tragic attack in Tunisia, an equally tragic shooting rampage in Arizona, the controversial re-election of Israel’s right-wing leader (who apparently is both racist and proud of Israeli Arabs, both for a two-state solution and against it, and both pro-yarmulke and not prone to wearing one), and arrests are being made in Serbia regarding war crimes carried out two decades ago in Bosnia. Cheery week. Flip side: Europe had a super cool eclipse.

 

The Faroe Islands and Svalbard in the Arctic Circle were the only places to experience a total eclipse.
The Faroe Islands and Svalbard in the Arctic Circle were the only places to experience a total eclipse.
People gathered for the start of a total solar eclipse in Torshavn in the Faroe Islands. Hotels in the area had been fully booked for months. Stargazers in the town got totality for a full two minutes, which started just before 09:41 GMT.
People gathered for the start of a total solar eclipse in Torshavn in the Faroe Islands. Hotels in the area had been fully booked for months. Stargazers in the town got totality for a full two minutes, which started just before 09:41 GMT.
A soldier walks past graffiti depicting angel wings, by artist Colette Miller, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
A soldier walks past graffiti depicting angel wings, by artist Colette Miller, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
Tunisians holding candles pray at the entrance to the National Bardo Museum in Tunis, where an attack by gunmen on Wednesday left 23 people dead including 20 foreign tourists and a police officer.
Tunisians holding candles pray at the entrance to the National Bardo Museum in Tunis, where an attack by gunmen on Wednesday left 23 people dead including 20 foreign tourists and a police officer.
Tadjik women throw water on men from a roof top as they celebrate the coming of spring in Kashgar, China.
Tadjik women throw water on men from a roof top as they celebrate the coming of spring in Kashgar, China.

bbc / in pictures

Assorted Stand-Outs:

  • The subject of a crime series (entitled The Jinx) has been arrested.
  • Apparently Jeb likes private emails too.
  • Mandatory voting?
  • Starbucks wants its baristas to talk about race…
  • Meanwhile a young black student was severely beaten by police officers this week. Over a fake ID.
  • A neo-Nazi recently went on a shooting rampage in Arizona.
  • Qantara has a piece on linguistical retention for Kurds in exile.
  • One transgender teenage girl is significantly cooler than most of us combined.
  • If you have a moral opposition to fraternities, Penn State is only going to seal that deal for you.
  • A guide to Tuesday’s Israeli election, for those confused by Israeli politics.
  • WaPo has a follow-up on the “hands up, don’t shoot” narrative.
  • Personal plug: Your blogger wrote about, without a touch of bias, the rights of a blogger in Tunisia for Muftah.

South Asia:

  • A tragic weekend attack killed tens of Christians in Lahore. Following the incident, a mob riot killed two men.
  • The US gave CIA money to Al Qaeda inadvertently. Yup.
  • The ACLU is suing to gain access to America’s drone program details, including its Kill List, which focuses heavily on the AfPak region.
  • Despite numerous pleas, a teenager was set to be executed this week in Pakistan, the latest in a string of executions. A last-minute stay has postponed the killing.
  • The ex-lawyer for a doctor accused of giving the CIA information regarding Osama bin Laden was shot and killed this week in Peshawar.
  • Optimism is growing in Afghanistan regarding the country’s elections.
  • Afghanistan’s vice president, a warlord who has perpetuated likely war crimes, also doesn’t like it when the NYT discusses his tears.
  • A nun was reportedly gang-raped during a robbery at a convent in India.

Southeast & East Asia:

  • China may be making new efforts to crack down on pollution.
  • Students in Burma continue to face dangerous clashes with the government.

Europe & Eurasia:

  • Europe experienced a total solar eclipse this week. Cool.
  • After a ten-day absence, Russian President Vladimir Putin made an appearance.
  • Chechen warlord Ramzan Kadyrov has an interesting relationship with Russia’s leader.
  • A fire appears to have caused damage to a UNESCO world heritage site in Moscow.
  • Religious intolerance grows in Donetsk.
  • Pro-Russian sentiment seems to be stirring in Georgia. Meanwhile, breakaway province South Ossetia has theoretically been dissolved into Russia.
  • Turkey’s Erdogan continues to consolidate power, using the excuse of anti-Muslim rhetoric in the majority Muslim nation.
  • Ireland’s Enda Kenney isn’t too happy with Australia’s insinuations about the country’s alcohol problem.
  • Serbia is making arrests relating to outstanding war crimes violations dating back twenty years ago to the Srebrenica genocide in Bosnia.

Middle East & North Africa:

  • Israel went to the polls this week with anti-Netanyahu sentiment rising. It was not enough to dislodge the right-wing hardline leader, however, and his Likud party managed to edge past Isaac Herzog’s Zionist Union (Labor) party. It remains to be seen just how a coalition government will be formed. President Reuven Rivlin will need to give his blessing, and Moshe Kahlon may be the kingmaker. Meanwhile, the Joint Arab List is now the third-largest party in the Knesset. Palestinian leader Abbas has said he will work with any leader who commits to a two-state solution.
  • The White House has some thoughts on Netanyahu’s racism. | But he says now he’s for a two-state solution. Hmm.
  • Iraqi Kurds say Daesh/ISIS used chemical weapons in a suicide attack. | The UN thinks the ICC should prosecute the militant group for war crimes including genocide.
  • Iraqi militias are coming under fire for their violent tactics.
  • The Kurds are also growing concerned by the presence of Iran within the country.
  • A new video features peshmerga fighters being beheaded by militants.
  • Ancient and modern Iran clashed over the celebration of an incredibly old festival this week — Chaharshanbe Suri.
  • US Secretary of State John Kerry has said discussions with Assad may be necessary to winning the Syrian war.
  • Syrian government officials claim to have shot down an American drone over the city of Latakia.
  • The Atlantic Council has a paper out on Morocco’s economic and political transitions.
  • Gunmen stormed a Tunisian museum in Tunis, killing multiple people and briefly taking others hostage. Twitter accounts connected to Daesh/ISIS praised the attack. Tunisia has so far remained the only consistently resilient country following 2011’s unsuccessful Arab Spring movements.
  • The Pentagon has lost $500 million somewhere in Yemen. Clashes are meanwhile erupting in the country between various factions.

Sub-Saharan Africa:

  • An American diplomat was arrested along with pro-democracy activists in the DCR.
  • Switzerland has confiscated $380 million in stolen funds from former Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha. The money will be returned to Nigeria.
  • The vice president of Sierra Leone has been thrown out of office following an attempt to form a breakaway party and seek asylum in the U.S.
  • A South Sudanese warlord says many young boys kidnapped may return to sit for their exams…so long as they come back to fight afterwards.
  • Nearly every mosque in the CAR has been destroyed by war.

Americas:

  • Venezuelan President Madruro has added to the powers of his office.
  • The bodies of French victims of an Argentinian plane crash are being flown home.
  • Nearly 2 million people protested corruption and the Rousseff administration in Brazil this weekend.
  • Cuba continues talks with its northern former adversary; President Obama says he would like embassies to be open by April.
  • Of Western nations, the US fares the worst when it comes to electoral difficulties according to a new report.
  • House Democrats and Republicans are facing off over a sex trafficking bill containing concealed anti-choice language.
  • The Presbyterian church has changed its constitution to support same-sex marriage.
  • Millennial Republican and House Representative Aaron Schock resigned this week following numerous allegations of financial abuse.

Oceania:

  • Aid workers scrambled this week to aid Vanuatu, where people were hit hard with Tropical Cyclone Pam. Aid finally began arriving mid-week, though results were slow-moving.
  • In the Philippines, efforts at a peace agreement seem less and less feasible, as Muslim splinter groups plague the islands.

Weekly Wow: Someone alert Erdogan: A 9th century Viking woman was found with a ring saying “for Allah” on it. | 10 Badass Sikh women in history. | Afghanistan: Portrait of the Nation as a Young Army.

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