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 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.