Happy birthday Obamacare, and happy chilly spring to District residents. It’s been a scary week for planes and for Bowe Bergdahl, as well as an eventful week in Yemen (where Saudi Arabia and Iran are waging a proxy war with assistance from basically every major player you could name). American forces began strikes in the Iraqi city of Tikrit against Daesh, and Amnesty International thinks both Hamas and the IDF played dirty in last summer’s Gaza war. Enjoy the spring weather this weekend, everyone — and give the first songs off the new Muse album a listen while you’re at it. Apologies if YouTube is unavailable in your country. (Added wonk encouragement: the album’s title is Drones, and here the terrifying gliders are metaphors for man as a killing machine.)
images / nbcnews
- Pakistan’s military courts are out of control.
- Conservative Texas Senator Ted Cruz (he of the Canadian citizenship) announced his candidacy for president on Monday. You heard it here last.
- Starbucks is done with its #RaceTogether efforts–at least when it comes to writing on cups.
- Attention DC residents: Lionel Messi, perhaps the greatest footballer (soccer player) in the world is in town.
- There’s an Arkansas bill in the works that would force you to let your boss snoop your Facebook. As if you needed yet one more reason to delete it.
- Why American Jews vote Democrat, explained.
- Fracking is finally being regulated. Some people aren’t pleased.
- Personal plug: Your blogger wrote a piece for Muftah on the Kremlin’s propensity towards blaming Chechens for political crimes.
- The Pakistani military observed the first Republic Day in seven years this week.
- The Pakistani government is trying to bring YouTube back, according to its education minister.
- Pakistan has joined the coalition fighting in Yemen, for reasons directly involving Saudi Arabia, the keeper of several of Islam’s most holy cities.
- Pakistan has a long history of fighting Saudi Arabia’s wars.
- American-Afghan ties are slowly improving according to various sources.
- Afghanistan’s plans for economic success incorporate Europe, Africa, and Asia…leaving out the Americas.
- A woman brutally murdered by a mob was laid to rest in Kabul this week.
- President Ashraf Ghani sees improving ties with Pakistan integral to its neighbors success.
- Afghan CEO Abdullah Abdullah says government talks with the Taliban could be slated to start very soon.
- Thousands of Indians will be evacuated from an exploding Yemen via ship, according to the country’s government. Indian workers are common in countries throughout the Middle East, where they travel seeking jobs.
- Indian PM Narendra Modi may be looking to trim the country’s proposed universal health care plan.
Southeast, Central, & East Asia:
- Singapore‘s founding father, Lee Kuan Yew, has died. He was 91.
- Yew governed strongly but also governed with an iron fist. He oversaw Singapore’s separation from Malaysia as well as its economic rise, yet freedom of speech suffered under his reign.
Europe & Eurasia:
- The one Russian to vote against the annexation of Crimea is now an exile.
- A powerful Ukrainian billionaire has resigned his governmental position.
- Greece and Germany are headed towards a showdown over World War II war reparations.
- France’s Mont Saint Michel was briefly overcome by the ‘tide of the century’ this weekend.
- A German plane crashed in southern France early this week with no survivors and 150 people dead. After some investigations and deliberations it appears that the plane was crashed intentionally by its co-pilot, who locked out the plane’s pilot from the front cabin.
- Spain’s leftist anti-austerity Podemos party has picked up 15 seats in the country’s elections.
- Democracy has gone digital in Estonia, making it years ahead of its neighbors.
- Goodbye subjects, says Finland.
Middle East & North Africa:
- The possibility of an independent Kurdish state is seeming more and more feasible. The Kurds remain the world’s largest stateless people.
- ISIS/Daesh has claimed responsibility for a horrifying twin mosque bombing that left nearly 150 people dead in Yemen.
- Mid-week Saudi Arabia amassed troops at the Yemeni border, prepared to counter Houthi rebels.
- The US has begun strikes in Tikrit, Iraq. In retaliation, several Iran-backed Shia militias have quit.
- A nuclear deal with Iran could be within reach according to US Secretary of State John Kerry.
- In Israel’s new coalition government, it seems Benjamin Netanyahu will have minimal support from moderate and left-wing factions.
- Make way for Palestine & Israel’s Palestinian female judges, who are making waves.
- The US has learned that Israel spied on its talks with Iran….
- The rift between Hamas and Fatah is deepening at a time when Israel’s global standing is less and less secure.
- Grandmothers are disproportionately bearing the burden of Syria’s orphan crisis.
- Syria’s Assad may now suddenly be open to talks with the US.
- Sultan Qaboos of Oman is back in Muscat following an 8-month medical stay in Germany.
- One suburb in Tunisia is disproportionately breeding fighters for Iraq and Syria’s escalating war.
- Morocco says it has intercepted a cell operated by Daesh/ISIS.
- Sierra Leone went under lockdown again this week in order to eradicate Ebola.
- Nigerian and Chadian troops have found a mass grave in a formerly Boko Haram-held town, near the Nigeria-Niger border.
- In Angola the situation for journalists has gone from bad to worse.
- Imprisoned Swazi human rights attorney Thulani Maseko has written a defiant letter marking the one year anniversary of his prison service. (Marking the release of the letter he was sentenced to solitary confinement, despite the pleas of his lawyer.)
- The UN will boost peacekeeping troops in the CAR by around 1000.
- Ruins found in Argentina’s jungles may be the remnants of Nazi strongholds, according to sources.
- Racial and ethnic identities do a great deal to shape Latin American politics, according to one recent article.
- Flash floods left several people dead in Chile as rain ripped through the region throughout the week.
- Canada is becoming increasingly involved in the war against Daesh/ISIS.
- A strong welfare system could make the US more entrepreneurial.
- A tragic fire killed seven of a family’s eight children in Brooklyn this weekend. Only a short time later another tragedy ripped through the East Village.
- Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid will not be running for re-election.
Oceania & Antarctica:
- Antarctica’s floating ice shelves are melting away…which is terrible, terrible news.