Weekly News Round-Up 4/13/15-4/17/15: A Spade Is A Spade

Happy belated Bengali new year! (Or Nepali, etc — many parts of South Asia celebrating this week — festivities abounded.) This week has brought shifts and thaws, some (completely expected) announcements in the US’ presidential race (which mind you won’t be for another year), increasing chaos in Yemen and Syria, sad milestones in Nigeria, and some drama between Armenia, Turkey, the Vatican, and anyone else who voiced an opinion on the Armenian genocide including but not limited to Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.

 

Colored powder covers the face of a man during the Bisket Jatra Festival on the outskirts of Kathmandu, Nepal, on April 15. The festival marks the Nepali new year.
Colored powder covers the face of a man during the Bisket Jatra Festival on the outskirts of Kathmandu, Nepal, on April 15. The festival marks the Nepali new year.
Passerby Jason Warnock, 29, rescues 23-year-old Mathew Sitko from his SUV after it left the road and was stopped by a chain link fence just short of a 30-foot vertical drop in Lewiston, Idaho, on April 15.
Passerby Jason Warnock, 29, rescues 23-year-old Mathew Sitko from his SUV after it left the road and was stopped by a chain link fence just short of a 30-foot vertical drop in Lewiston, Idaho, on April 15.
A relative of a victim of the Sewol ferry disaster holds a flower as he stands on the deck of a boat during a visit to the site of the sunken ferry off the coast of South Korea's southern island of Jindo on April 15. Relatives visited the site on the first anniversary of the disaster which killed 304 people, mostly high school students.
A relative of a victim of the Sewol ferry disaster holds a flower as he stands on the deck of a boat during a visit to the site of the sunken ferry off the coast of South Korea’s southern island of Jindo on April 15. Relatives visited the site on the first anniversary of the disaster which killed 304 people, mostly high school students.
Syrian emergency services personnel try to pull a woman out from under the rubble of a building following a reported barrel bomb attack by government forces on the rebel held Bustan al-Qasr district in the east of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on April 13. The Syrian civil war has killed at least 220,000 people and displaced 11 million, according to the U.N.
Syrian emergency services personnel try to pull a woman out from under the rubble of a building following a reported barrel bomb attack by government forces on the rebel held Bustan al-Qasr district in the east of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on April 13.
The Syrian civil war has killed at least 220,000 people and displaced 11 million, according to the U.N.
Mourners look on as the casket of Walter Scott is removed from a hearse for his funeral on April 11 in Summerville, S.C. Scott was shot to death by a white police officer. A video taken by a witness showed the officer firing eight shots at Scott's back as he was running away. Scott was apparently unarmed.
Mourners look on as the casket of Walter Scott is removed from a hearse for his funeral on April 11 in Summerville, S.C.
Scott was shot to death by a white police officer. A video taken by a witness showed the officer firing eight shots at Scott’s back as he was running away. Scott was apparently unarmed.
Students take an examination on an open-air playground at a high school in Yichuan, in China's Shaanxi province on April 11. More than 1,700 freshmen students took part in the exam, which was the first attempt by the school to administer it outside.
Students take an examination on an open-air playground at a high school in Yichuan, in China’s Shaanxi province on April 11. More than 1,700 freshmen students took part in the exam, which was the first attempt by the school to administer it outside.
Heidi Pham of Minneapolis walks along the Tidal Basin on April 11 in Washington, D.C., as the city's cherry trees neared their peak bloom.
Heidi Pham of Minneapolis walks along the Tidal Basin on April 11 in Washington, D.C., as the city’s cherry trees neared their peak bloom.

images / nbcnews

Assorted Stand-Outs:

  • Breaking News: New Star Wars trailer!
  • Hillary Clinton is (shockingly) running for the American presidency.
  • So is Marco Rubio.
  • Hillary Clinton loves Elizabeth Warren.
  • Google has been accused of violating anti-trust laws by the EU.
  • Personal plug of the week: Your blogger wrote about Hungary’s Jobbik party and its insincere efforts to shift away from Neo-Nazi policies.
  • One transmedia artist is critically examining caste discrimination and sexual violence in India, and it’s awesome.
  • This week we all learned what a gyrocopter is.
  • #ToTheGirls.
  • Between Kansas and Indiana, maybe people will finally lay off the South.
  • What does informed consent mean in a field experiment?
  • A woman on the American $20 bill? It could happen.
  • Opinion: Calling on the American president to finally label the Armenian genocide a genocide.

South Asia:

  • Pakistan‘s current neutrality on Yemen is making it few friends in the Gulf region.
  • A drone strike near the beginning of the week killed four suspected militants in South Waziristan.
  • Lahore had a reported swine flu death this week.
  • An American woman in Karachi was severely wounded by militants whose affiliation is currently unknown. The woman has lived in Pakistan for over ten years and is married to a Pakistani citizen.
  • Foreign fighters are spilling into Afghanistan from Pakistan, aiding the Taliban in its “spring offensive.”
  • Pakistan is set to propose a joint anti-polio drive with Afghanistan.
  • Indian PM Modi was in Germany this week as part of his “Make In India” economic pitch.
  • Bangladesh is bracing for protests and backlash following the execution of a prominent Islamist leader.
  • Far-right Hindu nationalist party Shiv Sena has called for Muslims to have their voting rights removed in India.
  • Maldivian ex-president Mohamed Nasheen has been sentenced to 13 years in prison, which virtually all human rights organizations say is absurd.

Southeast & East Asia:

  • A fascinating look inside a Catholic Burmese leper colony near the Chinese border is up at Foreign Policy.
  • Thailand‘s junta is enjoying their power while the opposition bides its time.
  • China has released five women’s rights activists from detention, although they can still be charged.
  • A Japanese court has barred the reopening of a nuclear reactor facility.

Europe & Eurasia:

  • Turkey has recalled its envoy to the Vatican following a speech in which the Pope referred to the Armenian genocide as a genocide.
  • Turkey’s minorities are getting involved in the country’s parliamentary elections.
  • Hungary’s Neo-Nazi Jobbik party has claimed a notable parliamentary victory.
  • Russia has lifted its ban on selling missiles to Iran.
  • A Dutch court will hear a case suing the government for failing to protect its citizens from climate change.
  • French public radio has spent a month on strike, which has only boosted its popularity.
  • Watchdog groups say the US is ignoring human rights abuses in Central Asia, namely Uzbekistan.

Middle East & North Africa:

  • American journalist Jason Rezaian has finally been formally charged by Iran. He will stand trial.
  • An Egyptian-held journalist has penned a harrowing letter from prison.
  • Iraq’s Yazidis are skeptical amidst a stalled offensive on Mount Sinjar, where many are still stranded. Little has been done to restore the area to working order or to return kidnapped members of the ethnoreligious group. The siege on the mountain was broken last December.
  • Yazidi women have been the subject of militant war crimes, say sources.
  • Reports indicate Daesh/ISIS have withdrawn from the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria. Palestinian fighters pushed back the militants towards the middle-end of the week.
  • Saudi Arabia and Turkey are set to meet to discuss removing Syria‘s Assad from power.
  • Tensions are flaring between Iraq and the Saudis. Iraqi PM Abadi was in Washington, DC this week with minimal fanfare, but terseness with the Gulf State monarchical giant are clear.
  • Iran has blocked Saudi pilgrimage flights following an incident involving the alleged sexual assault of two teenage boys.
  • Americans fleeing Yemen without help from their government arrived in Djibouti earlier in the week.
  • On Tuesday, Palestinian doctors were allowed to drive their vehicles into Jerusalem for the first time in fifteen years.

Sub-Saharan Africa:

  • Following the death of a key opposition figure in Gabon many supporters rioted and set fire to Benin’s embassy.
  • BuzzFeed has a nice article up on the aftermath of Kenya’s Garissa tragedy.
  • In the year following Boko Haram’s widescale kidnapping of young girls from Chibok, Nigeria, many have never been (and might never be)  found.
  • Increasing attacks on foreigners have led Malawi to repatriate its citizens in South Africa.

Americas:

  • Chile has passed a law recognizing same-sex marriage.
  • An oil spill in Mexico has left 200,000 people without water.
  • Canadians hosted India’s PM Modi this past week, as part of his “Make in India” tour. Addressing a crowd of 10,000+ Indian-Canadians Modi pushed the idea of job creation over job seeking. His visit marked the first time an Indian leader has visited the country in 40 years.
  • In an historic meeting, Raul Castro and Barack Obama united to thaw relations between the US and Cuba. Cuba might also be coming off the sponsored terrorist list.
  • The US has a record number of applicants for the H1-B tech visa. Only 80,000 people will be chosen.
  • Aaron Hernandez, a former Patriots player, has been sentenced to life in prison for first-degree murder.
  • The president is fast-tracking a trade deal that many progressive organizations and unions aren’t big fans of.
  • Senate Republicans are STILL holding up the confirmation of Loretta Lynch, who would be the first African-American female Attorney General.

Weekly Wow: Apple’s emoji woes. | In photos: Spotting hope in Pakistan. | These old pictures of Muslims in the Russian Empire are stunning, fascinating, and informative.

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