Weekly News Round-Up 4/27/15-5/1/15: Quakes & Uprisings

All this blog’s thoughts and prayers with Nepal this week. Some ways you can help are here. Meanwhile in the District’s neighbor Baltimore times are hard as well – #BaltimoreUprisings is a good place to go for up-to-date social media news regarding the situation. News is pretty widespread this round-up. The American SCOTUS heard arguments for and against same-sex marriage this week and it seems once again Justice Kennedy will be the swing vote come June. In Pakistan, the men responsible for Malala Yousafzai’s shooting will face life in prison. Elsewhere, Saudi Arabia and Iran continue to face off over Yemen. In news unrelated to global politics, this blog is slowly getting a beauty makeover. Changes will be phased in over time — feel free to chime in with feedback — we live to serve!

A man sits with a child on his lap as victims of an earthquake wait for ambulances after being evacuated at the airport in Kathmandu, Nepal, on April 27.  A major 7.8 earthquake hit Kathmandu on April 25 and was followed by multiple aftershocks.
A man sits with a child on his lap as victims of an earthquake wait for ambulances after being evacuated at the airport in Kathmandu, Nepal, on April 27.
A major 7.8 earthquake hit Kathmandu on April 25 and was followed by multiple aftershocks.

Assorted Stand-Outs:

A young protester stands in front of a line of police on April 27 following the funeral of Freddie Gray in Baltimore. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore's west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody.
A young protester stands in front of a line of police on April 27 following the funeral of Freddie Gray in Baltimore. Gray, 25, was arrested for possessing a switch blade knife April 12 outside the Gilmor Houses housing project on Baltimore’s west side. According to his attorney, Gray died a week later in the hospital from a severe spinal cord injury he received while in police custody.

South Asia:

  • A terrible magnitude-7.9 earthquake hit Nepal early on in the week. The death toll has passed 6200, numerous UNESCO world heritage sites have been devastated, and the country has been consumed with trauma. Nepal’s prime minister has predicted the death toll could top 10,000.
  • India, Pakistan, and other South Asian countries have been flying in aid. All members of the lower house of India’s parliament have agreed to donate a month’s salary to Nepal.
  • A new American report criticizes Indian Prime Minister Modi’s government’s persecution of minorities.
  • The Indian government is arguing against the validity of marital rape.
  • Pakistani activist Sabeen Mahmud (Mehmood) was murdered last week after her cafe, the Second Floor (T2F) hosted a talk on missing persons in the province of Baluchistan. Her death is believed to be the work of the ISI, Pakistan’s powerful intelligence services.
  • A professor in Karachi was also murdered this week. Officials believe that although he was not Shia, his killers may have believed him to be.
  • India has passed an historic private bill to protect the rights of transgender persons.
  • A cyclone in northwest Pakistan left 44 dead and many displaced.
  • Malala Yousafzai’s attackers have been sentenced to life in prison. The women’s rights and education activist was shot by Taliban militants when she was a young teenager.
  • A landslide killed 52 people in Afghanistan‘s Badakshan province.
Men shout
Men shout “Freddie G” as they protest against the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore on April 28.

Southeast & East Asia:

  • Various Southeast Asian leaders have delivered a notice to China that its creation of an island in the South China Sea is detrimental to peace in the region.
  • Japan’s conservative prime minister, Shinzo Abe, was in the US this past week.

Europe & Eurasia:

  • Voters in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus elected Mustafa Akinci their president this past week. Akinci is pro-peace and a leftist moderate who many hope can help unite the island. Like us, you probably just learned what the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was.
  • Turks are protesting the sentence of a woman who killed her rapist.
  • Greece’s finance minister has said the country is willing to compromise to settle its debt.
  • A new Ukrainian law canonizing nationalist contributions during WWII (and by extension honoring the ethnic cleansing of Poles) has raised some controversy.
  • A Russian unmanned spacecraft attempting to deliver supplies to the International Space Station has been disconnected from its signal and may plunge to Earth within the next ten days.
  • Russia is blocking wildfire relief to Siberia over an apparent need to keep “humanitarian convoys” planted in Donetsk, Ukraine.
  • The Vatican is taking up the issue of climate change.
  • The Finnish military fired at a suspected submarine near Helsinki.
  • A UN aid worker has been suspended for leaking a report detailing offenses by French peacekeeping troops in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Many migrants en route to Europe from Africa say they never intended to head towards the continent initially.
Four-month-old Sonit Awal is held up by Nepalese Army soldiers on April 26 after being rescued from the rubble of his house in Bhaktapur, Nepal, the day after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake shook the densely populated Kathmandu valley. Nepalese photojournalist Amul Thapa says that when he saw the baby alive after 20 hours of rescue efforts “… all my sorrow went. Everyone was clapping. It gave me energy and made me smile in spite of lots of pain hidden inside me.
Four-month-old Sonit Awal is held up by Nepalese Army soldiers on April 26 after being rescued from the rubble of his house in Bhaktapur, Nepal, the day after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake shook the densely populated Kathmandu valley. Nepalese photojournalist Amul Thapa says that when he saw the baby alive after 20 hours of rescue efforts “… all my sorrow went. Everyone was clapping. It gave me energy and made me smile in spite of lots of pain hidden inside me.”

Middle East & North Africa:

  • Several Syrian rebel groups including Jabhat al-Nusra have made inroads into the Syrian town of Jisr al-Shughour.
  • The chief leader of the Syrian opposition has finally fled the country.
  • A new defense bill in the American congress recognizes Kurdish and Sunni militas as a “country.”
  • Israel carried out an airstrike on the Syrian border, targeting militants.
  • Israel is airlifting surrogate mothers and babies from Nepal’s post-earthquake wreckage.
  • Ethiopian-Israelis clashed with Israeli police following the beating of an Ethiopian-Israeli soldier.
  • Palestinians are reacting negatively to the inclusion by Turkey of Jerusalem on the list of Umrah destinations.
  • Hamas’ Khaled Meshaal reportedly blocked a potentially major attack from Israel during the Gaza war.
  • The PLO has failed to address the crisis in Syria’s Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp.
  • Human rights groups have issued sound condemnation of the trial of former leader Mohamed Morsi.
  • 15 years onward, Palestinian doctors are now able to drive into Israel.
  • Tunisia’s government is reshuffling its foreign policy.
  • Al Monitor: The Islamic State’s Baathist roots.
  • A Libyan TV crew was found murdered several months after their disappearances. Their deaths are believed to be the work of Daesh/ISIS.
  • Broke and ignored by Western governments, Libya’s embattled leadership is shelling out millions for representation in Washington.
  • Mid-week Iran seized a cargo ship tagged from the Marshall Islands (which the US is sworn to protect.) The US responded by firing warning shots. The incident has since escalated, although reportedly the crew are in good spirits.
  • Saudi Arabia bombed Yemen‘s airport runway in Sana’a in order to prevent an Iranian plane from delivering aid. This has further hindered human rights efforts.
  • The UN has said all parties involved in the Yemeni conflict are condemning its citizens to death.
  • Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has announced a surprising shakeup to the royal succession line.
Schoolgirls rest on a banquette at the Museum of the Great Patriotic War at Poklonnaya Gora in Moscow on April 28. Russia celebrates the 70th anniversary of the 1945 victory over Nazi Germany on May 9.
Schoolgirls rest on a banquette at the Museum of the Great Patriotic War at Poklonnaya Gora in Moscow on April 28. Russia celebrates the 70th anniversary of the 1945 victory over Nazi Germany on May 9.

Sub-Saharan Africa:

  • Deadly protests broke out in Burundi after the country’s president announced he would seek a third term in office.
  • Burundi further blocked social media sites in an effort to silence protesters.
  • Mali’s main rebel group are preparing to sign a UN-brokered peace deal.
  • Sudan’s dictator won re-election with 94% of the vote. Omar al-Bashir is widely believed to be the front-man behind Sudanese war crimes against various minority groups.
  • A Kenyan high court has demanded that a pro-gay rights NGO be registered.
  • Togo’s President Faure Gnassingbe has been elected to a third term in office. His family has ruled the country for 48 years.
  • The Nigerian army claims it has rescued hundreds of women and girls from Boko Haram.

Americas:

  • North and South America have become the first continents to eliminate Rubella.
  • A woman who hit the president of Venezuela with a mango has been awarded a house by the government.
  • More than 200 people were reportedly injured during clashes in Brazil over proposed changes to teachers’ pensions.
  • The city of Baltimore declared a state of emergency following riots after a man injured in police custody died. There is a long history of police brutality in the city, much of it aimed at people of color.

Oceania:

Weekly Wow: Stephen Hawking has some comforting words for One Direction fans mourning Zayn’s absence. | A fox made a double-decker sandwich. In Chernobyl.

Contestants celebrate on stage in the
Contestants celebrate on stage in the “Miss Gordita” beauty contest grand finale in Asuncion, Paraguay, on April 25. Even as event organizers try to fight discrimination against plus-size women, awards for contestants include appointments with a nutritionist and annual gym memberships.

credit: images / nbcnews

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