Tuesday was World Press Freedom Day! Free the press, love on the press, respect the press, hold the press accountable! In other news everyone and their pet monkey is running for the Republican nomination for president in the US, and Britain had quite the election roller coaster this week. Israel’s Netanyahu narrowly scraped a (likely doomed) coalition government together, while the US Holocaust Museum issued a dire warning regarding the genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Burma. Nepal continues to struggle in the wake of a tragic earthquake, and Saudi Arabia is essentially murdering Yemeni civilians unable to access aid. Back to the US for a moment — District residents, we will be able to fly round-trip to Cuba for under a thousand dollars come December. With that, a good weekend to all!
- American presidential race updates: Ben Carson is in, as is Carly Fiorina. Both will seek the Republican nomination.
- Hillary Clinton has taken a pretty bold stance on immigration.
- WaPo has an intensive look up at their site offering an analysis of police officers held accountable for the numerous murders committed in the US. | Marilyn Mosby, the state’s attorney for Maryland, is charging six police officers in the death of Freddie Gray. Among the charges: ‘depraved-heart murder.’
- The coming revolution in energy storage.
- The NYT has an amazing feature up on the exploitation of workers in nail salons.
- Y’all, we’re destroying the planet for vegetarians ( of the animal variety).
- The Holocaust Museum is raising awareness about the genocide occurring in Burma, where Rohingya Muslims are being ethnically cleasned by Buddhists.
- Some American cops really want white people to stop freaking out every time they see a black neighbor.
- Hawaiians are protesting the construction of the world’s second-largest telescope.
- One Iraqi cellist is doing his best to make the world a more beautiful place.
- The US Senate will get to take a look at the Iran bill. This comforts few, as the US Senate does not have a great track regardless of which party is in power.
- Recent reports charge that freedom of the press in Afghanistan is under siege.
- A talk with the Taliban appears to have ushered in a shift on women’s rights.
- Four men have been sentenced to death in the lynching of Farkhunda, a woman falsely accused of burning the Qur’an.
- Anti-American sentiment is finally easing in Pakistan.
- Numerous foreign envoys died in a helicopter crash in Pakistan this morning.
- Pakistan has inaugurated its first solar park.
- Pakistan’s supreme court has been hearing cases challenging the 18th and 19th amendments of the constitution, calling into question whether Pakistan can be declared a secular state.
- Nepalis on Twitter weren’t too pleased with the abundant media coverage in India of the Nepal earthquake.
- The US has criticized India’s recent crackdown on NGOs and charity organizations.
- Bollywood superstar Salman Khan has been sentenced to five years in jail for culpable homicide. His sentence was suspended later in the week and he is due to appear in court in July.
Southeast, Central, & East Asia:
- The discovery of a mass grave in Thailand (likely of Rohingya Muslims) has led to the arrest of two Thais and a Burmese national.
- China is ordering Muslims to sell alcohol and tobacco in an attempt to “weaken” Islam.
- Self-promotion: Your blogger wrote on the jailing of Khadija Ismayilova, an Azerbaijani journalist imprisoned on trumped up charges following her reporting on governmental abuses.
Eurasia & Europe:
- Thousands of Moldovans protested this week, calling for reforms in support of the EU.
- Qatar has claimed it is not violating workers’ rights in anticipation of the FIFA World Cup, despite arresting German journalists reporting on working conditions in the area.
- Following controversy, Germany has ceased its alliance with the NSA, with whom it was collaborating on Internet surveillance.
- France‘s far right leader Jean Mairie Le Pen has been suspended from his own party for comments made about Nazi gas chambers.
- Lawmakers in France have widely expanded spying powers in a move that has drawn concern and skepticism.
- Britain had a too-close-to-call election mid-week, pitting Prime Minister David Cameron against more leftist leader Ed Milliband.
- …Which then turned into a decisive victory for the Conservatives, and Milliband’s resignation.
Middle East & North Africa:
- Dozens have been injured this week during police clashes in Israel involving Ethiopian Jews, revolting over racism.
- Israeli veterans say overly permissive rules led to mass casualties in Gaza last summer.
- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was narrowly able to form a government despite a last-minute exodus from Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beitenu party. The government is shaky, however, and could collapse.
- Palestinian students have reportedly faced detention and threats from Fatah over their connections to Hamas.
- Tunisia’s LGBTQ community has gained a considerable amount–and drawn the ire of conservatives in the process.
- Oman has launched an amnesty program to return undocumented workers home without legal repercussions.
- Reports indicate Saudi Arabia beheaded five foreigners and hung their bodies from helicopters as a warning sign.
- Prominent human rights activist Narges Mohammadi has been arrested by the Iranian government.
- US Secretary of State John Kerry made a surprise stop in Somalia this week — but he was unable to leave the airport due to security concerns.
- Despite rioting, a Burundi court has backed the president’s efforts to seek a third presidential term.
- A UN whistleblower who revealed the sex abuse of CAR residents at the hands of French peacekeepers has been found to have had an unlawful termination by a UN tribunal.
- The Ivory Coast has banned skin-whitening cream amidst health concerns.
- A former Colombian spy chief has been sentenced to 14 years in prison.
- Costa Rica issued an alert following the sinking of a cargo ship carrying deadly material.
- Cuba and Florida are about to have a direct ferry line.
- Chile’s leader, Michelle Bachelet, has demanded the resignation of her entire cabinet.
- Canada’s conservatives have been toppled for the first time in 43 years, a decision which may affect the country’s tar sands regulation.
- Gunmen were shot dead in Texas after opening fire on an event where participants were awarded for drawing the prophet Muhammed. In Islam, drawing the prophet is akin to blasphemy. Pamela Gellar, the leader of the event, is widely believed to head a hate group.
- The NSA phone tapping program is illegal. Shocking.
- Surveillance planes were apparently flown over Baltimore to monitor rioters.
Weekly Wow: Jade Helm 15. Have fun.