Stories of the Week
Plane down. A Russian plane crashed in Egypt’s Sinai desert at the beginning of the week, killing all 224 people (the vast majority of whom were Russian) on board. What caused the crash, however, remains a mystery. The Islamic State (also known as Daesh/ISIS) has an affiliate in the region who has claimed responsibility. The Russian and Egyptian governments both dispute this claim, but the US has noted that terrorism cannot be ruled out. In the meantime, many airlines are re-routing their flight paths to avoid the area.
Conservative revolt. In the US a series of ballot measures and elections yielded the same results: a sweep for conservatives. An LGBTQ rights bill failed in Houston, Texas, while Kentucky ushered in a Tea Party Republican. The main takeaway: pollsters got this round very, very wrong, and many are concerned their models are off.
Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership. Read it and weep, kids.
- American police have committed a LOT of no-nos when it comes to sexual misconduct.
- The indigenous Olympics.
- Banning the box.
- A black man from the US has asked Canada for asylum, citing the threat of police violence in his home country.
- Well, this is horrifying.
- A rocket fired by Daesh/ISIS hit a mosque in Afghanistan early this week, killing several people.
- The US spent $43 million on a gas station in Afghanistan, which offered a fuel Afghan cars don’t even use.
- A woman accused of adultery was stoned to death in Afghanistan.
- Pakistan’s ruling PMLN party swept recent elections.
- In Bangladesh, attacks on secularists now extends to publishers.
- The Maldives declared a state of emergency, giving sweeping powers to the country’s leaders and enabling crackdowns on a planned protest scheduled for this week.
Southeast & East Asia:
- The editor-in-chief of a newspaper in a volatile Chinese region has been expelled by the Communist party.
- The presidents of China and Taiwan are set to dine together this Saturday, an historic moment that has many critics concerned that China is trying to influence Taiwanese elections.
- Burma is readying itself for upcoming elections.
Europe & Eurasia:
- A Russian plane crashed mid-flight over Egypt’s Sinai desert, killing over 200 people. The incident has been the source of some controversy; a militant group affiliated with Daesh/ISIS is claiming responsibility, but the Russian government strongly disputes that.
- The AKP has regained its footing in Turkey — election results indicate President Erdoğan has tightened his hold on power. A leftist pro-Kurdish party, the HDP, however, also made notable gains.
- Romania’s prime minister has resigned in the wake of a tragedy that saw a nightclub set on fire.
Middle East & North Africa:
- A cyclone hit war-torn Yemen.
- The US is putting official boots on the ground in Syria.
- Is Iraqi Kurdistan’s democracy on the brink?
- Iran has threatened to quit ongoing Syria talks over manners disputes with Saudi Arabia. The two countries have a tense history, and the Saudis have reportedly been condescending to the Iranians.
- Fourteen aid workers were kidnapped in the DRC at the beginning of the week.
- However, thirteen kidnapped UN workers were released in South Sudan.
- Forty-one people died in a plane crash in South Sudan.
- South Africa is experiencing a terrible drought.
- Eastern Brazil is facing a water crisis.
- TransCanada is seeking a halt to the Keystone XL pipeline review.
- Colombia has lifted its ban on adoption by same-sex couples.
- Canada’s new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, has been sworn in. His cabinet is 50% women because “it’s 2015.”
- Marijuana legalization is coming to Mexico.
- Making a last-ditch effort to be heard before climate change talks in Paris, a group of Pacific islands (including Fiji) met early in the week to strategize.