Stories of the Week
Mali targeted. Once one of West Africa’s most secure democracies, Mali has experienced instability every since its democratically-elected government was overthrown in a coup. Ever since, terrorism has plagued the country, and in a spurt of violence militants took over a hotel late last week. An Al Qaeda affiliate is believed to be responsible. Dozens of people were killed, and the attack came at a dark time. The world is on high alert following attacks across the Middle East and Europe, and Sub-Saharan Africa’s inclusion indicates the end of 2015 will be a bloody one.
Brussels shutdown. With much of Europe and the Middle East on high alert, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Belgium city of Brussels, where a great deal of terror activity appears to be sourced, has been under scrutiny. Last weekend, however, it was on complete lockdown. Its residents took to Twitter with cat memes, which should please all who find the government’s antics a bit over-the-top.
Worldwide travel alert…for Americans. As a response to numerous threats the world over, the State Department cautioned all Americans regarding any travel this week. That didn’t stop your blogger, but it might well have encouraged others to reign in their potential forays into the outside world.
Black lives still matter. A horrific video detailing the execution of a black teenager by a white cop has been released by the Chicago police department. The shooting occurred over a year ago but the video was never released until a journalist pushed for it following a tip from a whistleblower. The officer responsible is being charged with murder, but that hasn’t stopped mass protests from erupting. The incident coincided with the shooting of several #BlackLivesMatter activists, who were targeted by (presumably) white supremacists.
- Facebook executive Mark Zuckerberg will take two months of paternity leave, setting a precedent in Silicon Valley.
- There are only three white rhinos left in the world.
- Five activists were shot at a Black Lives Matter protest, presumably by white opponents.
- Jeff Bezos and space.
- Numerous members of the ethnic Hazara minority have been kidnapped by Taliban in Afghanistan.
- The Afghan government is trying desperately to convince citizens not to flee to other countries.
- Following claims of blasphemy in Pakistan, Ahmadis (a marginalized community) were heavily targeted and a factory in Jhelum was set on fire.
- Pakistanis overseas will reportedly be unable to vote in 2018.
- Members of the Indian media say a paramilitary force is curtailing their freedoms.
Southeast & East Asia:
- A mine disaster in Burma killed at least a hundred people.
- The Philippines is going to court over contested land in the South China Sea.
Europe & Eurasia:
- Brussels, Belgium was on lockdown last weekend.
- The UK will join France and the US in their airstrikes on Syria.
- After a Russian plane was shot down over Turkish airport, Russian leader Vladimir Putin lashed out at Turkey’s government.
- Crimea was hit with a power blackout.
- Russia (Gazprom) has cut off the Ukraine‘s gas supply.
Middle East & North Africa:
- Jasaon Rezaian, an American reporter for the Washington Post who has been held by the Iranian government for over a year, will reportedly spend time in prison.
- Iranian hackers reportedly targeted the US State Department via social media accounts.
- Tunisia is in a state of emergency following a suicide bombing that killed upwards of twelve people.
- In Israel and Palestine, stabbings and attacks continue.
- A siege in Mali ended after dozens were killed in an attack on a hotel.
- Mali is now in a state of emergency as the country hunts down those responsible for the attack.
- More violence broke out in Burundi, once again between supporters of the country’s president and members of the opposition.
- Ebola has returned to Liberia.
- Pope Francis will visit Africa for the first time.
- The former mayor of Buenos Aires is now president of Argentina.
- The good news: Canada will take in 25,000 refugees. The bad news: it’s shutting out single men, a large population that needs asylum.
- Sixteen people died in New Orleans during a shootout. The filming of a music video was reportedly underway.
- Australia will not send troops to fight Daesh/ISIS, according to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Blue Out: So. Yoga.