The News January 10-15: Space Oddity (or, A Terrible Week For The World)

Stories of the Week

David Bowie departs for the stars. In spectacularly devastating news that has deservedly upset large swathes of the world, iconic musician, actor, and fashionista David Bowie has died at age 69 due to complications from a cancer diagnosis. More on Bowie's incredible life is here. (Also, as this is a space for all and our idols should be taken off their pedestals even if we continue to love them, here is a pretty to-the-point take-down of Bowie's unacceptable sexual antics, several of which were straight-up statutory rape.) There was also another tragic death that came later in this news cycle, but hit no less severely -- see below for a few words on the loss of Alan Rickman, another 69 year-old Brit who should absolutely still be with us. 

El Chapo is recaptured. Famed criminal 'El Chapo' (Joaquin Guzman) has been apprehended in Mexico. For the Mexican government, this is a much-needed win, though it remains to be seen just how much of a win it actually is. The US is applying pressure to have Guzman transported to its jurisdiction. Meanwhile, in a bizarre turn of events, American actor Sean Penn apparently met with Guzman prior to his arrest. This has angered A LOT of people, including Mexican journalists, many of whom feel Penn;s 'journalism' is belittling the very real dangers they face from individuals like Guzman every day.

Bombing in Istanbul (& Jakarta). A suicide bomber in Istanbul killed at least ten people in the midst of a crowded area known for tourism, near such iconic buildings as the Blue Mosque. While Istanbul has been hit with terror before, the incident struck a nerve across the globe, namely because it killed numerous tourists (the majority of them German) and because the city itself straddles both Asia and Europe, making it more of an appealing location for Westerners. The bombing is believed to be connected to the Islamic State, and an accomplice to the bomber is in custody. Update: Mid-week, Jakarta, Indonesia was also hit with an attack. Several people died during a bombing in the city, with the Islamic State also presumed to be a culprit.

Starving in Syria. Syrians (who are on the whole facing horrors from the government of Bashar al-Assad, the Islamic State, Russian bombings, and virtually every other party imaginable in the conflict) are starving to death in the city of Madaya. As of the middle of the week, food convoys were finally granted entry. But it's unclear just how much of an effect they'll have, and whether or not Madaya's population hasn't already suffered an impossible amount of damage. Many residents had resorted to eating grass and cats in an effort to stay alive, in a chilling reality that has still failed to resonate with the international community.


Istanbul, Turkey - Moyan Brenn (Flickr)

Istanbul, Turkey - Moyan Brenn (Flickr)

Blues Buzz


Regional Updates

South Asia:

Southeast & East Asia:

Europe & Eurasia:

Middle East & North Africa:

Sub-Saharan Africa:


  • Ecuador has been asked by Sweden for permission to question Julian Assange, who is wanted on rape charges. Assange is hiding out in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
  • US Peace Corps volunteers have been pulled out of El Salvador over security concerns. El Salvador has an incredibly high crime rate and level of violence, much of which is linked to gang warfare.
  • In college football updates, Alabama defeated Clemson.
  • General Motors is being taken to court.
  • Teachers unions are freaking out about a pending Supreme Court case, which could rule that employees do not have to pay fees to cover bargaining costs even if they themselves are not union members.
  • The National Guard is preparing to help Flint, Michigan, deal with its water crisis. For two years the city has been consuming lead-tainted water, which may well have harmed its children.
  • There was another Republican debate this week, FYI.


  • Police cleared crowds from in front of the Sydney Opera House on Thursday in what appears to have been a counter-terrorism operation. 

Blue Out: They.