The News 10/23-10/28: The tragedy of Calais

Stories of the Week

Calais chaos. The refugee camp in Calais, France known as "the Jungle" is being dismantled after numerous threats. What does this mean? Not much in terms of long-term effective strategies. Camps, once dismantled, typically appear later, and it isn't as if the refugees have many options. Currently efforts are being made to settle them in France and the UK, something very few citizens are happy about. The dismantling itself, meanwhile, is going poorly, while a fire is raging through the camp. This also means that displaced people who found a home in the Jungle are losing what little stability they had. Among other things, this means the loss of a theater -- something that served as a symbol of unity in an otherwise fiercely segregated community.

A victory or a catastrophe? The battle to retake Mosul, Iraq from the Islamic State continues. The UN has warned it could create a "human catastrophe", while others argue there's no other way to liberate areas under the Islamic State's control. What that liberation is going to look like: human shields, murdered civilians (and journalists, who really should be considered civilians), and a total bloodbath. 

A refugee tent in Calais. (Flickr - malachybrowne)

A refugee tent in Calais. (Flickr - malachybrowne)


Blues Buzz

Men often misread the extent to which women are attracted to them, which explains a lot but is also horrifying. Trans bodybuildingSmall press and the Man Booker Prize. The strange world of Julian Assange. Everyone's watching Moonlight. Norwegians get stuff done. A better Bachelor. Rooting for this guy. An American takes the Man Booker prize for talking about (what else) race. Dad Tom Hanks is a problem.  Having an orgasm after gender reassignment surgery. Some short fiction. Failing at bake off, hilariously. Emojis in the museum. Priya appreciation. All hail the women of Iceland. Sarah Waters and abortion narratives. Patient 0 or Patient O. "Good Girls." RIP Vine, which arguably held special importance for young people of color.  Chinese-Americans and assimilation. South Asian celebrities against Trump. The riddle of the vagina and other Victorian attempts to understand women. Against oligarchy. Taking a look at Flanders and Wallonia, the two parts of Belgium that played a role in this week's scuffle over a massive free-trade agreement between Canada and the EU. 


Regional Updates

South Asia:

Southeast & East Asia:

  • The UN has recommended a probe into arrests and killings in a majority Muslim area in Burma. Muslims are a minority in the country, and face severe persecution. 
  • South Korea, Japan, and the US will work together to pressure North Korea on its nuclear program. 

Europe & Eurasia:

Middle East & North Africa:

Sub-Saharan Africa:

  • Tensions in the CAR between civilians and the UN resulted in the deaths of four people this week.
  • Gambia became the latest African country to try to leave the ICC, an ongoing hemorrhaging spurred by what many feel is a disproportionate emphasis on the crimes committed by African leaders, rather than those committed by leaders in other areas. 
  • A deadly crash in Cameroon last week was caused by a train reportedly moving "unusually" fast.


  • An official associated with Brazilian environmental rights was murdered last weekend, the latest casualty of an increasingly brutal fight over resources in the Amazon region. 
  • In Venezuela, efforts on the part of President Nicolas Maduro to double down on his power have been met with outrage. One result? The country's opposition is trying to put Maduro on trial for his various political missteps. Another? Death and chaos.
  • The US abstained for the first time ever from voting on the UN's routine vote on the Cuba embargo.
  • Canada is falling dramatically when it comes to the status of women.
  • Election is coming in the US, and a few states not typically considered competitive could be. Among them? Texas, the typically very conservative looming giant of the South. But the state has more elected Hispanics than any other, and the Hispanic electorate could be ready to make its power felt on a national level. 
  • The Obama administration spent years delaying protections for transgender workers. 


Quote of the Week:

In an act of Texan-on-Texan political violence, U.S. Representative Michael McCaul criticized Senator Ted Cruz on Tuesday, and he didn't say for certain whether he would or wouldn't challenge Cruz for his Senate seat. -- Texas Monthly morning email, October 26, 2016

Blue Out: Giant rat army.