Top Stories of the Week
Assassination. In a scene reminiscent of another era, the Russian ambassador to Turkey was assassinated on Monday, by a Turkish man who appeared to be motivated by Russia's involvement in the Syrian civil war. Shock factor aside, the murder was hardly the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and has not sparked a World War. Still, the outcome has been universally negative -- for Russia, for Turkey, and above all for Syria, whose occupants are still suffering and under siege from all sides.
Chaos elsewhere. Almost immediately after the assassination, two other events occurred: an Islamic center in Zurich was attacked, and a truck drove into a Berlin Christmas market, killing 12 people and injuring numerous shoppers. Police initially arrested a young Pakistani asylum seeker, only to let him go because there wasn't enough evidence to charge him. The hunt is now on for a Tunisian asylum seeker, who Germany had been attempting to deport, but Tunisia refused to take him back.
While this move should silence critics of at-times-pro-refugee Chancellor Angela Merkel, consensus seems to be that the incident will hurt Merkel in the upcoming election, unless she shifts to the right -- something that would throw that whole Merkel-as-savior-of-Western-progressivism shtick into disarray.
Sorry, guys: the Electoral College elected Trump. The Electoral College was never going to not elect Trump, but heartbroken Americans were still optimistic up until the last moment (foolishly.) Ultimately, most defectors came from Clinton's side, underscoring the fear many progressives have that the Democratic party is unprepared for the Trump administration. On Trump's side, only two electors defected -- both of them from Texas. Now, Trump is officially going to be president.
RIP to both Zsa Zsa Gabor and Henry Heimlich. Ten overlooked books by women in 2016. One incredibly photographer. The head of the IMF was found guilty of fraud. The BAFTAs made a huge diversity announcement -- but it's not enough. Flint, Michigan still does not have clean water. Rogue One is progressive, but it still isn't queer. Books from independent presses. Prank or Islamophobia? 30 articles by people of color to read from 2016. Pro-abortion rights minority groups prepare for the fight against Trump. Lawmakers in Charlotte, North Carolina gambled with queer lives -- and lost. The year in pictures. The Lesbian issue.
South, Southeast, & East Asia:
- The increasing tension between China and American President-Elect Trump has ramped up -- Chinese media has argued that Trump is unprepared to run a superpower, to say nothing of calling him a 'child' with no foreign policy experience.
- China launched a satellite to monitor carbon emissions.
- Burma is facing pressure over its growing Rohingya crisis. The Muslim minority has been persecuted and marginalized for years.
- The blasphemy trial of Jakarta's non-Muslim governor opened emotionally.
Europe & Eurasia:
- NATO is getting set to hold talks with Russia.
- More than 60 people have died in Siberia after drinking alcohol made with methanol instead of ethanol.
- Ireland could be Scotland's secret weapon in the Brexit battle.
- Protests raged in Poland against the ruling Law and Justice party, which has ushered in a harsh form of right-wing governance that threatens Polish democracy and civil liberties.
- In a surprise move, a female Muslim Romanian could be set to break tremendous boundaries and ascend to the top of government.
Middle East & North Africa:
- A suicide bomber who disguised himself as a disabled man killed nearly 50 people in Yemen.
- Gunmen attacked a medieval castle in Jordan last weekend, killing 10 people.
- Syrians trying desperately to leave East Aleppo have faced attacks and been thwarted at many turns. They may be out of luck now -- the Assad regime re-took the city in its entirity on Thursday.
- Joseph Kabila, leader of the Congo, faced pressure this week to step down after his term expired.
- Sudanese citizens are protesting harsh austerity measures.
- A South African mayor's anti-immigrant comments have sparked outcry and protest.
- Despite term limits, Bolivia's president may run for a fourth term.
- A massive explosion at a Mexican firework market killed at least 29 people.
- Cuban internet continues to make inroads.
- Barack Obama granted clemency to 231 prisoners.
- He also indefinitely (permanently?) banned drilling in millions of acres of the Arctic and the Atlantic oceans.
- Bad news: Australia's greenhouse gas emissions are rising.
- A van exploded outside the Australian Christian Lobby. The action is not believed to have been religiously or politically motivated.
Quote of the Week:
"Both fashion and function are integral to the origin story of the key ring as lesbian flagging device. The style stems from the history of butch women being attracted to the masculine aesthetic of blue-collar jobs, and being shunted into such jobs because they didn’t fit the gender molds of the other career tracks—stewardess, waitress, secretary—available to women in generations past. (Lesbians were also more likely to have jobs in general in previous eras, as they didn’t have male spouses to breadwin and demand kept homes.) Without strict dress codes, women who worked as custodians, postal workers, and mechanics could stretch the boundaries of accepted gender presentations. They also needed easily accessible keys." -- Lesbians and key rings, a cultural love story
Blue Out: Enjoy Tegan, Sara, Rhea, and Cameron.