Stories of the Week
Literary giants leave us. Harper Lee, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of To Kill A Mockingbird, passed away last Friday, as did Umberto Eco, the Italian writer who won garnered considerable praise for his mystery novel The Name of the Rose. Both writers left behind a tremendous void, and in Lee's case some turmoil. Her work immortalized race issues in the American South, but the fame-averse author lived in seclusion following Mockingbird's publication, and her later years were plagued by controversy.
Brexit. Hold on, everyone, the next few months will be tense: Brits will vote this summer on whether or not to leave the EU. Polls indicate the British public is split on the issue, and arguments from both sides of the divide are pouring in. While the EU has been plagued by trouble in recent years, a British exit could throw the Eurozone and global markets in general into a tailspin. It would also make it much easier for other countries to leave the EU, something European leaders are not pleased with. Not helping matters: London's mayor, Boris Johnson, is pro-Brexit.
American showdown. The race for the Republican and Democratic nominations for the US presidential election has been heated, and the past week offered a preview of what is to come. Hillary Clinton edged out Bernie Sanders to win the Nevada caucus despite confusion as to who might triumph (Sanders fares better with caucus-style voting, while Clinton does well with Latino voters, a mighty demographic in Nevada.) Clinton is expected to defeat Sanders in South Carolina's primary next, at which point both candidates move on to Super Tuesday, where numerous states will vote. On the GOP end, Jeb Bush concluded his campaign after a devastating loss in South Carolina's Republican primary. Ted Cruz was narrowly beaten by Marco Rubio, the latter of whom came in second. First place went to Donald Trump, who insiders are arguing could be on his way to securing the nomination, something that has been hotly debated since he announced his candidacy. Update: Trump secured a victory in Nevada, with Rubio coming in second.
Syria, always. The US and Russia brokered a ceasefire early in the week, which is supposed to go into effect this Saturday. That could happen, and it could not happen. It will also only apply to the parties who agree to it, meaning groups like the Islamic State (IS) and Al Qaeda (and their affiliates) are probably not opting in. This in turn means both the Syrian government and Russia are likely to keep bombing areas where those groups have strongholds.
- What it's like to work in Hollywood as a non-heterosexual white man.
- Iran elections! Happening today!
- Healing Sri Lanka's scars through literature.
- What one woman learned from dating women who have been raped.
- Single women are shaping American politics.
- The world's seas are rising faster than they have at any point in the past 28 centuries.
- What happened to the little girl smoking a cigarette in Mary Ellen Mark's famous 1990s-era photograph? Someone went and found her.
- Ecosystems and fear.
- Apple v. the US government is just getting started.
- SeaWorld sucks.
- Delhi faced a water crisis after activists damaged the city's water system. By mid-week water had been restored to several areas of the city.
- An Indian tribal rights activist was attacked in Chhattisgarh on Saturday. She has been moved to a hospital in Delhi.
- Delhi's High Court has ordered an end to the protests at JNU, where numerous students are rioting over a number of issues, the crux of which is a deep disagreement with Narendra Modi's BJP-led Hindu-nationalist government. Several of the protesters have been charged with sedition, sparking considerable controversy.
- The Indian military will allow women in combat roles for the first time.
- Afghan forces have pulled out of various districts in Helmand province after facing aggressive assaults from the Taliban.
- A suicide bomber killed around 15 people at a health clinic in Parwan on Monday.
- The IS says it killed a Hindu priest in Bangladesh.
- In Pakistan's strife-ridden northwest, a government school was blown up by the Taliban.
Southeast & East Asia:
- An NYT reporter on life, death, and corruption in Southeast Asia.
- Reports indicate the US had agreed to peace talks before North Korea's latest nuclear test.
- Meanwhile, China is breaking up with North Korea, which is costing the hermit kingdom one of its few trade partners.
- Vietnam has said that China's actions in the South China Sea, where numerous countries have laid claim to territory, violate Vietnamese sovereignty.
Europe & Eurasia:
- A Welsh town is leading a revolt against taxes and corruption.
- Ukraine is once again slipping into violence as Russian separatists battle those loyal to the government.
- Europe wants to block refugees from entering, or at the very least stem their flow. Multiple nations met in Brussels to discuss the escalating crisis.
- Switzerland will vote on whether or not the country will deport any foreign resident who breaks the law.
Middle East & North Africa:
- Bombs rocked Damascus and Homs last weekend, killing around 150 people in government-controlled territory. The attacks have been claimed by IS.
- IS is growing its presence in Libya. But in Fallujah, Iraq, Sunni tribesmen are revolting against the group.
- Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) seized the Yemeni town of Ahwar last weekend, and assassinated several officials in Aden.
- Iranian media REALLY hates Salman Rushdie, the author of The Satanic Verses, a deeply controversial novel published nearly thirty years ago.
- An Egyptian toddler was mistakenly sentenced to life in prison.
- In the CAR's presidential election, Faustin-Archange Touadéra defeated Anicet Georges Doléguélé.
- Burundi's president has agreed to engage in talks to end the country's political polarization. Numerous human rights organizations have expressed concern over the past few months regarding the escalating violence within the country.
- The vice president of Uruguay has admitted to lying about his resume.
- Bolivia voted last weekend on whether to extend presidential term limits, and rejected the possibility, dealing a blow to current President Evo Morales.
- An Uber driver went on a shooting spree in Kalamazoo, Michigan, killing six people.
- Barack Obama wants to close Guantanamo Bay, the notorious prison used to hold suspects detained during the 'war on terror.' He has sent a plan to the US Congress laying out the prison's closure and the relocation of its inmates. Vox's Zack Beauchamp thinks it's going nowhere.
- In Fiji, the death toll from Cyclone Winston hovered around 30 at the beginning of the week.
Quote of the Week:
The notion that what the powerful, growing population of unmarried American women needs from the government is a husband (or a gynecologist, as was the case with one horrifying 2013 Koch-funded anti-Obamacare ad that featured a grotesque Uncle Sam popping up leeringly from a pelvic exam) is of course problematic. It reduces all relationships women have to marital, sexual, hetero ones and suggests that they are, by nature, dependent beings, in search of someone—if not a husband then an elected official or a set of public policies — to support or care for them. - The Single American Woman (Rebecca Traister for The Cut)