The News March 20-25: Pain Across the Globe

Stories of the Week

Brussels. On Tuesday, twin attacks in Belgium's capital hit both the city's airport and subway system, injuring over 200 people and killing dozens. The Islamic State quickly claimed responsibility for the attacks, which occurred only days after the arrest of Salah Abdelslam (more information under Regions.) Two brothers and a third man are believed to have been involved, and they are dead. A fourth man is on the run as of this posting, and it is possible a wider cell was involved.

Of course, because this is the age of the Internet, the Brussels attacks forces us to consider that earlier attacks in Ankara and Istanbul (and elsewhere, including Bamako)  went mostly ignored by media sources. Reason? Probs Western bias.

Cuba Cold War no mo. American President Barack Obama paid an historic visit to Cuba this week. Sparring and chilling with Raul Castro, the Cuban leader, Obama succeeded in opening up Cuban relations with the US in a way that it they have not been in a very long time. While both men had a few terse moments (Castro was not pleased being quizzed over human rights, and Obama took some hits on the state of health care and gender equality in the US), the visit was still a groundbreaking one. 

A gathering in Belgium, and a sign that reads "united against hate." (Flickr - Valentina Cala)

A gathering in Belgium, and a sign that reads "united against hate." (Flickr - Valentina Cala)


Blues Buzz


Regional Updates

South Asia:

Southeast & East Asia:

Europe & Eurasia:

  • A bus crash in Spain killed at least 13 students.
  • An LGBT festival in Ukraine was abandoned after it was encircled by right-wing protesters who reportedly chanted, "Kill, kill!"
  • Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko has been sentenced to 22 years in prison in Russia.
  • Greece is struggling to enforce new restrictions on refugees which will see them sent to Turkey.
  • Salah Abdelslam, the last remaining architect of the notorious attacks in Paris months ago, has been captured.
  • A FlyDubai plane crashed in Southern Russia, killing more than 60 people.
  • Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic faced war crimes verdicts in The Hague this week. He was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. 

Middle East & North Africa:

  • While 19 of Yemen's remaining Jews were airlifted to Israel, the last 50 chose to stay in the country, to which they have close and historic ties.
  • Saudi Arabia is way too close with Washington, D.C.
  • Israel is cracking down on the hiring of Palestinian workers following a series of deadly knife attacks.
  • The Syrian government has reached Palmyra, ravaged by the Islamic State.

Sub-Saharan Africa:

  • After admitting it cannot sustain its budget, Zambia entered into talks with the International Monetary Fund.
  • The former vice president of the Congo, Jean-Pierre Bemba, has been found guilty of using rape as a weapon of war.
  • Meanwhile, the Congo's current president won the country's election, though he has been accused of fraud.
  • A hotel in Bamako, Mali, was attacked by militants. The hotel was being used by European military personnel for trainings. 


  • Canada will spend $6.4 billion (Canadian) on aboriginal programs over the course of the next five years.
  • Colombia's government and FARC rebels missed a deadline for the signing of a peace deal.
  • The US is acknowledging its role in Argentina's 'dirty war.'
  • House Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has ruled out voting on Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland.
  • US election update: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump won their respective primaries in Arizona, while Bernie Sanders took Idaho and Utah, the latter of which went to Ted Cruz on the Republican side.
  • North Carolina passed a deeply discriminatory anti-LGBTQ bill this week.


  • After an all-night pajama party, the Australian senate passed a bill to limit the infiltration of micro-parties.

Quote of the Week:

"“They [non-Muslims] will try and frame my experience in terms of their own preconceived notions of what it is to be queer and Muslim and Middle-Eastern when they question me,” explained Kashani. “They’d ask me questions like ‘Oh my God, how does your family feel about you being queer?” as if my parents aren’t fine with it.”
When Kashani would respond that her parents are pretty left on the political spectrum, and how they were actually thrilled when she came out to them, she noticed a subtle but consistent current of Islamophobia was revealed in non-Muslims’ reactions. Frequently this Islamophobia manifested in the persistent belief that the Islamic State is an accurate representation of all Muslims." -- Stuck in the media, LGBT Muslims often feel exploited (Sarah Harvard, Bitch)

Blue Out: Cuba, as it may never be again. | Surfing under the Northern Lights in Norway. | Okay