Stories of the Week
State of the Islamic State. Late in the week, Germany announced that it had obtained a list of 22,000 foreign recruits for the Islamic State (IS.) Earlier, American and Iraqi forces captured a chemical weapons engineer for the Islamic State. He was reportedly detained last month, and his information is proving valuable to anti-IS forces.
Hospitality wears thin. EU leaders met on Monday to further discuss the refugee crisis, which has burdened the continent to the point of upheaval, cost several political parties their power (and spurred the rise of Europe's far right), and seen xenophobia and Islamophobia . There are indications that that the continent would like Turkey to shoulder more refugees -- and potentially earn EU favor in the process. Whether or not that proposition will work is questionable, however, especially as human rights groups are raising the red flag re Turkey's treatment of the Syrian refugees it already has.
American political theater. It's never not an adventure in the 2016 US presidential cycle. Hillary Clinton has all but secured the Democratic nomination, but Bernie Sanders will not go quietly into that dark knight. The Vermont senator scored a shocking win in Michigan over Clinton on Tuesday, which seems to have been inflated due to poor polling and a lack of accounting for the real anger Rust Belt residents feel towards Bill Clinton-era trade policies. Also unaccounted for: independent voters, as well as Democratic voters who felt secure enough with their own party options that they crossed over to alter the Republican outcome. On the Republican side, Donald Trump continues to surge and surge, but Ted Cruz is also gaining steam. Meanwhile, Trump's supporters have taken to beating people up, because America.
- 'Books I wish I'd read as an LGBTQ teenager.'
- Rwanda's former agriculture minister had some important input on International Women's Day.
- The disappearing soldier.
- It was International Women's Day on Tuesday. Time to think about why female journalists don't win more awards, the return of the DIY abortion, all the dangers of being a female sportscaster, the problems male leaders pose, Kenya's amazing grannies, and Eclipsed.
- A feminist foreign policy for the US. Not entirely unrelated: when America turns on its hyphenated citizens. Also: The Obama Doctrine.
- Where music is going.
- The Taliban claim they will not join peace talks, despite efforts from Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, and the US.
- Afghan President Ashraf Ghani says that his troops have driven the Islamic State out of Nangarhar.
- Following the hanging of Mumtaz Qadri (who killed Punjab Governor Salman Taseer after he voiced opposition to blasphemy laws), revenge killings have begun in Pakistan. Meanwhile, Taseer's son, Shabhaz, who was kidnapped five years ago, was found alive in Baluchistan.
- Zika virus comes to Pakistan.
- India's female fighter pilots will begin their service this coming June.
- A 16 year-old rape victim in India was set on fire and succumbed to her injuries mid-week.
- A controversial cultural festival will still be held despite environmental concerns, India's National Green Tribunal ruled this week.
Southeast & East Asia:
- Amidst new sanctions, North Korea has threatened to destroy both Washington and Seoul.
- Parts of Southeast Asia, namely Indonesia, were treated to a solar eclipse this week.
- The Zika virus has come to Laos.
- Aung San Suu Kyi has officially been ruled out as a potential president in Burma.
Europe & Eurasia:
- Slovakia's ruling party lost its majority while the country's far right made significant gains.
- Turkey's Zaman newspaper was seized by the government last week and returned to print this week with pro-government articles amidst protests and riots. Many staff have left and founded an opposition paper. Another publication, the Gulenist Cihan, was also seized.
- Tennis star Maria Sharapova has tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.
Middle East & North Africa:
- A plan to divide Jerusalem's Jewish and Palestinian neighborhoods has been met with opposition on both sides.
- An American tourist was killed in Israel by a Palestinian wielding a knife this week, the latest in a series of similar attacks.
- Gunmen killed numerous people at a Christian nursing home last Friday in Aden, Yemen. Those killed were reportedly mostly staff, leaving the facility's residents out of harm's way.
- Mid-week Saudi Arabia and Yemen appeared to come to an agreement on a ceasefire and prisoner swap. The two countries have been in conflict for over a year.
- Tunisian forces sparred with militants near the Libyan border at the beginning of the week, resulting in dozens of casualties.
- Morocco is hitting back at the UN over its language regarding the occupied Western Sahara.
- IS detonated a car bomb near Baghdad on Sunday, killing more than 60 people.
- Iran conducted new ballistic missile tests, earning a new round of sanctions from the US.
- Benin voted to replace outgoing President Thomas Boni Yayi.
- The US struck al-Shabaab hard in Somalia, killing upwards of 150 fighters.
- Popular Honduran indigenous environmental activist Berta Caceres was murdered by gunmen last Thursday.
- An indigenous community in Peru took government officials hostage as leverage in their demands to be protected against an oil spill that polluted their lands.
- Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva ("Lula") was arrested last week amidst a growing scandal engulfing Petrobas, the nation's gas company. He was formally charged with money laundering later in the week.
- Canada and the US had a bit of a lovefest this week.
- Former US First Lady Nancy Reagan passed away at the age of 94.
- Individuals with mental health struggles are not happy with Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Sanders, who plays well with white Democrats, scored big wins in Nebraska, Kansas, and Maine last weekend. Hillary Clinton, his opponent who performs better with African-Americans, scored a large victory in Louisiana. On the Republican side, Ted Cruz scored wins in Kansas and Maine, Marco Rubio in Puerto Rico, and Donald Trump in Kentucky and Louisiana. Trump remains the GOP frontrunner.
- The Supreme Court briefly blocked a ruling that would essentially leave Louisiana with only one abortion clinic, something that would hinder the ability of many women to obtain the procedure.
- A 10 year-old aboriginal girl killed herself in a remote part of northwestern Australia, sparking concern about a series of suicides by young people in secluded parts of the country.
Quote of the Week:
"You, our dear women, possess a unfathomable secret: you do everything on time and cope with a huge load of worries while looking tender, charming and amazing,” Putin said. “You bring goodness, beauty, brightness and hopefulness to the world. We are proud of you and we love you.”
Putin’s comments here are largely based on stereotypical qualities associated with women — aside from his odd remark on the uncompromising punctuality of Russian women. - "Male Leaders Celebrate International Women's Day By Being Sexist Jerks", Justin Salhani for ThinkProgress