The News April 17-April 22: Emergencies, Twenties, & the Death of a Prince

Stories of the Week

RIP Prince. 2016 is terrible. But here's a look at how Prince gave people, most importantly Black kids, the space to be weird when they needed and wanted to. He was not uncomplicated, but still, his loss is being felt all over.

Ecuador emergency. The country was forced to call a national emergency following a 7.8 magnitude earthquake that initially killed around 300 people. By mid-week, however, the death toll had topped 500, with more than 200 others still missing. Ecuador will reportedly hike taxes and issue new bonds on the international market to pay for the enormous cost of rebuilding following the damage.

Woman on the $20? Harriet Tubman, legendary African American freer of slaves, will replace Andrew Jackson, notorious racist, slave owner, and destroyer of Native American lives, on the US$20 bill. This is really big news (and also means Alexander Hamilton, of the US$10 bill, is saved, due in no small part to the musical Hamilton.) However, there's a catch: Jackson will still appear on the back of the bill. Also,  it's questionable as to whether Tubman would have even wanted to be on the bill

Blast in Kabul. An attack claimed by the Taliban left over 60 dead and more than 300 injured in Afghanistan's capital on Tuesday. The blast came during rush hour, which maximized its impact, and the death count rose in the days following. Despite minimal coverage from Western media outlets following initial bomb coverage, however, residents of the city remained resilient -- many Afghans lined up to donate blood and offer assistance to those affected.

A win for transgender rights. In the US, which is notoriously poor with regards to its treatment of transgender individuals, there were signs of hope this week. A federal appeals court sided with a transgender teen who argued that his high school discriminated against him when it barred him from using a men's restroom. The case will now move forward, in what could be a very good sign for the larger transgender community. 

Pedernales, Ecuador  (UNICEF Ecuador, Flickr)

Pedernales, Ecuador  (UNICEF Ecuador, Flickr)


Blues Buzz


Regional Updates

South Asia:

Southeast & East Asia:

Europe & Eurasia:

  • Pope Francis made an emotional visit to refugees on Lesbos, calling for universal assistance for those affected by the crisis.
  • In Britain, a drone hit a commercial airplane.
  • The UK is cautioning its LGBTQ citizens to be careful when they visit Mississippi and North Carolina, American states that recently passed queerphobic legislation.
  • Also in British news -- Queen Elizabeth II is now 90. Felicitations. 
  • A Norwegian court ruled that mass-murderer and white supremacist Anders Breivik's prison conditions were inhumane, though the country has among the best prison conditions in the world.
  • The Arctic suicides - Greenland's dark problem.

Middle East & North Africa:

Sub-Saharan Africa:

  • South Sudan's opposition leader was set to return to Juba in mid-April. However, he had not arrived as of April 18, the date initially set for his return. Concerns are rising about the violence likely to be sparked due to his absence. 
  • The Ethiopian military is looking to carry out raids in South Sudan following a spate of kidnappings and attacks.
  • A boy in Cameroon was killed by a vehicle in the convoy of UN ambassador from the US Samantha Power. He had been running to see the convoy when he was struck.
  • Police in Zambia arrested more than 200 people following attacks on Rwandan nationals.



Quote of the Week:

I was on the next Volvo out of Vermont, and the truth is, I never looked back. Okay, I looked back once, when the guy behind me started furiously blowing his horn at my Reelect Franklin Delano Roosevelt bumper sticker. People love that thing, but all the honking can be dangerous on the interstate highway system. I’ve been meaning to take it off, but Jane and I have been a little bit busy lately.
I can still remember pulling into New York City. I remember the first moment the Brooklyn Bridge came into view and I thought to myself, “So, they finally finished it.” Truth is, I had been to New York before — as a child, when I played punchball in the streets of Brooklyn. (Punchball is a sport very much like baseball, except instead of swinging a bat, you punch someone’s balls and then run into a corner and eat a pickle.)
I’m not going to lie: Things were hard when I first came to New York, as they often are for those tired, those poor, those huddled masses yearning to breathe free. I believe they’re called mole people. -- "Bernie Sanders on Why I'm Leaving New York." Daniel Maurer, McSweeney's

Blue Out: End taxation without representation. | The Pyongyang metro.