Stories of the Week
Panama Panama Panama. Over the weekend, a blockbuster of a story hit the headlines: via a secret source and German publication Suddeutsche Zeitung, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists was able to unload a ton of information regarding secret money in Panama. More specifically, the work that law firm Mossack Fonseca has done to cover its clients' business dealings and finances in the country. The fallout in various countries is noted throughout the Regions section below.
Armenia v. Azerbaijan. Ever heard of Nagorno-Karabakh? The breakaway region is ethnically Armenian but in Azerbaijani territory, and has been the subject of recent severe outbursts between the two nations. Around 30 people were killed in clashes over the course of a few days, and the violence escalated severely. On April 5, both nations declared a ceasefire of sorts, but tensions are still running high.
One person, one vote. In an 8-0 decision (which is HIGHLY unusual), the US Supreme Court ruled that states do not have to allocate legislative districts by the number of voters, as opposed to the number of people, living in them. This is a win for minority communities and the legally disenfranchised, who would have been very affected by a different ruling. Of course, it's not entirely clear that this has completely put the matter to rest, or that it won't come back to the Court in another shape or form.
- The West Indies made history during the cricket World Cup -- both the women's and men's teams surged to victory, against all odds (the team has suffered setbacks from management and considerable skepticism from all sides.)
- The wonders of Syrian food.
- Experimental fiction for her.
- Why are Americans losing their food stamps?
- Barney on Bernie (and everyone and everything.)
- The hyphenated American.
- Afghan Sesame Street gets its first female Muppet.
- The end of passport privilege for Americans? Unlikely, but the EU is working on it.
- The Man Booker International finalists areeeeeeee!
- This nine year-old journalist has put us all to shame.
- Panama Papers Pakistan angle: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's family's offshore holdings.
- Numerous people were killed in flooding in Pakistan's northwestern province, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. As of Wednesday, the number killed hovered around 100.
- An Indian officer who was part of the team investigating this year's Pathankot airbase attack was shot and killed this weekend.
- India has launched its fastest-ever train.
- The state of Bihar has banned alcohol.
- A notorious Afghan warlord has agreed to drop one of his pre-conditions for peace, that foreign troops leave the country, in a move that was welcomed by the government.
- Schools around Afghanistan have been forced to close recently due to an escalation in violence.
- Bangladesh, despite promises, is failing to save its citizens from arsenic poisoning via their drinking water.
- Yet another secular blogger has been murdered in Bangladesh.
Southeast & East Asia:
- Hong Kong awarded a top prize to a movie depicting Hong Kong under the reign of authoritarian mainland China. Mainland China has, of course, banned the movie.
- Vietnam's head of public security has been sworn in as president.
- Burma is slowly maneuvering Aung San Suu Kyi into power.
- The South China Morning Post is now online!
Europe & Eurasia:
- Mass deportations of refugees have begun in various parts of Europe. The deportations are predominately seeing refugees moved from Greece to Turkey, despite resistance and skepticism from human rights organizations.
- Fights have broken out over a new Irish memorial that honors British soldiers alongside their Irish counterparts.
- Iceland's prime minister faced calls for his resignation following the Panama Papers release. He initially resigned -- but now says it is for an unspecified amount of time only.
- France is cracking down on the clients of prostitutes.
Middle East & North Africa:
- Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi replaced his vice president, Khaled Bahah, with Major General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar. Al-Ahmar is the country's most powerful military officer.
- The Syrian government has been making strides against both the Islamic State and Syrian rebels.
- Between "dozens" and 250 factory workers have likely been kidnapped by the Islamic State from a cement factory 25 miles east of Damascus. Numbers have varied by source.
- One of Libya's competing governments has ceded power to the UN-backed unity government. Update: Or not.
- A far-right member of the Israeli government earned condemnation from virtually all sides after saying that Jewish and non-Jewish women should be segregated in maternity wards.
- Burundi will accept UN police forces, but not UK peacekeepers.
- War in the DRC is killing off a species of gorilla.
- South Africa's president, Jacob Zuma, survived an impeachment vote.
- In Zimbabwe, a government minister was barricaded by workers demanding their salaries, the majority of whom were in wheelchairs.
- Omar al-Bashir, Sudan's infamous president, has said he will step down in 2020.
- Venezuela's chief Interpol detective was arrested over allegations of shipping cocaine to the Dominican Republic.
- New York's $15 minimum wage has arrived.
- An Amtrak train derailment, en route from Georgia to New York, killed two Amtrak employees.
- Anti-LGBTQ bills in the Southern states of Mississippi and North Carolina have drawn ire, threats, and the possibility of a steep financial loss.
- Australia's Queensland state government has cleared the way for a large coal mine that could greatly damage the Great Barrier Reef.
Quote of the Week:
“Although [Luke’s] alleged actions were directed to Kesha, who is female, [her claims] do no allege that [Luke] harbored animus toward women or was motivated by gender animus when he allegedly behaved violently toward Kesha.”
The judge ended with this ... “Every rape is not a gender-motivated hate crime.” - Judge tosses Kesha's Sony appeal.
Blue Out: Retweets=Endorsements.