The News May 15-20: Fires & Floods

Stories of the Week

Venezuela meltdown. Is Venezuela headed for collapse? A lot of people seem to think so. Food scarcity, a lack of electricity, and political tensions have all led the country to the brink. Last Friday, the country's president, Nicolas Maduro, declared a state of emergency. The public health problem in Venezuela is also pretty severe, and is only exacerbating its woes.

Sri Lanka flooding. Floods and landslides hit Sri Lanka hard this week, burying numerous people and killing over a dozen people. Tens of thousands of people have fled impacted areas, and authorities have been working to counter the crisis. Around 200 families were presumed missing as of this publishing, with access cut off to many rural areas.

EgyptAir flight goes down. On Thursday a flight from Paris to Cairo suddenly fell off communication radars. It is believed to have crashed with 66 people aboard, and speculation regarding the presumed crash abounds. While it is unclear if the flight faced technical difficulties or something more sinister, Egypt has been quick to caution that travel to the country is still safe. Update: the plane's debris has been spotted and confirmed, then retracted, then confirmed again, to be near Greece in the Mediterranean Sea. 

Rain in Sri Lanka. (planetlight - Flickr)

Rain in Sri Lanka. (planetlight - Flickr)


Blues Buzz


Regional Updates

South Asia:

Southeast & East Asia:

Europe & Eurasia:

Middle East & North Africa:

  • The Islamic State continued to strike in Iraq, killing numerous people in several coordinated attacks.
  • Egypt has sentenced 152 people to prison for protesting the country's recent gift (islands) to Saudi Arabia.
  • Speaking of Saudi -- the American families of 9/11 victims may be set to sue the Gulf giant. Vox argues this could backfire in that it could open the US up to lawsuits from, say, the families of drone strike victims in countries like Yemen.
  • Iran is cracking down on 'un-Islamic acts' including models posting pictures sans headscarves to Instagram.
  • The US and other world powers want to arm the Libyan government.
  • Queer activists in Lebanon staged a sit-in over the country's discriminatory laws.
  • Israel is hiring Jordanians for service work.

Sub-Saharan Africa:

  • Tanzania says it has purged over 10,000 ghost workers from its payroll following an audit.
  • A girl kidnapped from Chibok, Nigeria two years ago has been rescued by the Nigerian army.



  • Tensions surrounding refugees in Australia are building, with calls to close the island detention centers on Nauru and Manus growing from activists. Adding fuel to the fire -- Immigration Minister Peter Dutton labeling refugees "illiterate." 

Quote of the Week:

"Faced with the prospect of voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, Mary Anne Noland of Richmond chose, instead, to pass into the eternal love of God on Sunday, May 15, 2016, at the age of 68." - Mary Anne Noland Obituary, Richmond Times-Dispatch

Blue Out: Ban men (or, men explain why they send dick pics.) | The problem with plus-size.