The News May 22-27: Trump It (Definitely) Is

Stories of the Week

Afghan Taliban chief killed. Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour was killed in an American strike over the weekend, one that Pakistani and Afghan officials don't appear to have been super in the loop on. The Taliban met to choose a successor, and selected Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada, who will now lead a group in deep disarray. Meanwhile, the strike has exposed divisions between the Pakistani government and the US; the former is clearly displeased by the actions of the latter. Though arguably both governments have colluded in the past over drone strikes, Pakistan may have had a number of reasons for not wanting Mansour killed. Pakistanis themselves also have some feelings, because, well, they have a right to not want their sovereignty violated and their lives in danger.

A week of releases. Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko has been released by Russia after two years in detention. Returning a lionlike figure to her home, Savchenko's imprisonment (and hunger strike while in prison) have done little to sway her politics, and the pilot remained defiant up until her release, something Russia is trying to sell as a mere prisoner exchange. Savchenko's release wasn't the only one in the Eastern Europe/Central Asian bloc; Journalist Khadija Ismayilova has been freed by Azerbaijan after a lengthy detention.

Donald Trump cinches the Republican nomination. This has been inevitable for quite some time now, but it is now official: the Republican candidate for president of the US will be Trump. And Republicans are rallying behind him

Quetta, Baluchistan, Pakistan. (Owais Khan)

Quetta, Baluchistan, Pakistan. (Owais Khan)


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Regional Updates

South Asia:

Southeast & East Asia:

  • The US has lifted its 50-year ban on the sale of arms to Vietnam.
  • Speaking in Japan, Barack Obama sounded the alarm on Donald Trump, a figure who has numerous world leaders concerned.

Europe & Eurasia:

Middle East & North Africa:

Sub-Saharan Africa:



  • An Australian law firm has filed the first suit against Russia and Vladimir Putin for their suspected role in downing a Malaysian Airlines plane in July 2014 over contested areas of Ukraine.

Quote of the Week: 

I have looked into the question of lies and rapes, and you know who lies about rape incessantly? Rapists. Which is an insanely obvious a thing to say, except that no one ever says it. It’s an unbroken story. They lie about it routinely, constantly, reliably, with rare exceptions. There’s a journalistic aphorism that man bites dog is news, while dog bites man is not, but what if we never ever reported on dog bites, what if people denied that dogs bite or even have teeth or were dogs at all? - "To break the story, you must break the status quo", Rebecca Solnit, LitHub

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