Stories of the Week
The saga of Dilma Rousseff. Brazil's embattled leader hasn't had the best year. Brazil's lower house voted to impeach her, essentially sealing her fate. However, the impeachment vote was annulled briefly this week, somewhat abruptly. Just as abruptly, the annulment was, err, annulled, and the impeachment was back on track, culminating in Rousseff's suspension late Wednesday night. For her part, Rousseff has called the impeachment process a coup, and it's not too hard to see why, as her vice president has been gunning for her job (despite potentially facing impeachment himself), and virtually everyone trying to impeach her may have committed crimes far out-stepping those Rousseff is accused of. Also of note: those in support of Rousseff are disproportionately poor and less white than those pushing for her removal, something that stems in no small part from the role Rousseff's party has played in trying to empower the lower class. Vox has a good explainer of the issue.
Displacement in Kenya. Kenya is getting set to close all of its refugee camps -- a move that would displace approximately 600,000 people. Among these camps will be the Dadaab refugee camp, which is the largest in the world. Many of the occupants may be forced to return to warzones, something that undoubtedly constitutes a human rights violation. Above all, the situation is a cautionary tale regarding the precarious nature of refugee camps in general.
A bloody week in Iraq. After a tumultuous protest that saw Iraqis storming the Green Zone recently, tensions this week have hardly calmed in Iraq, particularly in Baghdad where political turmoil has spilled over. The Islamic State also targeted various areas this week, often with deadly results. Most notably, a car bombing in a Shiite neighborhood (Sadr City) in Baghdad killed over 60 people, further inflaming sectarian tensions.
- Writing the real West Virginia.
- Facebook and journalists and the world.
- One guy in Afghanistan did a Navy SEAL a solid and it really ruined his life.
- The bell hooks rebuttal to Beyonce, and the Janet Mock rebuttal to bell hooks. (And, the round-up of all the commentary since.)
- Redefining poetry in a time of austerity.
- The feds are now involved in Hollywood's gender problem.
- Genderless characters.
- Oh, Ben Rhodes.
- Khurram Zaki, a human rights activist in Pakistan, was shot and killed in Karachi over the weekend. He is believed to have been killed for his activism against cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz, the leader of Islamabad's Lal Masjid, and a controversial figure notorious for his Taliban sympathies.
- There has been outcry over the rape and murder of an 8 year-old Pakistani Hindu girl, whose story strikes at the heart of the marginalization many religious minorities experience throughout the country.
- The kidnapped son of former Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani has been returned home. He was rescued by a joint US-Afghan raid in Ghazni province, Afghanistan.
- A bus wreck on the Kandahar-Kabul highway killed over 70 people.
- Bangladesh's ongoing executions of 1970s-era leaders continues: Motiur Rahman was executed this week for war crimes.
Southeast & East Asia:
- The nightmarish new leader of the Philippines is essentially as sexist and problematic as they come. Rodrigo Duterte is unusually tolerant of LGBTQ people, but not of virtually anyone else.
- North Korea says it will play nice with nuclear weapons.
- Officials believe debris washing up in South Africa and on various islands are from the missing Malaysian plane that mysteriously disappeared two years ago.
Europe & Eurasia:
- Turkey is continuing its crackdown on journalists.
- Queen Elizabeth II of England was caught in a hot mic moment referring to Chinese officials as incredibly rude.
- Vladimir Putin took a tumble during an ice hockey game in Russia.
- Leaving the EU might make Britain less safe.
- Sadiq Khan, London's new mayor, is tangling with American presidential candidate Donald Trump, who is notoriously Islamophobic (Khan is London's first Muslim mayor.)
- Italy finally joins the rest of Western Europe in allowing civil unions.
- French Prime Minister Manuel Valls survived a no-confidence vote.
Middle East & North Africa:
- Yemeni peace talks have faltered yet again amidst renewed strikes. They seemed poised to resume mid-week but then faltered again, as more than a dozen Yemenis killed during Jihadi attacks.
- The US and Russia brokered a 48 hour ceasefire in Syria at the beginning of the week.
- Two Palestinians stabbed two elderly women in Jerusalem. The women were sent to a hospital but are expected to make a recovery; the suspects were apprehended.
- Heavy rainfall in Rwanda is causing dangerous landslides.
- Angola's yellow fever outbreak could become global.
- Ahead of President Yoweri Museveni's swearing-in, Uganda shut down numerous platforms, namely Twitter, Facebook, and Whatsapp.
- Bolivia is accusing Chile of building a new military base which it perceives as quite threatening.
- The Mexican government's horrifying suppression of the word 'mezcal' is deeply unfair.
- Brazil has a lot going on -- see top of page for more information.
- Barack Obama became the first sitting US president to visit Hiroshima, Japan. Unfortunately, he did not apologize for the nuclear century the US birthed in Hiroshima.
- Austin, Texas basically gave the middle finger to ride-sharing companies.
- The US Department of Justice is going to war with North Carolina over its HB2 bill, which pointedly discriminates against transgender individuals.
- Robert Dear, the man who shot up a Planned Parenthood several months ago, has been found unfit to stand trial.
- Australia's leader, Malcolm Turnbull, has called for national elections in July, which will likely be very close.
- The Soloman Islands are being swallowed.
Quote of the Week:
"Yes, you've worked hard, but you've also been lucky. That's a pet peeve of mine: People who have been successful and don’t realize they've been lucky. That God may have blessed them; it wasn’t nothing you did." - American President Barack Obama, giving the commencement speech at Howard University
Blue Out: Some Eileen Myles for you.