The News August 8-12: Olympics!


Stories of the Week

Olympic fever. They have arrived! Among the inspirations: Syrian refugee Yusra Mardini, who once swam for her life and who has performed strongly. Still, being a woman sucks at the Olympics, especially for queer women -- as the members of the US Women's National Team in soccer have learned. Even Olympian cyclists can't get a break from mansplaining. Also, American nationalism is basically ruining the Olympics for viewers.

But, the upsides: a proposal on the pitch! The US women's gymnastics team takes gold! (Holy hell, Simone Biles.) Leslie Jones! Phelps! Retire after you peak! Simone Manuel is better than all of us! Probably the world's best swimmer.

Will Japan's emperor step down? The old and ailing 82 year-old Japanese monarch indicated in a historic and unprecedented speech to the nation that he might consider stepping down from the throne early in the week. The announcement sent shockwaves through the country, and has opened up some interesting discussions -- namely, that a female heir to the throne might be a possibility.

Outrage and solidarity with Pakistan's legal community. A bombing struck the Pakistani city of Quetta early in the week, killing over 60 people -- the vast majority of them lawyers. The attack came shortly after the targeted killing of a lawyer in Quetta, and sparked fears of a link between the two, which was quickly confirmed; the bombing targeted mourners who wanted justice for their colleague. The ramifications of the attack? Quetta has lost almost an entire generation of legal thinkers, and lawyers across Pakistan have been boycotting in protest and solidarity. 

Updated news: Thailand was rocked by 11 bombings in one day, resulting in the deaths of four people, with an additional 36 injured. The attacks are believed to be connected to separatist groups within the country. 

Rio de Janeiro (Hudson - Flickr)

Rio de Janeiro (Hudson - Flickr)


Blues Buzz

M.I.A. + Zayn. Women's gymnastics: a complicated sport that says a lot about us. Americans: register to vote. The most vilified job in America. Stop putting shit in your vagina. Hillary Clinton is using conservative rhetoric to lay out a pretty liberal agenda. Don't stay calm? White families can't protect their Black children. 


Regional Updates

South Asia:

Southeast & East Asia:

Europe & Eurasia:

Middle East & North Africa:

Sub-Saharan Africa:



  • The Australian government accidentally handed over documents to The Guardian regarding its immigration policies. The results are a bombshell. Abuse of children, including sexual assault and what amounts to torture, are detailed in full. The allegations are linked to the island of Nauru, where Australia keeps most of its refugees prior to processing. 
  • Australia blocked the sale of a major electricity grid to a Chinese firm.

Quote of the Week:

I've lost a diamond earring, a gold ring, a glove, two hats, a blazer, and one boyfriend (au revoir, Benoit), who said of my schedule: "This is not what we do in France." Friends and family have married, divorced, given birth, and died during this campaign, and I've missed it all. - Katy Tur, our hearts are with you

Blue Out: Ban-Ki Moon's "American Mom."