Compiled by Dannielle Konz
On Saturday, Oct. 14, which was Russian President Vladimir Putin’s birthday, thousands of protesters marched in 26 cities across Russia. 290 protesters were arrested. The marches were hosted by supporters of Alexei Navalny, Putin’s only serious adversary in the upcoming March election. Putin has been serving as Russia’s leader since 1999. Navalny was not at any of the marches as he is currently serving a 20-day jail term for organizing an unauthorized public meeting. Since Putin’s current reign began in 2012, public assembly laws have become more rigid, and it is now very difficult to legally organize protests in Russia.
After a weaker party presence in the federal elections two weeks ago, German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with the Christian Social Union party of Germany, which is the more conservative sister party to her own, in hopes of reaching a series of compromises to achieve more national unity as Germany heads into coalition talks next week. While the parties sought compromises on numerous issues, arguably the most important compromise that they have made was determining a cap on Germany’s refugee intake. For the past two years, Merkel had consistently rejected the idea of placing a limit on the country’s refugee intake — in 2015 Merkel instituted an open-door migration policy, and more than a million refugees entered the country — however, her position has changed and the parties have agreed to try to limit the number of refugees seeking asylum in Germany to 200,000. However, there is a caveat to this number: this 200,000 is flexible and the German parliament can raise this number in an emergency. Merkel also reminded her supporters that people will not be rejected at the country’s borders after the limit is reached as the in Germany, the fundamental right to seek asylum is guaranteed.
In Malta, Daphne Caruana Galizia, the Maltese investigative journalist who exposed the link between the country’s prime minister and his offshore accounts in Panama, was killed by a car bomb on Monday, Oct. 16. Galizia was the leader of the Panama Papers investigation. The Panama Papers were a collation of 11.5 million leaked documents detailing illegal and legal offshore business actions executed by world leaders. Through this investigation, Galizia found that the Maltese prime minister’s Panama accounts were used to receive money from the country of Azerbaijan, whose dictator used the accounts to buy the Prime Minister’s influence. Azerbaijan’s national oil company recently became a shareholder in Malta’s new power plant. Before she was murdered, in her last investigative blog post published just hours before the explosion, she talked about the lack of action in prosecuting those who had been named in the Panama Papers. The last line in her last ever blog post read, “There are crooks everywhere you look now. The situation is desperate.”
In Puerto Rico, 90 percent of the island still does not have power. When societies lose power, they also lose access to clean water, food and medication storage, sewage disposal, medical technologies, communication devices and more. Currently, more than 35 percent of Puerto Rico is without clean drinking water, leaving many to rely on contaminated water to survive. Many survivors are so desperate that they are being forced to turn to water that is found in areas that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) deems to be polluted by industrial chemicals. According to the EPA, drinking this water can have serious health impacts, including liver damage and cancer. Puerto Rico, which is a United States territory and pays federal taxes which help fund the U.S. government, is currently getting very little aid from the American government to help with this humanitarian crisis.
On Saturday, Oct. 14, a massive truck bomb was detonated in the Somali capital of Mogadishu. Over 276 people died in the explosion, out of which only 111 of the victims have been identified due to many of the deceased victims of the attack being burnt beyond recognition. Over 300 people have been wounded; many of the wounded have been transported by helicopter to Turkish, Ethiopian and Kenyan hospitals. Many of the hospitals treating the wounded are experiencing blood shortages. This catastrophic bombing has been the deadliest terror attack in Somalia since the militant group, al-Shabab, launched its mutiny in 2007. The Somali government currently believes it was the al-Shabab group who perpetrated this assault, however the group has not yet claimed responsibility for the bombing. Al-Shabab, which is allied to al-Qaeda, has attacked Mogadishu several times before.