Compiled by Rikke Sponheim
Since Friday, Feb. 22, tens of thousands of people across Algeria have taken to the streets to protest President Abdelaziz Bouteflika running for a fifth term of presidency. These have been the largest street demonstrations in over a decade in Algeria. President Bouteflika has been in power for 20 years and his health has been ailing since suffering a stroke in 2013, and he has rarely been seen in public since then. More student protests took place Tuesday, Feb. 26. Protests are rarely tolerated by authorities in Algeria, especially in Algiers, the capital, where protesting has been banned since 2001. More than 40 people have been arrested and tear gas has been used on protesters. Algerian state journalists have reported being prevented from covering Bouteflika’s opposition which is weak and divided. Several trade unions, parties and business organizations have stated that they are backing Bouteflika, so it is unlikely that any other candidate could win against Bouteflika.
A young humpback whale was found dead on Friday, Feb. 22, in a remote swamp in the Amazon River on Marajó Island, Brazil. This time of year, humpback whales should have migrated to the Antarctic, so it is unusual to see one so far north this time of year. A group of biologists should have a postmortem report by Mar. 8, which will tell why the whale died. For now, they suspect it was either hit by a boat or caught in a net. Others suggest that it probably died due to separation from its mother and also possibly due to consuming too much plastic.
On Tuesday, Feb. 26, the government of the United Kingdom published a summary of what consequences there would be if there is not an agreement met about leaving the European Union (EU) by the deadline. The main consequences would be increased food prices and extra customs checks. Jun. 1 is the final deadline for deciding on what to do about Brexit, because any later would mean that the United Kingdom would have to take part in European elections. It is estimated that the economy of the United Kingdom could be nine percent weaker over the next 15 years if a deal for leaving the European Union is not agreed upon, with Northern Ireland being hit especially hard. Another problem concerning leaving the European Union is that only six of the 40 necessary international trade deals have been signed. Many citizens have not started to prepare for the event of there being no deal, with no noticeable change in passport applications and international driving permits.
Tension between India and Pakistan has increased due to India claiming to have launched an air strike against militants in Pakistan on Tuesday, Feb. 26. The target of the strikes, according to the Indian government, was a militant training camp located in Pakistan. According to Pakistan, the Indian jets were successfully pushed back without any Pakistani casualties. Another reason for increased tension is the suicide attack that killed 40 Indian troops which occurred on Feb. 14. Responsibility for the attack was claimed by a militant group that India says Pakistan allows to operate in their territory, however Pakistan denies India’s accusations. This another incident in a long history of tension between Pakistan and India, mostly over control of the region of Kashmir. Many civilians in both Pakistan and India-controlled Kashmir are preparing for attacks to escalate between Pakistan and India and the possibility of war.