World News

Compiled from various mainstream news outlets.

Iraq

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the terrorist group ISIS, was seen on video for the first time in five years. The last time was when he declared the group’s caliphate in 2014 in the city of Mosul, Iraq. Since then, time has not been kind to the terrorist group. They went from having control of much of Iraq and Syria in 2015 to having their last stronghold of Baghuz fall to Kurdish-Syrian forces last month. However, in the video he stressed that this was not the last battle of ISIS and there would be many more to follow. Additionally, he took responsibility for the bombings in Sri Lanka, but experts think IS involvement there is unlikely. It is easy to celebrate the fall of their last territorial holdings, but this video is a reminder that ISIS is long from dead, with the road ahead being long and bloody. (BBC)

Burkina Faso

Right after a religious service on Sunday morning, a church in the African country of Burkina Faso saw a gunman enter and kill six people, including the priest. The exact nature and affiliation of the attack is not clear, but it has been linked to ISIS and other local jihadist groups. Unfortunately, events like this are becoming the norm in Burkina Faso. The country has seen a devastating increase in terrorist activity: in 2018 there were 158 recorded attacks compared to 33 in 2017. However, this is the first time a church has been directly attacked and it is especially poignant in the wake of Sri Lanka, the Synagogue attack in San Diego and the Christchurch mosque shooting. (BBC)

Ecuador

A historic day for Ecuador’s indigenous people, the Waorani, had been achieved. For the past several months, the people have been involved in a lawsuit against the Ministry of Energy and Non-renewable Natural Resources, the Secretary of Hydrocarbons and the Ministry of Environment for failing to consult the Waorani before their land was put up for auction for international oil companies in a 2012 ruling. However, last week a judge ruled in favor of the Waorani, suspending any further drilling in the region and setting a precedent for other indigenous nations in Ecuador. (Al Jazeera)

Norway

Off of the coast of Norway, some fishermen found a beluga whale wearing a harness mount for a camera that experts say was trained by the Russian military to conduct reconnaissance. It was very playful and friendly with researchers, indicating long contact with humans, and the markings on the harness indicated it was manufactured in St. Petersburg. As strange as this sounds, the Russians have been using Belugas for spying since the Cold War. However, researchers do stress that any conclusions they have drawn are pure speculation. (CNN)

Great Britain

Massive 11-day-long protests in London have finally seen relief. Organized by the group Extinction Rebellion, their goal was to raise awareness and push climate change up the ladder of political discourse and get the government to take action. Their protest created great disruption around the city with trains and bridges being blocked, along with over 1,000 people arrested. The protests seem to ultimately have been successful, according to the group’s leader Nuala Gathercole Lam. They accomplished their goal of catching the attention of the public and parliament and as such, the protests are being touted as a resounding success in nonviolence and direct action. We can only hope that the government will now follow through. (NBC)

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