The coronavirus-caused quarantine on the Diamond Princess cruise ship ended after multiple weeks. All passengers have been tested for the virus by the Japanese health ministry, according to a report from officials from the Princess Cruises staff. Worry over the effectiveness of the quarantine compounded following reports that cases were still being confirmed hours before all passengers got off the cruise ship. (NPR)
Ivory Coast & Ghana
Bad weather has caused damage to the cocoa crops of the two top cocoa exporting countries, Ghana and the Ivory Coast. The resulting shortages have driven up the prices for chocolate on the world market. (Al Jazeera)
Julian Assange, famous for founding WikiLeaks, plans to claim in a hearing against his extradition to the U.S. that Donald Trump offered him a pardon if Assange publicly said that Russia had no involvement in leaking emails from the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 presidential election. Assange’s court hearing is scheduled for the week of Feb. 24. (Al Jazeera)
The murder of a seven-year-old girl sparked public protests. Discontent stems in part from the rate of femicide — “the killing of women on account of gender” — increasing by 137% in the last five years according to the Mexican Attorney General. (CNN).
Uncertainty has emerged over the future of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in the wake of conflicting messages from the United States government. The U.S. government agreed to support a plan which will give Israel security and border control over Palestinian territories, while aiding the eventual formation of an independent Palestinian state. After President Trump announced that Israel could annex Palestine as soon as they wanted, presidential adviser Jared Kushner said in an interview that Israel would be expected to wait until after the Israeli elections to complete the annexation. Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly hopes to annex Palestine before the elections in part to foster support for his campaign.(NPR)