A military parade was held in Venezuela on Tuesday, April 11 to help celebrate the Battle of San Felix, one of the major events leading to Venezuela’s independence from the Spanish 200 years ago. As night fell and President Nicolas Maduro rode through town in an open-top jeep, the parade took a dark turn. Protesters began to throw eggs and trash at the president. State-run broadcaster VTV was showing a live stream of the parade and cut out as the protest started, but social media videos caught the rest of the protest. Venezuela is currently suffering a crippling economic crisis and the citizens are dealing with national food and medicine shortages. This protest comes as only the latest of many others that have been shaking the country since the beginning of April, calling for the president’s resignation and for the government to set a date for the state elections, which have been delayed.
Up to 36 suspected ISIS militants were killed in Afghanistan on Thursday, April 13 by the “mother of all bombs,” the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used in combat. President Trump authorized this strike to target a known underground ISIS base. There is controversy on whether civilians were killed along with the ISIS militants. Sarab, a resident of the area where the bomb was detonated, said, “There is no way that civilians were still living there,” as the area had been temporarily controlled by ISIS. However, a parliamentarian from Nangarhar said locals told him that one teacher and his young son were killed in the attack. This is the latest in the United States’ intense ongoing bombing of ISIS militants throughout Syria.
The upcoming French election is looking too close to be called. A poll published on Friday, April 14 shows only a 3% voter difference between the top four candidates. This is less than the margin of error of at least one of the polls, meaning any of them could win or draw. If the April 23 vote is inconclusive, the election may go to a runoff on May 7. Investors are beginning to worry about the possibility of a runoff election between far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and hard-left challenger Jean-Luc Melenchon. The future of France and of Europe hangs in the balance, as two of the candidates would pull France out of the EU if elected. As tensions rise, all eyes look to April 23.
Last Friday was a hectic yet solemn day for the Italian coast guard, who aided a rescue of about 2,074 migrants from out of the Mediterranean Sea. Many were fleeing from sub-Saharan countries. The coast guard confirmed that one person died before they could be rescued. “The sea continues to be a graveyard,” Doctors Without Borders tweeted in response to the events of the day. But this collaboration by many groups made sure the casualties were limited. A Migrant Offshore Aid Station ship, the Phoenix, rescued 164 people in a single trip. Darrin Zammit Lupi, a Reuters photographer who was on board the Phoenix, stated, “In 19 years of covering migration stories, I have never experienced anything like today.”
Russia’s most famous campaigning newspaper appealed to Moscow for protection last Friday. The newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, published a dangerous article this month. The article claimed that authorities in the Chechen Republic have rounded up over 100 gay men and tortured them, resulting in several deaths. The Chechen Republic’s Russian-backed president, Ramzan Kadyrov, denies allegations of human rights violations. His spokesman Alvi Karimov called Novaya’s report “an absolute lie” and went on to say that there were no gay men in the Chechen Republic to be persecuted. The Chechen Republic’s Muslim clerics were outraged by the report and released a statement containing the promise that “retribution will catch up with the hate-mongers wherever and whoever they are and with no statute of limitations,” prompting Novaya Gazeta’s editor to appeal to Moscow for protection.
Compiled by Ben Hollenstein