World News

Compiled by Stephanie Meyer


The World Health Organization (WHO) released a report that stated that measles cases more than tripled in Europe last year. According to the report, in 2017, more than 21,000 people contracted the virus. This followed a record low documentation of cases in 2016. Europe has struggled in the past to control the virus. One of the worst instances up until last year was in 2013, when there were more than 10,000 cases documented. The majority of the documented cases were unvaccinated. Scientists report that in order to control the measles virus, 95 percent of the population must be vaccinated or immune. Vaccine critics worldwide are helping drop vaccine rates. Vaccination rates fell from 90 percent in 2010 to 85 percent in 2015. The WHO regional director for Europe reminds us that people, children and adults who don’t get vaccinated “remain at risk of catching the disease and spreading it to others who may not be able to get vaccinated.” (NBC)


On Tuesday, Feb. 20, a Malaysian artist, Fahmi Reza, was jailed for creating a clown caricature of the Malaysian prime minister, Najib Razak. Reza’s caricature went viral during protests against Prime Minister Razak in 2016. Prime Minister Razak is accused of stealing and misusing billions of dollars from a state-owned development fund. The Malaysian government has blocked several media outlets for carrying negative stories and pictures of Prime Minister Razak and has arrested a political cartoonist for insulting Prime Minister Razak and his wife. Reza was sentenced to a month in prison and a $7,700 fine. (BBC)


On Sunday, Feb. 18, Poland’s embassy in Tel Aviv was graffitied with swastikas. The swastikas were drawn on the notice board outside the embassy and on the entrance gate to the embassy. This came a day after the Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki asserted that Jews were perpetrators in the Holocaust and weeks after the Poland passed a controversial bill that makes it illegal to accuse Poland of playing a role in the crimes committed by Nazis. Prime Minister Morawiecki’s comments and the newly passed bill has caused tension between the two countries, with Israel accusing Poland of trying to rewrite history. (CNN)


On Tuesday, Feb. 20, Venezuela launched a cryptocurrency in an effort to save its failing economy, which has endured hyperinflation and devaluation for years. Currently, Venezuela is $150 billion in debt. Critics say that the cryptocurrency is an attempt to sidestep economic sanctions imposed by the US government last year. The cryptocurrency is called “Petro,” and each token is backed by a barrel of Venezuelan crude oil. Each Petro is worth $60, which is based on the price of a barrel of Venezuelan crude oil in January. Users will be able to set up a virtual wallet to hold and organize the cryptocurrency. (BBC)

United Kingdom

On Saturday, Feb. 17, Brendan Cox, the husband of British Member of Parliament Jo Cox, who was murdered in 2016, stepped down from the charities he set up in her name after being confronted with sexual assault allegations that were published in The Mail on Sunday. Brendan Cox was accused of assaulting a colleague in July 2015 and a woman at Harvard in October 2015. Cox denied the allegations of sexual assault at Harvard but did “acknowledge and understand that during my time at Save the Children I made mistakes and behaved in a way that caused some women hurt and offense.” Jo Cox’s sister, Kim Leadbeater, will stay on and continue the work of the charities that Brendan Cox founded. (CNN)