Author of classic “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” the historic and influential figure Maya Angelou passed away at the age of 86. She read her piece “On the Pulse of Morning,” at the inauguration of Bill Clinton in 1993. Dr. Angelou was also a professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University.
“A man has been sentenced to four years in jail in Niger in the first ever conviction for slavery in the country.” He was convicted of having a fifth wife. Though Niger officially banned slavery in 2003, enforcement of the law has been weak and rights organizations across the globe have been pressuring governments to take more action. Only last year has Mauritania, the largest slave economy of modern Africa, established an anti-slavery government ministry. The current global slave economy is larger than at any point in history, marking over $150 billion in profits annually.
Mexico’s aquifers rank as some of the dirtiest in the world and the government tries to reach the last remaining clean water in the country, they step directly on the rights of those rural communities that depend on those supplies in exchange for security of their more metropolitan areas, resulting in widespread protests, sometimes violent, across the country fighting for water rights.
Glenn Greenwald, who initially broke the Snowden NSA story in 2013, has announced that a large trove of documents revealed NSA involvement in the Middle East will soon be disclosed. The documents reveal the incredible amount of information shared with the Israeli government without any real oversight.
Moscow pledged 240 million Euro to Syria to aid the running of social programs. This is the latest development in a Cold War style standoff between the United States opposing the Assad regime and Russia being one of the regime’s only allies. The money combats advances by American aid to the rebels, which is dwindling as the waters muddy with political alliances between the groups and terrorist networks.
The latest episode in the domestic opposition to Brazil’s hosting of the World Cup culminated in a standoff between indigenous protestors facing off with the police on Tuesday. The protestors climbed atop the Brazilian Congress to demand a reform in how their indigenous land is demarcated by the government.
Obama, in a recent speech, outlined a new foreign policy which calls for a middle road between the interventionism of global counterterrorism and foreign entanglements. The new stance has been widely seen as one of the most doveish anti-war policies since post WWI. He has also announced the full removal of American troops from Afghanistan by 2016, finally filling in the details to the largely criticized and ambiguous US-Afghanistan Bilateral Security Agreement.
The government installed 7 years ago by the terrorist group Hamas in Palestine has said it is ready to hand over power to a Palestinian Unity government. It predicts elections to take place by 2015 and would close the political rift between Hamas and rival Fatah party. Both parties, which have since 2007 run their own respective governments on either side of Palestine are ready to make a deal due to their respective economic and political crises which threaten stability. “Hamas faces severe money problems and has been unable to cover the government payroll because of a tightening border blockade of Gaza by neighboring Egypt over the past year.”
The Park Ranger is suspected to have been shot by poachers while investigating the source of gunshots in the Liuwa Plain National Park. As tourism has increased in Zambian parks, a service industry has grown surrounding it, which has unfortunately spawned an illegal meat trade of protected animals. Despite increased efforts to combat poaching through both government and NGO programs, elephant poaching has increased in recent years, though populations of animals such as the Wildebeest have seen a resurgence in numbers.
Recent election in Egypt, the first since the ouster of President Morsi last year, have seen low turnout between 37 and 46% of the eligible population. The election was widely believed to show General Sisi as the landslide winner. Egypt’s longstanding military leadership and Sisi’s stepping down from his military role in order to run for the presidency as well as his cabinet resignation all put him on a road for victory against an almost non-existent opponent, Habdeem Sabahi. But due to political instability, a drop in popular support for the government, and violence against opposition has all contributed to the low turnout. Sabahi has called for his election monitors to pull out as reports of beatings have surfaced. The election has been lengthened by one day in an effort to increase turnout.