The week started with a major fire at the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, France resulting in the collapse of its iconic spire, and ended with eight bombings in church and hotels in Sri Lanka which killed at least 200 people. In France, following the fire at the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the richest French citizens and corporations have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars, and President Emmanuel Macron has pledged to rebuild the cathedral in a restoration process which is likely to take decades to complete. And in Sri Lanka, the series of bombings led to the governmental declaration of a curfew and blocked access to major social media and messaging sites. Continue reading
A series of parliamentary votes in the United Kingdom (UK) has added to the Brexit turmoil; the Boeing 737 Max 8 has been grounded after an Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed shortly after take-off; and mosque shootings in New Zealand left at least 49 people dead.
In the UK, despite Prime Minister Theresa May securing some concessions from the European Union (EU), her revised Brexit deal was defeated by a vote of 391 to 242 on Tuesday. On Wednesday, parliament voted twice that the UK should not leave the EU without a proper withdrawal agreement and on Thursday it approved a motion to briefly delay the March 29 withdrawal. In Nigeria, the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines flight – a version of the Boeing 737 Max 8, the same as the Lion Air aircraft which crashed in October last year – killed at least 150 people and led to the grounding of the plane from almost everywhere around the world. And in New Zealand, shootings at mosques in Christchurch left at least 49 people dead and 40 people wounded. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the shootings as a terrorist attack. Continue reading
The pursuit of accountability characterised the headlines this week: In Myanmar, where the United Nations (UN) said military leaders should be prosecuted; in Puerto Rico, where the death toll from Hurricane Maria has been revised upwards; and in the Vatican, where the Catholic Church and Pope Francis have come under fire for their mismanagement of sexual abuse cases. In Myanmar, UN investigators said that military leaders in Myanmar should be prosecuted for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide against the Rohingyas. In Puerto Rico, after admitting earlier this month that the death toll from the hurricane could be higher than 64, the government has now raised it to 2,975. And in the Vatican, there is a call for Pope Francis’s resignation, by a former Vatican ambassador to the United States who said the pope knew about allegations against a cardinal. Continue reading