what happened last week (whlw) | Subscribe

whlw: no. 229

July 13 – 19, 2020

This is Sham, your very own news curator. I stopped reading the news yesterday at 9pm.

Did you see the comet NEOWISE last week? I am so jealous of whoever saw it with their own eyes. That sh*t looked so dope on social media. 

This issue was written using sources such as Spectrum News, NBC News, The New York Times, BBC, Amnesty International, The Washington Post, BalkanInsight, DefenseNews, Reuters, Aljazeera, Twitter, YouTube, European Commission, Climate Change News, Bellingcat, Vice, Al-Arabiya, Gulf News and The Verge. 

I put in a lot of hours and my heart into every issue of whlw. You're welcome to support me on
Patreon (like 131 others!) or via PayPal. I actually do this full-time.

Now without further ado, here's what happened last week,

what happened last week

We have to keep fighting for racial justice because Black Lives Still Matter
Even though the Black Lives Matter (short: BLM) movement is disappearing from a lot of social media feeds online, it is still happening offline. 

In the
United States, around 100 people protested the police killing of Breonna Taylor and... got arrested because of it. A couple of days later, they let 87 people go.

Who's Breonna Taylor?
A 26-year-old Black woman, who was shot four months ago by police. The police thought she had hidden drugs for someone they were looking for. So, they went inside her home (without knocking). Taylor and her boyfriend Kenneth Walker believed thieves had come in, fired a gun and injured one of the police officers. Then they shot her. Eight times. Nobody so far has been arrested for what happened.
  • Good to know: Since early June, there is a new rule called 'Breonna's Law' that makes it much more difficult for the police in Louisville, Kentucky to enter a home with so few reasons.
What can I do to help?
Apart from tweeting and posting about Breonna Taylor, here, just some of the ways you can help:
  • Go to and to find petitions to add your name to.
    • Are petitions actually effective? Yes. One petition (with over 4.4 million signatures) helped repoen the legal case of Elijah McClain.
  • If you live in the U.S., write a letter to the Kentucky Governor Attorney General and Governor (find resources at
  • Donate money to the GoFundMe for Breonna's family or to the Kentucky Bail Fund to help protestors who are still protesting on the ground. Again, check out
In other BLM-related news, watch and share this powerful 60-seconds video about the movement in sign language
We protested the death penalty for three young men in Iran and maybe got lucky
A social media campaign has (probably) saved the lives of three young men in Iran.

Why this matters: After China, Iran is the no. 2 in executing people.

What happened?
Well, Amirhossein Moradi, Mohammad Rajabi and Saeed Tamjidi were supposed to get the death penalty until more than five million (!) posts on social media used the Farsi hashtag #do_not_execute. 

The government in Iran thinks they had taken part in the mass anti-government protests in November 2019 (when hundreds, if not a thousand, people are believed to have died). The three men say, 'nope, we didn't'. 

Last week, the country's highest court said, 'we might reconsider' and the lawyers were given the chance to review the case. 

That's good, right? 

Yes and no. You see, the Iranian government, however, executed two other (Kurdish) men, Diaku Rasoulzadeh and Saber Sheikh Abdollah. Their lawyer: 'They were innocent.' Amnesty International was also like, 'facts. This is what the criminal justice system in Iran does: make up stories and execute people based on them'. 

The bigger picture
China and Iran aren't the only countries with capital punishment in their criminal justice system toolbox. Last week alone, the United States executed three people in four days.
We (tens of thousands!) protested against Vladimir Putin in Russia
Remember when Sergey Frugal, the (very popular) governor of the city Khabarovsk in Russia, was arrested out of nowhere two weeks ago? Last week, tens of thousands of people were like, 'wtf?!?!' and took to the streets to express their wtf-ness – twice. The crowds were huge. 'We need him, we elected him. The Russian government can't just put him in jail like this,' said protestors.
Protestors were shouting “Putin Step Down“, too.
  • Why this matters: Now and then, there are smaller protests against what the Russian president does/wants to do, like the one last week in Moscow. However, the fact that protests against the Russian president take place in this region is highly unusual. It's a city that's far, far away from Moscow – geographically and politically.
What does Putin think about this?
He's worried that the protests might turn anti-Putin altogether. After all, Russia's main opposition leader Alexei Navalny has also joined the protests online and is
very busy tweeting about the protests. 'I'm so happy that the city of Khabarovsk chooses not to believe Putin's endless lies'. Other cities and towns have expressed their wtf to what happened to Frugal... and Putin, too.  'But we believe Frugal has organised the murders of a couple of people back in 2004 and 2005,' said the government. 

What now?
Protestors were like, 'nope, we want a fair trial.' To be continued. 
We voted for the first time in North Macedonia since its name change
What kind of elections?
Parliamentary elections.

Who won?
The Social Democrats. The ladies and gentlemen who actually helped rename the country of 2.1 million people (as of 2019). Btw, the country is only 29 years old. Tell me more about the winning party
They like the West and they'd like North Macedonia to be part of the European Union. The party also managed to get the country into NATO this year. The Social Democrats now have to form a government and oh boy, this is going to be complicated. The country is very, very divided on a lot of issues.

Why did they change their name though?
To be cool with Greece. The skeptical neighbor was like, 'um, we have a province also called Macedonia. Are you trying to colonize us?!?!' So, North Macedonia was like, 'chill. What about we just call ourselves North Macedonia from now on, huh?'.
We stopped burning coal in Portugal
Portugal announced that it will close down its last coal plants in a few months. Portugal is the third country in the European Union to stop burning coal earlier than it said it would.
  • Why this matters: Coal is pretty bad for the environment and climate change. Europe talks about this often and has set targets for itself in the European Green Deal ('we want to create a climate neutral economy by 2050'). Countries reaching goals ahead of schedule means we're slowly but surely getting there. 
  • Read the European Green Deal if you want to find out how Europe wants to save the climate.
Who's next?
France (2022), Slovakia (2023), the UK (2024), Ireland (2025) and Italy (2025), according to Europe Beyond Coal. *looks angrily at Germany who recently said they will get out in 2038*
We legalized same-sex unions in Thailand and for the second time in Asia
A new bill (it is not a law yet) in Thailand lets homosexual couples legally register as a couple, meaning they can now buy a house together, adopt children or pass on their fortunes to them, too. If the bill is approved by the country's parliament, Thailand will join Taiwan (Taiwan did this last year) as the only places in Asia that don't discriminate against same-sex couples.
  • Why this matters: A man and a woman can create a family. A man and a man can create a family. A woman and a woman can create a family. Legally strengthening families of people with sexual diversity is giving families that already exist more rights. And many believe 'that's good for our children.'
We started a #MeToo movement in Pakistan
A 21-year-old woman named Tehreem posted a screenshot of sexual messages she had gotten by her male teacher at an all-girls school in Lahore, Pakistan and it became viral.

Viral how?
Soon, more and more women from the same school started sharing their own stories of sexual harrassment and abuse online. The names of four male teachers became the center of discussion. 'We complained to the school administration, but they told us to stay silent, blamed us for what happened and basically slut-shamed us.'

What did the school say?
Last week, the school finally responded. '
We have fired the four men and suspended the (female) administrators who ignored the girls' complaints back then, too.'

What now?
The young women leading the #MeToo movement at the all-girls school, Lahore Grammar School, say they are not planning to stop. Students and former students have a set of demands that push for long-term policy change at the school – most of them have been accepted by the school administration. 'Everywhere, harassers are afraid. They are feeling like how they made us feel.'

We will see if this becomes a nation-wide movement soon. #fingerscrossed
We now allow women in Saudi Araba to live and travel on her own
A court in Saudi Arabia was like, 'we think this woman deserves the right to live and travel on her own without her father's permission.'

On a funny note

Turkmenistan swears it is coronavirus-free. 'But you must still wear face masks because of the dust problem this country has, OK?' the government has ordered. *TikTok sound 'don't be suspicious' starts playing*
  • Btw, do you know how strong Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, the country's president, is? So000oo strong.
The end,

If you like what I do every week, yay! I put in a lot of hours and my heart into every issue. You're welcome to support me on Patreon (like 131 others!) or via PayPal. I actually do this full-time.
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