what happened last week (whlw) | Subscribe

whlw: no. 233

August 10 – 16, 2020

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

Congratulations to Joshua Cheptegei, an athlete from Uganda, for setting a new world record in the men's 5000 metres. What an achievement. *my quarantine body is in denial* 

I put in a lot of hours and my heart into every issue of whlw. You're welcome to support me on Patreon (like 143 others!) or via PayPal.

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

what happened last week

We have to talk about Yemen
Yemen is in a bad place right now. For five years now, people in Yemen have been fighting over who has the right to rule over the country. Is it the government? Is it the Houthis? The fighting has gotten so bad that the United Nations calls it the world's worst humanitarian crisis What else is Yemen dealing with right now?
While the fighting continued last week, it also rained pretty heavily in Sanaa, the capital, and other cities, too. At least 172 people died because of it. The UNESCO-listed Old Sanaa houses fell apart, too. And if that wasn't all, a tanker full of oil (getting older and older) is sitting on the western coast of the country without anyone really being able to take care of it since the fighting began in 2015. 

Wait, that's dangerous, right?
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres last week was like, 'yo, if we don't do anything to stop this oil (1.148 million barrels of light crude oil!) from spilling into the Red Sea, it will be the worst thing that's happened to the ecosystems that around 30 million people rely on across the region.' International environmental group Greenpeace is on it and wrote a letter.
We are still making things really uncomfortable for Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus
  • Catch up: Belarus, a country of more than 9 million people, voted on August 9, 2020. The results of that election are as controversial as female rappers Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion's female sexuality-empowering single 'WAP'. Belarus' president Alexander Lukashenko is like, 'I won'. The opposition aka Sviatlana Tikhanovskaya and a lot of citizens (actually: 200,000 people) are like, 'nope' and took to the streets to express their frustration. 'We won't stop protesting this. The people will not forgive this.'
Last week, things escalated even further. Now, the United Kingdom is like, 'We don't think Lukashenko is telling the truth'. More and more countries are expressing their 'We are extremely worried at what's happening there. All this police violence, wow.' The European Union is like, 'we need to talk' and you know what that means. Think new sanctions. And, on the other hand, Russia is coming to help Lukashenko.

How effective are these protests really?
Well, nobody knows as of now. But, according to local, independent news site, last Sunday's opposition rally in Minsk was "the largest in the history of independent Belarus". Hundreds of protesters have gotten hurt and two have died fighting the police over the past week. Some 6,700 people have been arrested, and many say, 'we are being tortured by police.' Oh, and state television doesn't show anything anymore. Everyone's joined the protests. *
empty studio with music playing in the background*

Alexander Lukashenko is typing...
"We held the election. Until you kill me, there will be no other election."
This is a direct quote

To be continued. 
We tied the (diplomatic) knot between Israel and the United Arab Emirates – and it was controversial
Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have officially become diplomatic and economic friends. I say officially because, of course, they had some sort of a relationship before they made it official. The United States helped make this a reality. Journalists and political scientists call it the Abraham Accord.
  • Why this matters: After Jordan and Egypt, the UAE is now the third Arab and the first Gulf state to recognize Israel as a nation.
Tell me more about this
Basically, the UAE only said yes to this 'if Israel delays its plans to annex parts of West Bank.' Israel said, 'fine. for now.'

What does this mean?
Not much and everything. Iran and Palestinians worldwide are in a 'traitors!!! the emiratis are traitors!!!' kind of mood right now. In the words/tweet of Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization's executive committee, 'May you never experience the agony of having your country stolen'. The UAE is like, 'this is what we think might help you :(' The two nations, Israel and the UAE, are meeting up in the coming weeks to discuss how much to invest in each other's countries, financially. Oh, and all Muslims who live in the UAE can now go visit and pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam. (Sad Fact: it is very difficult for Palestinians to do that.)
  • Did you know that, before last week, you couldn't fly directly from the UAE to Israel and back or call each other's landlines? Now you can
Any optimism in the region?
Jordan, yeah. 'Maybe this is the defining moment for this region. Maybe this is how we establish peace in the Middle East. Maybe.
We risked our lives asking for change in Thailand right now
Close to 20,000 people took to the streets in Thailand on Sunday, asking that the entire parliament resigns and a new constitution is written. 
  • Why this matters: This is the country's biggest protests in years. And the crazy part is the people protesting are not only angry at the prime minister (who took power in a 2014 coup), but also at the monarchy. And they practically never do that. 
  • Did you know that King Vajiralongkorn lives in Germany for most of the year? If you wanted to criticize that, you'd have to spend 15 year in jail (Btw, absolute monarchy in Thailand was abolished in 1932.)
Where is this all coming from?
Young people in Thailand have been angry for a long time. One of the reasons: last year's elections in March 2019 gave prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha another four years in office. And on Sunday, young and old demanded that the country become more democratic. Why? Many of the country's young people feel Prayut's government has done little to make the lives of people better in Thailand. "The poor are getting poorer, how can people without enough money afford good education. It is impossible," they say. The protests are peaceful. For now. 

On a funny note

(I never thought I'd ever talk about Ireland in this part of the newsletter... but there is a first for everything.)

Last week Ireland's tourism chief quit his job because he took a trip to Italy – even though he told everyone else not to f*cking travel anywhere.

Btw, the first part of that sentence could be a shitty tourism meme for Italy if it wasn’t pandemic-related.
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 143 others!) or via PayPal.
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