what happened last week (whlw) | Subscribe

whlw: no. 228

July 6 – 12, 2020

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

Hey, to my German-speaking readers, for the next two weeks I will be writing the morning newsletter for
Krautreporter. If you want more mail from me, consider signing up. Otherwise, stay here.

This issue was written using sources such as The Guardian, The New York Times, Associated Press, Nature, TheScientist, Al Jazeera, The Korea Herald, The Wall Street Journal, YouTube, Twitter, The Atlantic, BBC, NPR, The Human Rights Campaign Foundation, USA Today, Heise, ABC News and Spotify.

I put in a lot of hours and my heart into every issue of whlw. You're welcome to support me on
Patreon (like 128 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 officially gave back half of a U.S. state to Native Americans
The United Nations' highest court last week said that half of Oklahoma, including its second-biggest city Tulsa, belongs to Native Americans, 'like we promised way back.' The BBC has a good image of what this means.
  • Catch up: The United States has a long and very brutal history of trying to eradicate Native Americans. For centuries, White Americans aka the new people who had arrived to the U.S. before it was the 'U.S.' colonized Native American lands and either murdered their populations or, starting in 1830, forced them to march west and pushed them into small pieces of land.
What does this mean?
This decision will have huge consequences for both past and future criminal and civil cases. For example, those who are in prison in this U.S. state today (
The Atlantic says 'there are 1,887 Native Americans in prison here) can now ask for their cases to be reopened. NPR's Laurel Wamsley has a pretty detailed piece on this.
We also found out that Native Americans crossed the Pacific 500 years before the Europeans
A new study in Nature analyzed the DNA of more than 800 people in the Polynesian islands and found out: 'it looks like Native Americans and Polynesians met around 1200 CE. 500 years before the Europeans arrived.'
  • Why this matters: All this time, Europeans thought they were the first to arrive there. Now, we proved they were wrong. We are literally rewriting history with this new piece of science.
How did the two meet?
Well, researchers now believe that Native Americans likely left Colombia, Ecuador, or Peru on a raft and traveled more than 4,500 miles to a Polynesian island such as South Marquesas – and then used something like not-Tinder to find partners and have children with the people already living on the islands. 
We all are not allowed to demand democracy in Hong Kong anymore

Last week I wrote about China's new security law for Hong Kong: 'it's illegal to demand democracy in Hong Kong.' Well, as it turns out, it's a law that you and I have to live by, too – wherever you may live.

What the f*ck? Tell me more.
It's right there in Article 38 of the national security law: "This Law shall apply to offences under this Law committed against the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region from outside the Region by a person who is not a permanent resident of the Region."

You won't get arrested so long as you remain outside China and Hong Kong.

Attention, Germans:
Did you read the latest BfV report? 'Whatever personal data you fill in on Tencent, Alibaba or other apps, the Chinese government has it, too.'

We made female genital mutilation illegal in Sudan – and so many more good news
A new law came into effect that meant the world for many women and girls in Sudan: female genital mutilation is now officially illegal. 'You'll go to prison for up to three years if you cut anyone's vagina from now on.'
  • Why this matters: This law is a huge win for women's rights in the African country. Why? Around 87% of Sudanese women and girls between the ages of 15 and 49 have had their genitals mutilated.
How happy should I be?
Be careful. In neighboring Egypt, for example, where genital cutting was also banned (in 2008) and made super-illegal in 2016, a government survey still found that almost nine of every 10 Egyptian women had gotten their genitals cut. It takes time. A lot of time. 

How is the situation for people in Sudan in general right now?
It's getting better. Under the new prime minister Abdalla Hamok, a lot of more good news made headlines. Non-Muslims are now allowed to drink alcohol in Sudan, public flogging was banned, deciding not to be a Muslim anymore won't legally kill you and women from now on do not need to permission from their partners to travel with their kids.
We need to talk about the six Black transgender women that were killed last week

A total of six Black transgender women have been found dead in the United States in the past two weeks.

Why this matters: All Black Lives Matter.

What are their names?
Bree Black (27), Shaki Peters (32), Draya McCarty (32), Brayla Stone (17), Merci Mack (22), and Tatiana Hall (22). What can I do to help?
Talk about how dangerous it is to be a Black transgender woman. Say the names of those who died in a tweet or a post. And throw your weight behind trans-led organizations fighting for the safety and well-being of Black trans women, such as @forthegworls@blacktranstravelfund, and @transjusticefp.
We lost two leaders in Ivory Coast and South Korea
In South Korea... the capital Seoul's mayor Park Won-soon was found dead last week – a day after his ex-secretary said, 'he sexually harrassed me.' Park was a human rights lawyer his entire life, then mayor of Seoul since 2011 and people say he won the country’s first sexual harassment conviction as an attorney. In Ivory Coast... prime minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly died of heart problems last week. He was president Alassane Ouattara's favorite, 'I will step down and make him president in October'. Now, everyone's worried he won't step down anymore. 'He's been in power for way too f*cking long, if you ask me,' said the opposition. The situation is... tense.
  • Why this matters: Last time, political power was given to one leader to another in this West African nation, there was a (short) civil war – which means, the safety of 25 million Ivorians (the country's population) is at stake right now. 
  • Did you know that Michael Jackson was declared an actual king in a region in Ivory Coast in 1993? (Watch his coronation ceremony.) And that their music slaps? I've been dancing to Didi B & Afro B's Puissant for a week now.
We made clear that killing Qassem Soleimani was illegal
  • Catch up: The year 2020 began with the killing of a pretty important Iranian politician named Qassem Soleimani in Iraq by a U.S. drone on January 3. (Yes, this feels light years away.) U.S. president Donald Trump called it, 'self-defence'. 
'Killing him was illegal,' said the United Nations expert on extrajudicial killings in a report last Tuesday. Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was also killed.
  • Why this matters: This is the first-ever drone strike of a nation that killed someone out of self-defence really high up the food chain in another country. 
What's happening now?
It's a heated conversation between Iran, the United Nations and the U.S.
  • United Nations: 'This was against the United Nations charter.'
  • Iran: 'Yes, yes, it was. Trump needs to be arrested right away.'
  • United States: 'It was self-defence. That guy was a terrorist.'
  • Iran: 'No, this was an act of war.'
  • United Nations: 'Not war but definitely unlawful.'
We have to start thinking about how to prevent the next pandemic
We are living through a pandemic right now. Why? Somewhere in the world, a virus jumped from an animal to a human being. This is, however, preventable in the future.

The United Nations Environment Programme published a report last week, 'hey y'all, we put some thought into what we think we need to do more of so we don't end up in this sh*tty situation again.' 

The summary
Two words: global surveillance. 'This is one of the big first steps to making sure another pandemic never happens again.' Basically,
  1. Monitor animals to catch the virus before it spreads to humans.
  2. Give money to and create new technologies that can test whether an animal is sick or not, anywhere in the world and do that efficiently, less costly and consistently.
  3. Develop global databases to first track what's happening in wildlife and then eventually with humans.
Also, if you've just graduated from college or want to pick up a very useful career, consider going into the field of Zoonotic Diseases. You'll get swiped right more often on Tinder, I promise.

On a funny note

Japan’s theme parks have banned screaming on roller coasters because it spreads the coronavirus. “Please scream inside your heart.”
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 128 others!) or via PayPal. I actually do this full-time.
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