what happened last week (whlw) | Subscribe

whlw: no. 226

June 15 – 21, 2020

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

This issue has been written using sources such as Reuters, BBC, Moscow Times, Al Jazeera, The New York Times, Yahoo! Finance,  Associated Press, The Astrophysical Journal, Space Journal, Nature, Amnesty International, GoFundMe, UNHCR, Twitter, The African Development Bank, TechCabal, Briter Bridges, BuzzFeed News and CNN.

Also, don't forget about 
Oluwatoyin Salau and Sarah Hegazi.

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 118 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 must pay attention to Ethiopian women in Lebanon.
Did you know that more than 250,000 migrant domestic workers (mostly women from African and Asian countries) work in private households in Lebanon? The country has a whole system to organize it: the kafala system which ‘binds a domestic worker to a sponsor (employer), for a time period determined by an employment contract.’ Oh and, they have no right to form associations.

The 'only' problem: every week, two migrant domestic workers die in Lebanon. How? Escape attempts or suicide.
  • Why this matters: A lot of people, especially women, die doing this very job.
What’s happening now?
Well, a lot of Lebanese people can’t pay their domestic workers any longer…
and kick them out to the streets. More than 100 Ethiopian domestic workers are spending their nights outside their embassy – homeless.
  • Did you know that Lebanon’s economy is collapsing with the country’s currency losing 70% of its value in the past six months.
How is this legal?
It’s not globally. The system does not come close to being in sync with the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), of which Lebanon is a part, let alone with general human rights principles.
Human rights activitst are calling to abolish that system once and for all.
How can I help?

Donate to Egna Legna, a charity organization run by Ethiopian women themselves. They have helped more than 5272 people as of today. They are right now collecting money for food and medicine for kafala victims. Goal: $100,000. Reached: $69,545. Make it 100.
We put pressure on Britain to come to terms with its racist past.
The death of George Floyd has started many conversations worldwide – like, ‘who actually financed the slave trade?’.
One answer is, well, Lloyd’s of London, an insurance market in London, United Kingdom. ‘Look, we’re very sorry about what we did back in the 18th century. We will now start funding opportunities for Black and ethnic minority people,’
they said last week.
  • Did you know that more than 10 million Africans were enslaved by European nations between the 15th and 19th centuries? Why? Because of money, duh. 
‘This is not enough. We demand reparations,’ said a group of Carribbean countries. ‘Are you f*cking kidding me?!’
  • Why this matters: Britain has always been kind of proud of itself because, well, it says that it had abolished it in 1833 (32 years before the United States did). But oh man, that’s not the complete story. Now, everybody has started talking about it again.
Which other financial institutions might have been involved?
Big ones – like Barclays, The Bank of England, etc. This conversation is not over.
Speaking of George Floyd
, by now you know the protests work. If you didn’t, well, the latest win by the #BlackLivesMatter protests is a change in the AP style guide aka how one of the world’s biggest news agencies talks about Black people.
The Associated Press was like, ‘we will change our style guide to capitalize “b” in the word Black when we use it in a racial, ethnic, or cultural sense.’ Yes.
We are putting one too many politicians into jail in Belarus right now.
In Belarus, president Alexander Lukashenko said, ‘I’m going to put my biggest political enemy in jail.’ Everybody was like, ‘what the f*ck?’. ‘Yeah, Viktar Babaryko has done some really shady things in finance.’
Interestingly, another famous ‘political enemy’ aka opposition politician, Mikola Statkevich, is also thrown into jail at the same time.
But why?
Some experts say, ‘well, the elections are in August and Lukashenko is looking to be re-elected for the sixth time.’
  • Fun fact: 65-year-old Lukashenko has ruled Belarus since 1994 and want to rule a little bit more. The country’s opposition has always had a time becoming a visible force during his rule.
  • Another fun fact: The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, an international election and war monitor, has not recognized any polls in Belarus as free and fair since 1995.
What do Belarussians think about this?
Everybody’s in shock. Several hundred people took to the streets in Minsk saying ‘what the F*CK?’.
  • Did you know that only 0.5% of the 10-million-strong population in Belarus don’t have a job and 99.6% of them know how to read and write? Those are, like, really good numbers.
We demanded that the government in Mali does its job better. A lot better.
#BlackLivesMatter (BLM) protests are still a thing (luckily). In Bamako, Mali, however, tens of thousands of people protest something else: ‘step the f*ck down, president Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta! You can’t do sh*t to solve our country’s problems!’ They lovingly call him IBK, btw.
Why this matters: Around 19 million people live in Mali, the biggest country in West Africa and one of the poorest nations in the world. And 19 million people deserve a well-functioning government.
  • Do you know where Mali is on a map? Don’t worry. You can get better at geography with this online game.
What are Mali’s problems?
Tuareg nationalism in the north of the country, the C-word, a strike by teachers and a very heated political climate after the last election in March.
  • Did you know that the Tuaregs are kind of like the ‘Kurds of Africa’? “They're a substantial ethnic population that crosses the boundaries of several countries, but have no majority in any one country. As a result, many Tuaregs are pressing for better representation or for their own territory.“ 
To be continued.
We found out that there may be more than 30 smart alien civilizations in the Milky Way
More than 30 intelligent alien civilizations could exist in the Milky Way, according to a new study
  • Why this matters: Aliens. There might be aliens. 
The big picture: Scientists have long tried to guess this number right. They’ve always used The Drake Equation (no, it has nothing to do with the handsome Toronto rapper) but the new study is using a much more simpler way to do that.

Tell me more
Well, the new study uses Earth as a model for how life may form in other parts of the Milky Way.
  • “So, you know, it takes 5 billion years for intelligent life to form on other planets, as on Earth. So, we were like, what if we look at this on a cosmic scale, you know?’
Do they have Snapchat though?
Well, even if there were three dozen intelligent civilizations in our galaxy, there's no guarantee that we'll ever ‘keep up a streak’ with any of them.

Why not?
According to the study, on average, these civilizations are likely about 17,000 light-years away.
We need to talk: 1% of humanity is a refugee.
Last week, on June 20, was World Refugee Day. And the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees aka UNHCR published a new report for you to update your facts on migration.
Here are three of the most important facts
  • Too many people have had to flee. Around 79.5 million people have had to leave their homes behind in 2019. More than half of them fled to other areas of their own countries. ‘We’ve never seen a higher number.’
  • 80 per cent of the world’s refugees are in countries or territories that don’t have enough food security because of climate change or natural disasters.
  • Fewer people can return home. In the 1990s, on average 1.5 million refugees were able to return home each year. Over the past decade that number has fallen to around 385,000.
We lost $1.2 billion and a lot of trust in the stock market in Germany
Last week, someone found out that German payments giant Wirecard mysteriously lost  aka couldn’t locate $2.1 billion of the company’s cash. The company‘s CEO and largest shareholder Markus Braun stepped down. Over the two days, the company’s shares fell 80%. 
What is Wirecard? 
It’s a 21-year-old company and a huge, huge player in the European fintech scene. It basically handles a lot of digital payment services for a lot of businesses there.

How do you lose $2.1 billion? 
Well, it may 
never have existed in the first place. Two Philippine banks (that Wirecard claimed were holding money on behalf of the company) were like, ‘lol we never had that kind of money.’ 

Were people surprised? 
Not exactly. Wirecard has been shady af since the 2000s.
We are starting a #MeToo movement in Nigeria
A woman named Kelechi Udoagwu shared her story of being sexually harassed by a leader in Nigeria’s tech industry on Twitter. As a result, the man stepped down as CEO of Tizeti, an internet service provider in the country and an investigation has began.
Read her
series of tweets on June 2, 2020 that started the national conversation. Warning: It gets graphic. 
  • Why this matters: Nigerian women are like, ‘yep this happened to me too. Thanks Kelechi, thanks for speaking out!’ Nigeria’s billion-dollar tech industry, which is dominated and led by men, is thinking about ways to be a better place for women. Think anti-harassment policies. 
Tell me more about the gender gap in Nigeria
Well, there’s a lot of room for growth.
  • First, according to a report by TechCabal and the UK-Nigeria Tech Hub, more than half of all female founders and executives said they ‘feel pretty discriminated against at their job’.
  • Then, they found out that between January 2019 and April 2020, only 13.4% of African tech companies that received funding had at least one female co-founder while only 5% were entirely female founded.
  • And The African Development Bank also estimates a $42 billion financing gap between male and female entrepreneurs in Africa. I repeat: 42. billion.

On a funny note

TikTok users and K-pop fans made life hell for U.S. president Donald Trump last week. How? They registered for around hundreds of thousands of tickets to his rally in Tulsa and never showed up, leaving the whole rally looking super-empty.

Also, the U.S. president created
the Trump Water Challenge while drinking a glass of water. Did you participate?
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 117 others!) or via PayPal. I actually do this full-time.
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