what happened last week (whlw) | Subscribe

whlw: no. 238

September 28 – October 4, 2020

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

It's always good to stay updated on world news because one of these days you might end up on death trial in a foreign country and you wouldn't even know. Like United States president (and now coronavirus patient) Donald Trump or Saudi Arabia's king Salman bin Abdulaziz. Both (and at least 9 others) have been sentenced to death by a court in Yemen last week. Why? Because of what happened to at least 26 children in 2019

I put in a lot of hours and my heart into every issue of whlw. You're welcome to support me on Patreon (like 156 others!) or via PayPal. Or, honestly, just share this email with friends and the pessimistic people in your life.

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

what happened last week

We promised to stop fighting each other in Sudan
Sudan's after-the-2019-protests government and other political groups in the country (who carry weapons) decided, 'okay, let's just chill and stop fighting each other' aka signed a historic peace deal.
  • Why this matters: That these two are 'friends' means so much to millions of people who have had to leave their homes or hundreds of thousands of people who have died because of these two parties fighting. This is a huge deal with a y. A yuge deal.
Did they celebrate this? Wow. 
Of course. There was a lot of dancing, too. The presidents of Ethiopia and Chad and the prime ministers of Egypt and Uganda were there, too.

How does the peace deal work exactly?
Basically, 'come join the national army, you'll get more political, economic and land rights,' said the government to the groups. There's also some money involved. A new fund will pay $750 million a year for 10 years to poor people in the south and west of the country. Oh, and the chance of return for displaced people is also guaranteed.

What's next?
Sign a peace deal with every armed political group in Sudan one day.
We found a lot of water under Mars
A new study found out that, yes, there are a couple of 'liquid bodies' under the south pole of Mars. Just like we predicted back in 2018. This is how they look.
  • Why this matters: Before, scientists believed that there could be a large saltwater lake under the Martian soil and that there really might be aliens on the planet. Back then, they said, 'we are looking for more proof'. Not anymore ;)
What's next?
Now, we have to make sure that whenever we visit Mars during missions, we don't take 'Earth life' to the planet. Also, 'we need to go there a lot more often. We need to know everything about Mars. This is so cool!!' 

The study, 'Multiple subglacial water bodies below the south pole of Mars unveiled by new MARSIS data’, is published in Nature Astronomy. Don't tell Nestlé about this.

We elected the first female prime minister in Togo
Her name is Victoire Tomegah Dogbe and she is 60 years old. 
  • Why this matters: This is the first woman to become prime minister of Togo, a tiny country (oh, its name means 'house of sea' in the Ewe language) in West Africa where eight million people live.
  • Do you know where Togo is? Don't worry. Play this game.
Who is she?
She's not a new name. She's been part of president Faure Gnassingbe's inner circle for some time now. She was his chief-of-staff at one point even. Before that, she worked with the United Nations Development Programme.
You can follow her on Twitter if you're interested; she speaks French. (Duh, France once ruled over Togo.) What are her to do's now?
Too many. The country's president isn't too popular. People are like, 'we don't make a lot of money, we think you're corrupt and you don't take our human rights seriously.' Dogbe has plans to do something about the first complaint:
make sure more people have jobs. After all, according to the International Monetary Fund, half of the country doesn't make enough money for food, clothing and a good place to live.
We are, once again, talking about police brutality in Chile
A police officer threw someone off a bridge (seven meters high) in Santiago, Chile last week. Hashtag police brutality is a global phenomenon.
  • Why this matters: Around 18 million people live in Chile. How their police treats them matters. More, how police treat people worldwide matter. Thanks to George Floyd and countless other victims of police brutality for forcing us to have this conversation.
  • Want to know more? Read What are police like in other countries? by Amelia Cheatham and Lindsay Maizland for The Center on Foreign Relations.
Who is this police officer?
His name is Sebastian Zamora. The person he tried to murder was a 16-year-old boy. This is where it gets uglier: the police blamed the teenager for throwing himself off the bridge until
this viral video showed the truth aka that he did not. Zamora is now in jail. Although, to be fair, the police said, 'we have other videos that tell a different story' but nobody from the press has seen them.

What's next?
A lot of jobs are on the line now. Last Saturday, hundreds of people took to the streets in Santiago, shouting, 'the man who trains police officers like Zamora (his name is Mario Rozas) needs to lose his job! We remember how they beat us last year during the protests too! This is a much bigger problem!'. Politicians in the country also think the Minister of Interior Víctor
Pérez needs to quit his job.

What do you mean, 'bigger problem'?
Well, people in Chile feel like the Carabineros (
this is how they call the police) are very violent toward civilians and that there are no consequences for their behavior. It's not just a feeling: since last October (when there were a lot of anti-government protests and at least 27 people died because of them), people have reported 8,575 human rights violations by the Carabineros and only 16 police officers have had to go to trial for it.

Any word from the government?
They arrested Zamora but nothing seems to be done about the bigger picture. It's all just talks so far. The country's president Sebastián Piñera two weeks ago was like, 'we need to respect human rights' in a speech he held at the United Nations general assembly. *lol*

What else is Chile going through right now?
So much. In just a few weeks, on October 25, the country will vote on a very important decision:
to rewrite its constitution or not
We 'found' an entirely new species of truffle in Congo
(International) scientists have found an entirely new species of truffle. They discovered it while watching monkeys (wild bonobos) in the rainforests of the Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve in the Democratic Republic of Congo eat them. This is how it looks. The Indigenous people living in the reserve are like, ‘yeah we been knew.’ 
  • Why this matters: It’s important to remember that the Western scientific community doesn’t know everything. “As foreign scientists, we must take the time to ask and learn from indigenous people and locals in areas where we work because they usually intimately know about the organisms that we think are new,” said a scientist.
What's so special about this truffle?
The truffle plays a key role in making sure that trees, animals and the locals eat well.
 Read all about it in this new paper published in the journal Mycologia.
We built a digital twin of the Earth so we better understand how to fight climate change
The European Union has built a 'digital twin' of the Earth and it will run on one of the three supercomputers next year. The project is called DestinE, short for Destination Earth. The goal? To better predict not what weather will be, but what weather will do.
  • Explain 'digital twin': A 'digital twin' is a digital copy of something that exists outside of computers aka in the 'real' world.
Why this matters: So far, we only know that climate change is real (as Kim Kardashian West pointed out) but we don't know how exactly it will impact society. Some experts call this 'the third dimension of climate modeling.' This project is here to change that.

Tell me more
So, believe it or not, climate scientists today have very inefficient models to predict what the climate – when it changes – will do to what. So inefficient that they can't even predict some of the predictable things like how wind moves and what wind does to rain, etc. If successful, DestinE could tell you at some point how climate change will affect agriculture and where people might move their homes to in the next decades in Brazil. And we all know: the more informed decisions we make, the more sustainable they are.

On a funny note

A zoo near Boston, United Kingdom had to hide five African grey parrots because they kept swearing at visitors.

It got so bad that the parrots started swearing to trigger a reaction or a response so if people look shocked or laugh, it just encourages them to do it more.

  • "With the five, one would swear and another would laugh and that would carry on," zoo officials said.
They have now moved them elsewhere, with other parrots but it's tense.
  • "We're hoping they learn different words — but if they teach the others bad language and we end up with 250 swearing birds, we don't know what to do."
I say, put them back together and give them a Netflix show.
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 156 others!) or via PayPal.
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