what happened last week


Hey, this is Sham, your very own news curator. What are your plans on Sunday? Mine probably looks like this

Issue #313 includes a look at Brazil's election and candidates (of course), Turkey's new so-called 'disinformation law' (which is an attack on freedom of media and expression) and a feminist debate on safe abortion in Morocco. Plus, data journalism in Iran, memes from Ukraine, most viewed YouTube video worldwide on Sunday, a grim update from Chad's protests, good news from Mexico, and so much more.
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Brazil's "most important presidential election" is coming to an end this Sunday

This Sunday, on October 30, people in Brazil will decide whether Now-President Jair Bolsonaro or former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (short: Lula) is better suited for the top job in the country moving forward.
  • Refresher: This is the second and last round of Brazil's presidential election. In the first round on October 2, Lula won more votes than Bolsonaro but not enough to win the election.
Why this matters: There are more than 156 million registered voters in Brazil for this election. The country is one of the world's largest democracies. Experts warn that should Jair Bolsonaro win, the health of Brazilian democracy will continue to weaken. (El País)

Tell me more about the candidates
Here's a quick summary:
  • Jair Bolsonaro, a lot of people consider him to be far-right, has been President since 2019, not very popular, is a retired military officer, evangelical Christians, businesspeople and rural landowners really like him. He has cut taxes, made it easier for more people to own guns, is not passionate about global warming. During his time in office, Brazil had the fourth highest Covid-19 death toll in the world; some 685,000 people died from the virus. Many blame his 'I don't think this virus is that dangerous' rhetoric and actions. Former U.S. President Donald Trump and football player Neymar endorsed him. (Buenos Aires Times) Bolsonaro also threatened that might try to hang on to power even if he loses. And so much more. Your 'red flag beeper' should go off by now (if it didn't already).
  • Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (short: Lula), he was President from 2003 until 2010, this is his sixth presidential campaign, very popular, many say that his social programs helped millions of people get out of poverty. In 2017, he was sentenced to ten years in jail after being charged for corruption and money laundering but was freed from house arrest in 2019 because the Supreme Court was like, 'he didn't get a fair trial.' This is kind of one of Latin America's greatest political comebacks.
What are the topics? 
Basically, 'How does Brazil move forward after Covid-19? Will the government help with stimuli? What about public health? Inflation? Social equality! The environment!' (
Deutsche Welle)

How does Brazil's election work? 
You have to vote in Brazil if you are literate and between 18 and 70 years old. The president is elected to a four-year term.

Do you have an idea who is going to win?
Nope. 'Lol," (basically) said Felipe Nunes, the head of the polling group Quaest, whose research suggests 50 percent of voters think Bolsonaro deserves a second chance and about the same number think Lula does. 'This is not a contest between two people. It's a battle between two worldviews.' (
The Guardian) This is also one of the reasons why there's so much fake news spreading around. Some experts say, 'tech companies have to be more responsible.' (The Brazilian Report) As of last week, Alexandre de Moraes (the country's elections chief and a justice on the Supreme Court) has the power to decide what can be said online. 'Uhm, what if he abuses his power?' some ask. (The New York Times)

Good to know: Recently, the National Congress was also elected. Duda Salabert and Erika Hilton are the first trans women in Brazilian history to be elected as federal deputies. However, after the general elections on October 2, the National Congress is more socially conservative than ever. (
El País)

Zoom out:
NPR's Shannon Bond reported that fake news about Brazil's election are spreading in far-right media in the United States. Kind of like, 'look, the same voting machines that robbed us of our vote in 2020 is flipping votes in Brazil, too!!11' – even though no such voting machines are used in Brazil's election. "It shows just how sticky these narratives are," said Lee Foster, senior vice president for analysis at Alethea Group. The same fake news spread on social media ahead of Australia's federal election earlier this year. (AAP)


Turkey's new 'disinformation law' is super dangerous for free speech

As of last week, Turkey has a new 'disinformation law'. (Reuters)

Why this matters: In eight months, there will be general elections in Turkey. Experts fear, however, that Now-President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's government will use this law to further shut up critics, silence free expression and control public debate. The country has long been hell for journalists.

Tell me more about the law
On the one hand, the government and
people close to it believe that "Turkey has taken a very important step in the fight against disinformation". On the other hand, journalists, media watchdogs, and rights groups all over the world are like, 'this is an attack on what's left of freedom of media and expression in Turkey.' (Balkan Insight) And, 'President Erdoğan’s government will have even more control over social networks with this law.' The Turkish Journalists' Association says, "the government already controls 90 percent of the media." (Balkan Insight) The Editorial Board of The Washington Post is worried that free speech will disappear in Turkey. And, "Investigative journalism would practically be impossible under the new law," writes Aslı Aydıntaşbaş for Brookings.

How is it an attack on freedom of media and expression?
Well, for one, 'the law is super vague,' said the
Council of Europe's Venice Commission. The law introduces penalties (like jail time up to three years) for anyone who "publicly disseminates false information regarding internal and external security, public order and the general welfare of the country, in a way that breaches the public peace, simply for the purpose of creating anxiety, fear or panic among the population". Plus, journalists can also be charged under the new law if they use anonymous sources to hide the identity of a person spreading "misinformation".

Good to know: Turkey currently ranks 149 out of 180 countries on Reporters Without Borders world press freedom index for 2022. (Reporters Without Borders) In June, a Turkish court jailed 16 Kurdish journalists over 'propaganda' charges. (Reuters, Soft paywall)

Did you know that, in 2016, 1/3 of the world's jailed journalists were in Turkey? (
Amnesty International)

How do people in Turkey talk about this new law? 
Burak Erbay, a lawmaker who is against it, said: “You only have one freedom; it is the phone in your pocket … if this law passes, you can break your phones like this, you will not need to use it.” He took a hammer and smashed a cellphone.
Watch the video here on The Guardian. More than 200 intellectuals, including Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk, have signed a letter, saying 'we reject this law.' (Al-MonitorCumhuriyet, Turkish)

How did this law come about? 
"The law [...] was hastily brought to the Turkish parliament and adopted with the votes of President Erdoğan's ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP and its ally, the far-right Nationalist Movement Party, MHP, who hold a majority,"
writes Hamdi Firat Buyuk for Balkan Insight.


Women in Morocco are protesting for the right to safe abortion

  • Refresher: On September 7, a 14-year old girl named Meriem died from an unsafe secret abortion in the house of a man who has been accused of sexually exploiting her. He has been arrested along with the health workers involved. Meriem's death has re-started a national conversation about abortion in Morocco.
On International Safe Abortion Day on September 28, women in Morocco took to the streets, calling for legalised abortions. The protests have continued, offline and online. (France 24 / Democracy Now)

Why this matters: More than one billion people live in countries where it is not possible to have a really safe abortion. When abortions are not safe and deemed illegal, pregnant people are left with less safe methods, often with damaging results.

Tell me more
The Moroccan Criminal Code currently bans all abortions unless the life of the pregnant person is in danger and with a husband’s permission. If not, those who receive the abortion can go to jail for up to two years, and the health workers involved get more. (
The New Arab)

Did you know that between 600 and 800 (secret) abortions are performed each day in Morocco? (Le Monde, paywall)

Good to know: Women's rights advocate Aïcha Chenna passed away last month. (
The North Africa Post) You don't know her? In 1985, Chenna founded the Association Solidarité Féminine (ASF), the first Moroccan association to help single mothers. Another Moroccan feminist is Soumaya Naamane Guessous, the author of the book Au-delà de toute pudeur, first published in 1988, about the sexual life of Moroccan women. 

More you might have missed 

The bad
Mali: After killing hundreds of civilians and forcing thousands to flee, the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara is reported to have captured the town of Ansongo in eastern Mali. (Reuters)
Cambodia: A court in Phnom Penh sentences opposition figure Sam Rainsy to life in prison for "attempting to concede territory to a foreign entity". The sentence was delivered in absentia because Rainsy has been living in exile in France since 2015. (AFP via The Bangkok Post)
Venezuela: Three Venezuelan migrants are killed and five others are injured in a van accident on a highway in Chiapas, Mexico(ABC News)
Chad: Prime Minister Saleh Kebzabo says that about 50 people have been killed during anti-government protests in the country. (Reuters)
Mexico: Mexico reports its first case of the highly pathogenic H5N1 virus in a wild, non-poultry bird in Metepec, State of Mexico. (Reuters)
The 'We'll See'
China: The results are in: Xi Jinping will continue to be leader of the country. (Al Jazeera) How did this happen? By analyzing almost 1,300 appointments to the party’s Central Committee since 1992, Bloomberg News explains (Soft paywall) why Xi Jinping became so powerful in the Chinese Communist Party over the years. It's a juicy story.
Ethiopia: The African Union yesterday led peace talks between the Ethiopian government and Tigray forces. A major challenge for anyone trying to understand the war, writes Mistir Sew in Ethiopia Insight, is the "battle of narratives."
Pakistan: The Election Commission bans former prime minister Imran Khan from seeking an elected office in the government for five years. 'He didn't declare some of the gifts he received from people while he was prime minister.' (France 24)
Australia: The United Nations accuses Australia of breaching its human rights obligations after the state governments of New South Wales and Queensland refuse to allow UN inspectors into detention facilities. (The Guardian) In the same week, the Australian Capital Territory decriminalized the possession of illicit drugs in small quantities, including cocaineamphetamines and heroin beginning in October 2023. No more jail. (The Guardian)
Japan: Prime Minister Fumio Kishida orders an investigation into the ties between the Unification Church and members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party amid heavy scrutiny of the claims of Abe's assassin. (Al Jazeera)
The good
Mexico: Another one! The Congress of Tabasco votes to legalize same-sex marriage. (as, Spanish)
Bosnia: Not many saw this coming. The European Commission recommended that the country should be granted formal candidate status. Before this can happen, the European Council must approve the Commission’s recommendation at its meeting in December. Balkan Insight's Azem Kurtic takes a look at what lies behind this sudden move.
Spain: Spain’s Ministry of Health released a bunch of anonymized data from the past ten years on birth deliveries and C-sections, from every hospital in the country, both private and public. Online news site put that all together and created a database so that readers can find the c-section rate for 360 public and private hospitals across Spain. Ana Requena Aguilar (Twitter) led the whole thing. One of the results: 28 hospitals had a C-section rate of more than 45%, triple the rate recommended by the World Health Organization. (WHO) Not good but Good that we at least know. (, Spanish)


Podcast episode on data Journalism in Iran
Last month, 22-year-old Kurdish woman Jina Amini was killed by the so-called 'morality police' in Iran. Mass protests have since broken out demanding the end of the Islamic Republic – both in Iran and outside. Last weekend, for example, more than 80,000 people showed up in Berlin, Germany as a show of solidarity with anti-government protesters in Iran. (euronews) But how do you do data journalism in such a challenging environment? spoke with Marketa Hulpachova from Tehran Bureau
 in this podcast episode of Data Journalism. Tehran Bureau is an independent investigative outlet focusing on data journalism. Hulpachova explains how she uses publicly available company data to show networks and map patterns revealing corruption within the top ranks of the Iranian regime. Plus: "During an internet shutdown, our biggest fear as data journalists is the loss of information. When these happen, we just start downloading everything... we encourage others working on Iran to do the same," Hulpachova says. Also, check out this Tehran Bureau piece, which uncovered six China-based companies that sold surveillance technology to Iran’s government.
Why do U.S. Supreme Court portraits look the way they do?
For more than 150 years, the judges of the most important court in the United States have gathered for a group portrait. The latest portrait was released less than a month ago and includes Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, who just became the first Black woman to serve on the court. "For a long time, these portraits were the only way we saw what the justices looked like and saw them interact with each other," said Brad Snyder, a law professor at Georgetown University. "So these portraits have real power."

The The New York Times' Larry Buchanan and Matt Stevens analyzed all 58 historical photos, and revealed some interesting fun facts behind the highly choreographed images.
Most viewed YouTube video on Sunday, October 23, 2022 is... 
a Hindi song, Himesh Reshammiya's Dil Disco Karein. The video stood at 66 million views on Sunday, and has been published on October 14, 2022. You can also listen to the song in this newsletter's own Spotify playlist, 'Go Global Weekly'.

On a funny note

What memes do people in Ukraine create, share and laugh at while Russia has invaded their country? "Good question," said data journalism site Texty and determined the most-discussed war topics among Ukrainians by collecting and analyzing some 43,000 meme images shared in 30 popular local Telegram channels during the first six months of the war. (Texty, Ukrainian)
  • Example: This meme of a random guy who didn't recognize Angelina Jolie when she visited Lviv on April 30.
That's it from me. 

Have you checked out this newsletter's very own Spotify playlist Go Global Weekly yet?

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