what happened last week


Hey, this is Sham, your very own news curator. I'm still editing all the feminists' submissions, so, today it's just me. Honestly, I was personally surprised to catch up on what happened last week as I had not heard about so many of these stories in this issue in mainstream news. Did you? Let me know.

Issue #312 includes very good LGBTQ news from Mexico, Indonesia's next steps with regards to the deadly stampede that killed more than 130 people (including more than 40 children) and the huge, very huge cough syrup scandal in the Gambia that killed 69 children and that two companies from the United States and India are responsible for. Plus, Argentina is taking responsibility for something that happened 28 years ago, a cement company from France admitted to paying millions to ISIS, an analysis of China's president's latest speech, an update on the very, very deadly flood in Nigeria and a 'funny note' from Italy that made me choke up while I was having my morning tea.
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Mexico's largest state approved same-sex marriage – only three states to go

Last Tuesday, the State of Mexico, Mexico's largest state (not entire Mexico) said 'yes to same-sex marriage'. (AP)

Why this matters: Mexico is still the second-most-violent country against the LGBTQ community after Brazil, according to the National Observatory of Hate Crimes Against LGBTQ People. Plus, some 129 million people live in Mexico.

Tell me more
The State of Mexico, which almost surrounds Mexico City, has the largest population of any state in the country. It is now the 29th state to vote to recognize same-sex marriage; three states left. *looking at you, Tamaulipas, Tabasco and Guerrero*

“Today, by becoming the 29th state to approve equal marriage, we will be reducing inequality, and letting the country know that in the State of Mexico we do not leave anybody behind,” said state legislator Paola Jiménez.
Leave her a kind message on Twitter to show you/the world pays attention.

Did you know there is a queer telenovela called El Corazón Nunca se Equivoca – which translates as The Heart is Never Wrong – and that, in 2019, it made history in Mexico by becoming the first telenovela in the country to feature a same-sex couple as lead characters? (Gay Times) Watch the trailer here.

How is it like for the country's Indigenous gay?
Not so good. They're facing double discrimination for being gay and Indigenous, unfortunately. However, there are some good stories here and there that I choose to focus on. For example, in June this year,
Vice World News' Luis Chaparro published the story of the wedding between Eduardo González and Roger Aguirre; they're two male members of the Rarámuri Indigenous tribe from Northern Mexico. Look at the pictures here.

What legal and mental health support is there for LGBTQ people in Mexico?
There is some. For example, the couple I just mentioned have started an organization dedicated to the rights of Indigenous gay people—the
Comité Estatal Chihuahua Napawiká Tomogé Rarámuri. As for mental health services, The Trevor Project just last week announced that they launched their 24/7 mental health services in Mexico. The Trevor Project is the world's largest suicide prevention and mental health organization for LGBTQ youth. "We believe LGBTQ young people everywhere deserve support and access to mental health resources."

Related good news: In the same week, the country's Senate also voted to ban 'sexual conversion therapy'. You're on a roll, Mexico. Don't stop. (

Fun fact: There's an all-female species of whiptail lizards called The 'New Mexico'. They look like
this and their eggs develop without being fertilized and all of their offspring are female. By nature, they only have same-sex relationships. (National Geographic)


Six people are on trial for the stampede that killed over 130 people in Indonesia

  • Catch up: More than 130 people (including more than 40 minors) died and almost 600 were injured in a stampede at Kanjuruhan stadium from asphyxiation after a football match in the city of Malang, East Java, Indonesia on October 1. Six people, including some police officers and soccer officials, now face criminal charges. (The Jakarta Post)
Yesterday (October 18), President Joko Widodo said that he will demolish and rebuild another football stadium and "thoroughly transform" the sport in Indonesia. (Nikkei Asia)

Why was there a stampede in the first place? 
The government's own fact-finding team released a report last week, saying that police using tear gas (!) excessively and indiscriminiately was the leading cause of death. Tear gas is banned by FIFA.

That's it?
It also didn't help that the stadium was filled beyond capacity (some 5,000 people too many), its exit doors were locked, and that a match between fierce rivals was held at night for better ratings for a local broadcaster, and not – as police had requested – during the day. Als
o, interestingly, more than three hours of security camera footage about an hour after the match has been deleted. The team has requested that police provide this footage and also called on Mochamad Iriawan, head of the Indonesian Football Association, to resign. (ESPN)

Why this matters: Soccer is Indonesia's most popular sports but violent fan groups and mismanagement make it not so safe to attend or to play matches. The stampede at Kanjuruhan was one of the world's deadliest stadium disasters. Indonesia hosts the men's Under-20 World Cup next year, so an update of stadium safety measures is desperately needed ASAP (even though the Cup will not take place at Kanjuruhan). Some 275 million people live in this Southeast Asian country.

What's wrong with Indonesian soccer? 
Oh, so much for so long. Between 1994 and 2019, 74 fans died in football related violence. (
Reuters) In 2018, Persib Bandung supporters got banned from matches after they had beaten Haringga Sirila, a Persija Jakarta fan, to death. (Jakarta Globe)

What's next?
A new football stadium that's supposedly safe and secure. President Joko Widodo and FIFA president Gianni Infantino both agree, "Every aspect of preparation... needs to be based on FIFA standards." (
Washington Post)

Did you know that Indonesia hasn't qualified for the World Cup since 1938? The country back then was still known as the Dutch East Indies.


69 children have died in the Gambia because they took cough syrups made in India

Police in the Gambia are looking into the death of 69 children linked to paracetamol cough syrups in the country. Two companies from the United States and India are now under investigation. (The Wire)

Why this matters: India is known as the "pharmacy of the world". Plus, the country supplies 45% of all generic medicines to Africa. (Tribune India)

Tell me more
Atlantic Pharmaceuticals (based in United States; the company distributed them) and Maiden Pharmaceuticals (based in India; the company made them) have imported some 50,000 bottles of cough syrups into the Gambia. In July, it became known that children taking these cough syrups started getting acute kidney problems. Just recently, the police then definitively said, 'yes, the bottles are contaminated', so they seized about 41,000 bottles of them, over 8,000 are still missing and some fear they might have been distributed to other countries. (
Reuters) The investigation began after many children developed acute kidney problems from taking cough syrups sold in the country. The Indian government is investigating them, too. Maiden has since stopped its production. Nigeria is on alert. (The Cable) Indonesia, too. (Reuters)

What cough syrups caused deaths in the Gambia? 
Promethazine Oral Solution, Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup, Makoff Baby Cough Syrup, and Magrip N Cold Syrup (
see this picture of labels), all made by Maiden. If you know anyone who might have purchased any of these brands, call or text them ASAP. Last week, the World Health Organization finally was like, 'listen, avoid these four brands of cough syrup. There's stuff in it used to make paints and cosmetics.'

Is this the first time this is happening?
That children are dying due to contaminated cough syrup made by an Indian company? No. Earlier this year, 14 children died in Himachal Pradesh due to the toxic stuff. (
The Wire) That cough syrup was made by another Indian company. According to Mint, that particular cough syrup failed quality tests 19 times, yet continued to be available in the market. Even after the deaths, the only action taken against the company was to cancel the license to manufacture the syrup.

What now? 
So much. Parents of the syrups’ victims and rights activists in the Gambia are beginning to demand justice, criticizing president Adama Barrow’s government for being slow to detect the problems early and having no drug testing systems. "This is a lesson for parents, but the greater responsibility is with the government," said Mariam Sisawo, mother of a five-month-old girl who died from one of the syrups. "Before any drugs get into the country, they should be properly checked if they are fit for human consumption or not." (

More you might have missed 

The bad
Slovakia: Two people have died after a shooting outside an LGBTQ+ bar in Bratislava. Slovak media identified the shooter as the son of a former candidate for a far-right political party. (Gay Times)
Lebanon: Last week, Lebanon has recorded the first death case from cholera since detecting the disease in the country on October 5, the health ministry has said. The last case of cholera was in 1993. There is a serious outbreak in neighbouring Syria right now. (Al Jazeera)
Nigeria: More than 1.4 million people have been displaced and about 600 people have died in some of the worst flooding Nigeria has seen in a decade, the country’s humanitarian ministry said Wednesday. The flooding is really, really bad in Kogi state. The governor, Alhaji Yahaya, said: "I call on the federal government, I call on President [Muhammadu] Buhari, I call on World Bank and all other donor agencies to come to our aid." (CNBC)
Greece: Last Friday, 92 refugees were found almost completely naked (!) crossing the Evros river along Greece's border with Turkey. The UNHCR is demanding an urgent investigation into the incident. (InfoMigrants)
Mali: At least 11 people were killed and 53 injured when a bus hit an explosive device in central Mali on Thursday. A report found that mines and IEDs laid by different armed groups had killed 72 people in 2022. Most of the victims were soldiers – but more than a quarter were civilians, the report said. Last year, 103 people died because of IEDs and mines. (Al Jazeera)
The 'We'll See'
China: There was a teenie-tiny small protest against the country's super strict Covid measures. The police ended it pretty quickly. (BBC) Other than that, the country kicked off its 20th Communist Party Congress. NPR's John Ruwitch paid close attention to President Xi's almost two-hour-long speech: More 'zero Covid', more pressure on Taiwan, more global ambitions.
Iraq: (I didn't know whether to put this in Good or Bad but) Iraq’s parliament elected Kurdish politician Abdul Latif Rashid as the country’s new president on Thursday. Rashid named Mohammed Shia al-Sudani as prime minister, who now has one month to form a government. This is more Good than Bad because politicians had struggled to form a government since elections in October 2021. At least, now there is some consensus. (CNN)
The good
United States: They're renaming a street in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana after one of the founders of rock'n'roll, Antoine "Fats" Domino. Caffin Avenue (where he spent most of his time) will now be known as Antoine “Fats” Domino Avenue. Domino sold more than 110 million records, with hits including “Blueberry Hill,” ″Ain’t That a Shame”. (NBC News) Both songs you can check out in this newsletter's own Spotify playlist.

Plus, the RISD Museum in Providence, Rhode Island returned 31 cultural objects to Nigeria last Tuesday. (
NBC News)
Argentina: Argentina has acknowledged its responsibility for the impunity seen in the investigation into the July 18, 1994 terrorist bombing of the AMIA Jewish community centre, in the Once neighbourhood, home to the largest Jewish community in Buenos Aires. The AMIA bombing, which killed 85 people and left more than 300 injured, is Argentina's deadliest terrorist attack to date. (Buenos Aires Times)
France: The French cement company Lafarge pleaded guilty yesterday to paying between US$6 and 10 million to ISIS in exchange for permission to keep open a plant in Syria from 2013 through 2014. This is the first time a company has pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. The company also agreed to penalties totalling about US$778 million. (CNBC)


Rest of World's favorite international films and TV shows
Instead of watching Dahmer on Netflix, give the series Yosi, the Regretful Spy from Argentina a try (about the country's antisemitic history), the movie Pachinko from South Korea (about Zainichi Koreans in Japan), the movie Neptune Frost from Rwanda (an Afrofuturist film with sick visuals and a great soundtrack) or Karnan from India (about the Dalit community in Tamil Nadu), or so many more. Check out the complete list on Rest of World and diversify your taste in film. Now.
The motivational short speech of comedian Masood Boomgaard
If you're not on TikTok, I am and I have a viral sound that you need to hear: Comedian Masood Boomgard's motivational speech that most of us (me first) need to hear over and over again: "You are not your job." Listen here. It's the 2022 and more realistic and human-friendly version of Shia LaBeouf's 'Just do it.'
Latest episode of "Red Table Talk"
In the latest episode of "Red Table Talk," Kenny Walker shared the surreal moment he learned that his girlfriend and 26-year-old Black medical worker Breonna Taylor had been killed by police in the United States during a botched raid at her apartment in Louisville, Kentucky on March 13, 2020. "Nobody is answering my questions. So I had to find out what happened on the news, sitting in jail. They didn’t say her name, but they said a woman was killed. That’s how I found out." Watch that moment here. Walker is the only witness to her death. In August, four former Louisville police officers were federally charged with violating Taylor’s civil rights in the raid that led to her death. (Today) It's a super emotional interview, one that stayed with me for a few days.

On a funny note

Italy's former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has said that he is friends again with Russia's president Vladimir Putin and they have exchanged gifts and "sweet letters", according to a recording leaked yesterday. He responded with an "equally sweet note" and bottles of Lambrusco wine. (Financial Times) Did you know that Berlusconi's Forza Italia party is part of Giorgia Meloni’s rightwing coalition and set to join the government?
That's it from me. 

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

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