5 Things to Know (6th November – 10th November)

As another week comes to an end, quite a lot has happened in different parts of the world. Here is a brief description of some of the events that took place during this week:

Texas Church shooting

On November 9 an attack that took place at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, a small town in Wilson County in Texas, where 26 people were killed after the mass shooting. The victims ranged from five to seventy two years. The alleged gunman was dressed in all-black tactical gear, inclusive of a ballistic vest, and was later found dead a few miles away from the church. Later, he was identified as Devin Patrick Kelley, 26, by the US media. At this time it is debatable whether he died from a self-inflicted gunshot or was killed by someone else. Mr. Kelley was supposedly discharged from the U.S. Air Force in 2014, and is said to have been known for assaulting his wife and child. Out of the 26 fatalities, eight members belonged to the same family, and there were also 20 others that were severely wounded in the massacre. U.S. President, Donald Trump, conveyed his condolences for the victims from Japan, while exclaiming that the shooting was caused due to a “mental health problem.”


Vice-President Mnangagwa Fired

The president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, fired his long time ally or the vice-president of the country, Emmerson Mnangagwa, from his position. This potentially cleared the way for his wife, Grace Mugabe, to ultimately succeed her 93-year old husband. Mugabe had earlier accused Mnangagwa of being disloyal, unreliable, and deceitful, according to a press statement. The removal of Mnangagwa signifies that Grace Mugabe is expected to be the vice-president of the ruling Zanu-PF the upcoming month. According to a South African analyst at African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific (AFSAAP),  she is well-positioned to fulfil the duties of a Vice President because of a sufficient amount of support from the Zanu-PF party. The main issue concerning the people is the fact that the constitution does not allow females to undertake the vice presidency. Therefore, this must be revised, despite the fact that provincial councils have conveyed their readiness regarding the changes that need to be made. In addition, there tends to be a contender for the vice presidency, Sydney Sekeramayi, who is currently the Minister for Defense of the country.


Investigating 26 deaths in the Mediterranean Sea

Earlier this week, 26 dead bodies of teenage girls were recovered in the Mediterranean Sea. Italian authorities, including Lorena Ciccotti, Salerno’s police head, exclaimed that they would be investigating whether the deaths have a link to sex trafficking. The ages of the girls ranged from 14 to 18, and were found to be migrants from Niger and Nigeria, who embarked on the traitorous route to Europe from Libya during the weekend. Approximately 400 rescued migrants were brought from Canabria, a Spanish warship, to Salerno. Reports showed that the cause of deaths was supposedly due to drowning.  However, Italian authorities also believe that women and girls are being trafficked into Italy and are forced into prostitution. In addition, the dead bodies were lowered in black-colored bags and placed into coffins. The authorities believe that loading too many women onto a boat is perilous as it would cause the traffickers to lose all their goods. Between January to November, over 113,000 migrants arrived in Italy after crossing the Mediterranean Sea, and more than 2700 died in the process.


Legalisation of intersex identity rights

The top court of Germany recently declared that there must be an option of the registration of gender, that is neither female or male, on birth certificates. This would make Germany the first country in Europe to allow designation of intersex offsprings as a third gender for parents. The case was brought up by a registered female, though the chromosome analysis revealed that the plaintiff was neither male or female. Intersex is a term used for people possessing sex traits that do not typically fit with the binary notion of a male or female. Some countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Nepal, and India have successfully implemented this option of registration on birth certificates. The Federal Constitutional Court exclaimed that current regulations on civil status discriminate those who belong to a third gender. In favour of the appeal brought by the intersex person, legislators hope to pass a new regulation by 2018 regarding this issue.


Toxic smog in New Delhi

In the Indian capital, New Delhi, people are encountering toxic smog, which is causing schools to close, and is bringing traffic to a halt. Doctors in New Delhi are encouraging the government to declare a public emergency due to the severity of the issue. It has led to the implementation of a total ban on trucks that are entering New Delhi, along with the suspension of civil construction projects. The readings of air quality have deteriorated since Tuesday with a level of 969, though the World Health organization exclaimed that anything above 25 is dangerous. The smog has resulted in the reduction of visibility, a delay of flights, and restrictions on most outdoor activities. Citizens are tying scarfs across their faces to symbolize makeshift masks, and stores are selling air purifiers to reduce the impact of the problem. Moreover, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, called New Delhi a “gas chamber” and hopes to meet with representatives of different Indian states in order to resolve the issue.



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