We're not going to fault you for not staying on top of this week's news. We're only here to help.
By: Tony Hotland and April Elizabeth Curtis
A WEEK OF TERRORISM
In the space of a week, terrorism struck four cities around the world. On Easter Sunday, a suicide bomber targeted Pakistani Christians congregating in a public park in the city of Lahore. More than 70 people were killed, including at least 29 children. Two days prior, in the Iraqi city of Iskandariyah, another suicide bomber struck among a crowd gathered to watch a local soccer game. Iraqi officials put the death toll at 41. A few days earlier, assailants detonated explosives in the main airport of Brussels and in the Belgian capital's underground metro. More than 30 people were killed and hundreds were wounded. And on March 19, a suicide bomber struck on Istanbul's Istiklal Street, a popular pedestrian thoroughfare usually packed with tourists. Four foreigners were killed.
On Thursday, the South African courts ruled that President Jacob Zuma breached the constitution when he refused to pay the state back for his $15 million house remodel. Apparently, the courts don't think that his newly added swimming pool, amphitheater, cattle enclosure and chicken run were necessary for security and thus the state should not have to pay for them. In a statement unlikely to believed by anyone, Zuma denied any wrongdoing. He does have a point, an earlier investigation by the public works and police ministries, ministries that obviously have nothing to gain from being loyal to president, found the swimming pool to be a reservoir for fire prevention. Needless to say, people want the man out of office.
On Tuesday, the World Health Organization declared Ebola was no longer a public health emergency of international concern. Ebola outbreaks have occurred since 1976, but only in 2014 did the disease go, dare we say it, viral, with over 28,000 people becoming sick. Flare ups still occur but WHO declared that there are enough experts on the ground that any new cases will not cause major outbreaks.
Migrants will start returning from Greece to Turkey on Monday (April 4), based on a EU-Turkey deal in an effort to manage the flow of refugees trying to escape violence. Click here for the rundown of the deal by the European Commission.
President Francois Hollande has scrapped his proposal to strip terror convicts of their French nationality. The plan to change the constitution was floated following the attacks in Paris last November. The right to a nationality, opponents have argued, is enshrined under Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
THE MIDDLE EAST
Selfies, Bombs and Love: the Story of an EgyptAir Hijack. On Tuesday, Seif Eldin Mustafa hijacked a plane wearing an explosive belt, which later turned out to be a fake. The EgyptAir flight was going to Cairo from Alexandria but the hijacker forced the plane to land in Cyprus. Mustafa made many strange demands such as all Egyptian women prisoners being must be released from prison and demanding political asylum for himself from the EU. He has been found not to be linked to any terrorist organization, and Cyprus authorities have labeled him "mentally unstable." However, the real star turned out to be a 26 year old man from Britain. He will forever be known as the biggest lad (that's British for bro) in history for taking a selfie with the hijacker. When questioned about his actions he said, "I figured if his bomb was real I'd nothing to lose anyway." Legend.
As always, a lot happened in Syria this week. On Monday, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Palmyra was recaptured from ISIS. To see the damage done to the beautiful site, click here. On Thursday, Russia revealed that despite everything, it is coordinating the liberation of Raqqa, an ISIS stronghold, with America. The Russian-American relationship in Syria could be described as a high school relationship. They might argue and break-up in the morning, but you'll probably see them making out by fifth period. Also on Thursday, Syrian President Assad said that "opposition forces" could be included in the new Syrian government being negotiated in Geneva starting in April. However, its not clear who exactly Assad was referring to when he said "opposition forces," as the Syrian government usually calls all rebel groups "terrorists."
The tables have turned. The Federal Bureau of Investigation had a grin on its face this week after claiming to have successfully hacked into a gunman’’s iPhone with no help from Apple. The FBI also said it was ready to hack another Apple product in a murder trial. Apple had refused to assist the FBI—on the basis of freedom of privacy—and now it wants the law enforcement agency to share the encryption method. Click here for an analysis about how the U.S. government agencies are required to share such information, but the FBI might not share.
A man with a face familiar to Capitol officials is being charged with assault after allegedly wielding a gun as he tried to enter the Capitol Visitor Center on Monday. Police on the scene shot Larry Russell Dawson, a minister from Tennessee who was previously arrested for disrupting Congress with shouts that he was a “prophet of God.” Shot by the police, Dawson was critically injured but in a stable condition and would appear in court following hospital release.
Brazil never disappoints. On Tuesday, PMDB (Brazilian Democratic Movement Party), the largest party in Brazilian President Rousseff's coalition, announced they would be leaving her coalition. This step could hasten the impeachment of Rousseff, which many are calling for. Lula, acting typical, stood by his woman and called the move a coup. Are you completely confused as to what is going on in Brazil (or just wondering why the Catchup is so obsessed with this scandal)? Click here.