NEWS: Not A Great Week For Elections

Clashes in Ukraine. Things are showing no sign of slowing down in Ukraine, where presidential elections were held this week. The so-called “Chocolate King,” Petro Poroshenko, won with just over 50 percent of the vote, although voter turnout was low in disputed areas. One of these areas was Donetsk, where a referendum on secession was recently held and where Ukrainian troops are clashing with rebels. Heavy fighting is focused on the airport, which the rebels hope to control.

 

Elections in Egypt, EU; deferred indefinitely in Thailand. Ukraine wasn’t the only home to elections this week. A wave of democratic (term used loosely) expression swept the world, with elections being held in Egypt, the European Union and Thailand. In Egypt, a low voter turnout suggests not all are excited about the prospects of shoo-in Gen. Sisi. The EU saw a strong showing for far-right and anti-EU parties, which is pretty awkward. Meanwhile, Thailand’s new military leadersthe ones who lead a coup last weekhave said they don’t know when elections will take place but that in the interim, they will be making the country’s decisions. My guess: They are watching to see how Egypt handles the post-coup election.

 

U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by end of 2016. President Obama announced Tuesday that as of the end of this year, only around 9,600 troops would remain in Afghanistan, and that all troops would be withdrawn by the end of 2016. The full withdraw will bring an end to the longest war in U.S. history. U.S. and Afghan officials were recently engaged in a stalemate over a timetable for withdrawal, which President Hamid Karzai refused to sign.

 

The Pope is Pope-ing all over the world. His Papal Radness made a trip to Israel this week, where he took time out of his itinerary to pray at the controversial wall separating Israel and the Palestinian West Bank. The wall has become an international symbol of the seemingly endless conflict between Israel and Palestine, as well as the heavy-handedness of the Israeli occupation. Pope Francis invited Palestinian and Israeli leaders to the Vatican, calling the continued stalemate between the long-fighting factions “unacceptable.”

 

#YesAllWomen takes on widespread misogyny. In the wake of the tragic mass shooting in Isla Vista, Calif., women have taken to social media to make clear that yes, all women deal with unacceptable violence or the threat thereof on a regular basis. The hashtag exploded with personal stories and observations from across the U.S., shedding light on what it means to be a woman in a society struggling daily with ingrained sexism.

 

Nigerian government claims to have located missing girls. A military official reportedly told a group of people that the government knows where the girls are and is currently working to rescue them. More than 300 school girls were abducted by Boko Haram, a militant group who today raided a military base and killed more than 30 Nigerian security personnel. The international community has rallied behind the missing girls, but it remains unclear how the Nigerian government can effectively combat Boko Haram’s activity within the country.

 

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