We tell you how five stories around the world unfold over a week’s time.
1. Fifty people have died since protests erupted in Venezuela. So claims President Nicolas Maduro, who didn’t cite a source when he made the claim at a rally in Caracas. The estimated death toll had been 13, according to Attorney General Luisa Ortega, and 15 according to protest groups. Maduro, who complained of roadblocks across the nation that clogged roads, had called a meeting between interested parties to end the chaos—but opposition groups won’t recognize the forthcoming gathering’s legitimacy.
2. Egypt’s new cabinet could look familiar. When former prime minister Hazem El-Beblawi resigned on Monday and took his cabinet with him, apparently some weren’t ready to go. Ahram Online reports that 15 members of the outgoing cabinet will retain their posts, and others will be amalgamated—youth and sport, as an example. Critics called that particular merger “random.” Clearly, the naysayers have no idea just how naturally the files coalesce; after all, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau held both portfolios for a time and, hey, look at him now.
3. John Kerry mentions Hitler. Godwin’s Law holds that, eventually, prolonged online disagreements inevitably invoke Hitler comparisons that are wildly undeserved. When someone finally calls someone else, or some other group, or any participant a Nazi, discussion on the thread generally comes to a halt. Yesterday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry characterized Uganda’s new anti-gay law as analogous to anti-semitic laws in Hitler’s Germany. Fraught as that association may be, Kerry gets a free pass. Uganda’s law is just that egregious, as most of the world agrees.
4. Matteo Renzi has spawned skeptics. As the Italian prime minister’s first week in office trudges on, Matteo Renzi’s critics are questioning his ability to enact sweeping reform. The former mayor of Florence’s inexperience is front and centre. Euronews interviewed a Rome businessman who claimed U.S. President Barack Obama, when he spoke with Renzi earlier this week, had told the PM that nobody knew the name Obama when the now-president was 39 years old. “This kind of thing gives us hope,” said Andrea Villa, who’d better hope Renzi can outperform Obama’s middling economic record after five years in the White House.
5. Canada will better track its pigs. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency will establish a national pig traceability system that will better secure food safety during outbreaks of disease among hog populations. The new measure comes at a time when Canadian pig farms are dealing with a deadly virus that, while it doesn’t threaten humans nor food safety, still poses a threat to pigs themselves. Cattle, bison and sheep are already subject to a similar regime.
Thursday, February 27, 2014