1. A holiday can’t stop Venezuela’s protests. Thousands of demonstrators filled the streets of Caracas, including the neighbourhood of Chacao—a wealthy area that, no surprise, supports the opposition—at the same time as pro-government demonstrators marched elsewhere in the city. President Nicolas Maduro moved up the national Carnival holiday, a declaration that did little to convince protesters to take a break. Police unleashed tear gas on a group of anti-government demonstrators who set up a roadblock, a common tactic during the ongoing unrest.
2. The World Bank punishes Uganda. Pass a virulently anti-gay law and feel the wrath of an international money lender. That’s the message the World Bank sent to Uganda as it holds back $90 million in aid to the African nation. The money was targeted to help Uganda enhance healthcare services. As more western nations second-guess their foreign aid, a Uganda government spokesman dismissed the effort and, on Twitter, said those countries “can keep their ‘aid’ to Uganda over homos”—one of several provocative and extremely defensive tweets. Uganda, a friend to fewer countries with each passing day.
3. The Economist isn’t so sure about Matteo Renzi. The magazine’s latest appraisal of Italy’s ambitious prime minister is as skeptical as Renzi’s political opponents that he can implement his various promised reforms. It applauds the PM’s gender parity in cabinet, including the country’s first female defence minister, and even gave Renzi points for appointing a relatively young cabinet (average age: 47). But, as any good opposition party will demand, the Economist wants Renzi to show them the money. “There was no real explanation as to how Mr Renzi intended to pay.” Those questions will only proliferate unless the PM finds some answers.
4. Al-Jazeera wants the world to look at Egypt. As the fledgling democracy in Egypt sorts out who’s in power, Al-Jazeera is protesting the terrorism-related charges laid against a number of its journalists in Cairo—including Mohamed Fahmy, the Egyptian-Canadian who served as the organization’s bureau chief in the city. Al-Jazeera is calling for a global day of action that demands the release of the imprisoned reporters without delay. Earlier this week, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression urged Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird to take action on Fahmy’s behalf.
5. North Carolina’s got a pig problem,too. As Canadian hog farmers cope with the emergence of porcine epidemic diarrhea, a deadly virus that poses no hazard to human health but can decimate pig populations, their American counterparts are dealing with the disease’s aftermath. North Carolina public radio’s coverage of the epidemic, which may kill two per cent of the state’s pigs, took a turn for the macabre. A news story talked about what to do with all the dead pigs. Options include burial, rendering and incineration. A conversation Canadian farmers surely hope to avoid.