Each Monday, we choose five stories around the world and follow them for a week. This week, our eyes are on Egypt, Venezuela, Italy, Uganda and Canada’s pig farms.
1. Egypt’s cabinet stepped down. Egypt’s interim prime minister, Hazem Beblawi, told the world that his government would resign. The cabinet was appointed last July to clean up the mess left after former president Mohamed Morsi’s ouster, but little progress has been made to quell social and economic unrest—including a number of damaging strikes. The mass resignation allows Field Marshal Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, most recently the defence minister, to declare his own candidacy for the presidency. Meanwhile, Egyptian-Canadian journalist Mohamed Fahmy continues to face terrorism-related charges in Cairo.
2. Nicolas Maduro meets Henrique Capriles. Two weeks of unrest in Venezuela, kicked off by the shooting death of a student protester on Feb. 12, culminate in a meeting between Maduro, Venezuela’s President, and Capriles, a state governor who’s twice run as an opposition candidate for president. The two men will attempt to talk it out. Reuters reports that the ongoing protests, which include violent flare-ups, don’t threaten Maduro’s hold on power—they have, however. ”become a growing annoyance for the mostly well-to-do neighborhoods where they take place.” A skeptical nation observes.
3. Matteo Renzi hopes to disrupt Italy’s establishment. The 39-year-old prime minister, the country’s youngest ever, was sworn in over the weekend. Renzi wants to radically reform how Italy governs itself. He wants to abolish the Senate, a gambit that includes convincing senators to disappear the chamber in which they serve. The affable Renzi, a former mayor of Florence with movie-star good looks and a penchant for poking fun at his elders, has probably caught the attention of Canada’s New Democrats. They also seek the destruction of a Senate, and Renzi’s experience may inform the opposition’s attempts to sell their abolition agenda to the Canadian public. Today, Renzi seeks a confidence vote in, you guessed it, Italy’s Senate.
4. Uganda’s anti-gay agenda deepens. Vladimir Putin may have duped the world into supporting his Olympic showcase as he ran roughshod over gay rights, but the Russian president has competition for the world’s most homophobic leader. Yoweri Museveni, Uganda’s president and long-time hater of gays, signed a bill that entrenches the criminality of homosexuality. First-time offenders get 14 years in prison. Anyone who knowingly doesn’t report a gay citizen to authorities is breaking the law. And the law tied up a formerly loose end: lesbians are now covered under the law. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, widely lauded for his work for gay rights abroad, will no doubt respond with some oratorical force.
5. A Quebec farm reported a deadly pig virus. Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea hit a farm in the Montérégie region, south of Montreal, the latest Canadian case of the highly contagious disease. Humans don’t have to worry for their own health. The disease reportedly doesn’t transfer to people, nor does it threaten food safety. But, left unchecked, it could devastate Canada’s pork industry. PED migrated from China to the United States, where it’s killed millions of pigs. Four provinces have so far reported cases.