NewsFix: Monday August 23, 2021
An interesting mix this morning - Bolivia, Sweden, Afghanistan, France, Sri Lanka - and even Limerick.
LET’S CATCH UP
The former president of Bolivia, Jeanine Anez, attempted to take her own life while in prison, but is now said to be in a stable condition. The suicide attempt came after she was charged with “genocide” for the deaths of protestors back in 2019.
What’s the background here? In 2019, weeks of violent protests led to the downfall of President Evo Morales, who ended up fleeing the country. Anez then came to power, and in 2020 an election was held. In what Al Jazeera described as “peaceful, transparent elections,” a protege of Evo Morales - Luis Arce - won that election. Arce then promised to get justice and pursue those who participated in what he described as a “coup” in 2019. His victory also paved the way for Evo Morales to return to the country, and receive a pardon.
Sweden’s prime minister Stefan Löfven has announced he will step down as PM in November. The decision comes after a particularly unstable few months for Löfven, who was forced to resign earlier this summer - only to be reelected when the opposition failed to form a government.
Worth noting: Both Al Jazeera and The Guardian noted Sweden’s finance and health ministers - both women - are favourites to replace Löfven. Sweden has never had a female prime minister.
A week ago today, the world woke up to the realisation the Taliban were back in control of Kabul. Afghanistan largely dominated the news cycle last week, and below is an update on where things currently stand;
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will host a G7 meeting on Afghanistan on Tuesday. According to BBC News, he is expected to ask President Biden to keep US troops on the ground beyond August 31, and until evacuations are carried out.
President Biden made another speech on Sunday about the situation. While reiterating his hopes to have evacuations carried out before August 31, he did say “discussions” are happening on whether a delay will be needed.
According to The New York Times, the US military has evacuated 28,000 people from Afghanistan since August 14.
Speaking of evacuations, the US has ordered commercial airlines assist in the operation. According to Reuters, American Airlines and Delta will begin the process today.
An Afghan woman gave birth on board a US military evacuation flight over the weekend. The flight landed in Germany, and the mother and her baby girl are believe to be doing well.
Former British prime minister, Tony Blair, wrote an article criticising the withdrawal from Afghanistan. In the piece, Blair said the decision to withdraw was obviously “driven not by grand strategy but by politics”.
“We didn't need to do it. We chose to do it. We did it in obedience to an imbecilic political slogan about ending “the forever wars”, as if our engagement in 2021 was remotely comparable to our commitment 20 or even ten years ago, and in circumstances in which troop numbers had declined to a minimum and no allied soldier had lost their life in combat for 18 months.” - Tony Blair
*Here is a link to his full piece - Why We Must Not Abandon the People of Afghanistan – For Their Sakes and Ours
THE POWER OF A PHOTO
According to Forbes citing the Pentagon, the baby was later reunited with his father.
- BBC News: PM plea to Biden and UK evacuation steps up
- The Guardian: Hot summer nights: ‘my brother brought friends to marvel at the awful state of my body’
- The Financial Times: Biden pledges to evacuate every American trying to flee Afghanistan
- Al Jazeera: Taliban says fighters heading to seize last major holdout
- RTÉ News: Tributes paid to family killed in three-vehicle Galway crash
- The Irish Times: Paul Howard: ‘I thought I was having a heart attack. That was how it started’
LIMERICK, YOU’RE A LADY!
In Ireland, Limerick won the All-Ireland hurling final for the third time in four years. In an overwhelming victory against Cork, Limerick won by 3-32 to 1-22.
Not familiar with the sport? Enjoy trying to keep up.
A crowd of 40,000 were allowed watch the game at Croke Park stadium, leading to plenty of debate online about the Irish government’s loosening of coronavirus restrictions.
For example, many were quick to point out the fact live music still has not resumed.
FOOTBALL KICKING OFF
A game between Nice and Marseille had to be abandoned after a player was hit by a bottle and then threw it back into the crowd.
The move caused fans to angrily storm the pitch.
Floods in Tennessee have left at least 22 people dead.
According to The New York Times, “more than two dozen others” remain missing following the “catastrophic flash flood”.
AP reported two of the victims were twin babies “who were swept from their father’s arms”. A third victim is believed to have been “a foreman at county music star Loretta Lynn’s ranch”.
In Sri Lanka, a new law means you can no longer ‘drink and drive’… on an elephant.
The wide-ranging legislation brings a lot of other protections for working elephants - they must now be bathed for two-and-a-half hours each day, and cannot work for more than four hours a day. According to The Hindu newspaper, they also cannot work at night, are banned from appearing in films, and cannot be separated from their mothers.
ON A LIGHTER NOTE…
It happens the best of us.