What’s Going On in the World (Besides COVID-19) III

Siddharth Srinivasan, Print Opinion Editor

Dozens arrested in India during aftermath of vicious mob lynching

On April 16, over 100 villagers from Gadchinchale, Maharashtra, India (about three hours away from Mumbai) lynched two Hindu Sadhus (ascetics) and their driver after falsely suspecting them of child abduction and organ harvesting. After the attack, rumors spread that the lynching was religiously motivated. However, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh publicly released the list of the 101 arrested, all of whom were Hindus, debunking any myths surrounding the nature of the attack. The lynching is among several others—since 2014—social media site WhatsApp has fueled, contributing to the rise of vigilante and mob violence in India.


Hungary to end legal recognition of trans people

Hungarian president Viktor Orbán is pushing for the passing of a bill that would end the legal recognition of trans people in Hungary. The bill proposes gender be based on biological sex at birth, making it impossible to change. Orbán, who in March of 2020 seized the ability to rule by decree and suspend parliament without elections, has faced criticism from several LGBT and human rights groups, including the Hungarian LGBT Alliance, Stonewall and the Council of Europe.


Pentagon officially releases fuzzy UFO footage; people fear close encounters of the blurred kind

On April 27, The Pentagon publicly released three videos—filmed in 2004—of an unidentified aircraft flying rapidly off the coast of California. The videos were initially and unofficially released between 2017 and 2018 by To the Stars—a private company founded by Blink-182’s Tom DeLonge and devoted to UFO investigation. Former head of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP) Luis Elizondo claimed the craft’s technology was unlike any the United States or any other foreign power possessed. After resigning as head of the AATIP in 2017, Elizondo admitted his personal belief, based on “compelling evidence,” that “we may not be alone.”


Asian dictator rumoured dead? Kim-possible!

Following an extended period of absence—beginning circa April 15—rumours swirled over North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un. The prevailing theories include: Kim is dead, Kim is in a vegetative state after a botched cardiovascular surgery, Kim was injured in a military training drill, Kim is social distancing, Kim is lounging in his private resort and Kim is lusting for attention. Despite claims from South Korean, American and Japanese officials, Kim’s status remained unknown to the majority of the world, until May 1, when Korean Central News Agency published photos of him cutting the ribbon at the opening of a new fertilizer factory.


Son of South American leader accused of organizing criminal fake news scheme; chances of impeachment Bolsternaro-ed

Having already to contend with his eldest son Flávio’s embezzlement and money-laundering scandal as well as the shock resignation of his big-kahuna justice minister Sergio Moro, Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro now faces claims one of his other sons, Carlos Bolsonaro, was the ringleader of an online fake news scheme focused on defaming Brazilian authorities and political figures. Exacerbating Bolsonaro’s political crisis are the cries for his impeachment, rejuvenated after news of the Bolsonaro’s newest malfeasance broke. The Bolsonaro’s have stood defiant in the face of the criticism and turmoil; Carlos Bolsonaro tweeted to his 1.7 million followers the claims were “garbage” and “a joke,” while Jair Bolsonaro launched a tirade against his opponents, claiming he was the victim of a political conspiracy. Federal police are investigating another of Bolsonaro’s sons, Eduardo Bolsonaro for participating in the same fake news scheme as his elder brother.


Saudi Arabia abolishes death penalty for sentenced minors; no longer will they beheaded for the chopping block

By issue of a royal fiat from King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, people who committed crimes as minors will no longer face the death penalty, instead receiving a prison sentence of 10 years or less. Just two days prior to the issuing of the decree, the Saudi government announced they would ban public floggings. Despite these alterations to Saudi Arabia’s capital punishment laws, human rights groups level criticism towards government officials like King Salman and Crown Prince Mohmmaed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud for things like the imprisonment of various anti-Saudi activists and intellectuals, as well as, most prominently, the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. The decree comes less than one year after the case of Murtaja Qureiris, who was convicted in 2014, at age 13, of a crime he was accused of committing three years prior, and sentenced to death. Qureiris’ story gained so much international exposure, the Saudi government cancelled his execution.