World in Review

Arizona governor vetoes anti-gay law


The governor of Arizona last week denied a bill that could have banned members of the LGBTQ community from various businesses.

Prompted by incidents where businesses were sued for denying LGBTQ couples, the proposed bill, SB 1062, would have allowed business owners to withhold service to individuals based on religious grounds.

The state legislature passed the bill on Feb. 20. By the time Republican Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed the bill on Wednesday, it had received criticism from a variety of outlets. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was among those who spoke against the bill. The NFL, which is holding the Super Bowl in Arizona next season, had started considering moving the event if the bill was signed.

Some said the legislation would have allowed broad discrimination under the guise of religious freedom, and a number of state business owners said the bill would hurt Arizona’s economy.

Brewer chastised members of the state state assembly for sending the bill to her.

“I call them like I see them, despite the cheers or the boos from the crowd,” Brewer said.

Several similar bills have been proposed in various states in the past year. None of them so far have reached the governor.

Ukraine accuses Russia of declaring war, mobilizes troops


Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO secretary-general, has condemned Russia’s move in Ukraine and has asked Moscow to de-escalate tensions as of Sunday afternoon. Ukraine’s new leaders have accused Russia of declaring war.

Officials have ordered all military reservists to active duty in the Crimean region and road traffic was blocked while telecommunications remained sporadic two days after communications centers were seized by unknown armed men.

The international community is questioning Russia’s intention in Ukraine.

According to interim president Oleksandr Turchinov, the Russian army has issued an ultimatum demanding Ukrainian soldiers disarm themselves at military bases in Crimea or the bases will be stormed. Ukrainian Prime Minister Arsenly Yatsebyuk said Ukraine is “on the brink of national disaster” and that “if (Russian) President Putin wants to be the president who starts a war between two friendly and neighboring countries, he has reached his target within a few inches.”

According to the Associated Press, at least 13 trucks and four armored vehicles with mounted machine guns approached the Perevaine military base in Crimea, carrying 30 soldiers each. The trucks are reported to have Russian license plates. Government buildings, airports and communication centers continue to be held by armed groups of men, speculated to be local defense militia supported by the Russian military.

Knife-wielding terrorists kill 29 in Chinese train station


At least 29 people were killed and 130 others were injured Saturday night when more than 10 men armed with long knives attacked at a train station in the southwest city of Kunming, China.

The assailants attacked both employees and commuters, sometimes repeatedly stabbing those who were too stunned or unable to flee.

At least four attackers were killed by police to end the slaughter, police said. A female suspect was shot and wounded, and authorities continue to look for other suspects.

Photos circulated on Sina Weibo, a Chinese site similar to Twitter, reportedly showing bodies sprawled out on the ground, covered with blood.

The attackers, who were dressed in black and wearing cloth masks, have not been identified. However, state news agency Xinhua referred to the attackers as terrorists, and authorities said they believe the attackers are Uighur separatists from Xinjiang, a city in northwest China. Members of the Uighur minority have recently been at odds with the government of China.

“It was an organized, premeditated, violent terrorist attack, according to the authorities,” reports the Chinese state news agency.

Leaders of the Uighur separatists have condemned the violent actions of the attackers in the train station.

Protests in Venezuela continue


Venezuelans continued to call for the resignation of President Nicolas Maduro, filing streets and protesting Sunday. The protests, stemming from inflation, food shortages and crime, coincided with the yearly holiday Carnival.

Maduro declared a seven-day holiday that overlapped with Carnival, stating on a Venezuelan TV station that “happiness will conquer the embittered.” Though people traditionally flock to the seaside for the holiday, many of those who oppose Maduro have remained in the cities. The holiday was recognized by government-subsidized food markets throughout the South American country.

Since the large-scale social and political unrest began on Feb. 12 when three people were killed, a total of 17 people have died. Over the weekend, two protesters were wounded by gunshots in the Chacao district.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is set to meet with Venezuela’s foreign minister on Monday to discuss the recent rise in student-organized protests. Additionally, the human rights chief asked Venezuelan leaders Friday to respect peaceful assembly and discouraged police brutality that has been exerted throughout the past month.

At least 41 people were arrested Sunday as a result of the protests. Maduro has stated he believes the protests are a part of a U.S.-supported coup attempt.

Egypt’s military-backed government turns in resignation


Officials in Egypt’s army-backed interim government announced that the cabinet was disbanding, last Monday with the news reaching the United States early Tuesday morning. Egypt’s interim prime minister Hazem el-Beblaw offered the government’s resignation on live television to President Adly Mansour, who accepted and offered his thanks for his Cabinet’s services.

The resignation comes following a series of strikes throughout Egypt. In the past weeks, doctors, postal workers, textile workers, police officers and transportation workers have all gone on strike for short periods of time.

Mansour is expected to appoint a transitional prime minister within the next few weeks who will undertake the job handling state affairs until April’s presidential elections. Army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sis, who served as defense minister, is expected to run and analysts predict El-Sis’ chances of winning as high.

While el-Beblaw did not offer any reasons for the resignation, he said Egypt’s government has not spared any efforts to get out of Egypt’s tumultuous phase. El-Beblaw was appointed in July after mass protests resulted in the overthrow of Egypt’s former president Mohammed Morsi.

Since July, over 1,000 people have been killed and thousands more detained by the security forces of the Muslim Brotherhood of which Morsi was a member.

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