World in Review


Violence and protests continue in Venezuela


Venezuelans dissatisfied with their country’s economy, food shortages and rising crime went against security forces on Friday, who fired tear gas and water cannons into the angry crowd.

The anti-government protesters blocked traffic in Caracas days after three Caracas protesters were killed. The fights have left dozens injured or detained across Venezuela.

On Thursday, authorities issued an arrest warrant for an opposition leader for charges such as conspiracy and murder. Leopoldo Lopez, head of Popular Will, was free as of Friday and has not been seen since a Wednesday night press conference. He has accused the Venezuelan government of being responsible for violence during protests on Wednesday.

Security forces raided Lopez’ home, as well as his parents residence. Lopez was not at either residence and it has been reported that his neighbors banged on pots and pans to protest the order of arrest.

President Nicolas Maduro, elected in April after the death of President Hugo Chavez, announced a launch of a “national plan for peace and coexistence.”

Lopez has promised to continue with the protests in an attempt to force President Nicolas Maduro, who was elected in April, to resign. He has blamed Maduro for the crime increases, 50-percent inflation and basic goods shortages.

Belgium removes age limits on euthanasia


On Thursday, Belgium became the first country in the world to lift age restrictions on euthanasia. Youths who are conscious, capable of understanding the decision and terminally ill are now legally eligible to undergo medically-induced death.

The majority of Belgians supported the reform, which is an amendment of the 2002 law that legalized adult euthanasia in Belgium. The reform passed in parliament with a vote of 86 to 44 and 12 abstentions, and Belgium’s King Philippe is expected to sign the reform into law.

Children must receive counseling by doctors and psychiatrists as well as parental approval in order to undergo medically-induced death. However, opponents of the law argue that modern medicine can alleviate ailing youth’s pain enough that this measure is unnecessary. Approximately 160 Belgian pediatricians signed a letter stating the law is not needed and modern medicine is capable of relieving children’s pain.

Religious leaders, conservative politicians and medical professionals have argued the new law is ethically precarious. Some say children may not be capable of understanding the choice and discerning what it means to die.

However, opinion polls in Belgium have shown widespread for the support for the law despite the Belgium’s predominantly Roman Catholic population.

After 11 days, US has 18 medals in Sochi


The 2014 Winter Olympics are more than halfway over. After starting on Feb. 6 in Sochi, Russia, this year’s Olympics are down to the final six days. As it currently stands, Russia and the United States are tied with the overall lead, as each nation has 18 medals. Germany has the most gold medals, with eight.

The U.S. men’s hockey team has impressed many, winning its group by going 3-0 and topping Russia in a shootout, much to the chagrin of the host country. From an American perspective, some of the biggest stories of the Olympics include all three medals in the first-ever men’s slopestyle competition being won by Americans, Bode Miller winning bronze in the Super-G to become the first American to win six medals in skiing, star snowboarder Shaun White failing to medal in the halfpipe and four-time speedskating medalist Shani Davis falling short of of medaling.

Though there was a great deal of controversy in the months and weeks leading up to Sochi, as pictures reportedly showing unfinished venues circulated, terror threats were feared and criticism was placed on Russia for its anti-gay laws, the Olympics have largely gone very smoothly.

New and potentially deadly drinking game spreads


Twenty-year-old Bradley Eames of the United Kingdom died Sunday, another individual whose death is thought to be related to participation in the drinking game Neknominate.

The game, also known by other variations such as neck and nominate, neck nominate and neknomination, is believed to have originated in Australia and was originally much tamer. It involved chugging a pint of beer on camera, posting the video on social media and nominating two or three friends to do the same within 24 hours.

Neknominate has since gained popularity in the United Kingdom and has grown in outlandishness. The game now involves people consuming enormous amounts of alcohol or performing a stunt while drinking and then daring friends to outdo them.

Eames mixed two pints of gin with teabags and drank on camera. He reportedly claimed on social media that his “stomach hurt” after the incident, and he was found dead four days later in his Nottingham home.

Although police have not directly linked his death with his participation in the game, Eames’ death is not the first believed to be linked to the game. The deaths of Brits Isaac Richardson, 20, and Stephen Brooks, 29, are both believed to be related to their participation in the game.

U.N. threatens North Korea with international persecution


A United Nations panel directly implicated North Korea leader Kim Jong Un in a report released yesterday, attributing accountability to Kim and his government for wide-ranging human rights violations.

The 372-page report indicted North Korea for its political prison camps, as well as instances of torture and mass starvation. Michael Kirby, chairman of the U.N. commission of inquiry, said international persecution is necessary, comparing the crimes to those committed by Nazis in Germany.

According to the report, there are up to 120,000 prisoners held at camps across North Korea, as evidenced by satellite images and accounts given by witnesses.

“They are wrongs that shock the conscience of humanity,” Kirby said.

China, a permanent member of the Security Council, is likely to reject an appeal to take action against North Korea in the International Criminal Court.

“We think we should establish a constructive dialogue to solve the disputes over the human rights issues based on equal footing and mutual respect,” Hua said to reporters in Beijing. “It will not help the situation to bring the issue to an international court.”

Conversely, the U.N. report contains strong language lobbying for international intervention, stating that “the international community must accept its responsibility” to help North Koreans stuck in political and social turmoil––something the government is incapable of doing.

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