Each week, we bring you a roundup of some of the biggest stories making headlines around the world.
Here are nine things that happened outside of Vancouver last week that you should know about (in no particular order):
— AFP news agency (@AFP) February 25, 2016
A tropical cyclone hit Fiji on February 20 killing at least 42 people and causing extensive damage across the archipelago. Cyclone Winston’s winds reached gusts over 300 km/h causing power outages and destroying homes. According to UNICEF spokeswoman Alice Clements, at least 62,000 Fijians are homeless and living in emergency shelters. Cyclone Winston is one of the strongest tropical storms that has occurred in the Southern Hemisphere.
Six people were shot and killed in a Kalamazoo, Michigan, on February 19. The shooter has been identified as 45-year-old Uber driver Jason Dalton. His shooting spree began outside an apartment building where Dalton spotted a woman walking with children and opened fire. He then continued his violent rampage at a Kia car dealership and the parking of a Cracker Barrel restaurant.
Dalton picked up Uber passengers during the shooting. Kalamazoo police say that all the victims were selected at random and Dalton had no previous history of a criminal record. Dalton was charged Monday with six counts of open murder, two counts of assault with intent to commit murder, and eight counts of felony with a firearm.
Al Shabaab stormed a hotel after bombing a park in Mogadishu https://t.co/yfgiSHuYpu
— VICE News (@vicenews) February 26, 2016
Members of militant group Al-Shabab attacked a hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia, on Saturday. At least 14 people have been killed. The militants detonated a car bomb outside the Somali Youth League hotel, which was heavily secured. The militants then entered the hotel grounds and then began to shoot at civilians. Police officials say the attack has ended and the four attackers have been killed.
A giant accumulation of uncollected trash is taking over the city of Beirut, Lebanon. The overflowing garbage has been an ongoing problem in the city since July 2015 when competing bodies of government could not decide how to deal with the closure of Beirut’s main landfill. The garbage has now piled up and the stench is so bad that residents are calling it toxic.
Scores of people have been killed by bomb blasts and attacks outside Baghdad, Iraq. On Sunday, two roadside explosions occurred in the Shia neighbourhood of Sadr City, killing at least 70 people and injuring 100 others. In a separate incident, members Iraq’s military were attacked by ISIS fighters as policemen were kidnapped in Abu Gharib, just west of Baghdad. In another attack, 18 policemen were killed by ISIS militants near the town of Fallujah.
Here is a dose of good news in this week’s round up. In mid-January, a story broke about five-year-old Murtaza Ahmadi from Afghanistan. The little boy is a huge fan of soccer star Lionel Messi. For his fifth birthday, Ahmadi asked his dad for a real Messi jersey but his father told him that the family could not afford one. So Ahmadi’s older brother fashioned him a makeshift Messi jersey out of a blue and white plastic bag.
A photo of Ahmadi wearing that plastic bag jersey began making rounds on the Internet and even Messi saw the photo. That prompted the soccer star, who is a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF, to send multiple signed jerseys to Ahmadi and other children. “I love Messi and my shirt says Messi loves me,” Ahmadi told UNICEF.
The latest census data in Japan indicates that the nation’s population has shrunk by nearly one million people over the past five years. This is the nation’s first decline in population since 1920. Government projections predict that by 2060, 40% of Japan’s citizens will be over 65 years old. Demographers are pointing to the nation’s low birth rate and lack of immigration as key reasons for the fall in population.
A two-week ceasefire in Syria began on Saturday. The United States and Russia are in charge of watching over the ceasefire. It will be their job to determine if attacks on ISIS or the al-Nusra Front are permitted. According to the Russian coordinating unit in Syria, there have been nine violations of the ceasefire. Warplanes attacked seven villages in Aleppo and Hama. Reported airstrikes also hit central and northern Syria. Most incidences of violence reported are occurring between ISIS and the Syrian Kurds.
Iceland to stop hunting endangered fin whales: https://t.co/sTVRxv3OgW
— Nat Geo Photography (@NatGeoPhotos) February 27, 2016
Iceland’s only fin whaling company, Hvalur, has decided to cancel its annual summer hunt of endangered fin whales. The ban will have a major impact on the Japanese restaurant market, as the fin whale meat is popular in many dishes. Animal activists are welcoming the ban. “Obviously this is really great. They’ve been killing an increasing amount of fin whales and exporting thousands of tons of whale meat to Japan,” Clare Perry of the Environmental Investigation Agency told National Geographic.