This week, ISIS stunned the world again with the shocking murder of a Jordanian pilot, sparking outrage and retaliation attacks and the Canadian government introduced legislation in efforts to take a stand against terrorism. Health concerns continue over the recent outbreak of measles in Canada and the U.S. and a tragic plane crash in Taiwan killed 35 people as the search continues for missing passengers.
Each Friday, we bring you a roundup of some of the biggest stories making headlines around the world. Here’s 9 things that happened outside of Vancouver over the past week that you should know about (in no particular order):
Image: Khalil Mazraawi / AFP
Earlier this week, ISIS released a horrific video of Jordanian pilot Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh being burned alive by ISIS soldiers. ISIS showed al-Kaseasbeh’s death video on outdoor screens for the public to watch in Raqqa, Syria.
Jordan has responded by sending fighter jets to bomb ISIS training centres. The Jordanian government also confirmed that they killed two prisoners that ISIS demanded to be released. Prior to the death of al-Kaseasbeh, Jordan was only carrying out military strikes against ISIS in Syria as part of a U.S.-led military coalition. However, in wake of the recent death of al-Kaseasbeh, Jordan has decided to expand military action against the extremist group in Iraq as well.
At least 35 people have died in a TransAsia Airways flight that was carrying 58 people. The plane crashed into a river shortly after taking off from Taipei on Wednesday. Fifteen people survived the accident. Dramatic video of the crash was captured by a motorist’s dash-cam. The plane came dangerously close to hitting apartments and the freeway before descending into the nearby Keelung river. The black box data has been recovered and investigators say that the crash was a result of engine failure.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported this week that new cases of Ebola continue to rise in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Out of 124 new cases, the WHO reports that there are 80 in Sierra Leone, 39 in Guinea and five in Liberia. Although this recent increase of the Ebola outbreak is fairly small, Dr. David Nabarro of the UN says it is still a cause for concern. Ebola has killed almost 9,000 people around the world since December 2013. The worst hit areas have been Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, where thousands of civilians have died.
Over 100 civilians have been murdered by Boko Haram in the village of Fotokol, Cameroon. According to a local village leader, Boko Haram militants stormed the town, killing people in their homes and in the local mosque. Fighting continued on Thursday leaving almost 500 people injured in the border town neighbouring Nigeria. Boko Haram (which translates to English as “Western education is sinful”) is a group demanding for the creation of an Islamic state in Nigeria. The attacks in Fotokol are seen as Boko Haram’s revenge fuelled response to airstrikes and ground troops deployed against the Sunni Muslim jihadist group by Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria earlier this week.
A recent outbreak of measles in Toronto and in 14 U.S. states has health officials concerned that people are not immunized against the highly contagious virus. A dose of the measles vaccine has a 95 per cent effectiveness rate in preventing the virus. When people are given a second dose of the vaccine, its effectiveness rate rises to 99 per cent. It is most common for children to be given the vaccination, but some parents opt out of the shot for philosophical and personal beliefs.
In the U.S. there have been 120 recent cases of the measles. Lawmakers in several states want to enact legislation that would make it harder for parents to opt out of the vaccination for their children. In Toronto, there have been four recently reported cases of the measles. In 2011, the Public health Agency of Canada found that 95.2 per cent of Canadians had received at least one dose of the vaccine before age two. Provinces are still taking precaution by sending out reminders to people via portable electronic record and text message telling them that they need to be immunized.
Image: Ezequiel Becerra/AFP/Getty Images
Last Friday, prime minister Stephen Harper introduced new anti-terror legislation following recent terror related attacks in Ottawa in October. The legislation is titled the Anti-terrorism Act (bill C-51) and amends existing laws and creates new ones in order to amp up Canada’s security measures against any terrorist related activities.
The legislation aims to lower privacy restrictions allowing for federal government departments and security forces to share information about individuals suspected to be involved in suspicious terrorist activities. Moreover, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) will be granted more power to spy on terrorist suspects. The no-fly list will also be expanded, allowing the government to add anyone to the list who they believe is involved with terrorist related activities. Justin Trudeau and the Liberal party support the bill, however it has come under scrutiny by NDP leader Thomas Mulcair. “How can the Prime Minister contemplate radically expanding the powers of CSIS without equally expanding oversight?” Mulcair asked in a question period earlier this week.
Image: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters
Paris has banned action movie shoots from occurring in the city in fear that actors in uniform could be a target for terrorists. Moreover, there is concern that action movie shoots taking place in public could confuse citizens, especially during such a highly sensitive time. The decision comes after the attacks at the Paris offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which left 17 dead this past January.
Research has found that migratory birds may be responsible for the spread of bird flu around the world. According to Dutch scientists, a strain of bird flu found at a UK duck farm last year could have been transferred by wild birds from Russia. Although the virus is seen as a low human health risk at the moment, researchers say that wild birds on long migratory routes should be carefully monitored as outbreaks of bird flu may become more apparent in the future.
The Dalai Lama’s visit to a public event in the U.S. which was attended by President Obama is causing outrage in China. China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in a statement that China believes the Dalai Lama is scheming to overthrow Chinese rule in Tibet. The Dalai Lama is seeking greater autonomy for Tibet from Beijing. However, the power China holds over the region means that the Tibetan spiritual leader is severely restricted in where he can visit and the political leaders he can meet. All of Obama’s previous meetings with the Dalai Lama have been conducted in private.
Missed last week’s roundup? Read it here.
Also check out our weekly series, published every Wednesday – 9 good things that happened around the world last week.
Feature Image: Ling Ming-Huang/Facebook