This week, extreme environmental conditions have been hitting all parts of the world. From flash flooding in Sochi, Russia, to a deadly heatwave in Pakistan, the intense forces of Mother Nature are certainly not letting up.
Each Friday, 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 over the past week that you should know about (in no particular order):
The city of Sochi, Russia, has been hit by intense flooding over the passed week. The Black Sea resort town is covered in several feet of water leaving residents without power and stranded as officials struggle to clean up public spaces and buildings. Authorities are considering an evacuation of last year’s Olympic city, as it has pretty much shut down. “There’s no water, no gas, no electricity. They say it could be back tonight or maybe tomorrow,” one Sochi resident told reporters.
A deadly heat wave in Pakistan has killed over 1,000 people. Temperatures have reached over 45 degrees Celsius in some regions of the nation. The heat wave has killed so many people that morgues in Karachi have been running out of space to store dead bodies. Residents in the city continue to suffer with extreme electricity cuts, leaving them without air conditioning or ceiling fans. Moreover, the extreme rise in temperature has coincided with the holy month of Ramadan, making it more difficult for many Muslims who are fasting during the religious observance.
On Monday, a report released by the United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry revealed that both sides in the 2014 war in Gaza breached international law. The investigation found serious violations of international humanitarian law by the Israeli military and Palestinian fighters, which could be considered as war crimes. The 51-day conflict took place last year during July and August. Over 2,000 Palestinians were killed as well as 67 Israeli soldiers. The report highlights that both Palestinian armed groups and the Israeli military were responsible for targeting civilians and residential areas.
On Monday, the Taliban attacked the Afghan parliament building in Kabul with explosives. All members of parliament were safely evacuated from the premises and security forces we able to prevent the attackers from getting into the building. All six gunmen were killed. “It was a huge blast that shook the building and shattered windows. We are in a safe place right now,” lawmaker Shukria Barekzai told reporters. According to Ebadullah Karimi, a spokesperson for Kabul police, a suicide bomber accompanied by five other attackers was responsible for the explosion.
Indonesia’s Mount Sinabung has become extremely active over the last few weeks. Within the span of a few hours, the volcano erupted three times resulting in huge clouds of smoke and ash, which took over the skies. Over 10,000 people have been evacuated from towns surrounding the volcano during the last several days. Many residents are staying in temporary shelters and with authorities unsure about when the eruptions will end, it is unclear when people can return to their homes.
Leaders of the European Union (EU) have agreed to relocate thousands of migrants who have landed in Greece and Italy. The agreement took place during late-night talks in Brussels. Donald Tusk, the chairman of the summit, announced that 40,000 migrants would be relocated to various states in the EU over the next two years. “Leaders agreed that 40,000 persons in need will be relocated from Greece and Italy to other states over the next two years. Interior ministers will finalise the scheme by the end of July,” Tusk said in a statement. The leaders have also agreed to resettle an additional 20,000 refugees outside of the EU.
American Intelligence officials have reported that China is the “leading suspect” in a massive hack of a U.S. agency containing the personal records of four million current and former federal employees. America’s Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, confirmed that China was at the top of the suspect list. U.S. officials are still investigating how many people were impacted by the hack. It is suspected that over 18 million Social Security numbers could have been revealed during the cyber attack. American authorities are still debating if they should retaliate against Chinese officials for the security breach.
Santiago, Chile, has declared that it is experiencing an “environment emergency” for the first time in over a decade as large amounts of smog have covered the city. Santiago is experiencing one of the driest Junes in over 40 years. Poor air circulation conditions in the city have resulted it to be covered in heavy blankets of smog. Government officials have recommended that residents avoid outdoor activities and they have ordered nearly two million cars off the road.
South Carolina has announced the Confederate flag will be removed from flying on the state’s Capitol grounds. The decision comes almost a week after nine black parishioners were shot and killed at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, in a racially motivated attack. The shooting sparked outrage all over the nation as Americans have called for the Confederate flag to be taken down from the State House as well as public spaces all over the country. The Confederate flag was flown by pro-slavery states in the South during the time of America’s Civil War in the 1800s. Thus, the flag has become a symbol of America’s racially oppressive history and racist attitudes towards African Americans. “While an integral part of our past [the flag] does not represent the future of our great state,” said South Carolina governor Nikki Haley in a public address.