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):
1. 570 dead in Ecuador earthquake
A magnitude-7.8 earthquake has left 570 people dead in Ecuador. Saturday’s earthquake is being called the worst natural disaster the nation has seen in decades. According to Ecuador’s Riske Management Office, 115 people remain missing and 7,015 are injured. Due to the extensive damage, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correra announced a short-term tax increase to kickstart reconstruction efforts.
2. Man kicked off of Southwest Airlines flight for speaking Arabic
Khairuldeen Makhzoomi was on board a Southwest Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Oakland, California. The 26-year-old political science student at the University of California, Berkeley, decided to make a quick phone call to his uncle in Iraq before take off. Makhzoomi wanted to tell his uncle about the dinner he attended the night before with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Another passenger on the flight heard Makhzoomi speaking Arabic and notified the flight staff. Shortly after, police officers arrived and told Makhzoomi he had to get off the plane.
“Prior to the departure of Flight 4620, our crew made the decision to investigate a report of potentially threatening comments overheard onboard our aircraft. A group of our employees including the flight crew made the decision to review the situation. We understand local law enforcement also spoke with that passenger as the aircraft departed the gate,” Southwest said in a statement.
Makhzoomi says all he wants is an apology from the airline.
3. Gunmen kill 7 policemen guarding polio vaccination clinic in Pakistan
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) April 20, 2016
Seven policemen guarding a polio vaccination clinic were killed by gunmen in Karachi, Pakistan, in two separate attacks on Wednesday. The officers were sent to protect healthcare workers giving polio vaccinations to children. No patients or healthcare workers were hurt. A faction of the Pakistani Taliban known as Jamat-ul-Ahrar has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
4. Nearly 93% of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is dead due to coral bleaching
This week, researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies completed their survey of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and discovered that 93% of the largest living structure on Earth has been impacted by coral bleaching. The bleaching occurs when corals turn white under environmental stress mainly due to climate change.
5. Pope Francis brings 12 Syrian refugees to the Vatican
After a visit to a refugee camp on the Greek Island of Lesbos, Pope Francis decided to take 12 Syrian refugees back with him to the Vatican. The three families of Muslim refugees from Syria had their homes bombed during the war. According to a statement released by the Vatican, Pope Francis wanted to “make a gesture of welcome” to the refugee families.
6. At least 13 dead in Mexican petrochemical plant explosion
A huge explosion at an oil facility in Mexico has killed at least 3 people and injured dozens more.https://t.co/3k4vbtjPSI
— AJ+ (@ajplus) April 21, 2016
At least 13 people are dead and 136 are injured after a petrochemical plant exploded in Mexico’s southern Gulf Coast on Wednesday. The blast caused a fire which resulted in an evacuation of the entire area due to the toxins in the air. According to Veracruz State Governor, Javier Duarte, the blast was felt 10 km away from the explosion site and nearly 2,000 residents in the surrounding region were forced to evacuate.
7. Harriet Tubman will be on the U.S. $20 bill
Harriet Tubman will be the newest face on the U.S. $20 bill. Tubman escaped slavery and became an abolitionist. She helped hundreds of African Americans escape slavery via the Underground Railroad during the 19th Century. Tubman will be the first African-American to ever be featured on U.S. paper money and she will be the first woman on the nation’s currency in over a century.
8. Music icon Prince dead at 57
Iconic pop superstar Prince was found dead in his Minnesota estate on Thursday. The 57-year-old singer rose to fame during the 1980s and has left a legacy of classic hits including 1999, When Doves Cry, and Kiss. Prince sold over 100 million albums, won seven Grammy Awards and an Oscar. His funkadelic and unapologetic style set him apart as a truly iconic entertainer.
9. 200 dead and 100 children missing in Ethiopia attack
Nearly 200 people are dead and 108 children are missing after attackers from South Sudan stormed 13 villages in western Ethiopia in a cross-border cattle raid on April 15. The assailants also stole over 2,000 livestock from 13 villages in the region. Ethiopia held a day of mourning on Wednesday to honour the victims of the gruesome attacks.