2016 has kicked off with tensions brewing between Iran and Saudi Arabia, China’s financial markets plummeting, and North Korea claiming it tested its first Hydrogen bomb.
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):
January 1 to 9, 2016
1. Iran and Saudi Arabia sever diplomatic ties
Iran and Saudi Arabia have severed diplomatic ties. The turmoil comes after Saudi Arabia’s New Year’s Day execution of a popular Shiite cleric named Sheikh al-Nimr and 46 other prisoners charged with various counts of terrorism. Iranians responded to the executions by setting the Saudi embassy in Tehran on fire. Saudi Arabia then cut all diplomatic ties with Tehran. On Thursday, Iran accused Saudi Arabia of airstrikes that hit the Iranian embassy in Sana’a, Yemen.
2. Series of sexual assaults and muggings occur in Germany on New Year’s Eve
A series of mass assaults including sexual attacks and muggings took place in Cologne, Germany, on New Year’s Eve. German authorities received over 122 complaints of sexual assaults and violent attacks last Thursday evening and early Friday morning. The attacks were targeted specifically against women.
Germany’s Interior Ministry has stated that 18 out of the 31 individuals identified as perpetrators were asylum seekers. German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the acts of violence “intolerable.” Merkel has been the subject of backlash following the attacks. Her critics are accusing her of being too relaxed with her decision to allow an influx of refugees into the country.
3. China landslide death toll rises to 58
— CBC World News (@CBCWorldNews) January 6, 2016
The death toll resulting from a landslide in China rose, as authorities report that at least 58 people have been killed by the disaster. The landslide occurred on December 20 in the city of Shenzhen after a huge pile of garbage on top of a hill collapsed following heavy rainfall. Shenzhen authorities have confirmed the identity of 52 of the 58 recovered bodies. An additional 25 people remain missing. Eleven individuals have been arrested for neglect over the garbage site.
4. North Korea claims hydrogen bomb successfully tested
North Korea claims it successfully completed underground testing of a hydrogen bomb. A 5.1 magnitude tremor was detected off the coast of Kilju, North Korea, by the U.S. Geological Survey on Tuesday. Following the tremor, North Korean state TV announced that the country’s first hydrogen bomb was successfully tested.
World leaders condemned the supposed H-bomb testing. “While we cannot confirm these claims at this time, we condemn any violation of U.N. Security Council Resolutions and again call on North Korea to abide by its international obligations and commitments,” said John Kirby of the U.S. State Department. North Korea’s main ally, China, also expressed disapproval of the test calling it “irrespective of the international community’s opposition.” U.N. Security Council members met in an emergency meeting following North Korea’s H-bomb announcement.
5. Earthquake hits northeast India
— Reuters India (@ReutersIndia) January 4, 2016
A deadly 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit northeast India and Bangladesh on Monday, leaving at least 11 people dead and 200 injured. The quake struck in the province of Manipur, and could be felt in Nepal and Yangon, Myanmar.
6. Obama sheds tears during latest address on gun violence
U.S. President Barack Obama shed tears during his latest address on gun violence on Tuesday. The president was introduced by Mark Barden, whose son was gunned down in the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre. “Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad. And by the way, it happens on the streets on Chicago everyday,” Obama stated, referring to the Sandy Hook tragedy as well as the ongoing gun violence in Chicago.
In his speech, Obama announced that he would be using his presidential powers to expand the background check system, in order for it to apply to online and gun show sales of firearms. Obama also stated that more funding would be allocated towards mental health initiatives.
7. Chinese shares show improvement after disastrous drop
Chinese shares dropped twice last week creating a ripple effect in global markets. On Thursday, the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges plummeted and the “circuit breaker” was activated. It took only 29 minutes for trading on the Shanghai Stock Exchange to completely shut down for the day. On Friday, Chinese markets appeared to slightly recover. The Shanghai Composite Index and the CSI300 index both closed up 2% at 3,186.41 points and 3,361.56 points, respectively.
8. At least 60 dead after bomb attack in Libya
A truck bomb exploded at a police training centre in the western Libyan town of Zliten on Thursday. At least 60 police officers were killed in the attack and the blast injured nearly 200 others. The police base is used to train nearly 400 border officers. Rescue crews struggled to recover the wounded and were only able to pull 60 bodies from the scene in their initial attempts. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack.
9. Archeologists find 144-year shipwrecks off Alaskan coast
Archaeologists have discovered the wreckage from two 19th century whaling ships in the Chukchi Sea off the northern coast of Alaska. Researchers predict that the ships have been trapped in the ice since 1871. Climate change is one of the main reasons researchers say they were able to find the ships. “With less ice in the Arctic as a result of climate change, archaeologists now have more access to potential shipwreck sites than ever before,” the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration stated in a news release.