This week, the world was rocked by the events at Charlie Hebdo in France, overshadowing the developments in science and health as well as economic fears and ongoing elections. The world has shown solidarity against a brutal attack on the freedom of press, and continues to stand strong in the face of terrorism.
Each Friday, we bring you a roundup of some of the biggest stories making headlines around the world. Here’s 10 things that happened outside of Vancouver over the past week that you should know about (in no particular order):
January 2 to 8, 2015
1. UPDATE: Charlie Hebdo shooters killed in police raid; three hostages dead in separate supermarket incident
Image: Charlie Hebdo
Wednesday was a dark day for France as the office of satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, was attacked by heavily armed gunmen shouting Islamist slogans. The terrorists left 12 people dead as they embarked on a shooting spree during the staff’s editorial meeting.
After an exhaustive manhunt, both suspects in the Charlie Hebdo shooting were killed in a police raid on Friday a warehouse north of Paris. The hostage they were holding was safely rescued.
However, simultaneously today, another police incident unfolded at a Jewish supermarket in eastern Paris. The hostage taker was killed, but three of the hostages were killed in the process. It is believed the hostage taker knew the Charlie Hebdo suspects.
2. Sri Lanka’s president concedes defeat to opposition
Image: EPA/Associated Press
After a decade in power, Mahinda Rajapaksa conceded defeat in Sri Lanka’s presidential election, handing power to Maithripala Sirisena. The country was on edge waiting for the results as they watched what has been one of the closest elections in recent history. Rajapaksa called the elections in November two years ahead of schedule, and yesterday’s results would have seemed improbable only two months ago.
3. Two astronauts to spend a year in space
Image: Nasa/Getty Images
Scott Kelly of Nasa and Michael Komienko from Russian space agency Roscosmos will be taken to the International Space Station in March to begin orbiting Earth on board for one year. The mission hopes to test how the human body, physiologically and psychologically, will handle future voyages to an asteroid or Mars, which could last months.
4. Canada opens doors to Syrian and Iraqi refugees
Image: Mohamed Azakir/Reuters
In response to the UN’s plea for help, the Canadian immigration minister announced on Wednesday that Canada has agreed to resettle 10,000 Syrian and 3,000 Iraqi refugees over the next three years. This would meet 10 per cent of UN refugee agency’s latest appeal to resettle people who continue to flee from the violence in both countries. A report released recently showed that Syrian refugees now outnumber Afghan refugees, who had held the top spot for 30 years.
5. Boko Haram continues reign of terror
Image: Associated Press
After over-running a military base on Saturday, Islamist militant group Boko Haram attacked Baga town, leaving almost the entire town torched. A senior government official said that Baga, which had a population of 10,000, was now “virtually non-existent… It has been burnt down.” The group has continued to raid nearby towns, now holding control over 17 of them. The numbers of those killed in raids is still unknown, with reports ranging from hundreds to 2,000.
6. First transgender mayor elected in India
Image: Deutsche Welle
Nine months after a court declared that transgender should be recognized as a third gender, Madhu Kinnar, 35, won the mayoral election in Raigarh, India – by more than 4,500 votes. Kinnar, who is from the “low-caste” community, has been overwhelmed with support for her. “People have shown faith in me. I consider this win as love and blessings of people for me. I’ll put in my best efforts to accomplish their dreams,” Kinnar said.
7. China to invest $20 billion in Venezuela
As Venezuela struggles through a financial crisis triggered by falling oil prices, China has pledged to invest $20 billion in economic, social and oil-related projects in the country. Venezuela is currently suffering from the highest inflation in the Americas at more than 60 per cent, and China is looking to “strengthen cooperation” and its role in South America. So far, China has extended $42 billion in long-term loans to Venezuela, $24 billion of which has been paid out so far.
8. Euro sinks to a nine-year low
Image: Martin Leissl
Provoked by fear associated with upcoming Greek elections, the euro fell to a nine-year low on Monday and hopes for more of a monetary stimulus from the European Central Bank (ECB). By midday in Europe, it had fallen to $1.914. Aside from general pessimism, a major factor weighing on the euro is fear that the radical left-wing Syriza party will win Greece’s parliamentary elections at the end of January, starting a process that may lead to Greece leaving the Eurozone.
9. Scientists discover new antibiotic to combat resistance
Reported in the journal Nature on Wednesday, scientists said they had discovered a powerful new antibiotic that can kill a multitude of germs without the bugs becoming resistant to it. This comes as a much-needed breakthrough for antibiotics to overcome the problem of growing resistance against existing drugs. The new antibiotic, teixobactin, will be in clinical trials two years from now if all goes well.
10. AirAsia Flight 8501: tail section found on sea floor
Image: Adek Berry/Reuters
On Wednesday, signals from AirAsia’s Flight 8501 were detected close to where the aircraft’s tail has been located in the Java Sea, but the pings were later lost. However, recovery of the tail section – where the flight recorders are usually located – is ongoing. Divers will first take photos, recover bodies (if any) and then proceed to recover the black box, if possible, and debris for investigation. Given the flight incidents over the past year, the case for an ejectable black box is now growing stronger.
Also check out our new weekly series, published every Wednesday – 9 good things that happened around the world last week.
Featured image: Sky News