9 things that happened around the world last week you should know about

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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 23 to 31, 2016

1. Zika virus could infect up to four million people, according to World Health Organization

The Word Health Organization (WHO) announced that the mosquito-borne Zika virus could infect up to four million people by the end of next year. The virus, which is passed on by mosquitos belonging to the Aedes species, is spreading extremely rapidly across South and Central America. Symptoms of the virus include fever, rash, red eyes, and joint pain.

The virus is also believed to cause microcephaly – abnormally small heads and brain damage in infants. “Arrival of the virus in some places has been associated with a steep increase in the birth of babies with abnormally small heads and [with] cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome,” said WHO director-general, Margaret Chan.

This week it was announced that four Canadians have been infected with the virus.

2. East Asia cold snap kills nearly 100 people

An unusual streak of freezing cold temperatures spreading throughout tropical parts of East Asia has resulted in the death of 100 people. In Taiwan, temperatures dropped to a 16-year low of 4°C. Many homes in sub-tropical regions of the country do not have central heating. As a result, the cold has killed 57 people, most if them being seniors.

Snow fell in normally humid parts of mainland China. Four strawberry farmers in Anhui province were killed by carbon monoxide poisoning when they turned up the heat in their greenhouse. The frigid weather also halted transportation. Nearly 11,000 airline passengers experienced delayed flights at Kunming airport in Yunnan province.

Temperature gauges in Hong Kong reached 3°C, making it the financial capital’s coldest temperatures in nearly 60 years. Parts of the city’s territories experienced sub-zero conditions, to the extent that ice and possibly snowfall were recorded.

Heavy snowfall killed at least five people in Japan, and in South Korea temperatures fell to a 15-year low of  minus 18°C. The cold weather is a result of a polar vortex being pushed away from Siberia.

 

3. Forty-five migrants drown in Aegean Sea

Two smuggling boats carrying migrants across the Aegean Sea capsized on January 22. The death toll in both incidents reached 45, when a wooden boat sank off the coast of the eastern island Kalolymnos. Thirty-four people drowned and 26 were rescued.

Another wooden ship with 49 passengers hit a rocky coast off the island of Farmakonisi. Forty people were able to escape safely, but six children and one adult died.

4. Suicide bombers kill 13 in Chibok, Nigeria

Thirteen people were killed and nearly 30 were wounded after six suicide bombers set off explosives at a market in Chibok, Nigeria, on Wednesday.

According to Pogu Bitrus of the Chibok Development Association, the bombers entered the town and a male assailant blew himself up at a military checkpoint. A military commander went to warn people in the market of the explosion, but it was too late and veiled female bombers detonated their explosives in the busy shopping area.

Residents say that Islamic militant group Boko Haram is responsible for the attacks. They are the same extremist organization that kidnapped 300 schoolgirls in Chibok in 2014.

5. Chinese miners rescued after 36 days trapped underground

Four miners trapped underground for 36 days in Shandong province, China, were rescued on Friday. The gypsum mine caved in on the workers on Christmas Day. Rescuers were able to detect the miners’ location 200 metres underground and pulled them up to safety. Nearly 400 emergency officials were involved with the rescue mission.

The collapse trapped 29 people in total. Fifteen have been rescued, one miner has been found dead, and thirteen remain missing.

6. Four people killed in Saudi Arabia mosque attack

At least four people were killed and 18 were injured after a suicide bomber attacked a Shia mosque in Al-Asha, Saudi Arabia, on Friday.

Security guards attempted to stop the attackers from entering the mosque, when one blew himself up. The other suspect was wounded by the explosion and arrested by authorities.

Since May 2015, there have been at least four other attacks on Shia mosques in Saudi Arabia – a nation with a 90 per cent Sunni population. No group has claimed responsibility for the incident.

7. Sweden expected to expel 80,000 migrants

Sweden may expel up to 80,000 migrants, according to the country’s interior ministry. Last year alone, 160,000 migrants arrived in Sweden.

The country’s interior ministry said that a charter aircraft will be used to deport the migrants over the next several years. On Thursday, Finland’s interior minister also announced that Helsinki was planning to deport 20,000 of 32,000 asylum seekers that arrived in 2015.

8. Mass graves found in Burundi according to Amnesty International

Human rights group Amnesty International says that satellite imagery taken in Burundi shows evidence of mass graves filled with the bodies of nearly 50 people who were killed in political unrest that took place last month.

The graves are located in a suburb near the country’s capital of Bujumbura. The violence that took place in December 2015 was led by Burundian security forces in response to a rebel attack against military forces.

“These images suggest a deliberate effort by the authorities to cover up the extent of the killings by their security forces and to prevent the full truth from coming out,” said Muthoni Wanyek, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa.

9. Eastern Russia rocked by 7.3 magnitude earthquake

A massive 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck Russia’s far eastern Kamchatka peninsula on Saturday. There were several aftershocks following the quake but there are currently no reports of serious injuries or damage to infrastructure. No tsunami warnings have been issued.

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About the author

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Simran Singh is a Contributor at Vancity Buzz. She is currently pursuing her Masters of Journalism at the University of British Columbia. She is a big fan of coffee, writing and exploring Vancouver. Send a story idea her way at simran@vancitybuzz.com
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