9 things that happened around the world this week

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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):

1. Canadian murdered by extremists in the Philippines

The body of 68-year-old Canadian John Ridsdel was recovered in the Philippines on Wednesday. Ridsdel was one of four tourists who was kidnapped by a militant group known as Abu Sayyaf last year. The militants demanded a ransom of $8.1-million for each of the hostages. “Paying ransom for Canadians would endanger the lives of every single one of the millions of Canadians who live, work and travel around the globe every single year,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement. The RCMP is now conducting an investigation into Ridsdel’s death. If the perpetrators are found and charges are laid, they could be punished under Canadian law. 

2. North Korea sentences American to 10 years of hard labour

North Korea’s Supreme Court has sentenced a South Korean-born American citizen to 10 years of hard labour. Kim Dong Chul was charged on Friday with espionage and “offences in a scheme to overthrow the socialist system of the DPRK.” Kim confessed to stealing North Korean military secrets and said he was deeply sorry for his actions.

“In cases where U.S. citizens are reported detained in North Korea, we work closely with the Swedish Embassy, which serves as the United States’ Protecting Power in North Korea. We have no further comment due to privacy considerations,” State Department spokesperson John Kirby told CNN. 

3. Nearly 500 refugees drown off Libyan coast

As many as 500 refugees drowned after the large ship they were traveling on sank in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya on April 16. The refugees were believed to be from Somalia, Ethiopia, and Egypt. A total of 41 survivors were rescued from the ship. The U.N. is calling it one of the biggest refugee tragedies to have occurred this year.

4. Bangladeshi LGBTQ activist hacked to death by militants

Prominent Bangladeshi gay rights activist, Xulhaz Mannan, and his friend, Tanay Mojumdar, were hacked to death on Monday in the country’s capital of Dhaka. Mannan was the founder and editor of Roopbaan- Bangladesh’s only LGBT magazine. Ansar al-Islam, a Bangladeshi militant group linked to al-Qaeda, has claimed responsibility for the killings.

5. African leaders to hold elephant summit

Leaders of African nations will meet in Kenya to plan how to save elephants across the continent from extinction. Africa’s elephant population has dropped by over 90% over the last 100 years. Business leaders and scientists will also attend the meeting. After the summit is over, Kenyan officials will burn 105 tonnes of confiscated ivory, which is estimated to be the tusks of over 6,700 elephants.

  • Read more on BBC

6. Aleppo bombings kill at least 30 people

The Syrian government’s airstrikes in rebel-held areas of Aleppo have killed at least 30 people. At least 40 airstrikes were carried out on Thursday. These attacks came hours after a strike on a hospital that was supported by Doctors Without Borders (MSF). Rescue officials continue searching through rubble for survivors.

7. Mexico could be legalizing marijuana

Mexico is moving closer to legalizing marijuana. Last week, President Enrique Peña Nieto sent a bill to Congress requesting lawmakers to change the health code. If the bill gets passed, people in prison or on trial for marijuana possession up to one ounce will be freed, citizens will be allowed to carry up to one ounce of marijuana, and the import of medicine infused with marijuana will be permitted. 

8. Teen planning terror attack arrested in Australia

A 16-year-old boy plotting a terrorist attack has been arrested in a Sydney suburb. The teenager, whose name has not been released, was planning an attack during Australia’s Anzac commemorations. The teen was charged with planning one act of terrorism. The max sentence the teen faces is life in prison.

9. Anti-government protesters arrested in Egypt

Hundreds of Egyptian protesters were arrested on Monday after demonstrating against the transfer of the Egyptian Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia.The transfer of the islands was decided at the beginning of April. Thousands of Egyptians gathered on the streets to call for the resignation of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s government, making it the largest protest since his election in 2014.

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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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