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Focus This Week in the World

This Week In The World | 2.18.19

Alice Hakvaag February 18, 2019

Poland

By Hal Conte

A Middle East-oriented diplomatic conference was thrown into turmoil when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made comments that were translated into English by his Twitter team as reading “the common interest of war with Iran.” The event was seen by many as an attempt to rally support for isolating Iran among other countries on the Arabian Peninsula, though recent event changes made it unclear if Iran was the focus of the conference. The tweet was quickly deleted and replaced with “combating Iran,” nonetheless, some analysts, along with Iran’s foreign ministry, considered the original statement to be more genuine.

Photo source: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Haiti

By Hal Conte

Major protests by Haitians have rocked the administration of President Jovenel Moise over the past week as hyperinflation, mass poverty and allegations of corruption have led thousands of workers to take to the streets, light car tires ablaze and release prisoners from jails. Police responded with militarized crackdowns, however, these efforts appear to be failing amid mass support for Moise’s resignation. The government has announced unclarified new economic policies in attempts to buy off opponents, but if the people, many of whom consider Moise to be a “liar,” will accept them is unclear.

Photo Source: AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery

Brazil

By Hal Conte

The Brazilian government has arrested eight figures from the mining multinational Vale amid public fears of another mining disaster and desires for justice after the collapse of a dam filled with mining waste killed over 150 people three weeks ago. Experts have counted 87 similar dams rated as equally vulnerable in the country, and Vale employees have been described as “murderers” after the company’s pre-knowledge of the risks has come to light. So far, all of those arrested have eventually been released even as the company’s involvement in pressuring the government and regulators have been uncovered.

Photo Source: Douglas Magno/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Liberia

By Alice Hakvaag

At an illegal gold mine near Tapeta, Liberia, 60 people were arrested following a cave-in that continues to trap 30 miners. Seven bodies have been found, with casualties expected to rise, say authorities. The 60 that were arrested “resisted” a team from Liberian authorities, barring police, army, and drug enforcement agents from entering. Thousands work in the mine, with Liberia’s bad economy driving many to dangerous work in gold mines across the country. Authorities called the situation “lawless.”

Japan

By Alice Hakvaag

The Saidiaji-eyo festival, a fertility festival that brings in good harvests, was celebrated on Saturday, with a large festival being held at the Kinryozan Saidiaji Buddhist Temple in Okayama. Crowds of people arrived at the temple to light lanterns, and about 10,000 men showed up to participate in a hunt for shingi, a pair of sticks blessed by the temple’s chief. They started by stripping down to loincloths, purifying themselves in the Yoshii river, and then rushing to find the two sticks once they were thrown into the crowd. The two men who found the sticks will be considered the luckiest men of the year.

Photo: Okayama Prefecture Official Tourist Guide