Turing to world news, the biggest story of the last few day is the massive destruction in the Philippines caused by what may very well be the biggest storm the world has ever seen. The images we have been seeing for the past couple of days have been positively heartbreaking. According to the BBC, Up to 10,000 are said to have died in Tacloban city and hundreds elsewhere. Hundreds of thousands are displaced.
The typhoon flattened homes, schools and an airport in Tacloban.
Relief workers are yet to reach some towns and villages cut off since the storm.
In many areas there is no clean water, no electricity and very little food. There were repors of nearly 300mph winds felt across the islands in the area. One has to wonder if this was simply a fluke event or something that will be more commonplace due to our changing climate. We won't know for certain as this is simply an isolated weather event but if we see more events like this, then it will be the trend climate scientists have been predicting.
Heartbreaking but in an entirely different way is the situation in the Central African Republic. The Seleka coalition of armed rebels ousted President Francois Bozize earlier this year.
Since then the rebels have committed human rights violations on an "unprecedented scale," according to Reuters and Amnesty. The image in the link shows houses that have been burned in just one town.
Usually stories of violence in African nations are so common that people simply blow them off as just how things are there. They don't have to be, of course, and many of the solutions to the problems African nations face are rooted in structural flaws left behind by the exodus of European nations post imperialism. Direct aid helps but not as much as the nations of the Global North going into these countries and helping them create sustainable economies.
The United States and Iran have failed to reach a deal on Iran's nuclear program. Shocking, I know. What began as more hope then we have seen in years, ended abruptly when faced with hardliners political capital on all sides of the talks. In some ways, I agree with the hardliners like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Iran has to do much more than elect a new president who says nice things. Granted, President Rouhani has to deal with his own hardliners but with protests in the streets of Tehran and other Iranian cities that are deeply anti-American, his government is going to have to take significant action if they want movement on an end to the sanctions that are crippling his country.
Finally, it seems there is one country in the world that would like to give up their guns: Yemen. It seems that the citizens of Yemen would happily hand in their guns if their government provided better security.
Like most Yemeni men, Mahmoud Shahra owns a gun and has known how to use it since childhood, although the 25-year-old activist used to leave his weapons at home. But since the politically motivated kidnapping of one of his close friends earlier this year, Shahra has carried a gun at nearly all times. He seems at ease with his AK-47, but his demeanor hides internal disquiet. “Even if I feel safer and more confident, I feel like I’m betraying my values when I carry a gun,” he says. “Still, the current security environment has forced me to do so.”