October’s News

At the end of every month I’ll write a post about the current events that interested me. If I wanted to learn more or if it made me think, I’ll include it here!

  1. Svetlana Alexievich won the Nobel Prize in Literature. I like the Nobel Prizes. The recipients are usually a group of people I’ve not heard about who are doing work that I wish I had heard of. This year’s winner in Literature was awarded the prize “for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time.” Alexievich interviews everyday people who are affected by manmade disasters and uses those stories to build her novels. When she learned that she won the prize, she said it meant “freedom” to her since she would be financially able to devote herself to writing. I’ve not read any of her books but certainly will. Perhaps I’ll start with this one.

 

  1. A Doctors without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan was bombed by the US. Sadly, humanitarian hospitals are bombed a lot. It rarely makes the news. Did you know that another MSF hospital was bombed in Yemen just a few weeks after Kunduz? To me, this attack stood out because it was perpetrated by the US military. Despite having known of the hospital’s location, the attack lasted over an hour. 30 people died during or after the bombing. I think this event speaks to the low regard for innocent lives that the governments must have. MSF is an organization that regularly speaks out against rights violations; they list “bearing witness and speaking out” as a core principle on their website. If they would bomb an MSF hospital, what else is going on?

 

  1. Students in South Africa protest against an increase in student fees and win. Students in South Africa protested against a 10-12% increase in student fees arguing that this would make higher education inaccessible to those without private funding and perpetuate social inequalities. The protests lasted for about a week and involved white and black students as well as those who are able to afford school. South African president Zuma eventually said that fees would not increase this year. I wonder how this issue will be resolved. High quality tertiary education is expensive, especially as STEM becomes more and more important. Will there be a 12%+ increase in 2017?

 

  1. Nepal elected a female president. While reading about Bidhya Devi Bhandari’s election, I learned that Nepal recently adopted a constitution that requires at least 1/3 of lawmakers to be women. Wow. As of Jan 2015, the US Congress is 20% female. We’re debating whether men should be legislating issues regarding women’s health, and earlier this year some said that Elizabeth Warren shouldn’t run for president because it would draw votes from Hilary Clinton. It will be interesting to see how Nepal’s constitution impacts governance and women’s inclusion and equality in the country.

 

  1. International Social Worker blog was started! That’s newsworthy, right?

 

Further reading:

Bump, P. (2015, January 1). The new Congress is 80 percent white, 80 percent male, and 92 percent Christian [news article]. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/01/05/the-new-congress-is-80-percent-white-80-percent-male-and-92-percent-christian/

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2015 (2015, October 8). [press release]. Retrieved from http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/2015/press.html

Svetlana Alexievich wins 2015 Nobel prize in literature. (2015, October 8). [news article]. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/oct/08/svetlana-alexievich-wins-2015-nobel-prize-in-literature

Kunduz Hospital Airstrike. (2015, October 15). [press release]. Retrieved from http://www.msf.org/topics/kunduz-hospital-airstrike

SA students: Zuma freezes tuition fees amid protests (2015, October 23). [news article]. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-34618724

Haviland, C. (2015, September 19). Why is Nepal’s new constitution controversial? [news article]. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-34280015

Gurubacharya, B. (2015, October 28). Nepal’s parliament elects nation’s first female president [news article]. Retrieved from http://bigstory.ap.org/article/cf73e08c58e84a37a2960677ba5dc95d/nepals-parliament-elects-nations-first-female-president

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