Happy Friday, Care2 members! This has been quite a crazy week. Take a look.
The Middle East and North Africa
Libya: As the International Criminal Court seeks to issue an arrest warrant for Muammar el-Gaddafi for crimes against humanity, Gaddafi’s wife and only daughter have fled to Tunisia. Could Gaddafi be worried about his chances of victory?
Syria: Violence has broken out along the Israeli/Syrian border in the Golan Heights, an area seized from Syria by Israel in 1974. The White House has accused the Syrian government of provoking violence along this border to divert attention from its own bloody crackdown against protesters.
In a further display of disapproval of the Syrian government, the Obama Administration has imposed sanctions against President Bashar al-Assad. This is a strong message from the U.S. that violence against civilians needs to stop. Unfortunately, bloody protests continue, and as many as 34 people were killed today amidst huge rallies.
Yemen: President Ali Abdullah Saleh continues to stall despite his promise to step down and transfer power to the opposition party. As a result, unrest continues.
Bahrain: 9 protesters were given 20 year prison sentences this week, continuing the Bahraini government’s crackdown on protesters, some of whom have even received death sentences.
In a speech on Thursday, President Obama spoke of the U.S.’s desire to support democracy and peace in the Middle East and North Africa. He also called to Israel and Palestine to create a two-state solution to their decades-long conflict based on 1967 borders.
The world has been waiting for news about the journalists held captive by governments in the Middle East and North Africa, and this week marked a dramatic turning point for many.
Dorothy Parvaz, an Al-Jazeera journalist, was released after being in Syrian custody (and later Iranian custody) since April.
In addition, 4 journalists in Libya who had been detained for allegedly entering the country illegally were freed and are on their way home.
Unfortunately, the photojournalist Anton Hammerl, who went missing around the same time as the other journalists, is confirmed to be dead. Family members have learned that Hammerl was shot by pro-Gaddafi forces over a month ago, and the Gaddafi regime has been covering up the murder since then. Our hearts go out to Hammerl’s family and friends.
International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia
This week we promoted awareness of issues surrounding homophobia and transphobia in honor of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. Click here for all the Care2 coverage on the subject.
Strange stories of the week
Watch out when you head to the local 7-11 to find a little something to satisfy your sweet tooth — you could end up with a brownie that contains melatonin, a drug that causes drowsiness. These desserts, called Lazy Cakes, Kush Cakes or Lulla Pies, are marketed as a way to relax. This may seem harmless, but just be careful not to eat the whole thing! Recommended dosage is half a brownie.
What happens when you combine natural ingredients with some interesting growth hormones? Apparently, you get exploding watermelons.
Let’s just get this out of the way so we can stop talking about him once and for all. The Donald is not running for president. And good riddance to him.
Get your holy water ready, folks. The rapture is set to occur tomorrow (Saturday, May 21). Don’t forget to make sure you have arranged for some “certified atheists” to care for your animals after you’ve been saved.
Animal welfare success stories
A new study shows that sperm whales have accents and dialects when they communicate. These amazing animals have a beautiful and diverse language system. Unfortunately they are threatened by noise pollution because of their sensitive hearing.
Social media isn’t just for people anymore. Check out these 6 animals who have more Twitter and Facebook followers than most people.
Congrats to the city of Austin, Texas which just became a no-kill city! Thanks in part to support from Care2 members, the city is making sure that animal shelters do not have to put unwanted animals to death.
If you want to further support animal shelters around the country, you can vote in America’s Favorite Animal Shelter Contest. So far, the Blind Cat Rescue & Sanctuary of St. Pauls, NC is in the lead. Cast your own vote!
Thanks for reading! I’ll be back next week… pending, of course, the apocalypse.
Image by Peaco Todd, a Care2 blogger