Off the Radar: What's going on in the world

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Here are five news stories from around the world you should be paying attention to.

One of the best ways to know a civilization is to look at its art. All forms of art are a direct reaction to the time and space where it was produced. Therefore, art is inherently political, a translation of its environment. A reflection of society. Keeping yourself updated with the news is important not only to know what is going on around you, but also to interpret it as well.

To help you stay informed, here are five news stories you should be paying attention to:

Tanzania opposition boycotts reconciliation attempt

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As mentioned in this column last issue, Tanzania’s opposition leader Freeman Mbowe was released after eight months in custody under terror charges. His release was seen as a sign of reconciliation with the authoritarian government. Now Mbowe and his party Chadema are boycotting a national dialogue because a new constitution is not on the agenda. The meetings are being organized by Tanzania’s Centre for Democracy, a non-partisan, non-religious organization that includes all parties in Tanzania. Mbowe claims he’s trying to push for a new constitution that includes truth and justice.

Young brothers found in Amazon after four weeks

Two Indigenous brothers, aged eight and six, were found in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest after almost four weeks. They got lost after going out to catch small birds. After they went missing, hundreds of residents from their town, Manicoré, spent weeks searching for them. This is the rainy season in the Amazon, which makes moving through the jungle more difficult. The boys didn’t eat anything and only drank rainwater. They were found by a local tree cutter and later taken to hospital where they were treated for malnourishment.

Julian Assange unable to appeal against extradition

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange had his latest appeal against extradition to the US denied by the Supreme Court. Assange has been confined in Belmarsh maximum-security prison in London, UK, since April 2019. His lawyers said, however, that he had not ruled out launching a final appeal. Assange is wanted in the US over the publication in 2010 and 2022 of thousands of classified documents related to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. The documents revealed how the US military was responsible for killing hundreds of thousands of civilians in unreported incidents. He faces an 18-count indictment from the US government, who says the leaks broke the law and endangered lives.

As COVID cases dip, India celebrates festival of colours

After two years of restricted celebrations, millions of Indians finally celebrated Holi, the festival of colours, after a significant dip in COVID-19 cases. The festival marks the last full-moon day of the lunar month, and it symbolizes new beginnings. To celebrate it, people cheer and have fun smearing bright colours on each other. The festival happened without major COVID restrictions.

Syria’s Assad historic visit to the United Arab Emirates

This is the first time Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad has visited the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 11 years, since the Syrian civil war began. While in the UAE, Assad met with other rulers and signalled the willingness to strengthen relations between Syria and its Arab neighbours. Reportedly, Assad discussed how to promote economic trade and how the UAE could provide humanitarian and political support for Syria. Since the beginning of the Syrian civil war, the United Nations said that at least 350,000 people died. The US disapproved the UAE’s decision to welcome Assad, calling the trip “profoundly disappointing and troubled.”