German anti-migrant violence persists
The German interior ministry released a report that discusses a chronic problem of anti-migrant sentiment and violence within the nation. In 2016, there were approximately 3,500 attacks on asylum accommodations such as camps and hostels, 1,000 attacks on migrant housing, 200 attacks on refugee volunteers and 2,500 attacks on individual migrants. The report did not say whether there were any fatalities as a result of these attacks, but it noted that 560 were injured, 43 of whom were children. These figures amount to the sad conclusion that there were an average of 10 attacks on refugees and migrants a day in Germany in 2016. Along with the report, the interior ministry included a statement expressing their condemnation of the violence: “People who have fled their home country and seek protection in Germany have the right to expect safe shelter.”
Farah declared clean
The Sunday Times has published an article claiming that a document leaked to them by the Russian hacking group Fancy Bears reveals that Nike Oregon Project athletics coach Alberto Salazar has been using a mixture of drugs, including L-carnitine, in an off-label manner to boost his clients’ performance. Alberto Salazar is an American coach not entirely unused to controversy. He has been the subject of an ongoing investigation since the summer of 2015. Since this article’s publication, U.K. Athletics has made comments on behalf of Salazar, as well as his famous runner Mo Farah: “L-carnitine is a legal and scientifically legitimate supplement that can be used by endurance athletes… all doses administered and methods of administration have been fully in accordance with Wada-approved protocol and guidelines… there was no evidence of any impropriety on the part of Mo Farah and no reason to lack confidence in his training programme.”
Kim Jong-nam killed with VX nerve agent
Kim Jong-nam, the older half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, was attacked in a Kuala Lampur airport last week. Since then, investigations have determined that the cause of death was likely a small smear of VX nerve agent that was swiped on his face at the airport and that he was likely dead within 15 to 20 minutes of the incident. VX nerve agent is a potent, odorless nerve toxin that is slightly yellow in color and oily in consistency. It has been classified as a weapon of mass destruction by the UN and is one of a list of substances that all nations have been instructed to destroy stockpiles of and never manufacture. The two women who were immediately involved in the attack have since been apprehended. They are Doan Thi Huang, a 28-year-old Vietnamese national, and Siti Aisyah, a 25-year old Indonesian woman. The women were paid about $90 to wipe rags tainted with what they thought was baby oil on Kim’s face as part of a reality television prank. VX, however, is extremely strong. Less than a drop on the skin will kill a person within minutes, and questions have been raised about how neither of the women were exposed or affected.
Drumpf will miss correspondents’ dinner
The White House Correspondents’ Dinner is a formal event attended by many of America’s rich, powerful and famous. The tradition began in 1921, and every U.S. president since Calvin Coolidge in 1924 has been in attendance – that is, every president until now. Following a White House press briefing last week, to which a handful of prominent news sources, including CNN, Buzzfeed, NYT and the BBC, were not invited, President Drumpf announced via Twitter that he will not attend the annual correspondents’ dinner, scheduled for April 29. Many journalists attend the event, a suspected reason for Drumpf’s decision. The President has been vocal about his distaste for the media, labeling many sources he disagrees with as “fake news” and going so far as to call said outlets the “enemy of the people.” Drumpf has participated in the dinner several times in recent years, most notably in 2011, when then-President Barack Obama made several jokes at Drumpf’s expense.
Mexico cautions U.S.
Earlier this week, President Drumpf announced that he will commence construction of his infamous wall along the U.S.-Mexico border “very soon, way ahead of schedule. It’s way, way, way ahead of schedule.” The wall was a major point of Drumpf’s campaign in 2016, and he is eager to see the structure become a reality during his term. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency will accept proposals for the wall beginning on March 6. A list of finalists will be selected by March 20, and the contracts for the selected plans will be conferred in April. However, Drumpf’s declaration that Mexico would pay for the wall, an estimated $21.5 billion, has been rebuked. Following the Mexican government’s insistence that it would not extend any funds towards Drumpf’s wall, the U.S. president threatened to place a 20 percent tax on all Mexican imports to cover the cost. In response to this threat, the Mexican government has made clear that it could, and would, respond in kind should such a levy be put in place. Closed-door meetings involving U.S. and Mexico officials have since been underway.
Democrats choose new leader
The U.S. Democratic Party has selected Tom Perez as its new Chairman, making him the first Latino to hold the position. Perez was the labor secretary under the Obama administration. In a speech made after the election process in Atlanta this weekend, Mr. Perez spoke of the challenges the party faces after Drumpf’s election victory, saying that Democrats are “suffering from a crisis of confidence, a crisis of relevance.” However, he continued his address with a more positive and reaffirming tone and said that he is “confident that when we lead with our values and lead with our actions we succeed. That is what the Democratic Party has always been about and that is what we will continue to be about.” The runner-up for the chairmanship was Mr. Keith Ellison. Ellison, who is a representative from Minnesota, was the first Muslim to ever be elected to Congress. He will now serve as the deputy chairman of the Democratic Party