This week around the world: April 22–28

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​April 22 Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani declared a national day of mourning after touring Afghanistan’s largest military installation and the site of an attack the previous day where over 100 soldiers were killed. Despite previous plans to have all U.S. troops withdraw from Afghanistan by early 2017, the inability of the Afghan military to counter a growing Taliban insurgency has led to calls from NATO and others for additional American soldiers.

April 23 Paris, France

In a first for French politics, neither major political party had a candidate make it past the first round of the presidential election. Discontent with establishment politics and ongoing violence have carried Marine Le Pen and her far-right National Front party from the fringes to a runoff with the winner of the first round, centrist Emmanuel Macron.

April 25 Ciudad del Este, Paraguay

Dozens of robbers armed with assault rifles and explosives raided a private security company in Paraguay, killing a police officer and making off with millions of dollars. Authorities suspect a major Brazilian criminal organization to be behind the robbery, which took place in the “Triple Frontier” region where the borders of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil meet.

April 27 Gaza, Palestine

The humanitarian crisis in Gaza deepened as the government of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced it would cease payments for electricity to Israel. Daily households in addition to vital services such as hospitals, clinics, and water supplies face power outages as Abbas attempts to exert pressure on political rival Hamas, which has been the governing authority of Gaza since its takeover in 2007.

April 27 Japan/United States

Relations between Japanese and American spy agencies over the last six decades came to light when documents from National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden were published in cooperation between Japanese and U.S. press organizations. Despite cooperation between the two countries involving half a billion dollars in support from the Japanese government for U.S. surveillance efforts, and the furnishing of equipment and software for Japanese spies by the U.S., the documents revealed that Japanese and officials and institutions have been subject to secret surveillance by the NSA.

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