This Week Around the World

May 25 Mexico City, Mexico: Archaeologists discovered the remains of at least 60 mammoths, including fully grown males and females as well as their young, near the construction site of the new Felipe Ángeles International Airport in Mexico City. The remains were discovered along what was once the shoreline of Xaltocan Lake, and archaeologists believe the mammoths may have got stuck in the mud after going to eat the reeds and grass that once grew along the shore. The remains have given archaeologists an “unprecedented opportunity to delve into more than 30,000 years of history,” according to Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History. 


May 26 Costa Rica: A landmark court decision went into effect at midnight on May 26 and made Costa Rica the first country in Central America to legalize same-sex marriage. In August 2018, the court ruled the national ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional and gave parliament 18 months to change the legislation, or it would be automatically nullified by the court. According to Human Rights Watch, Alexandra Quiros and Dunia Araya were the first same-sex couple to be married in Costa Rica on May 26. “Costa Rica is celebrating today: marriage equality has become a reality in the country – the first one in Central America,” the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association said on Twitter. “We rejoice with you: congratulations to all those who worked so hard to make it happen!”


May 27 Argentina: Argentina’s National Campaign for the Right to Legal, Safe and Free Abortions staged a online, virtual protest demanding the passage of the “Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy Bill,” marking the the 15-year anniversary of the beginning of the campaign. The campaign organized conferences, gatherings and artistic performances via social media and other online platforms since they were unable to stage an in-person protest due to COVID-19 restrictions. “We rebel against policies that seek to control our bodies, govern our biographies and biologize the exercise of our identities,” the National Campaign for the Right to Legal, Safe and Free Abortions said in a statement according to TeleSUR. “We march, we gather, we recover the history of feminism; and we embrace each other in the persistence of the struggle.”


May 27 Belgium and France: A coordinated investigation resulted in multiple early morning raids carried out simultaneously in Belgium and France and the arrest of 26 individuals in connection to a human trafficking ring. The ring is believed to be responsible for the deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants discovered in a refrigerated truck by British authorities in October 2019. The investigation was coordinated by Eurojust, an European Union agency which assists in the coordination and organization of international judicial activity within the E.U. None of those who were arrested have been publicly identified by authorities or formally charged. In France, those who are arrested can be detained without being formally charged for up to 96 hours, according to The New York Times. Those arrested in Belgium face up to 15 years in prison and fines between $1,100–165,000, depending on the number of identified victims.


May 28 Kigali, Rwanda: Former mayor of Nyakizu, Ladislas Ntaganzwa was sentenced to life in prison for his direct involvement of the 1994 mass genocide of ethic Tutsis and Hutus in Rwanda. Ntaganzwa was indicted by the Tanzania-based International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in 1996, which accused him of personally ordering the killing of over 200,000 Tutsis in April 1994. The former mayor had a bounty of up to $5 million on his head until he was arrested by authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2015. He was charged and found guilty of genocide, extermination as a crime against humanity and rape as a crime against humanity. “We plan to appeal because evidence in the hearing was based on witnesses’ testimony, but that was not enough as some witnesses were contradicting themselves,” Ntaganzwa’s lawyer, Alexis Musonera, told Reuters. “We are not happy about this lengthy life jail term.”

May 29 Aarhus, Denmark: The Aarhus Gymnastikforening (AGF) soccer club organized a Zoom call with 10,000 fans during the team’s first match since COVID-19 restrictions resulted in the canceling of large social gatherings. Spectators were asked to purchase a ticket in the section where they would typically sit in the stadium and were then organized into Zoom calls of 18 people who were sitting in the area immediately around them. The faces of the Zoom callers were put up on the big screens throughout the stadium while their cheers were broadcasted through the megaphones. COVID-19 restrictions may not allow for sports fans to physically attend games for several months, so the AGF team was attempting to “recreate a community” within the stadium, according to The New York Times.