This Week Around the World

June 29 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Popular musician, activist and former political prisoner Hachalu Hundessa was shot and killed in Ethiopia’s capital city of Addis Ababa. “I express my deep condolences for those of us who are in deep sorrow since the news of the death of the shining young artist Hachalu Hundessa,” Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said in a statement. “We are expecting full investigation reports of this evil act.” Hundessa was an ethnic Oromo, the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia and one which frequently experiences discrimination. Protests erupted in the days after Hundessa’s murder and by July 5, at least 166 demonstrators were dead and 1,084 were arrested, according to BBC. 


June 30 European Union: The European Union issued a “safe list,” outlining which countries E.U. citizens can travel to for non-essential reasons. The list of 14 countries included Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay. China was included in the list, but its inclusion is dependent on the Chinese government opening its borders to E.U. citizens. The safe list was developed with health concerns in mind to assist in preventing the further spread of COVID-19. The United States, Brazil and Russia were among the countries to not be included on the list. 


July 1 Tamil Nadu, India: An explosion at the NLC Power Plant II left at least six dead with an additional 17 injured. “Pained to hear about the blast in the Neyveli power plant boiler in Tamil Nadu,” India’s Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi said on Twitter. “I am informed that the administration is providing all help possible. My condolences with the bereaved families.” Of the 17 injured, 16 have burns covering at least 40% of their body. Chief General Manager and Unit Head of Thermal Power Station II A. Kothadam was suspended following the explosion, according to The Hindu. The July 1 incident is the second boiler explosion at the power plant in the last two months. 


July 3 Paris, France: President Emmanuel Macron replaced Édouard Philippe with senior civil servant Jean Castex as Prime Minister on July 3. Philippe was one of the most popular politicians in Macron’s government, and a poll reported by The New York Times showed 60% of the French population wanted Philippe to remain prime minister. The staff change comes as COVID-19 exacerbates France’s poor economic conditions. “The economic crisis is already here,” Castex said upon his appointment, according to Reuters. “Priorities will therefore have to evolve, ways of working will have to be adapted. We will have to unite the nation to fight this crisis that is setting in.”


July 3 Puerto Rico: Justice Department Secretary Dennise Longo Quiñones resigned from her position on July 3. According to El Nuevo Día, her resignation followed a disagreement with Puerto Rican Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced about opening a corruption investigation regarding what happened to a $38 million purchase of COVID-19 testing kits. Longo Quiñones claims she felt like a “rubber stamp” in the Justice Department because she was expected to sign and approve purchases and memos throughout the day. Vázquez accepted Longo Quiñones’ resignation and appointed Wandymar Burgos as acting Secretary of Justice. 

July 4 Mogadishu, Somalia: A suicide bomber drove a car through the first security checkpoint of the motor vehicle imports duty authority headquarters before authorities opened fire and the car exploded. The driver detonated a land mine just before the car explosion. The attacks left at least four dead with several more wounded, including five police officers. Al-Shabab, a militant group who is attempting to overthrow the U.N.-recognized government of Somalia, claimed responsibility for the attack.