April 19 Finland: Finland was named the “happiest country in the world” for the fourth year in a row by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, which issues a yearly report assessing the happiness of the world’s population. The World Happiness Report uses statistics from interviews of “more than 350,000 people in 95 countries,” taken by the polling organization Gallup. The rankings aren’t based on factors like income or life expectancy, but rather on how people rank their own happiness on a 10-point scale. The United States has never broken the top ten. Five years ago, the U.S. was ranked 13th, but slipped to 18th and 19th place in recent analyses, according to an AP News report.
April 20 São Paulo, Brazil: Wildlife was seen in the Pinheiros River following the removal of 30,000 tons of surface garbage, according to Reuters. The river runs through the center of São Paulo, Brazil’s wealthiest city and what some consider the “financial heart” of Latin America. “The project is to improve the river’s quality, not to make it transparent, with fish and where people can swim,” said Edison Carlos, president of Trata Brasil, an organization that supports clean water and sewage. “We do expect for the smell, which is especially bad on hot days, and the mosquitoes to be eliminated, and to see the return of some fish.” According to São Paulo’s Governor, João Doria, the Pinheiros river clean-up was the largest environmental project in the country, costing 4 billion reais, or $735 million. “When I see fish in Pinheiros river, I see life,” said Jose Bueno, an urban planner with the river conservation group Rios e Ruas. “So we are not defending something invisible, something abstract. We are protecting what is alive,”
April 20 Chad: The President of the African nation of Chad, Idriss Déby, died suddenly after visiting the front lines of the country’s civil war, according to BBC. “[Déby] breathed his last defending the sovereign nation on the battlefield,” an army general said on state TV while announcing his death. The exact circumstances of his death remain uncertain, but Déby is believed to have been shot on April 17 while Chad military forces fought a rebel group north of the capital N’djamena, according to CNN. A military statement mentioned he “took control of operations during the heroic combat led against the terrorists from Libya. He was wounded during the fighting and died once repatriated to N’Djamena.” Déby’s son, Mahamat Kaka, was named interim president by the transitional council of military officers.
April 21 Bali Strait, Indonesia: An Indonesian submarine with 53 people on board went missing during a military training exercise. Based on when the submarine lost contact, it was estimated that there was approximately 72 hours worth of oxygen onboard. The submarine asked permission to dive before losing contact, according to CNN. On April 25, the ship was found broken into at least three different pieces and all crew members were pronounced dead, according to Reuters. “Based on the evidence, it can be stated that the KRI Nanggala has sunk and all of its crew have died,” said military chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto. President Joko Widodo sent condolences to the families of the crewmembers saying, “All of us Indonesians express our deep sorrow over this tragedy, especially to the families of the submarine crew.”
April 23 Pokrov, Russia: The imprisoned Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny has ended his hunger strike, according to a New York Times report. The 24-day hunger strike was the most recent development in a years-long conflict between President Vladimir Putin and Navalny, his most prominent critic. Navalny started the hunger strike to protest the reported lack of prison medical care for his back pain and loss of sensation in his legs. Earlier this month, the Russian police reported nine arrests after doctors allied with Navalny gathered outside the prison and demanded to have access to him, according to NPR. Putin has refused to speak Navalny’s name publicly, even after protests overwhelmed the Russian political landscape in the wake of Navalny’s arrest.