This week around the world: April 19–21

April 19 Iran: Leaders announce decision to switch from dollar to euro

The government in Tehran announced Wednesday it will switch from reporting foreign currency in American dollars in favor of the euro. Amid tense relations between the United States and Iran, the decision comes at the suggestion of Central Bank Governor Valiollah Seif, who said the “dollar has no place in [Iranian] transactions today.”

April 20 Israel: Romania to move embassy to Jerusalem

President of the Romanian Chamber of Deputies Liviu Dragnea announced a decision to move the Romanian embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The decision came a week after Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely met with Romanian officials in Bucharest. Romania will become the fourth country to move their embassy, following the U.S., Guatemala and Honduras.

April 21 Germany: Neo-Nazis gather for ‘SS festival’

Hundreds of people, mostly from Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic, marked the 129th anniversary of Adolf Hitler’s birthday at the far-right Shield and Sword Festival in the small border town of Ostritz. The two-day event—organized by the National Democratic Party of Germany—featured concerts, political speeches, a mixed martial arts tournament and a tattoo convention. The Ostritz City Council responded by hosting an apolitical Peace Festival, while local anti-fascist groups organized their own event called the “Right Does Not Rock” concert.

April 21 The Netherlands: Colin Kaepernick named Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience

American football player Colin Kaepernick accepted Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award in Amsterdam. The award is the organization’s top honor and recognizes those who have inspired others by standing up against social injustice. The former San Francisco 49er gained international attention in 2016 when he knelt during the pre-game national anthem in protest of police brutality against Black and Latinx Americans.

April 21 India: Cabinet approves death penalty for rape of girls under 12

In the wake of protests over the rapes of two young girls, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held an emergency meeting in which the Indian cabinet issued an executive order to allow the death penalty to be applied to those convicted of rape against girls age 12 and under. India has been attempting to combat its high rates of rape since 2012, when a gang rape in New Delhi gained national and international attention.

April 21 Malaysia: Palestinian academic shot dead by unknown attackers

Fadi al-Batsh, a Palestinian scholar and member of Hamas, was fatally shot in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur by two unidentified attackers. Al-Batsh had been living in Malaysia with his wife and three children for 10 years and was on his way to a mosque for dawn prayer at the time of the attack. Al-Batsh’s father has accused Israeli intelligence agency Mossad of assassinating his son, though Israel has denied involvement. Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told state news agency Bernama the assailants are believed to be European with foreign intelligence links.

When I first came to PSU, I was a Chinese major, having studied three years prior in high school alongside French and Japanese. After the first year, I took a hiatus. I don't believe in going to college straight out of high school, but it's what was expected. I returned a few years later to study Japanese at PCC and Arabic at PSU. I am now a junior majoring in International Studies: Middle East and Arabic. In the future, I would like to work as a journalist or humanitarian aid worker in the region, helping people who lack economic and political backing and media exposure.