This Week Around the World – April 7-14:

April 7–13 Libya: Clashes between the two governments in Libya continued for the second week as the UN prepared a counteroffensive dubbed “Volcano of Anger” on April 7 in response to the opposition forces of General Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army. Deutsche Welle reported on April 8 an LNA airstrike against the civilian airport in Tripoli, while some 50 people were killed in clashes between loyalists to the internationally recognized Government of National Accord and pro-LNA forces. Additionally, the World Health Organization announced on April 12 another 121 people had been killed in clashes between the rival governments while another 561 were wounded.

April 8 United States; Iran: Following rumors that the U.S. would designate the Revolutionary Guards Corps of Iran—an elite branch of Iran’s Armed Forces—as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, the decision was verified on April 8 when President Donald Trump made the formal announcement, stating: “This unprecedented step, led by the Department of State, recognizes the reality that Iran is not only a State Sponsor of Terrorism, but that the IRGC actively participates in, finances and promotes terrorism as a tool of statecraft.” The decision marks the first time the U.S. has designated another country’s military as an FTO. In response to the decision, Iran’s Supreme National Council likewise declared the U.S. Central Command as a terrorist organization and the U.S. a sponsor of terrorism, stating, “This unwise and illegal measure is a major threat to regional and international stability and peace,” as reported by Middle East Eye.

April 8–14 Sudan: Following four months of protests which began in December due to increased bread prices, Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir was ousted by the military on April 11. Protesters had been calling for his resignation since April 6 in the most recent series of demonstrations. Deutsche Welle reported on April 8 security forces firing tear gas and rubber bullets at demonstrators situated outside the Khartoum army headquarters. They were met by military soldiers protecting demonstrators. Following the coup, Bashir was placed under house arrest, and on April 13, 10 delegates of the Alliance for Freedom and Change presented the military with a list of demands, including that of a civilian government. Al Jazeera reports thousands are still camped outside army headquarters to ensure oversight of the military in the wake of the coup. On April 14, the military council appointed Lieutenant General Abu Bakr Mustafa as the new director of the National Intelligence Security Service, France 24 reports.

April 10 Galaxy Messier 87: The very first photo of a black hole was presented at six simultaneous conferences around the world—in D.C., Taiwan, Japan, China and Chile—in a historic moment for astrophysics. As reported by Deutsche Welle, researchers from the international project Event Horizon Telescope used eight radio telescopes positioned in various places around the world including the U.S., Spain, Mexico, Chile and Antarctica to capture the photo. The black hole in question is estimated to be 6.6 billion times the size of the sun and is located in the galaxy M87, some 55 million light years from earth.

April 11 India: Elections began in the world’s most populous democracy as current Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeks a second term in office. Al Jazeera reported 900 million people are eligible to vote this year—including 15 million first-time voters—over the next six weeks. More than 500 seats are contested with around 270 seats needed to form a majority government. While Modi is the representative for the Bharatiya Janata Party, Rahul Gandhi of the Indian National Congress is his main contender. Voting will continue for six more days until May 23 when the results are counted and declared.

April 11 United Kingdom: Julian Assange—founder of the website WikiLeaks, which publishes various leaked information including classified documents—was arrested from inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Assange had been living inside the embassy since 2012 under protection by the government of Ecuador after Sweden issued a warrant for his arrest, Axios reports. However, as reported by The Intercept, under the new government of President Lenín Moreno who took office in 2017, Assange’s continued asylum has been uncertain. Officially, Assange was arrested for breach of bail and an extradition warrant issued by the U.S. under Section 73 of the Extradition Act. He appeared before a judge that day pleading not guilty to the charges. His next court appearance is scheduled for May 2.

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.