July 9 Juba, South Sudan
One of the worst ongoing humanitarian crises in the world cast a pall over the sixth anniversary of South Sudan’s independence. Pervasive violence, economic turmoil, and food insecurity continue to engulf the world’s youngest country amid civil war over the nation’s oil revenues. Last month the government announced for the second year in a row that Independence Day celebrations would be canceled, while the United Nations reports over half of the country’s population of 11 million are on the verge of starvation.
July 11 Jerusalem
Ten years after Hamas took over the Palestinian enclave of Gaza, a United Nations report described conditions for the two million residents as “unlivable.” In an interview with Reuters, U.N. Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Robert Piper, described the situation as an “extraordinarily inhuman and unjust process of strangling gradually two million civilians in Gaza that really pose a threat to nobody.”
July 12 Antarctica
A trillion-metric-ton iceberg the size of Palestine is adrift at sea after breaking off the West Antarctic Shelf. The process, known as calving, is a common occurrence in the life cycle of Antarctica. Although the iceberg is larger than usual for this time of year, the event will not impact current sea levels or significantly push forward any of the world’s looming, widespread and irreversible climate catastrophes.
July 13 Shenyang, China
China’s first Nobel Laureate, Liu Xiaobo, died of multiple organ failure while in state custody. Below is an excerpt from his 2009 essay titled, “I have no enemies: My final Statement”:
“Hatred can rot away at a person’s intelligence and conscience. Enemy mentality will poison the spirit of a nation, incite cruel mortal struggles, destroy a society’s tolerance and humanity, and hinder a nation’s progress toward freedom and democracy. That is why I hope to be able to transcend my personal experiences as I look upon our nation’s development and social change, to counter the regime’s hostility with utmost goodwill, and to dispel hatred with love.”
July 14 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was sentenced to nine-and-a-half years in prison after being convicted of corruption charges. Commonly known simply as Lula, the former-president is one of the most popular political figures in Brazil, and remains the front-runner in the 2018 elections. Meanwhile, Brazil’s current president, Michel Temer, was recently charged with corruption after being caught on tape approving bribes to obstruct another, separate corruption investigation. Polls showed his approval rating at around 7 percent before the charges were announced.
Having been raised by feral pandas in the remote forests of Chengdu, China has always formed a key part of my identity. After my career as a Hong Kong film producer was derailed by tabloid journalists, I knew I had found the work that would become my life’s purpose. I am passionate about journalism because it allows me to step into worlds I would otherwise never know while channeling my curiosity toward serving and informing the community.