A train crashed into a truck in a rare train accident in Japan, which holds the safest rail record in the world. Courtesy of AP Images

This Week Around the World Sept. 1–8

Sept. 1 Bamako, Mali: A residential building under construction collapsed before dawn leaving 15 dead and buried in the rubble. Rescue teams managed to rescue 26 people, most of whom sustained injuries. Authorities believe it collapsed because construction protocols and standards were not followed, according to Al Jazeera. “There are many mistakes…at the root of this tragedy,” Security Minister General Salif Traore told Reuters. “One cannot construct buildings haphazardly.”

Separately, 14 people were killed in an explosion involving a passenger bus on Sept. 4 in Mali’s Mopti region. The bus, which was carrying 60 passengers from Gao to Mopti, hit an explosive device in the road. Of the 24 people who were wounded in the accident, seven are in “critical state,” Traore reported, according to Al Jazeera. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, however AP News reported the attack is similar to previous al-Qaida attacks in the region. 

Sept 2. Guatemala City, Guatemala: Three-time presidential candidate and former First Lady Sandra Torres was arrested at her home in Guatemala City on charges of unregistered campaign financing and unlawful association during the 2015 campaign race against President Jimmy Morales. Authorities believe Torres’ 2015 campaign withheld $3.6 million when reporting the campaign’s finances, according to Al Jazeera. This is not the first time the former first lady has been accused of corruption, and in the past she has faced accusations of associating with criminal organizations, according to DemocracyNow. A Guatemalan judge ordered Torres to be kept in pretrial detention until her trial, according to Al Jazeera

Sept. 5 Yokohama, Japan: A train crashed into a truck in a rare train accident in Japan, which holds the safest rail record in the world. The truck driver was severely injured and later died at the hospital. While the driver was the only death from the accident, The New York Times reported 34 people were injured. The Keikyu Corp train company told Sky News the conductor had attempted to stop the train by slamming on the brakes when he saw the truck but was unable to stop in time. The train was derailed and the front carriage caught on fire. “I flew two meters from my seat,” an unnamed witness told The New York Times. “Black smoke from the truck was approaching just nearby, and I thought I was going to die here.”

Sept. 6 Tanglin, Singapore: Former President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe—who ruled from 1980 when the country gained independence until a military takeover in Nov. 2017—died at the age of 95. Mugabe, who is praised as both a “liberation icon” and a “dictator,” according to The Independent, had been receiving treatment for an undisclosed illness at Gleneagles Hospital in Singapore since April 2019. Details have yet to be released regarding what he was treated for. While the former president was praised for his fight against the ruling white minority at the beginning of his rule, the final years of Mugabe’s presidency were characterized by economic collapse and the violent intimidation of those who spoke out against him.

Sept. 8 Sarajevo, Bosnia: Thousands of people gathered in Bosnia’s capital city for the country’s first ever Pride March despite multiple anti-LGBTQ+ groups staging counter-protests and threatening violence in surrounding areas. The Pride March was protected by over 1,000 police officers when several anti-LGBTQ+ groups voiced their opposition online. The protest ended without any violent outbreaks, according to Reuters. One of the key figures at the march, who identifies as gay, was United States ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovnia Eric Gordon. “The U.S. embassy expresses support for the first Pride March in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Gordon told The Independent before the march began. “The goal of the Pride parade is equal human rights for all.”