Sept. 30 India-administered Kashmir: Raja Farooq Haider Khan, prime minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, was targeted with gunfire while in a helicopter destined for a local village in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. The helicopter was near the Line of Control, the heavily guarded border dividing the Kashmir region, at the time of the attack. Lieutenant Colonel Devender Anand, spokesperson for the Indian army, said they engaged the helicopter with “small arms” after it violated the airspace.
Oct. 1 New Zealand: The 2018 Customs and Excise Act came into effect, giving authorities the power to access electronic devices of those entering the country, making New Zealand the first country to issue fines for those who refuse to do so. According to Al Jazeera, “Authorities are allowed to copy, review and evaluate data from devices and also remove or hold them for a time ‘reasonably’ necessary to conduct the search.” While the New Zealand Council for Civil Liberties has called the new law extremely invasive, fines as much as $3,200 may be issued for those who do not comply.
Oct. 2 Istanbul, Turkey: A Saudi Arabian columnist for The Washington Post is suspected to have been murdered after his disappearance at the Saudi Consulate on Oct. 2 as reported by Al Jazeera. According to The Intercept, Jamal Khashoggi, who is a staunch critic of the crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, entered the consulate in order to retrieve documentation while his fiancé waited outside; however, he never returned. Turkish authorities said in a statement on Oct. 6, “We believe that the murder was premeditated and the body was subsequently moved out of the consulate.” However, Saudi officials inside the consulate denounced this claim. In response to the recent development, The Washington Post printed a blank column on Oct. 5 for Khashoggi with the headline, “A missing voice.”
Oct. 5 China; France: French authorities officially opened an investigation into the alleged disappearance of Meng Hongwei, former president of the International Criminal Political Investigation, or Interpol. According to the South China Morning Post, Meng—who is a Chinese citizen—arrived in China last week and was subsequently taken in for questioning for an unknown investigation. He was last seen Sept. 29 in France, and his wife reported the disappearance when she did not hear from him after he traveled to China. China has yet to comment.
Oct. 5 London, UK: “Girl With Balloon,” a well-known piece of artwork by anonymous street artist Banksy, was shredded just seconds after being sold in what is believed to be a prank by the artist. The canvas sold for $1.4 million, however, once the sale was declared final, it ran through the frame which was fixed with razors to create a shredder. Sotheby’s Head of Contemporary European Art said, “It appears we just got Banksy-ed.” A discussion is now underway on the next steps to take for the buyer, however, some believe the artwork is worth even more now.
Oct. 6 Congo: An oil tanker and bus collided on a highway, killing 50 people and leaving 100 more with second-degree burns as the fire spread to nearby houses. The incident occurred in the village of Mbuba on a busy highway linking the capital city Kinshasa with the seaport Matadi. While the UN reported it sent nine ambulances to assist those injured in the accident, witness accounts and photos on social media counter this claim.
Oct. 7 Brazil: Polls opened on the morning of Oct. 7 for Brazil’s polarizing 2018 General Election. Around 147 million voters went to the polls to vote for one of thirteen candidates running for the presidential office. With 92.5 percent of votes counted, far-right candidate Jair Bolsano leads in the polls.
Ongoing – Japan: The category two storm Typhoon Trami hit Japan on Sept. 30, carrying winds up to 100 miles per hour while leaving four dead, 200 injured and over 890,000 homes without electricity, according to NHK. A new, stronger storm is now underway, as the category three Typhoon Kong-rey sets its course for the Ryukyu Islands.
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.