Sunday news round-up: April 20th-26th

Top Story: Deadly earthquake ravages Nepal: An earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale has struck near Nepal’s capital city, Kathmandu. At least 3,700 people have been killed as a result of the earthquake which struck on Saturday, with thousands more injured and numerous buildings levelled. Casualties have also been reported in India and a recorded avalanche near Mt. Everest has resulted in the disappearance of climbing teams. Many world heritage sites have also been levelled as a result of the quake, killing visiting tourists and sight-seers. Save The Children have set up a relief fund for Nepal, which you can donate to here.

U.S. sends enormous fleet of warships to Yemen’s coast: The U.S. is sending at least twelve warships to the Gulf of Aden, including the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, in response to the deteriorating political situation in Yemen. The U.S. previously maintained an automatic fleet in the region, but has stepped up its military presence in order to monitor any Iranian ships in the area. Iran stands accused of funding the Houthi rebels, enemies of Saudi Arabia, in order to secure a foothold in the region, and the UN is currently imposing an arms embargo on Yemen to prevent further instability. Not withstanding possible Iranian weapons shipments, the UN was notably absent in the past when the U.S. was pouring weapons into the Gulf. Go figure.

  • Related: Oxfam warehouse in Yemen bombed by Saudis: Saudi-led coalition airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen have destroyed a humanitarian aid warehouse. Aid agency Oxfam reported that the aid cache had been destroyed on Monday, just three days after the Saudis refused a UN request to halt their bombing campaign. Although Riyadh claims it chooses its bombing targets carefully to avoid loss of civilian life, Grace Ommer from Oxfam claims her organization made it clear where humanitarian supplies are located in Yemen. As of now, at least 944 Yemeni civilians have been killed as a result of Saudi-led airstrikes.

EU holds emergency talks on migrant crisis in the Mediterranean: EU ministers and police officials engaged in crisis talks this week, as news broke that up to 950 migrants may have drowned whilst trying to make their way from Libya to Italy. The EU’s Foreign Affairs Chief Federica Mogherini urged member states to accept responsibility and rescue these migrants, whereas British PM David Cameron blamed people smugglers for putting migrants in harm’s way. Thousands of migrants are lost at sea each year, but their numbers have been increasing due to recent Western interventions in Africa, which have caused political instability and untold destruction in places like Libya. EU talks have so far produced triple funding for migrant boat rescues.

Zulu King denies inciting anti-immigrant hatred: Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini has denied whipping up racial hatred in a speech last month, after ongoing racial tension recently resulted in seven deaths in Johannesburg. In his aggressive speech, King Zwelithini demanded that all foreign nationals stop using resources and leave South Africa, and blamed them for rising crime and social degradation. At least seven have died and over 300 have been arrested for race-related violence, but the King insists he was only calling for a crackdown on illegal immigrants. King Zwelithini has also caused controversy in the past for describing same-sex relations as “rotten”. He later claimed he’d been mistranslated.

Anti-NATO parties oust Finnish PM in elections: The centre-left Centre Party in Finland has ousted incumbent Prime Minister Alexander Stubb in elections held on Sunday. The party, which must now form a coalition government, ran on a campaign of opposition to further Finnish integration in the EU or NATO, in stark contrast to Stubb’s National Coalition which sought NATO membership during its term. The second biggest winner in the elections, the Finns Party, is also opposed to NATO membership, making any ascension to the defense treaty in the immediate future highly unlikely.


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