Sunday news round-up: May 25th-31st

Top Story: Andrezj Duda wins Polish Presidential election: Law and Justice Party candidate Andrezj Duda, who has faced accusations of homophobia and anti-Semitism, has won Poland’s closest ever Presidential election, winning 51.5% of the vote after two rounds. Duda ran on a campaign of moderate Euroscepticism and attacked the Euro, which Poland will eventually have to adopt as part of its EU membership agreement. Duda is also opposed to what he calls “decarbonization”, which he accuses of devastating Poland’s energy industry, and promises to lower the age of retirement and raise income tax brackets. Duda now faces a 7% unemployment rate and a Parliament dominated by the opposing Civic Platform Party in both chambers.

White supremacist bikers terrorize Arizona mosque: Hundreds of armed white supremacists and anti-Islam activists gathered outside a mosque in Phoenix this week, to protest what they call the tyranny of Islam in America. Demonstrators carrying pistols, assault rifles and shotguns and wearing profanity-laden T-shirts gathered outside the mosque on Friday to call for another Pamela Geller-style “draw Mohammed” cartoon competition. President of the mosque Usama Shami denounced the protesters as neo-Nazis, but most astounding of all, demonstration organizer Jon Ritzheimer claims he is the victim because of abuse he has received on Twitter. Go figure.

Company unveils first ever “ocean clean-up” system: The Ocean Cleanup company has unveiled revolutionary new technology to rid the oceans of plastic rubbish, which is notorious for causing untold damage to wildlife and having an incredibly slow decomposition rate, with plastic bottles alone taking around 450 years to decompose. Ocean Cleanup CEO Boyan Slat hopes that the technology – an enormously long barrier which gathers floating rubbish and moves it to a collection platform – will begin operating off of Tshushima Island by next year, an archipelago upon which about 30,000 cubic meters of rubbish accumulates every year. The barrier will be about 1 mile long, making it the longest man-made ocean-bound object in history, and Slat hopes to expand its use once the Tshushima experiment proves fruitful.

Palestinian leaders slammed for withdrawal of FIFA boycott: The Palestinian Football Association has been condemned for dropping its bid to suspend Israel from FIFA, a bid which was expected to be successful. The PFA dropped its bid just hours before the FIFA congress was due to consider it, with some activists claiming that the PFA has been corrupted and lost its commitment to the Palestinian cause. Wisam Abul-Haijaa, a demonstrator outside FIFA’s congress, stated that the decision “was a blow to all the popular efforts made to isolate Israel”.

Over 100 graves uncovered at Malaysian human trafficking camps: Forensic police officials in Malaysia have uncovered 139 graves in two dozen human trafficking camps in the north of the country, as part of an ongoing crackdown with Thailand against the illegal trade. Officers at the scene detailed abhorrent conditions in the camps, with bullets, metal chains, and evidence of torturous activities being uncovered. Human trafficking has become a booming industry in the region, with thousands of persecuted and fleeing Rohingya people ending up in the hands of smugglers and ransomers as they attempt to find a better life. Of these, over 140,000 are Muslims who were displaced from Myanmar, after clashes with Buddhists in 2012 left them stateless and living in apartheid-like conditions.

Hundreds of thousands celebrate beatification of Óscar Romero: Over 300,000 people have taken to the streets of San Salvador to celebrate the Vatican’s decision to beatify Óscar Romero, the former Archbishop of San Salvador who was murdered by a U.S.-backed death squad during the Salvadoran Civil War. Romero was a staunch advocate of the poor and an open critic of the Revolutionary Government Junta, the military dictatorship of the 80’s which was financially backed by the U.S. government. Romero famously wrote to President Carter in 1980 to suspend his aid packages to the RGJ on the grounds that they were committing vast atrocities against civilians, but Carter ignored the plea, and a month after Romero’s letter went unanswered, he was dead.


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