News in Brief


On March 22, two explosions rocked the main terminal of the Brussels Airport in Zaventem. A third blast occurred at the Maelbeek metro station near the center of the Belgian capital. According to the BBC, over 30 people were killed and 260 were wounded. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attacks. Belgian authorities believe three suspects captured on airport CCTV helped carry out the bombings, which came four days after Salah Abdeslam was shot and arrested during a Brussels police raid for his role in the Paris attacks last November.


Since the beginning of 2016, Turkey has seen a wave of terrorist attacks. The latest, a suicide bombing on March 20 in an Istanbul marketplace, left five people dead and many injured. The Turkish government tied the attack to the Islamic State group. Other attacks in Istanbul and the capital Ankara have claimed 79 lives and wounded over 200 people. Much of the violence stems from the ongoing Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) Rebellion. The PKK and the Kurdish Freedom Falcons splinter group have been fighting Turkish government forces since 2015.


Human Rights Watch found that many Indonesian people with mental health problems live in poor conditions. The organization published a report called “Living in Hell: Abuses against People with Psychological Disabilities in Indonesia.” One of the key findings in the report detailed “pasung,” the practice of shackling or locking up mentally ill people. According to the report and Indonesian government data, 18,800 people currently live in pasung. Along with outlawing the practice, the report suggested that Indonesia improve its mental health system at an institutional and community level.


For the first time in 88 years, the sitting president of the United States visited the country of Cuba. President Barack Obama met with Cuban President Raul Castro following the thaw in diplomatic relations between the two nations. The leaders discussed human rights issues, the economic embargo on Cuban trade and the ownership of Guantanamo Bay. On March 22, Obama and Castro watched the Cuban national baseball team host the Tampa Bay Rays in a symbolic game. The visit did not come without detractors and highlighted tensions that still exist between the U.S. and Cuba.

United States

The ongoing budget battle between Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and the state legislature has affected public education funding. The state’s public universities and community colleges have not received money in months, putting them in awkward financial situations. One institution, Chicago State University, is at risk of closing even after canceling spring break and shortening the school year to cut costs. Should the university close, its 70 percent black student population would have to continue their education elsewhere. The budget shortfall may also impact fall semester enrollment at Illinois state schools.