News in Brief

Iceland

Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson resigned from his position as Iceland’s prime minister on April 5. Gunnlaugsson and other politicians like Bjarni Benediktsson, minister for finance and economic affairs, and Olof Nordal, minister of the interior, were linked to the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca in leaked documents detailing offshore accounts. During the Great Recession, there was a massive systemic banking crisis. Since 2013, two parties formed a ruling coalition in parliament, the Althing. Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson has been named as a provisional successor to Gunnlaugsson.

Qatar

Amnesty International released a report on March 31 detailing abuse of migrant worker rights in Qatar. The country has been scrutinized since earning the bid for the event in December 2010. According to the report, Amnesty International interviewed 234 migrant workers involved with construction and landscaping efforts in and around Khalifa Stadium. Workers described cramped living conditions and feared reporting information about their situations. Others indicated that employers delayed paying wages for months, failed to issue or renew work permits and even confiscated passports.

North Korea

Another set of economic sanctions has been levied against North Korea. On April 5, China announced that they would restrict trading items like as oil, coal, etc. with North Korea, responding to the country’s nuclear weapons and missile tests. The U.N. Security Council previously issued sanctions against North Korea. During the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C., last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping met with leaders of other nuclear nations, except Russia, to discuss nuclear non-proliferation efforts. North Korea’s nuclear program and nuclear terrorism were key talking points.

Brazil

As Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff faces impeachment, her vice president could meet the same fate. The country’s Supreme Federal Court ruled that the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of the National Congress of Brazil, must open similar proceedings against Michel Temer. Both have been accused of accepting kickbacks from the oil company Petrobras. The corruption scandal has infuriated the people of Brazil. Many have lost trust in not only the Worker’s Party, which Rousseff represents, but opposition parties as well. Additionally, the situation is complicated by Brazil’s slide into economic recession.

United States

In an 8-0 decision, the Supreme Court ruled to uphold the “one person, one vote” principle. Sue Evenwel and Edward Pfenninger sued Texas Gov. Greg Abbott over the state’s districting procedures, arguing the use of total population numbers unfairly apportioned voters in their Texas Senate districts. “We hold, based on constitutional history, this Court’s decisions and longstanding practice, that a State may draw its legislative districts based on total population,” wrote Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the court opinion. Despite this, no mandate on the use of voter-eligible population statistics was made.