News in Brief

Germany

President Barack Obama met with European leaders to discuss policy issues in Hannover, Germany. The visit did not go without controversy. Many activists protested the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. The TTIP is a proposed trade agreement between the U.S. and the European Union. Obama and others argue it will boost economic growth. Demonstrators, believe the deal promotes deregulation, which will harm consumers and the environment. A similar agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, was signed by the U.S. and other nations on Feb. 4.

Bangladesh

On April 25, Bangladeshi LGBTQA activists, Xulhaz Mannan and Tanay Mojumdar, were found dead. Mannan, the editor of a Bangladeshi LGBTQA magazine, worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development. The attack, which al Qaeda claimed responsibility for, was not the first of its kind. According to CNN, many have been hacked to death since 2013. On April 24, Rezaul Karim Siddique, an English professor, was killed by a machete. U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh Marcia Stephens Bloom Bernicat and Secretary of State John Kerry denounced the murders.

Colombia

Medellin, Colombia, has won the 2016 Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize, . The biannual prize is named after Singapore’s first prime minister and rewards cities that tackle urban development with social, economic and political issues in mind. Medellin previously earned special mention in 2014 when Suzhou, China, won the top prize. “Medellin has come a long way from its past, sending a powerful signal that inclusive and collaborative governance can overturn even the most difficult circumstances,” the prize committee wrote, citing the city’s once high crime rates.

Ukraine

In 1986, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station outside Pripyat, Ukraine, experienced a catastrophic failure. Thirty years later, efforts to clean up the disaster continue. A project designed to contain further nuclear contamination at Chernobyl, called New Safe Confinement, is nearing completion. The stainless steel arch was designed to replace the current containment structure, which is deteriorating. According to The New York Times, the project will cost $1.7 billion. The 30-kilometer Chernobyl Exclusion Zone is one of the most radioactive places on earth.

United States

In Virginia, a forest fire that began April 16 has consumed over 10,000 acres of the Shenandoah National Park. “Having not burned for over 85 years, … the Rocky Mount area of the Park has had an unnaturally high level of fuel accumulation … and was destined to burn at some point,” wrote Superintendent of Shenandoah National Park Jim Northup in an open letter. The cause of the fire is under investigation, but the blaze is already the second largest in the Park’s history. Workers from 33 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico teamed up to fight the fire.

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