I’ll Be Brief


Japan begins discussions on emperor’s abdication

Emperor Akihito, aged 88, has decided to start the process to abdicate from being emperor in Japan.  Japan currently does not have existing laws to accommodate abdication.  The six-member advisory panel to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has plans to submit legislation to make changes to the constitution as early as May next year.  Crown Prince Naruhito is the first in line to inherit the throne.  The emperor has no real political power but is still closely tied with the Shinto religion and still performs religious ceremonies.

Hitler house in Austria to be demolished after long row

The house where Hitler was born in Austria will be demolished in order to further attempt it to stop being a pilgrimage spot for Neo-Nazis throughout the world.  The new building that will be built in its place will still use the same foundation but its use will be for either a charity organization or for local government.  During World War II, the building was used as a museum to commemorate the glory of the Nazi empire.  After the war it was used briefly as a center for the disabled.

Chibok girls: Free students reunite with families in Nigeria

Twenty-one of the two hundred seventy-six schoolgirls that were kidnapped by the extremist group Boko Haram were returned to their families.  They were kidnapped by the Islamist extremist group in April 2014.  One hundred ninety-seven of the students are still missing.  Of those that are still missing it is supposed that some are dead and others do not wish to return.  The girls were forcibly converted to Islam and some were married off to Boko Haram soldiers.  It is speculated that Boko Haram soldiers were exchanged for the students.  The Nigerian government denies these accusations.

Cologne sees bubble-blowing flash mob protest

On Sunday there was a bubble-blowing flash mob in central Cologne after the recent reports that street performers would be banned from using bubbles.  The crowds gathered outside of Cologne’s famous cathedral and filled the air with bubbles to protest against the perceived ban.  The city has reported that the ban was a misunderstanding and the performers were only asked to stop using soap bubbles because it could cause people to slip on the cobblestones and can cause damage to storefront windows.  It seems that even the mayor of Cologne is pro-bubble.

The desperate children of the Calais Jungle

The “Jungle” camp is near the port of Calais and it officially has around 7,000 migrants.  Humanitarian groups put the number as being closer to 10,000.  Despite the population increase in the camp, the camp size was halved.  Reports of violence in the camp has increased.  The area has been hit by protests, and the government has declared that it will shut the camp down by the end of 2016.  The camp has many children or “unaccompanied minors” in it.  They are attempting to join their families in England and other areas of the UK.  Whenever people try to cross the border the French police are quick to respond.  At times they respond with tear-gas to force people back into the camp.

Mosul: Iraq and Kurdish troops make gains in battle

The Iraqi pro-government forces have made gains on the last major stronghold of the Islamic State.  That stronghold is Mosul and this is only the beginning of a large-scale operation to retake it.  Mosul was seized by the IS in June 2014.  The Kurds seized several villages within the first few hours of the operation.  The pro-government forces made gains from the south.  Mosul is important because it is Iraq’s second-largest city and it is an oil-rich capital.  It was also one of Iraq’s most diverse cities.  There is great concern for the civilians during this conflict.  As many as one million people could be forced to leave their homes.

Canada not immune to right-wing extremism

In early October the Klu Klux Klan stuffed flyers into Ziploc bags and put them on the doorsteps of a few dozen homes in two British Columbia towns.  Anti-Muslim and Anti-Sikh posters have also appeared on two university campuses in Alberta.  These events are a clear contrast to other recent events in Canada in which the Canadian government has opened the country to over 30,000 refugees.  The radicalism has stemmed from a belief in ethnic nationalism as well as concerns over economic and social instability.  Similar pro-KKK flyers to those in British Columbia have been found across the US, from North Carolina to California and Pennsylvania.

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