🗺️ Picks of the Week — Jan. 29
Estonia Appoints First Female PM, India Farmer Protests Turn Deadly, Russia Arrests Navalny, Reindeer Road Safety Improves, Pirates Kidnap Sailors in Gulf of Guinea, Chile False Tsunami Warning
Hello folks! I seriously can’t believe I’m writing this again already but happy Friday! How crazy is time right now? To help pass some of it, we’ve got another fun-filled Picks of the Week, where we round up and explore the world’s most interesting news.
This week we travel to Estonia who appointed its first ever female prime minister; to India whose farmers’ ongoing protests turned deadly; to Russia where opposition figure Alex Navalny has been arrested, after returning from Germany while he recovered from being poisoned; to the Gulf of Guinea where pirates kidnapped 15 Turkish sailors; to Chile where residents are recovering physically and mentally after a false tsunami warning; and to Sweden who’s building bridges for reindeers to cross busy roads because of climate change.
Until then, enjoy today’s newsletter and hope ya’ll have a peaceful weekend!
Job Corner ✍️
More than 1,400 total jobs are now on the board, including 141 deadlines over the weekend, with a selected few listed below.
Due to a limit on the number of people that can be added to a Google Spreadsheet, I’ve made two versions listing exactly the same jobs, so no need to have access to both. If you’re a paying member, you’ll have access to one of the two below links/buttons.
Some of this weekend’s deadlines… 👇
Data Corner 📊
A few datasets used in today’s newsletter…
Female Power: Women’s Power Index, from the Council on Foreign Relations
Pirate Kidnappings: Real-time data of piracy kidnappings, from Commercial Crime Services
Tsunamis: Global tsunami data, from the National Centers for Environmental Information
India’s Farmer Protests Turn Deadly
We begin in India where after several weeks of unrest, angry farmers stormed New Delhi’s historic Red Fort in protest of new agricultural laws, which they say benefit large corporations at the expense of their livelihoods. The violent street clashes between farmers and police left more than 300 people injured, more than 200 arrested, and one protester dead after a tractor overturned. The 17th century monument became embroiled at the centre of the demonstrations, which coincided with the pomp and pageantry of India’s annual Republic Day celebrations.
After several rounds of failed talks with the farmers’ unions, the Indian government agreed to suspend the new laws for 18 months, but farmers say the agricultural sector is in need of serious reform. In India, levels of agrarian distress are high as inflation has caused wage growth to consistently decline since 2017. Many farmers have been left in so much debt that it’s led to a wave of suicides.
Indian farmers enter New Delhi’s Red Fort
Pro-Navalny Demonstrations Erupt in Russia
Moving to Russia next where tens of thousands are protesting across the country in support of Alexei Navalny, the face of opposition to President Vladimir Putin. Navalny returned to the country after several months in Germany where he recovered from being poisoned, which Putin essentially admitted to. The mass rallies, among the largest since 2012, resulted in violent confrontations with riot police, who beat protesters with truncheons and almost 4,000 were detained, including Navalny’s wife.
Despite government attempts to censor online activity, the demonstrations were a direct response to an appeal Navalny made to his millions of social media followers to take to the streets. Despite opinion polls still showing that more than half the population approves of Putin, analysts say these demonstrations could be different, due to the sheer number of cities experiencing unrest. The U.S. was among those to condemn the violence against protestors, a critical step for the new Biden administration as it redefines the U.S.’ stance on Russia.
Estonia Appoints First Female Prime Minister
We head to the Baltics next where Kaja Kallas was sworn in as Estonia’s first ever female Prime Minister, after the previous right-wing coalition collapsed in 2019 after a corruption scandal. Kallas led the Reform Party to the most parliamentary seats and largest vote share in 2019’s election, but was unable to secure a majority leaving the Centre Party to form a fragile coalition with the far-right EKRE and Fatherland parties.
Kallas, the daughter of former Prime Minister Siim Kallas, was this time able to agree a deal with the Centre Party, and their first task will be to reduce the number of Covid-19 cases and deaths, which continue to stay elevated. Before she was elected as Reform’s leader in 2018, the party which her father founded, Kallas served in European Parliament between 2014 and 2018, and was a lawyer prior to that.
Kaja Kallas 👇
Reindeer Road Safety Improves
Staying in Europe for the moment where climate change is making it harder for Sweden’s reindeer to find food, forcing authorities to build bridges to make it easier for them to cross busy roads. Warmer temperatures mean moisture in the air often falls as rain instead of snow, forming a layer of ice on the ground when the air refreezes. This has made it harder for reindeer to find food, forcing them to expand their search area leading them to cross dangerous roads.
Sweden and reindeer are by no means alone when it comes to human-built animal crossings. Similar concepts exist in Canada and Mexico, where underpasses shield wildlife from traffic, and on Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean, bridges even help crabs migrate from the forest to the beach for their annual migration. In Peru, the idea is a natural component of the rainforest, helping wildlife to cross gas pipes, and in California, the construction of a wildlife corridor to connect habitats is already well under way.
Previous Picks of the Week 👀
🔎 Picks of the Week — Jan. 22
🔎 Picks of the Week — Jan. 15
🔎 Picks of the Week — Jan. 8
🔎 Picks of the Week — Dec. 18
Pirates Orchestrate Deadly Kidnapping in Gulf of Guinea
Moving to the Gulf of Guinea next where pirates kidnapped 15 sailors aboard a Turkish container ship off the coast of Nigeria, killing one of the sailors. The attack was reported to have been violent and well-orchestrated, further away from shore than normal, and involving the suspected use of explosives. In response, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan claimed to be working towards the rescue of the remaining sailors, despite not yet making contact with the pirates.
Pirate-led kidnappings rose around the world last year, including by 40 percent in the Gulf of Guinea. The area is a piracy hotspot and was home to 132 attacks in the first nine months of 2020, as well as 80 of the 85 sailors kidnapped worldwide, according to the International Maritime Bureau.
Chile Sigh of Relief After False Tsunami Alarm
We finish this week in Chile whose people were plunged into panic, after a magnitude 7.1 earthquake in Antartica triggered warnings to evacuate coastal areas across the country. The warning included the people of Valparaiso, a city near the capital Santiago in the north of the country, but the country’s National Emergency Office confirmed it was a false alarm, citing a technical error.
One might think an erroneous tsunami warning is relatively harmless, but not in Chile. The coastal nation is among the most earthquake-prone countries in the world, sitting in the vicinity of the Nazca and South American tectonic plates, meaning it’s seen four life-threatening tsunamis since 2010 alone. The country also experiences almost one magnitude 7+ earthquake a year, and is home to the largest earthquake ever recorded, a magnitude 9.5 that killed more than 5,000 people. So excuse them for being a little antsy.
That’s all for today. See you next week for more jobs and global fun! 👋