U.S. News | Native Americans

Indigenous Peoples Day begins catching on in U.S. cities as replacement for Columbus Day
  • Cities in a potpourri of states including Washington, California, Texas, Minnesota, and New Mexico eschewed celebrating Christopher Columbus to focus instead on the contributions and achievements of indigenous Americans.
  • The movement to change the national holiday saw its first significant victory in 1990, when South Dakota renamed the holiday to Native American Day.
  • Columbus’s status as a national hero has been increasingly dismantled as historians have brought to light his writings, persecution of indigenous Americans, and initiation of a series of events that led to the deaths of millions of native inhabitants of the American continents.

Read more:
Indigenous Peoples Day Celebrated in Cities Across the U.S. Instead of Columbus Day” (BuzzFeed News)
Indigenous Peoples Day celebrated in Lawrence” (The Kansas City Star)
Denver City Council unanimously decides to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day” (KDVR FOX 31 News)

(Image Credit: Elaine Thompson/AP, via BuzzFeed News)

Southeast Asia Feature | LGBT

LGBT in Southeast Asia

The Huffington Post has launched a series exploring the state of LGBT life in Southeast Asia, a region whose climate ranges from the liberal gender norms of Thailand to the Sharia-driven sexual persecution of Brunei. Some activists argue that countries like Singapore’s success in an exclusive focus on economic development to the detriment of human rights has provided an alternative model to the Western liberal-democratic tradition for countries like China and Russia. Writers explore endemic violence, the effects of limited civil society on advocacy, and some nations’ burgeoning acceptance and recognition of the need for political protection.

Read more:
Being LGBT In Southeast Asia: Stories Of Abuse, Survival And Tremendous Courage(The Huffington Post)

(Image Credit: Associated Press, via The Huffington Post)

Lithuania Feature | Muslims

Lithuania’s Muslims

Lithuania’s Muslim Tatar community has inhabited Lithuania for more than six centuries, nearly as long as it has existed as a unified nation. That has not prevented contemporary politicians from joining the other Baltic nations in debating legislation perceived as anti-Islam or ignoring the long history of Muslims in the country while disparaging Muslim refugees. The Economist takes a brief look at this history and the contemporary debates about national identity driving immigration and humanitarian action.

Read more:
The Mosques of Lithuania” (The Economist)

(Image Credit: Martynas Zaremba/The Economist)

UK News | Racial Minorities

Investigation finds London’s Metropolitan police force took no disciplinary action on more than 200 racial discrimination complaints over year
  • The Met received 245 complaints of racial discrimination by police officers between March 2014 and February 2015, with five resulting in managerial action and the rest being dismissed.
  • Complaints were often dismissed as “poor communication,” although five officers received three or more allegations of discrimination.
  • The police force is looking to address fraught relations with London’s ethnic minority communities as only 11% of its ranks come from minority backgrounds while 40% of London’s population does.

“[The Met is] shown to be effectively immune from any accountability. We need a truly independent body that carries the confidence of the communities affected by police abuses of power. The police cannot be trusted to investigate themselves.”

Read more:
No racial discrimination complaints against Met police upheld” (The Guardian)
Met chief admits institutional racism claims have ‘some justification’” (The Guardian)

(Image Credit: Oli Scarff/Getty Images, via the Guardian)

UAE News | Iranians

Nine Iranian teachers detained in UAE over work permits
  • The teachers were accused of having invalid visas, although they claimed that there had never been an issue with the way they had gone about securing their work permits previously.
  • With 450 Iranian nationals sent to teach in the UAE this year, the detention prompted a summons of the UAE charge d’affaires in Tehran to demand the teachers’ immediate release.
  • The diplomatic disturbance added to ongoing issues between the sect-divided countries, including tensions from their opposing proxy support in Yemen’s civil war.

Read more:
Iran summons UAE diplomat over teachers’ arrest” (AFP, via Yahoo! News)
UAE detention of Iranian teachers prompts diplomatic row” (Reuters)

(Image Credit: Marwan Naamani/AFP, via Yahoo! News)

Iran News | American Journalist

Washington Post reporter convicted of espionage in Iran
  • Iranian-American reporter Jason Rezaian faces up to 20 years in prison after the ruling, though the Post and Rezaian’s legal counsel are now working to appeal the verdict.
  • Iranian state media alleged that Rezaian had come to Iran to expose Iranian businesses and individuals who were circumventing U.S. sanctions.
  • Rezain was detained by Iranian authorities in July 2014, held without charge for months, and subjected to a legal process criticized by supporters and human rights groups as opaque and inhumane.

Read more:
Iran says Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian convicted” (AP)
Washington Post’s Jason Rezaian Convicted In Iran” (BuzzFeed News)
What you need to know about the Jason Rezaian trial” (Washington Post)

(Image Credit: Twitter photo, via BuzzFeed News)