Resolution for ceasefire in Syria denied
A resolution for a 30-day ceasefire in Syria put forward by Sweden and Kuwait at the UN Security Council was reportedly denied by Russia. The outcry for a ceasefire has become even stronger after more than 403 people died in Eastern Ghouta on February 18th from airstrikes by the Syrian government, backed by Russian warplanes. The proposed resolution would go into effect 72 hours after being passed, with evacuations and medical aid brought in 48 hours after. The United States, the UK and France called for the resolution to be enacted immediately, and Kelly Curie, the deputy UN ambassador for the United States, criticized Russia for “appearing to be intent on blocking any meaningful effort.”
Deputy Prime Minister of Australia resigns
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce announced his resignation following an affair with a former staff member. He steps down Monday from his position as leader of the National Party. When news of the affair broke earlier this month, Joyce repeatedly resisted initial calls for his resignation, stating that “private matters remain private”; however, he has since announced via Twitter that he will be resigning. “I would like to thank everyone for offering their support to me, especially the people of New England,” the tweet read. Joyce is currently residing with his partner, after obtaining a formal divorce with his wife. They expect a child in April.
Saudi Arabia to invest in entertainment industry
Saudi Arabia says they plan to invest approximately $890 billion into further developing their entertainment industry. This investment comes as a part of Vision 2030, a program based on the principle of social and economic reform championed by crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. The investment intends to boost the already growing industry, which plans to host big acts this year such as Maroon 5 and Cirque du Soleil.
“In the past, investors would go outside the kingdom to produce their work, and then showcase it back in Saudi Arabia,” said General Entertainment Authority Chief Ahmed bin Aqeel al-Khatib. “Today, change will happen and everything related to entertainment will be done here.”
There are plans for a Las Vegas-sized entertainment city as part of the country’s efforts to boost their tourism industry. The country has also begun construction of its first opera house in Riyadh. This continues the trend of modernization in Saudi Arabia, following June’s lifts on bans of commercial cinemas and women driving.
Nigerian schoolgirls still missing
Following a mass kidnapping last Monday and false rumors of rescue, 105 schoolgirls from the Nigerian town of Dapchi have been reported missing. It is suspected that the girls were abducted by a faction of Boko Haram, a militant resurgence group known for abducting children. It is suspected that the girls have been kidnapped in hopes of a ransom, similar to the one given for the release of the Chibok Schoolgirls, a group of children who were abducted in a similar manner in 2014. Reporters on the situation say the similarities between Dapchi and the Chibok Schoolgirls are strikingly similar, with the initial facts of the incident unknown and false reports of rescue perpetrated by the government.