5 Things You Need to Know About What Went Down This Week - August 18

Curious to what’s going on in the world? Here’s a quick snapshot of five things you need to know. Powered by Pressed News, here is your round up of what you need to know about this past week—from Amazon burning to Kawhi Leonard making change.

PHOTO CREDIT: REAL NEWS NETWORK

PHOTO CREDIT: REAL NEWS NETWORK

1. THE AMAZON IS BURNING

The effects of global climate change are on full display in Brazil. The Amazon rainforest has been burning for more than two weeks and the Brazilian state of Amazonas has declared a national emergency.

What caused it?
Human activity. The Amazon used to be fire-resistant due to its natural moisture and humidity, but the conditions today are ripe for fires. Climate change has raised temperatures, droughts are more intense, and deforestation in the area is a serious problem. Far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is partially to blame. He has made no apology for his environmental plans and efforts to increase deforestation, i.e. when a farmer deliberately sets forest fires to make room for cattle. Since taking power in January, Bolsonaro has sided with the farming and mining industry, promising to develop the Amazon region for farming and mining, and ignoring serious concerns from the rest of the world.
 
This sounds scary. Should I be worried?
To put it bluntly, yes. The Amazon is the world’s largest tropical rainforest and produces 20% of earth’s oxygen. It’s key to slowing down global warming. There are 3 million species of plants and animals and 1 million indigenous people who call the Amazon home. A higher than usual number of wildfires have torched the Amazon this year. Satellite images captured 9,570 new forest fires in the country, an 83% increase from last year. Bolsonaro doesn’t seem concerned by the fires, which now have their own hashtag, #prayforAmazonia, and hasn’t done much to stop them from spreading. But that doesn’t mean you can’t. Here are nine ways you can help right now.

 

2. WEDDING SORROW

A wedding in Kabul, Afghanistan on Saturday ended with at least 63 people dead and 182 wounded. A suicide bomber who placed himself in the middle of a laughing, clapping, dancing crowd, detonated his bomb-filled vest and left dozens of people dead, including children. The bride and groom survived, but the groom, Mirwais Elmi, said, “I will never see happiness in my life again.”
 
Who would do this?
ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack that took place in western Kabul, in a neighbourhood that is home to many of the country’s Shia community. FYI, Shia and Sunni Muslims represent two main branches of Islam. Sunni extremists like ISIS have been targeting Shia Muslims for years, accusing them of having beliefs that contradict their version of Islam. On the sidelines of Saturday’s attack, people were closely watching the talks between the Taliban and the U.S. The two have been negotiating an agreement to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan in exchange for Taliban peace talks with the U.S.-backed Afghanistan government and a promise to prevent the country from becoming a launching pad for global terrorism.

 

3. JIHADI JACK

Jack Letts, dubbed “Jihadi Jack,” has been stripped of his British citizenship. The 24-year-old, who was born in Oxford, England and has dual Canadian-U.K. citizenship, has been in jail in northern Syria since 2017 when he was captured by the Kurdish army.
 
What’s this about?
Letts left home in 2014 when he was 18-years-old to allegedly fight with ISIS in Syria. The U.K. decided to revoke his citizenship as a way to “counter the terrorist threat” and keep the country safe. But in doing so, Letts has become Canada’s responsibility because, under international law, a person can’t be left country-less. In response, Canada said it was disappointed that the U.K. decided to “off-load their responsibilities.” Canada also made it clear that it has no legal obligation to help citizens detained in Syria and would not expose itself to “undue risk in this dangerous part of the world.”

 

4. FACE-OFF

You know those pesky ads that follow you around the internet? A surprise discount on a pair of shows you just browsed but didn’t buy that pops up in your IG feed? Love them or hate them, they’re everywhere because of tracking links and data privacy rules. On Tuesday, Facebook said it’s going to let users turn off the stalking. By switching “off-Facebook activity,” you’ll be blocking the social network from using your activity on other websites to serve you ads on FB, IG, and Messenger. But don’t go looking for it yet. The feature is not available in Canada yet. It was launched in South Korea, Ireland, and Spain this week and will roll out to other countries in the “coming months.

 

5. GOOD NEWS

Basketball fans across Canada still miss Kawhi Leonard, but maybe we can find some comfort in the fact that he’s already changing lives. On Tuesday, the NBA star, in partnership with the L.A. Clippers Foundation and non-profit Baby2Baby, announced a gift of 1 million backpacks to kids in three school districts in Southern California. Leonard made the announcement at his former elementary school in front of teachers and kids who were starting their first day of school. He was later joined by Baby2Baby ambassadors Zooey Deschanel, Busy Philipps, and Nicole Richie.

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