The Ukraine-Russia ceasefire agreement has proved futile. On Thursday 12th, Russian president Putin confirmed that after tense negotiations an agreement had finally been reached. The ceasefire was to begin at midnight on Saturday 14th, but as of Tuesday 17th the Ukrainian military was still reporting rebel attacks on their position in Debaltseve, which has now been bombed beyond recognition. Russia, Ukraine and Germany have announced that the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe) will monitor the ceasefire; however the organisation remains unable to enter the Debaltseve while it is under siege.
Terror attacks in Denmark last weekend left two civilians dead and several police officers wounded. On Saturday, a 55 year old man was killed and three policemen wounded by a 22 year old gunman at a café in Copenhagen. Shortly after midnight, the gunman killed a guard outside a Synagogue and injured two more officers. It’s been widely speculated that the attacks were inspired by extremist organisations like Isis, as the shooter’s first attack was at an event featuring artist Lars Vilks who in the past has created controversial cartoon depictions of the prophet Muhammed. The suspect was cornered in the early hours of the morning and was shot dead after opening fire on police once more. Danish authorities have since made two arrests on suspected accomplices.
Boko Haram’s campaign has escalated, with the extremist group launching attacks both within and outside Nigerian borders this past week. On Friday, a Boko Haram unit terrorized a village near Lake Chad, killing at least 10 residents before the military succeeded in removing them. Just the following day, militants stormed the Nigerian city of Gombe, firing on citizens and demanding that they boycott the elections set for March 28th. The Guardian reports that Nigeria and it’s neighbours in Cameroon, Chad, Benin and Niger have formed a joint offensive force of 8,700 soldiers, “raising hopes that the insurgents…might finally have met their match.”
Egypt is calling for international cooperation against Isis in Libya. Following Islamic State’s footage of the execution of 21 Christian hostages, the government is requesting backing from the UN for a military intervention in Libya. Badr Abdelatty (Cairo’s foreign ministry spokesperson) has said that Libyan residents who want to return to Egypt will be facilitated.
In other news…
Donut chain Krispy Kreme landed in hot water after an ill-advised UK customer promotion introducing “KKK Wednesdays”. The Krispy Kreme Klub promotion – a local event in Hull – will go ahead under a different name. Krispy Kreme “never intended to cause offence”.
Despite the controversy over poor source material, protests over the romantic depiction of an abusive relationship and some general queasiness, Fifty Shades of Grey has exploded at the box office. The film took $248,000,000 on opening weekend alone. Love it or hate it, we can likely expect more of the same next year.
Aleksander Tomaszewski, an inmate at a US prison, was caught on CCTV punching himself in the face to induce injuries that he could use in a police brutality complaint. His fake-out cost him $100 and an extended sentence by 20 days.
In the UK, Waterstones is now stocking River Book – a collection of poems written by a man with cerebral palsy who typed the manuscript using his nose. Author Richard Hopley has said: “Given my difficulties in communicating, due to having no speech, I find my poetry is like a gateway to expressing myself.”
Medical Tourism Association posters in Malaysia have been banned for trivialising cosmetic surgery. The advert headline claimed that “‘Boob job’ is the most popular cosmetic procedure for women”, and went on to share the association’s pride that Malaysia encourages medical tourism.
Featured image by Horia Varlan.