Around the World 2-14

ASIA

Philippines- Geraldine Roman made history in the Philippines by becoming the first transgender woman to be elected as a Congress politician, representing her hometown province of Bataan. In an interview with CNN, Roman says that she “never expected so much media hype,” but has realized that her election is being considered “a breakthrough, given the conservative stance of the people and the Catholic church.”

The population of the Philippines is vastly Catholic and the members of the LGBT community are often ridiculed by the country’s politicians and society overall. However, Geraldine Roman’s election despite her identity as a transgender woman has prompted her to comment that Filipino society is changing and “maturing”. “The capacity to serve one’s nation doesn’t depend on…gender,” she has said, “It depends on what you have in your heart and your desire to serve others.”

Pakistan/Afghanistan- The continuous snow along the Afghan-Pakistan border, which lasted for more than 72 hours, has caused a series of deadly avalanches. The latest death toll reports that 156 people have lost their lives, but the number is expected to rise as the rescuers say that many people are trapped beneath the snow.

According to the National Disaster Management Authority, most of the damage is in Afghanistan, where 143 people have lost their lives, 103 have been reported injured, and 300 civilian homes have been destroyed. Most of the victims are women and children.

EUROPE

England- John Bercow, Speaker of Britain’s House of Commons, has said that he is “strongly opposed” to letting US President Donald Trump address lawmakers during his visit to the UK due to the Parliament’s opposition to racism and sexism.

Bercow is one of the three parliamentary speakers who must approve any invitation for anyone to speak in the Westminster Hall, and has attributed his opposition to President Trump to the Parliament’s “opposition to racism and to sexism” in an address to his fellow Members of Parliament (MPs).

In the address, he stated that “an address by a foreign leader to both Houses of Parliament is not an automatic right, it is an earned honor,” and 163 MPs have signed a motion for Trump not to be afforded a Westminster Hall audience.

AFRICA

Somalia- Somalia’s former Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, a dual US-Somalia citizen, has been elected as the country’s new president by the Somalian Parliament on Wednesday.

Former President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud withdrew from the final ballot after losing 184 to 97 to Farmajo in the second round of voting.

Due to rising security issues in Somalia, the 328 members of parliament met at an Air Force hangar in Mogadishu to cast their votes. The news of Farmajo taking office was greeted by a celebratory gunfire in government controlled areas.

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