Welcome to Friday where Russian forces claim control of salt mine town of Soledar after intense fighting, a man is indicted in the 2022 assassination of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and Elvis’s only child is dead at 54. We also explore the misconceptions that link mental health struggles and violent crimes in a piece by Sara R. Gallardo in Spanish magazine Pikara.
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• Russia claims control of mine town Soledar: Russia’s Ministry of Defense says Moscow’s troops have captured the Ukrainian salt mine town of Soledar after a months-long battle, which could cut off Kyiv’s supply routes in the nearby city of Bakhmut. There hasn’t been confirmation yet from Ukrainian authorities.
• Japan indicts suspect in Abe killing: Japanese prosecutors announced the indictment of Tetsuya Yamagami, the man accused of killing former prime minister Shinzo Abe in July 2022, after a psychiatric review found him fit for trial.
• Death of BLM co-founder’s cousin in police sparks outrage: The death of Keenan Anderson, the cousin of Black Lives Matter’s co-founder Patrisse Cullors, has sparked an outcry in the U.S. after footage showed the 31-year-old English teacher being repeatedly tased by Los Angeles police officers before he went into cardiac arrest. This is the third officer-involved death in the city since 2023 began less than two weeks ago.
• Czech Republic presidential election: Czechs go to the polls on Friday and Saturday in the first round of voting to elect a new president to replace Milos Zeman, who has been in power since 2013. The runoff will be held in two weeks.
• ExxonMobil predicted global warming in 1970s, new study says: Research published in the journal Science reveals ExxonMobil forecast how burning fossil fuels would trigger global warming as long ago as the 1970s, suggesting the oil giant’s predictions were, for the most part, more accurate than world-leading NASA scientists.
• Lisa Marie Presley dies at 54: American singer Lisa Marie Presley, the only child of rock’n’roll legend Elvis Presley, has died at the age of 54 following an apparent cardiac arrest.
• Ramses II sarcophagus to return to Paris in rare loan: Egyptian pharaoh Ramses II’s sarcophagus will return to Paris for the first time in almost 50 years to star in an exhibition at the La Villette exhibition center in April, in a rare loan of the sculpted coffin outside Egypt.
Bogota-based daily El Espectador worries that the iconic Pan-American Highway may soon face “extinction,” after a dramatic landslide in Cali, Colombia, earlier this week destroyed 500 meters (0.3 miles) of the scenic road, together with 32 homes. The newspaper interviewed two geologists to try and understand what led to this disaster; it also explores alternative routes — which can be perilous, like the so-called “Trampoline of Death,” one of Colombia's most dangerous roads — and new roads announced by the government.
Luxury ship MV Ganga Vilas started its inaugural cruise Friday, embarking from the Indian spiritual city of Varanasi. It will sail 1,988 miles (3,200 kilometers) along the Ganges, India's holiest river, and other waterways through five states in western India, and also neighboring Bangladesh. Once completed, the journey would break the record of the world's longest river cruise. The journey will last 51 days. This ship is carrying 36 passengers who paid between $51,114-$54,765 to be part of the long-planned cruise, which is meant to encourage a new kind of tourism in India.
Facing down the “violence stigma” of mental health illness
Sensationalist TV coverage and even experts still often link mental health struggles and violent crimes, even though people with mental health difficulties commit fewer crimes comparatively. It's time to end the stigma, writes Sara R. Gallardo in Spanish-speaking online magazine Pikara.
🏥 Where does this inclination to think that the mentally ill are more violent than the sane come from? For the psychiatrist José Valdecasas, associating madness and violence "is inherent in our capitalist Western civilization." The people who do not produce enough for the system and do not respect the rules "are really dangerous for the established order in terms of showing the possibility of not accepting that order."
💊 Varrero, a nurse and professor at the University of Alcalá, points out the common belief that "people in psychiatric institutions who are violent are [presented as] proof that people with mental illness are violent." But the institutional violence being inflicted on that person is ignored. When a psychiatric patient becomes "agitated," their behavior "is used by the 'professionals' to justify acting violently on them, for example, tying them to the bed, administering medication without their consent, etc.," says Ana Carralero, a nurse specializing in mental health.
📈 There are reasons to think that violence correlates with people's mental health. This idea is endorsed by both the United Nations and the World Health Organization. The UN, in a study on the impact of violent crimes, points out that in countries with the highest homicide rates, the rate of mental health problems associated with them also increases. Mental health suffers both "among those affected by the crime, as well as among the survivors and relatives of the victim," the agency points out, "which causes a general decrease in the quality of life."
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“Sweden must keep its promises.”
— Fahrettin Altun, a spokesman for the Turkish government has voiced Ankara’s anger after a video, published on Twitter by a Kurdish group based in Sweden, called President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a “dictator” and suggested he be hanged. This comes amid a months-long feud between the two countries over Stockholm’s application for NATO membership. Turkey's Ministry of Foreign Affairs described the video as "a clear violation of Sweden's promises under the memorandum of understanding” signed last year between the two countries.
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