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The Latest: Peru Election Too Close To Call, Pakistan Train Collision, Turkey Sea Snot

Turkey’s Marmara Sea is facing a scourge of marine mucilage, or “sea snot”
Turkey’s Marmara Sea is facing a scourge of marine mucilage, or “sea snot”

Welcome to Monday, where two Latin American countries await the results of key elections, a deadly train collision rocks Pakistan, and Turkey faces a worrying — not to say pretty yucky — sea of snot. We also look at some of the most creative vaccine incentives around the world. (Spoiler alert: They involve free food. And a cow.)

• Pakistan train collision kills 33: Two trains collided early this morning in southern Pakistan, killing at least 33 and injuring more than 120. Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted he was "ordering comprehensive investigation into railway safety fault lines."

• Boko Haram leader dead: According to a rival militant group, the leader of Nigerian-based Islamist group Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, has killed himself by detonating an explosive. Although his death has not yet been confirmed by authorities, the Nigerian army has announced plans to investigate the allegations.

• Key elections in Latin America: Both Peru and Mexico went to the polls this weekend. In Mexico, after being largely overshadowed by spates of violence, President López Obrador and his coalition are set to maintain a simple majority in the lower house of Congress, despite losing several seats. In Peru, the presidential election between Leftist Pedro Castillo and right-wing candidate Keiko Fujimori is still too close to call.

• G7 vs. tech giants: G7 countries reached a historic deal on the taxation of multinational corporations, such as Amazon and Microsoft, over the weekend. Large corporations may now be subject to a global minimum corporation tax rate of 15%, in an effort to dissuade the use of offshore tax havens.

• Hungarians protest new Chinese University: Thousands of Hungarians gathered to protest the planned construction of a Budapest campus for the Chinese University, Fudan. Many left-leaning Hungarians are critical of Prime Minister Viktor Orban's close relationship with Beijing, and see the project as a misuse of funds that could go toward improving the state of the country's education.

• Last Auschwitz liberator dies: David Dushman, the last surviving soldier who took part in the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, has died at 98. The Red Army soldier had used his tank to mow down the electric fence of the camp.

• President Lili?: After Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced the birth of Lilibet "Lili" Diana Mountbatten-Windsor (named in honor of both Queen Elizabeth and Lady Diana), born on Friday morning in Santa Barbara, California, some were quick to point out that being born on U.S. soil, Lilibet will also be able to run for U.S. president.

Peruvian daily La Republica reports on the country's general elections' "technical draw," as tight first results project that leftist candidate Pedro Castillo holds a razor-thin advantage over conservative candidate Keiko Fujimori.

Sweetening the deal: a global tour of vaccine incentive

Million-dollar jackpots, free food and … a cow? Governments around the world are getting creative to encourage COVID vaccination, particularly among the young and healthy, who have some of the highest rates of vaccine hesitancy.

Seeing green: In Serbia, which has already vaccinated over 30% of its approximately 7 million citizens but saw the pace of new vaccine sign-ups slow, decided to offer 3,000 dinars ($30) to anyone getting the shot in May. The extra dose of dinars is not an insignificant amount in a country where the average monthly income is about $600. In Hong Kong, where the cost of housing is the highest in the world, a lottery was started — with the top prize being a HK$ 10.8 million ($1.4 million) estate.

Debt-free school: Many colleges and universities are requiring vaccination as a condition to return to campus. But some higher education institutions are taking things further still with scholarship incentives and even money raffles. Nine vaccinated students at the University of Lethbridge in Calgary, Canada won't have to pay fall tuition or fees, and at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, one lucky student will get a free year of schooling.

Tasty benefits: One of the first to sweeten the deal, so to speak, was the Krispy Kreme restaurant chain, which began offering one free donut a day for a year for those with a vaccination card. Others in the food and beverage industry have followed suit. In Moscow, which suffered from a potential oversupply of doses, free ice cream was given in exchange for the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine, a rather delectable plan that might have been more successful in a warmer climate.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

10.78 million

Today marks the beginning of China's momentous annual college entrance exam, known as 高考("Gaokao"). This year, a record 10.78 million candidates are sitting the exam, making it the biggest such event since the COVID outbreak. Sanitary measures have been put in place across the 7,000 exam venues to prevent infections.

The whole Gaza Strip has turned into a huge human slaughterhouse and a place of massacring children.

The North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned Israel for its actions in the most recent outbreak of violence between Israel and Hamas, accusing Benjamin Netanyahu's government of human rights violations against children and referring to the actions as "a crime against humanity." For decades, North Korea has recognized Palestinian sovereignty over all territories held by Israel, while Kim Jong-un's regime has expressed solidarity with Palestinian militant groups, including Hamas.

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Why Is Homophobia In Africa So Widespread?

Uganda's new law that calls for life imprisonment for gay sex is part of a wider crackdown against LGBTQ+ rights that is particularly harsh on the African continent.

Photo of LGBTQ Ugandan group

LGBTQ group in Uganda

Pierre Haski


Uganda has just passed a law that allows for life imprisonment for same-sex sexual relations, punishing even the "promotion" of homosexuality. Under the authoritarian regime of Yoweri Museveni for the past 37 years, Uganda has certainly gone above and beyond existing anti-gay legislation inherited from British colonization.

But the country of 46 million is not alone, as a wider crackdown against LGBTQ+ rights continues to spread as part of a wider homophobic climate across Africa.

There is exactly one country on the continent, South Africa, legalized same-sex marriage in 2006, and another southern African state, Botswana, lifted the ban on homosexuality in 2019. But in total, more than half of the 54 African states have more or less repressive laws providing for prison sentences.

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