International News Briefs

Europe Bans Single-Use Straws

The European Union has voted to ban single-use plastic straws as part of its effort to decrease water pollution and the deterioration of marine environments. The decision comes after China moved to ban all its processing of imported plastic back in April of 2018. As countries scramble to find a processing alternative, Europe has taken the lead in reducing plastic waste by not only banning straws, but cotton swabs, single-use plastic cutlery, and stirrers. Some products packaged in plastic will not be banned but will be required to warn their consumers about plastic’s detrimental impact on the planet.

Cyclone Idai Leaves Southeast Africa in Ruins

Even though nearly two weeks have passed since Cyclone Idai hit Mozambique, the crisis continues to deepen as a broken country attempts to grapple with the wreckage. Official numbers indicate nearly 460 people died in Mozambique; however, according to UNICEF, more than 3 million people across Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe are in need of aid. Daviz Simango, the mayor of Beira, says the Mozambican government could have done more to prevent the devastation and casualties, as authorities failed to warn rural areas that were at risk of flooding. In the wake of the first cases of cholera, a waterborne disease, countries like Norway and the United States have increased their humanitarian aid effort.

Saudi Female Activists Temporarily Released from Custody

Three of eleven female activists have been temporarily released as their trials are put on hold, Saudi authorities announced. The women have been identified as Aziza al-Youssef, Ruqayyah al-Muharib, and Eman al-Nafjan, members of the region’s rising feminist movement. According to the Washington Post, the women were charged on communicating with foreign human rights groups and journalists, branded as “traitors” by the state-controlled press, and reportedly suffered abuse and torture while in custody. The remaining eight women are still being held on charges related to their activism.