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Somalia has a new president

Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has been elected as Somalia’s new president by the country’s parliament. He was a former prime minister of the country (2010 to 2011). His nickname is Farmajo, which comes from the Italian word formaggio for cheese. He has dual Somali-American citizenship. The members of parliament who elected the president were also recently elected. They were chosen by some respected elders in the country. The elections were held at an airport complex in the country’s capital Mogadishu. The area is considered the safest and most secure place in Somalia. It is guarded by many troops.

Somalia has had an ongoing civil war, and has not had an effective government for over 25 years. The country was created by joining two territories governed by the United Kingdom and Italy in 1960. In 1991, the different clans in Somalia overthrew the government of the country that had ruled for over 20 years. Different groups started fighting to gain control. In 2004, a government was put in place in Somalia with help from the international community. There have been multiple presidents, but Somalia’s government has not been able to get control over the whole nation. Parts of southern Somalia are controlled by a group called al-Shabab. This group is a big threat to the government of Somalia.

War is not the only thing Somalia has suffered. There have been serious food shortages in the country caused by droughts.

Did you know?

Somalia is part of a region called “Horn of Africa”.

Image Credits: AMISOM Photo/Ilyas Ahmed for Mohamed’s image
Sources: http://www.aljazeera.com, CIA World Factbook

New words in the Merriam Webster Dictionary

More than one thousand new words have been added to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary. Some of the new words are “binge-watch” (to watch many or all episodes of a TV series in rapid succession), “face-palm” (to cover one’s face with the hand as an expression of embarrassment), ”ghost” (to abruptly cut off all contact with someone by no longer accepting or responding to phone calls, instant messages, etc.), “yowza” (used to express surprise or amazement), “Seussian” (of, relating to, or suggestive of the works of Dr. Seuss), and “woo–woo” (dubiously or outlandishly mystical, supernatural, or unscientific). Here is a video about the new words and another video about Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s word of the year for 2016.

 

Image Credits: https://www.merriam-webster.com for Merriam Webster’s logo
Sources: https://www.merriam-webster.com

Africa Cup of Nations 2017

Cameroon defeated Egypt 2-1 to win the Africa Cup of Nations 2017, a soccer tournament amongst countries in the African continent. It was a gripping final. With a score of 1-1, it looked like the match would go into extra time. However, with two minutes left, Cameroon scored the winning goal. The tournament was held in Gabon, and sixteen countries participated. The Africa Cup of Nations is held every two years on odd-numbered years.

There is another soccer tournament held every two years in Africa. It’s called the African Nations Championship, and it is held on even-numbered years.

Image Credits: http://www.cafonline.com for the Cameroon team’s image
Sources: http://www.cafonline.com

Ban on Valentine’s Day celebrations

On February 13, the High Court in Pakistan’s capital Islamabad put out a ban on Valentine’s Day celebrations in public areas across the country. The reasoning is that Valentine’s Day is not part of Pakistani culture. There have been protests by various groups in the country in the past against Valentine’s Day celebrations.

Some organizations in Indonesia, Malaysia, India, and Saudi Arabia asked their citizens not to celebrate Valentine’s Day because it is not part of their culture.

Valentine’s Day is a holiday celebrated on February 14. It is considered to be a day to express affection for the people you care for. Folks exchange cards, chocolates, flowers, balloons, and other gifts with their loved ones.

Islam is the official religion of Pakistan, with over 96% of all citizens being Muslims. The Urdu language, which is the national language of the nation, is written from right to left (unlike English). yad ecin a evah! (Get it? Try reading it like you would Urdu – right to left).

Here is a video about Valentine’s Day.

 

Image Credits: Chordboard for the Valentine’s Day image, http://www.partycity.com for the red heart balloon image
Sources: http://www.cnn.com, CIA World Factbook, History.com

Grammy Awards

The Grammy Awards, considered very prestigious in the music industry, were held on February 12 in Los Angeles, USA. The “Song of the Year” award went to “Hello”, by Adele Adkins & Greg Kurstin. The “Album of the Year” award went to “25″, by Adele. The “Record of the Year” award went to “Hello” by Adele. Adele won a total of 5 awards. “Grammy” is short for “gramophone”, and the trophy that is awarded is in the shape of a gramophone. Many more awards were given out. You can see the winners here. You can watch the video of “Hello” here.

 

Image Credits: gghead06 for Adele’s image
Sources: https://www.grammy.com, VEVO

Weekend change in The Gambia

The new Gambian President Adama Barrow has gotten rid of the three-day weekend. Four years ago, the nation’s last president had officially made the work week four days long for government jobs (8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Thursday).  Folks in government jobs now have to work 4.5-day weeks (8am to 4pm Monday to Thursday, and 8am to 12:30pm on Friday). Gambians don’t have to feel terrible because if you add up the hours, they now have to work fewer hours as compared to before!

 

Image Credits: CIA World Factbook for The Gambia’s map

Sources: BBC, Reuters

A few other stories

The Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta recently took place in the Philippines. Interesting objects could be spotted floating around in the sky (such as a massive Master Yoda, a race car, and a dog). The festival is also known as A Weekend of Everything that Flies.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier has been elected to be Germany’s next president. In Germany, the head of government is not the president, nor is it a prime minister, queen, or king. It’s a “Chancellor”, and her name is Angela Merkel.

 

 

 

The world’s longest (in terms of distance) non-stop flight now is Qatar Airways from Doha (the capital of Qatar) to Auckland (New Zealand). The distance is 14,535 km (9,032 miles), and the flying time is around 17.5 hours. The previous record was held by the Emirates Airlines flight from Dubai (UAE) to Auckland.

Here is a video of a teacher in the United States who has become famous for having unique handshakes with each of his students, and another of a truck that blew over because of strong winds in Wyoming, United States.

Image Credits: http://www.philballoonfest.net for the hot air balloon image, www.securityconference.de and Marc Müller for Steinmeier’s image, http://www.qatarairways.com for Qatar Airways flight image
Sources: http://www.philballoonfest.net, CNN, http://www.qatarairways.com, Hindustan Times, ABC News

Ban in the United States

The United States President Donald Trump has issued a ban on all refugees from entering the United States for 120 days. The ban on refugees from Syria is for an undetermined length of time. There is also a ban on citizens of 7 nations from coming into the country for 90 days. The 7 countries are Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. However, if a person from one of these nations is already a permanent resident of the United States, the person will be allowed into the country.

 

Trump says that his goal in issuing this order is to protect the United States from terrorists. Trump recently took on the role as President of the United States. He wants to give the government time to figure out if the correct security checks are in place to make sure that a terrorist isn’t given entry into the country. This new order has upset many people around the world. They say that not all terrorists come from these 7 nations nor are they all refugees. However, there are also many people who side with Trump in saying that this is a good thing for America.

Refugees are people who have been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster. An ongoing civil war in Syria has made millions of Syrians leave their homes and country in recent years. The war has been going on for almost 6 years. It started as a fight between rebel groups and the Syrian government. The rebels wanted the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, and he refused. Assad has now been the country’s president for over 16 years. Another group called the Islamic State (IS) also joined the fight. The IS is fighting both the rebels and Assad’s troops. The United Nations Refugee Agency estimates that over 4 million people have fled Syria since the war started. Here is a video about the civil war (the video is a few years old).


Image Credits: JayCoop for the 7 country ban map, United States government for the image of Donald Trump
Sources: BBC, Time, http://www.unhcr.org, theguardian.com

Year of the Rooster

In China, millions of people traveled to be with their families to celebrate the Lunar New Year holiday (also known as the Spring Festival). So many people in China travel at this time of the year that it is considered to be the largest annual movement of humanity anywhere in the world. The travel period this year is from January 13 to February 21, and nearly three billion trips are expected to be made.

 

 

January 28 was the start of the Year of the Rooster. Lion dances, red lanterns, firecrackers, dumplings, red clothes, and red envelopes containing money for kids are all part of the celebrations. Each year of the Chinese calendar is assigned an animal name according to a repeating cycle of 12 animals: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Boar. Here is a video showing a legend about how the 12 animals were chosen and another about the Chinese New Year.


Did you know?

The world’s longest floating walkway (30 miles or 50 km long) opened in January in China’s Guizhou Province. Here is a video about it.

Image Credits: http://www.chinahighlights.com for rooster image, http://keywordsuggest.org for the zodiac calendar image

Sources: http://news.xinhuanet.com, forbes.com, http://www.businessinsider.com

2017 Dakar Rally

The 2017 Dakar Rally was held from January 2 to 14. The race had competitions in 5 categories: bikes, cars, trucks, quads, and UTVs. UTV (Utility Task Vehicle) is a new category that was added this year. The winners were Sam Sunderland from the United Kingdom in bikes, Stephane Peterhansel from France in cars, Eduard Nikolaev from Russia in trucks, Sergey Karyakin from Russia in quads, and Leandro Torres from Brazil in UTVs.

 

 

 

 

The Dakar Rally is an annual long-distance off-road race that takes place over two weeks. It started in 1978 and most of the races began in Paris, France, and ended in Dakar, Senegal. In 2009, the race was moved to South America because of political instability in Africa. This year, the race went through 3 countries – Paraguay, Bolivia and Argentina. The Dakar Rally is a difficult and wild race – it goes over sand dunes, rocks, grass, rivers, mud, and can be quite dangerous. This year, the race started with 318 vehicles, and ended with 216. The race was around 9,000 kilometers (5,600 miles) long.

Here is a video with the Best of Dakar.

Image Credits: http://www.dakar.com for the Dakar Rally images
Sources: http://www.dakar.com. www.dailymotion.com