Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine — Following months of civil unrest, protesters seized the regional government offices in the city of Ivano-Frankivsk in western Ukraine. Protests were sparked in November when President Yanukovych abandoned a proposed association and free-trade agreement with the European Union.
Activists cite the prolonged violence and demonstrations, as part of the fight against extensive government corruption and misuse of power and say that all attempts to do so peacefully have been ineffective. Many government offices, including those in the capital city of Kiev, have added extra protection by means of police and new defense barriers.
Las Vegas, Nevada — Sin City has thrown its hat in the ring as the site to host the 2016 Republican National Convention. The event would bring tens of millions in revenue from the estimated 40,000 delegates, visitors, media and guests; not to mention intense week-long media coverage and a substantial amount of federal funding for security and arrangements.
Las Vegas civic leaders and GOP supporters, such as casino owner Sheldon Adelson who personally spent $98 million on candidates in 2012, are launching a campaign to convince the party that Vegas should host in 2016. While the city may not have the conservative reputation that the party looks for, Republicans might be eager to reclaim the state known as “an electoral battleground” after losing its support in the last two elections.
Seoul, South Korea — The leader of North Korea has sent an open letter to the South Korean government asking for reconciliation and an end to “hostile military tactics.” The letter arrived just weeks before South Korea and the United States are set to hold joint military exercises.
The North Korean government has suggested that the exercises are more akin to preparation on South Korea’s behalf for an attack on their neighbors to the north and included thinly veiled threats in the letter about what would happen if South Korea chooses not to cancel the exercises.
The government in Seoul has openly stated that they are not taking the letter at face value and have assured, along with Washington D.C., that the exercises are harmless.
Eldoret, Kenya — Top athletes in Kenya are threatening to boycott the Olympics in protest of proposed tax increases to their earnings. The Kenyan Revenue Agency is seeking to double the current tax rate for the athletes who are already placed in the highest tax bracket in the country.
The tax alone has discouraged athletes in various countries from competing, save a few events, such as Jamaica’s Usain Bolt, who competes only in the United Kingdom when offered a tax exemption. Many are crying out in protest over the treatment of Kenyan athletes.
The country currently boasts some of the world’s fastest middle and long distance runners.