🌏 Colombia Elects First Leftist President And Black Woman VP, Devastating Earthquake In Afghanistan And More

All the world news you need to know this week.

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In a historic victory, Gustavo Petro, a former rebel fighter, has been elected as Colombia’s first leftist president on Sunday June 19.

The 62-year-old politician defeated right-wing business man, Rodolfo Hernandéz, with more than 50% of the votes.

His running mate, Francia Márquez, also made history as Colombia’s first black woman vice president.

Petro ran on a campaign to end inequality, provide free university education, pension reforms and taxes on the rich.

His victory comes a year after mass protests against a tax reform bill proposed by former president Iván Duque that morphed into larger demonstrations against the rising poverty, unemployment and inequality caused by COVID-19.

Among Petro’s most ambitious campaign proposals is reforming the oil-dependent industry. He has promised to halt oil expansion in Colombia to focus on other industries and build social programs.

As a former member of M-19, a rebel group which disbanded in the 1990s to become a political party, Petro has promised to fulfill the 2016 peace accords between the state and the country’s largest rebel group FARC, which ended a 50 year conflict that killed almost 260,000 people.

Petro has promised to reassess Colombia’s relationship with the United States, as well as put more emphasis on matters of climate change and saving the Colombian Amazon forest, according to the New York Times.

Petro’s election is the latest in a wave of other Latin American countries following Peru, Honduras and Chile that have elected leftist candidates to end conservative rule.

Also Happening Around The World

🇦🇫 Afghanistan has experienced its deadliest earthquake in two decades, killing at least 1,000 people and leaving at least 1,600 others injured.

🇯🇵 A Japanese district court in Osaka has rejected three same-sex couples who sued for the right to be married, finding that the country’s ban on same-sex marriage is constitutional.

🌏 The world governing body for swimming has banned transgender women who have experienced any part of male puberty from competing in elite women’s competitions, including the Olympics.

🇸🇦 Saudi officials are seizing rainbow-colored toys and articles of clothing from shops in the capital, Riyadh, as part of a crackdown on LGBT rights.

🇮🇳 🇧🇩 Heavy rains have caused some of the worst floods in parts of Bangladesh and India, killing at least 100 people and stranding millions without food and water.

🇪🇸 Elsewhere, Spain has been experiencing one of the earliest heatwaves in decades, with temperatures soaring up to more than 40 degrees celsius.

🇳🇵Meanwhile, Nepal is preparing to move Mount Everest’s base camp as the glacier it is currently located on is rapidly melting also due to climate change, making it no longer safe.

Francia Márquez, a former housekeeper and an environmental activist lawyer, has been elected as Colombia’s first Black woman vice president.

The 40-year-old ran alongside leftist politician and former rebel fighter, Gustavo Petro, and won more than 50% of the votes in the election on Sunday June 19.

Márquez grew up in a conflict-ridden region in the state of Cauca, where she became pregnant at 16 and had to work in gold mines and as a live-in maid to support her child.

She went on to become an environmentalist activist lawyer who campaigned against illegal mining and underrepresentation.

In 2018, she was awarded the Goldman environmental prize for organizing a 10-day march from the Amazon to Bogotá with 80 Black women to call on the government to remove illegal miners, who were polluting the surrounding areas.

She said she decided to run for office to support the people who the government has turned its back on.

During her campaign, she has faced criticism about her lack of experience, as well as racist comments, with opponents calling her “King Kong” on social media.

However, she has risen above that, speaking to Black, Indigenous, and rural communities in Colombia, which have suffered the most from the inequality that has worsened during the pandemic.

More Women You Should Know About

🇪🇬 People are demanding justice for Naira Ashraf Abdel Qader, a student in Egypt, after she was murdered by a male classmate in broad daylight in front of her university, in an incident that has sent shockwaves throughout the country.

🇧🇫 A group of nuns in Burkina Faso have founded a shelter for girls who have escaped from forced marriages to continue their education and learn skills to pursue a career.

🇰🇭 Theary Seng, a Cambodian-American lawyer and human rights activist associated with the now disbanded opposition party, has been sentenced to six years in prison for conspiring against the government.

On Wednesday June 15, Thailand took a step toward marriage equality as lawmakers passed a first reading of four different bills on same-sex unions, including two bills that would allow same-sex marriages and two others that would permit civil partnerships.

A committee will now examine the bills in detail and consolidate them into two proposals, with MPs choosing between civil partnerships or same-sex marriage.

If legalized, Thailand would become the second country in Asia to allow same-sex marriage after Taiwan.

Thailand has one of the most open and visible LGBTQ cultures and communities in Asia, but activists say LGBT people still face discrimination through outdated laws and institutions.

The bill passed a week after people in Thailand held the country’s first pride parade in almost 15 years.

Last year, Thailand’s top court ruled that the country’s current marriage law, which only recognizes heterosexual couples, was constitutional. However, it recommended expanding legislation to ensure the rights of other genders, according to Reuters.

More Good News For Your Week

🇦🇺 An Australian man has succeeded in using a forklift to prevent a thief from stealing his car in Queensland, Australia.

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