INTERNATIONAL NEWS: Belgian transport minister resigns, Earthquake hits Japan, Brazilian president faces potential impeachment, Norwegian migrant couple loses 5 children to government, Czech Republic seeks to be called Czechia


Belgian transport minister resigns

Belgian Transport Minister Jacqueline Galant resigned April 15 after being accused of security lapses in the Brussels Airport before the terrorist attacks March 22, reported the BBC. Security lapses were identified in a leaked confidential 2015 document, which Galand denied seeing. Prime Minister Charles Michel originally defended Galant but dropped his support Friday morning following the release of more documents Thursday night. Galant submitted her resignation letter after meeting with Michel on Friday morning. Some international newspapers said that the security problems run deeper than one minister.

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Earthquake strikes Japan

A magnitude-6.2 earthquake struck the Japanese city island Kyushu late April 14. The event has killed at least nine people and injured almost 800. The quake lasted “for about 20 seconds,” according to witness Lim Ting Jie, and caused many buildings to collapse or catch on fire, according to CNN. Tremors added to the damage, triggering landslides, road damage and derailing a bullet train. Aftershocks were likely to occur in the week following the quake, said Gen Aoki, who is the director of the Japan Meteorological Agency’s earthquake division. The event also increases the likelihood of a volcanic eruption from Mount Aso, said Robert Geller from Tokyo University. Thankfully, no damage was caused to any of the country’s nuclear plants unlike the 2011 quake that caused meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

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Brazilian president faces potential impeachment

The lower house of the Brazilian Parliament voted April 17 to “start impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff over charges of manipulating government accounts,” reported the BBC. The two-thirds majority vote was reached and now the Senate will take up the motion. It is anticipated that the Senate will suspend Rousseff in May “while it carries out a formal trial.” If the Senate comes to a two-thirds majority vote in favor of impeachment, Rousseff will be permanently removed from office.

Rousseff’s supporters call the actions a “coup,” and Rousseff herself denies the charges.

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Norwegian migrant couple loses 5 children to government

The BBC stated April 14 that “protesters around the world – and leading Norwegian professionals – say social workers are often too quick to separate children from their families, with too little justification.” This report comes after a young couple in Norway had their five children taken away by Barnevernet, the Norwegian government’s child protection service in November. The state suspected the couple of administering corporal punishment, which is illegal in Norway. The migrant couple insisted they only spanked their children on occasion, never causing physical injury, and they were not aware the law included spanking, said the BBC. Authorities also split the children between three different foster homes, hours apart from each other.

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Czech Republic seeks to be called Czechia

The Czech Republic decided to seek a more concise name for its country because of apparent confusion for English speakers, according to CNN on April 15. The country is seeking a formal amendment through the United Nations for its shorter name of “Czech” to become “Czechia,” while the formal name will remain the Czech Republic. A statement from the country’s foreign ministry press department said, “Our hope is that this step will overcome the problems we face with distorting the name and that the correct terms will dissolve into general knowledge.” The Czech Republic used to be part of Czechoslovakia, but the country split in 1993. The other half became Slovakia.

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