PHN Rewind (21-27 March)

On this week’s rewind, Russian troops deport thousands of Ukrainians to the Russian territory, partnership between Qatar and Germany, British-Iranian charity worker released from detention in Iran, climate change impacts the Great Barrier Reef and other stories.

Ukrainians Deported from Mariupol to Russia

The Ukrainian foreign ministry claimed that 6,000 residents of Mariupol, the city that had been besieged by Russian forces, had been “forcibly deported” to Russia. They were taken by Russian troops as “hostages” after being dispossessed of their passports and identification documents.

According to the Mariupol city council, thousands of residents were taken to “filtration camps” against their will before being sent to other cities. The Russian authorities, on the other side, claimed that it had evacuated more than 380,000 Ukrainian residents to the Russian territory.

Considering the lack of coverage and the absence of foreign journalists within the city, it is complicated to verify the reliability of the information mentioned above.

Germany Closes Deal With Qatar For Less Dependency on Russian Fuel

Russia has been the largest gas supplier to Germany, but following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Germany attempts to decrease its dependency on Russian energy sources. On March 20, German Economy Minister Robert Habeck met Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani to discuss a long-term energy partnership.

A spokesperson of the German Economics Ministry has confirmed that “The companies that have come to Qatar with (Habeck) will now enter into contract negotiations with the Qatari side.”

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe Released From Iran Jail

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British-Iranian charity worker has been released from an Iranian jail in Tehran after nearly six years of detention after several months of discussions. Accusations of plotting to overthrow the Iranian government in 2016 were made against her, all of which she denied.

British Prime Minister described her release as being “a huge achievement” for British diplomacy. However, no further details were provided concerning the release of the 43-year-old woman.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe said that “freedom will never be complete” until all detainees were given back their rights.

Deadly Plane Crash in China Leaves No Survivors

A China Eastern flight of 132 passengers flying from Kunming to Guangzhou last week crashed in a wooded area in Guangxi. Chinese officials confirmed that all passengers and crew members died during the crash.

Almost all the victims of the crash have been identified and both black boxes have been found. Although the search has been toilsome, Hu Zhenjiang, deputy director-general of China’s civil aviation administration, assured that the search will continue.

Death of Corsican Nationalist Yvan Colonna

After being arrested for the murder of a French Prefect in 1998, the 61-year-old Corsican nationalist Yvan Colonna was beaten by another inmate on March 2. Regarded by many as a hero, this incident resulted in violent riots in Corsica and 67 injured people including police officers.

Colonna was then left in a coma in a hospital located in the south of France. His death was seen as a result of the French authorities’ failure to protect him. Corsica’s pro-autonomy regional council president, Gilles Simeoni, said his death was an “injustice and a tragedy, which will leave its mark on the history of contemporary Corsica and its people.”

Arctic Circle Hits Historical Record High Temperatures

The highest recorded temperatures in the Arctic Circle were reached last week, hitting 38°C. Hot temperatures are not new in the area, but the last few months have witnessed abnormally high temperatures.

The Verkhoyansk region is located in remote Siberia and is known for its extreme climate: temperatures sometimes drop to -42°C on winter days and skyrocket, reaching 20°C in June.

“Mass Bleaching” of Corals in the Great Barrier Reef

The corals of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia have undergone “mass bleaching”, losing their color because of the seas’ increased temperatures.

The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system stretching for over 2,300 kilometers. It is home to 1,500 species of fish and 4,000 types of mollusk.

It is not the first mass bleaching event, since, in 2016, the area witnessed the same phenomenon.

There is still a possibility of recovery despite the stress undergone by the bleached corals if the conditions become more stable, according to the Reef Authority.

Facebook and Instagram Banned in Russia

A month after the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian forces, Russia decided to ban social networks, including Facebook and Instagram.

After banning hundreds of news outlets, a Russian court has accused Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, of “extremist” conduct following its announcement on the permission of hate messages against President Vladimir Putin and the Russian troops.

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