the Context



Brexit negotiations

The UK's parliament rejects Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal by 149 votes. A vote for leaving the European Union without a deal is scheduled for the thirteenth of March. If Parliament rejects the decision to leave with no deal, the UK could request its withdrawal from the EU be postponed with the unanimous consent of the other 27 member states.

The 391 to 242 vote left Britain in limbo, without a clear way forward on Brexit, and threatens Prime Minister May’s hold on power.

2019 Micronesian parliamentary election

President Peter M. Christian is defeated for re-election to his at-large seat in Congress by David Panuelo.

Federated States of Micronesia President Peter Christian, whose administration was rocked by a bribery scandal involving his family, lost the presidential 

Crisis in Venezuela

Prominent Venezuelan journalist Luis Carlos Díaz is released after being taken by SEBIN, the national intelligence service, on Monday; he has been ordered not to speak of his time in detention or publish anything.

Luis Carlos Díaz, who was charged with inciting violence and ordered not to leave the country, was released late on Tuesday

Capital punishment in California

It is reported that California Governor Gavin Newsom will sign an executive order placing a moratorium on the death penalty for all 737 inmates on California's death row, ensuring that no executions will take place while he is governor.

A longtime opponent of capital punishment, the newly elected governor declares it is ‘inconsistent with our bedrock values.’ California voters say otherwise.

Catholic Church sexual abuse cases

Cardinal George Pell, the most senior official of the Catholic Church to be convicted of sexual abuse to date, is sentenced to six years in prison for the sexual assault of two children in the late 1990s.

Cardinal George Pell, the most senior Vatican official to be convicted of sex abuse to date, has been sentenced to six years in prison for the "callous" assault of two choirboys in the late 1990s.

2019 college admissions bribery scandal

A college admission scheme across the United States results in the indictment of over 50 people including athletic coaches, CEOs, and two Hollywood actresses, accused of using bribery and fraud in order to cheat their children into universities such as Yale and Stanford.

Prosecutors call it "a conspiracy nationwide in scope." Here is the full federal indictment and the criminal complaint.

Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service

In an annual report, the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service warns that Russia will "very likely" try to intervene in European parliamentary elections this May to undermine unity within the European Union "by sowing disorder and disbelief" within and between the 28 European Union member states.

The intelligence boss also says Russia is continuing to develop and train its armed forces for a "large-scale war against NATO".

United States–Venezuela relations

The United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announces that the U.S. will be withdrawing all remaining diplomatic staff from Venezuela. The withdrawal follows televised remarks from Nicolás Maduro calling "colectivos" (paramilitary groups) to active resistance, and alleging that U.S. President Donald Trump masterminded the ongoing nationwide power blackout as part of a "demonic plot" to oust him, by crippling the country's electricity sector with an "electromagnetic attack".

In a televised nationwide address, leader says White House ‘ordered this attack’ and calls on public to mount ‘active resistance’

Grande America

The sinking of the "Grande America" causes a 2200 t oil spill in the Bay of Biscay, France.

Gimaldi, the owner of the Grande America which caught fire and sank off the coast of France this week, has confirmed that the fire started in a cargo container. The third such fire in the last three months.

Boeing 737 MAX groundings

The European Union, Australia, India, Malaysia, Singapore, and Turkey ground all Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets. This means 40% of the global fleet is now grounded, with Indonesia, China and several airlines grounding their aircraft yesterday. Boeing states they will issue a software update for the model within weeks.

Civil aviation authorities say suspensions issued as they await more information on Ethiopian Airlines crash