It was 1791, in the middle of the French revolution, when the good people of the picturesque papal town of Avignon (located in what is now southeastern France), found themselves facing a question. For centuries, Avignon had been under the authority of the popes, ever since it had once been their home back in the 14th century. The popes, however, had long returned to Italy. Yet Avignon had since spent centuries as something of strange papal colony in the heart of France, with stronger ties to Paris than to Rome, and a sizable chunk of its population chafing under Vatican rule.
As evidence mounts that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was deliberately directed off course by an experienced pilot, government and intelligence officials from Malaysia to the United States are increasingly raising the prospect that the same pilot may have tried to discreetly land the plane.
UPDATE, March 15, 2014: The mystery surrounding Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 took a sinister turn Saturday, when Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak confirmed that the plane had been deliberately flown off course. Authorities have now opened a criminal investigation into the plane's disappearance, with security personnel reportedly focusing new attention on the plane's pilot and co-pilot. The prime minister's announcement stems from new satellite information that suggests the jet flew for at least seven hours after veering off course, likely on a flight path that runs from northern Thailand towards Kazakhstan. Another possible flight path runs from Jakarta along the southern Indian Ocean. While Razak said that all possibilities are still being explored, CBS News quoted an unnamed Malaysian official who said that "it is conclusive" that the plane was hijacked.
Mother Jones published a piece on Thursday with the headline, "You Thought It Was Tough Being Gay in Uganda. ‘It's Hell in Nigeria.'"
This is just the latest example of what has become one of the media's favorite ways to talk about the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people around the world: saying "X Country is the Worst." For proof of popularity, just Google "the worst place in the world to be gay" and click through the many pages on offer. Or consider the following taste of what's out there:
As the standoff between Russia and Ukraine continues, supporters of both sides violently clashed in the eastern city of Donetsk late into the night on Thursday, March 13. In what resembled the front line of a battle, two rallies -- one pro-Russian, one pro-Ukrainian -- faced off with eggs, stun grenades, and firecrackers. According to the BBC, the violence was instigated by pro-Russian activists who attacked a pro-Ukrainian rally. Despite police efforts to cordon off the battling sides, the clashes left at least one person dead.