Global Briefs: Farmers descend on New Delhi | WORLD
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Global Briefs: Farmers descend on New Delhi

India’s farmers call for minimum price guarantees for their products, among other demands

Narinder Nanu / AFP via Getty Images

Global Briefs: Farmers descend on New Delhi
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Police blockaded New Delhi in February as thousands of farmers drove their trucks and tractors to the capital in massive demonstrations. Over 200 farmers’ unions from throughout the country demanded the government keep promises it made in 2021 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi withdrew controversial farm reforms in response to mass protests. Farmers want guaranteed minimum prices for their products, waivers of farm loans, and compensation for farmers who died during the earlier protests. Farmers in Europe are also protesting over environmental regulations and pressure to lower prices. —Jenny Lind Schmitt

Fact Box Source: The World Factbook-CIA


Police arrested hundreds of mourners across the country on Feb. 18 as they paid their silent respects to opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Authorities announced on Feb. 16 that Navalny had died from “sudden death syndrome” after he collapsed in the Siberian penal camp where he was imprisoned. After recovering from a near-fatal nerve agent attack in 2020, Navalny insisted on returning to Russia. As soon as his plane landed, authorities arrested him on what critics called trumped-up political charges. He was serving three sentences, the last totaling 19 years. Just hours after officials announced his death, Navalny’s widow, Yulia Navalnaya, spoke at the Munich Security Conference. She said Putin and his entourage bear responsibility for “what they did to our country, to my family, to my husband.” Authorities withheld Navalny’s body for days after his death, a move his allies say allowed officials to cover any traces of foul play. —Jenny Lind Schmitt


Parliament passed a law on Feb. 2 allowing for the castration of those convicted of raping a minor. Rapists of children under the age of 10 will face surgical castration, while those whose victims are between the ages of 10 and 13 will be either surgically or chemically castrated. For older victims under age 18, rapists will face only chemical castration. In addition to castration, violators can face up to life in prison. Madagascar’s justice minister said the law is necessary to curb perpetrators as child rape cases have increased. The island nation recorded 133 cases in January, already more than one-sixth of the 600 cases registered all last year. But Amnesty International criticized the law as cruel and inhumane, calling it inconsistent with Madagascar’s prohibition against torture. —Joyce Wu

Nicolás Maduro

Nicolás Maduro Matias Delacroix/AP


President Nicolás Maduro told 13 UN Human Rights personnel to leave the country within 72 hours after accusing their office of colonialism. On Feb. 13, the UN office expressed deep concern over the government’s detention of human rights activist Rocio San Miguel and her family. Miguel is accused of treason and conspiracy to assassinate Maduro, who is up for re­election. Maduro banned his political opponents from running, so in January the U.S. government reimposed sanctions on Venezuela’s gold-mining industry. U.S. officials also vowed to let Venezuela’s oil and gas license lapse in April. Maduro responded by refusing to accept flights returning illegal immigrants. —Amy Lewis

Yorgos Karahalis/Bloomberg via Getty Images


On Feb. 15, the country became the first Christian Orthodox nation to legalize same-sex marriage. After two days of heated debate, 176 members of Parliament voted for the change, while 76 opposed it and 46 abstained. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had urged lawmakers to reject what he called antiquated conservative views, saying the bill would end the oppression and exclusion of LGBTQ people. He also cited a desire to align Greece with the 36 other countries that have legalized same-sex marriage. Several Orthodox bishops threatened to excommunicate lawmakers who voted for the bill. —Elizabeth Russell


On Feb. 9, the Muslim-majority country’s top court struck down 16 Islamic laws enacted by the Kelantan state government that had imposed punishments for offenses including sodomy, sexual harassment, gambling, and desecrating places of worship. In its 8-1 ruling, the Federal Court said the state had no authority to make Islamic laws on those topics because they fall under federal law. Malaysia has a dual-track legal system for Muslims that applies both secular laws and Shariah—Islamic law based on the Quran and Muhammad’s teachings. Shariah is enacted by state legislatures, while secular laws are passed by Malaysia’s Parliament. Conservative Muslim groups fear the ruling could undermine Islam or the country’s Shariah courts. —Joyce Wu


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