Worldwide Wednesdays 12/21

Benjamin Martin, Contributor

Welcome back to World Wide Wednesdays where each week we cover the biggest news business, entertainment and politics. As they say, better late than never and even though I’ve been under the weather recently I’ve still got some big updates for events in the last couple weeks. The biggest news in the states is the Brittany Griner prisoner swap that took place on the 9th. Across the pond in Europe, the war in Ukraine rages on as explosions on Russian air bases could mark a new phase of the war. Germany also had its fair share of excitement with 25 arrests on the 7th of people accused of plotting to overthrow the government. Iranian protests have also begun facing new challenges with the government now executing protesters publicly. Peru is the latest country with election troubles with the former president being arrested immediately after being defeated, leading to deadly countrywide protests. The World cup also came to a close this last weekend with exciting finals and third-place matches. And on that note let’s jump right in.

The biggest news story to break has been the high-profile prisoner swap between the US and Russia. After months of negotiations, an agreement finally came to a head Friday, December 9th, when the Biden administration announced that they would be trading international arms dealer Viktor Bout for WNBA star Brittany Griner. Starting with Griner, who has been in Russian prisons since February on drug charges. The WNBA player was caught in Russia with hashish oil in her luggage, which is illegal in the country. This arrest led to a 9 year sentence in Russian prison camps. As for Bout, a Russian arms dealer accused of distributing arms to terrorist groups across the globe, he was arrested in 2008 and sentenced to 25 years by a New York court. While the swap is controversial, it’s a surprise it happened at all with Russia demanding two prisoners for one American for the past few years.

Explosions on Russian air bases have been the latest result of the escalating war in Ukraine. On Monday, December 5th, two Russian bases were rocked by explosions, the first time a target within Russia has been struck. Though we don’t know if it was an attack carried out by Ukrainian or just coincidental explosions, this latest update has still caused increased tensions and escalation of the war.

News last Monday came that Iran’s systematic murder of protesters has begun with the hanging of 23-year-old Majidreza Rahnavard. Just last month, Iran announced that all arrested protesters could face the death penalty for their actions. Many were unsure if this cruel punishment would actually be carried out, but Iran has stuck to their word and publicly hung two protesters over the last week. These hangings have sparked a new round of public protests as the situation intensifies.

Peru is in turmoil as their former president, Pedro Castellio was impeached late two weeks ago and Dina Boluarte took over as leader of the country. Castellio was arrested on conspiracy and corruption charges after planning to dissolve congress due to his impending impeachment. As Castellio was arrested, he sent a tweet out to his supporters to begin protesting his removal from office. As of Thursday, November 15th, 8 are dead from the protests with many more injured. The police and Army have both been deployed to keep the peace in the streets throughout the country. Widespread unrest around the corruption in Peru’s government in recent years has added to the intensity of the protests and the stability of the new government is still in question.

On Wednesday the 7th, German authorities reported the arrest of 25 alt-right revolutionary conspirators. This group of people have been charged with plotting to overthrow the government and conspiracy and a trial will be held in the near future to see if these charges will stick.

The World Cup came to a close last weekend with two exciting games to close out the tournament. The last time Argentina and France faced off was in the 2016 round of 16 where France won a close battle 4-3. Argentina flipped the script this time, defeating France in an exhilarating 4-3 game. The third-place match was also an exciting one with Croatia just beating out Morocco 2-1. Now we wait another 4 years for the tournament to crown a new winner, and of course congrats to the Argentinian national team.