Need To Know
Oscar Pistorius, the South African sprinter accused of shooting his girlfriend to death, walked into a Pretoria courtroom for the last time as a free man today. That's right, the trial of this century is over. So, what did he get?
Five years. Oscar Pistorius will spend the next half decade in one of South Africa's prisons, which as GlobalPost Senior Correspondent Erin Conway-Smith reports from South Africa, are not the most pleasant places to spend time in South Africa. The defense argued that those detention centers are not equipped to take care of disabled inmates like Pistorius, who has no legs from the knee down. Attorneys also argued that Pistorius would be in danger of gang rape and other violent attacks.
But the judge had none of that and, in fact, made the point that Pistorius should get no special treatment. "It would be a sad day for this country if an impression was created that there is one law for the poor and disadvantaged and another for the rich and famous," the judge said.
There were so many, but here's a look back at the five most surreal moments of the trial.
Want To Know
The worst ceasefire in history just got worse. After a few days of shelling and other heavy fighting, the leader of the pro-Russian Ukrainian separatists in eastern Ukraine says the nominal-at-best ceasefire is officially over. His exact words — which he tweeted, of course — were that the ceasefire “had to be abandoned.”
This is probably because it never really existed in the first place. While it gets overshadowed by Syria and now Ebola, fighting in Donetsk has continued for months. The airport is a bombed-out shell, for example.
Also during this time, Human Rights Watch says the Ukrainian army used cluster munitions when bombing separatist positions. Cluster bombs are bad because they don't always explode right away. Sometimes they don't explode until years later when children are playing nearby. For this reason most countries — though not Ukraine or Russia — signed an international agreement banning cluster bombs.
Here is the Human Rights Watch report on cluster munitions used by the Ukrainian army in Ukraine in 2014. While we are on the subject, here's the Human Rights Watch report on cluster munitions used by the Syrian army in Syria in 2013. And, it's important to note, here's the Human Rights Watch report on cluster munitions used by the American army in Iraq in 2003. That's right, the United States has also not signed the treaty banning cluster munitions.
Strange But True
In India, people smoke a lot. One-third of all adults use tobacco, including half of all men. Five million people die a year from tobacco-related illnesses. One million of them live in India. GlobalPost's Timothy McGrath writes:
“So starting April 1, 2015, every cigarette pack will feature a graphic — like, REALLY graphic — warning label that must cover at least 85 percent of the pack's surface. The size requirement puts India and Thailand in a tie for largest tobacco warning labels, with Australia trailing close behind at 82.5 percent. When it comes to the graphic nature of the images, there's less competition. India's health ministry has found a set of photos that only the most intestinally fortified smoker could look past.”
You can see just how graphic we mean here, if you can stomach it.