This Week in the World

Teacher sues after being fired for being gay

Mark Zmuda, the vice-principal and swim coach at Eastside Catholic School in Seattle, was fired in December after marrying his same-sex partner. On Friday, Zmuda sued the school for wrongful dismissal, also saying that he had only taken the job after he had read a school policy on the website saying that they did not discriminate on the basis of an employee’s sexual orientation or marital status. This school policy has since been removed from the website. Same-sex marriage has been legal in Washington state since November 2012. Reuters reported that Zmuda married last July. Washington state has said that religious non-profits are not exempt from workplace discrimination laws if an employee has no religious role; the outcome of Zmuda’s case will depend on his religious role in the school.

Ukraine crisis not over yet

On March 8, a Ukrainian border patrol plane came under fire near the Russian-occupied Crimea, as the crisis in the region worsens. Reuters reported that no one was hurt in the accident, in which gunmen opened fire on the unarmed aircraft that was on an observation mission. Russians have invaded this region, and President Vladimir Putin has said that Russia has a right to invade Ukraine to protect Russian citizens. Russian troops have been increasingly aggressive to both Ukrainian troops and civilians, although there has been reportedly no resistance made by Ukrainians.

Malaysia airplane goes missing

A Malaysia Airlines flight carrying 227 passengers and twelve crew members went missing off the Vietnamese coast Saturday morning, presumed to have crashed. There was no report of bad weather, and no sign as to why the flight would have crashed, although two passengers are reported to have been carrying stolen passports. There were no reports of emergencies on board, nor claims of sabotage or terrorist threats on board. Reuters reported that two passengers were Canadian. Search and rescue will continue searching, although there is no sign of wreckage, or of the plane. The plane last made contact about halfway between Malaysia and the southern tip of Vietnam.

Mohawk Protests in Ontario

Four people near Belleville, Ontario have been taken into custody after Mohawk protestors calling for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women occupied CN Rail tracks. The Canadian Press reported that VIA Rail trains between Ottawa, Montreal, and Toronto were delayed after the tracks were blocked by protestors. The release of the missing women report on March 7 has sparked outcry from opposition critics, First Nations leaders, and human rights groups. There are at least 600 cases of missing and murdered Aboriginal cases since the 1960s, as well as many other unreported cases, something that has recently caught the attention of the United Nations.

Pregnant mother drives minivan into ocean

Ebony Wilkerson is facing attempted murder and aggravated child abuse charges after she drove her minivan into the ocean at Daytona Beach, Florida with her three children in the backseat. She says that she did not intend to harm anyone, but her children, aged three, nine, and ten, were yelling that she was trying to kill them. Bystanders also report that she was reluctant to let rescuers help her children out of the car. The vehicle’s windows were rolled up, and the doors were locked, and one of the children attempted to wrestle the steering wheel away from her after she told her children to close their eyes and go to sleep. The Associated Press reported that none of the children were harmed.

Lebanon protests against domestic violence

Thousands of people have been marching through the streets of Beirut, the capital city of Lebanon, demanding politicians to pass a law against domestic violence. The BBC reported that the rally was led mostly by relatives of victims. Lebanon has no laws protecting women from violence by family members and there are no national statistics on domestic violence in Lebanon. Many protestors were holding pictures of family members who had been killed by their husbands. The BBC reported that in Lebanon, a rapist can escape punishment if he marries his victim, something that protestors are also hoping to change. This bill is also generating a great deal of controversy in the country’s parliament.

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