TOP: A Muslim woman wears a burkini (REUTERS/STRINGER). BOTTOM: Opposition supporters shout slogans during a protest in Venezuela (REUTERS/CARLOS GARCIA RAWLINS).
August 25, 2016
Venezuela is on the brink of economic collapse, but President Nicolas Maduro is standing firm amid calls for his resignation. The country has been in an economic downward spiral for the past few years, and the president says falling oil prices have compounded the crisis. Supermarkets aisles are empty, hospitals are short on medicines and Venezuelans are leaving the country in record numbers. The opposition coalition has signed a petition to demand a recall referendum aimed at cutting short Maduro’s term, due to end in 2019, and is staging a nationwide protest on September 1. The president has responded by sacking all civil servants who were involved. We’ll check in on what daily life is like for Venezuelans, what’s possibly in store for President Maduro and how the discussion is evolving online.
In Nice, France this week, armed police walked onto a beach and forced a woman to shed her clothes. The woman was threatening public security, authorities say, by wearing clothes resembling the full-body bathing suit banned by 15 towns across the secular country. The so-called “burkini” is considered a sign of modesty by some Muslim women but a symbol of extremism by some French officials. Some onlookers reportedly applauded as police ordered the woman to take off her blue long-sleeved tunic, leaving her in a sleeveless top and leggings. Calls for her to “go home” echo anti-Muslim sentiment that has spread with increased concern about immigration and terrorism in the wake of ISIL-inspired attacks in France. Scorn for the burkini ban is rampant online, stirring controversy across social media and a debate in French media over whether authorities have the legal standing to prevent women from wearing what they want. We’ll discuss the latest legal appeal to the ban.