World roundup: April 24 2023
Stories from Afghanistan, Australia, Ukraine, and elsewhere
TODAY IN HISTORY
April 24, 1547: Habsburg/Holy Roman Emperor Charles V’s army virtually annihilates a smaller force led by Protestant princes John Frederick I of Saxony and Philip I of Hesse at the Battle of Mühlberg in Saxony. The battle, and particularly the capture of John Frederick, marked the effective end of the 1546-1547 Schmalkaldic War and the first iteration of the Schmalkaldic League, an alliance of Protestant German nobles. It did not, of course, mark the end of Protestantism. The following year Charles imposed the “Augsburg Interim” on the defeated Schmalkaldic princes, which obliged Protestants to readopt a number of Catholic practices but still made several significant concessions to the new movement. Instead of beginning to reintegrate Protestants into the Catholic Church, as Charles intended, it wound up helping to reify Protestantism (or more specifically Lutheranism) as an alternative form of Christianity. A second Schmalkaldic War in 1552 went worse for the Habsburgs and resulted in the Peace of Passau and, in 1555, the Peace of Augsburg and its famous principle of cuius regio, eius religio (“whose realm, their religion”).
April 24, 1915: Ottoman authorities arrest a group of around 250 Armenian intellectuals in Istanbul in what has come to be known as “Red Sunday.” They were forcibly deported to other parts of the empire and most were ultimately killed. The incident is considered a kind of “decapitation strike” against the empire’s Armenian community and is regarded as the first major event of the Armenian Genocide. April 24 is commemorated as Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day within Armenia and by diaspora Armenians, as well as in countries that have recognized the genocide.
April 24, 1916: Some 1200 Irish republicans, including members of the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army, commemorate Easter Monday by seizing a number of key positions in Dublin and declaring the advent of an independent “Irish republic.” The “Easter Rising,” as it’s known, was suppressed within six days by UK security forces, but the atrocities they committed during and after that suppression fueled greater levels of anti-UK sentiment among the Irish population. The Rising is now regarded as one of the major milestones of the “Irish revolutionary period,” as that period’s first major armed conflict.
In today’s global news:
Worldometer is tracking COVID-19 cases and fatalities.
The New York Times is tracking global vaccine distribution.
Syrian media is reporting that the Israeli military shelled a town in southern Syria’s Quneitra province early Monday morning, causing some damage but apparently no casualties. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is claiming that the target was a militia with ties to Hezbollah. The Israeli government has not commented.
The European Union on Monday blacklisted two of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s cousins, Wasim Badi al-Assad and Samer Kamal al-Assad, over their alleged involvement in the illicit captagon trade. The US and UK governments had already blacklisted both men. Billions of dollars in captagon is manufactured in and trafficked out of Syria annually and Assad’s government has been widely accused of taking over much of that trade in an attempt to find a new source of revenue that isn’t impacted by Western sanctions. It’s likely, for example, that one of Saudi Arabia’s demands in return for normalizing relations with Assad’s government is for Damascus to end its captagon trafficking and crack down on non-state groups that are involved in the business. Brussels also blacklisted a third Assad cousin, Mudar Rifaat al-Assad, though it’s unclear if this was also linked to captagon.
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