World roundup: May 10 2023
Stories from Pakistan, Sudan, Italy, and elsewhere
TODAY IN HISTORY
May 10, 1857: A unit of sepoys in the town of Meerut mutinies against their commanders in the British East India Company, marking the start of the Indian Rebellion of 1857. This was more a widespread series of local uprisings than a unified revolt, and its causes and aims varied from place to place, but overall it proved to be too great a challenge for the EIC to manage. Although British forces did eventually suppress the movement, finally declaring an end to hostilities in July 1859, the result was the end of the EIC’s control of India and the onset of direct crown rule, also known as the British Raj. This had the additional effect of formally ending the Mughal Empire, though Mughal emperors hadn’t held real power in over a century.
May 10, 1869: The First Transcontinental Railroad, a track linking the eastern US rail network to California, opens when Central Pacific Railroad boss Leland Stanford ceremonially drives in the “Golden Spike” at Promontory, in the Utah Territory. The CPRR track, which began at Sacramento, linked up with a section of rail built by the Union Pacific Railroad Company that ran from Omaha to Council Bluffs, Iowa, where it linked up with the eastern network. By November the line had been extended to the Pacific Coast at the Oakland Long Wharf.
In today’s global news:
Worldometer is tracking COVID-19 cases and fatalities.
The New York Times is tracking global vaccine distribution.
An apparent car bombing in a Damascus suburb on Wednesday wounded five Syrian police officers (UPDATE: at least two of the five victims have since died of their wounds). Islamic State later claimed responsibility for the incident. There are active IS cells throughout Syria but they tend to stay in and around the desert. Attacks in Damascus and its environs have been rare in recent years.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has received his formal invitation to the Arab League’s May 19 summit in Saudi Arabia. League foreign ministers voted to readmit Assad’s government to the club over the weekend, so the invite was expected. It’s safe to assume he’ll attend. Also on the diplomatic front, the foreign ministers of Iran, Russia, Syria, and Turkey met in Moscow on Wednesday in what was the highest level encounter between Syrian and Turkish officials since the start of the Syrian civil war. Russia has been pushing a rapprochement between Turkey and Syria for some time now, as it would improve Assad’s position and thereby reduce the need for a heavy Russian military presence in Syria. The main sticking point remains Turkey’s military occupation of a large swath of northern Syria.
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