World roundup: September 6 2023
Stories from Syria, Pakistan, Sudan, and elsewhere
TODAY IN HISTORY
September 6, 1522: The Victoria arrives at the Spanish port of Sanlúcar as the first ship to successfully circumnavigate the earth. It had set out as one of five vessels in Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition in 1519 and was the only ship to survive the journey. In that sense it fared better than its admiral, Magellan, who was killed after picking an ill-advised fight with a group of indigenous people in the Philippines. And its haul of spices in particular was worth more than the other four ships combined, so investors still came out ahead. The Victoria would fully complete its trip around the world two days later by returning to the port whence it departed, Seville.
September 6, 1955: The two-day Istanbul Pogrom begins amid news reports that the Turkish consulate in Thessaloniki (which happened to be the home where Turkey’s founding father, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, was born) had been bombed by Greek agents. A mob began attacking Greeks in Istanbul and then expanded its scope to include Armenians and Jews. Between 13 and 30 people are said to have been killed in the violence and the incident began a process of Greek emigration that played out over the next several years. In reality, the consulate was fine and the whole thing was a planned operation by Turkey’s two “Operation Gladio” organizations, the Tactical Mobilization Group and Counter-Guerrilla. They were responding to the rise of Greek unionist sentiment (Enosis) in Cyprus and were likely also working on a longer-term project to “encourage” minority emigration and thereby “Turkify” Turkey.
If you’ve been alive, conscious, and in the Northern Hemisphere (Ireland excepted) at any time over the past two months it probably comes as no surprise that the World Meteorological Organization has declared this past August as the hottest August in recorded history. The WMO also says it was the second hottest month overall behind, you guessed it, this past July. Global ocean temperatures averaged just a hair under 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius), also apparently a record. I’m sure this is all fine from an ecological perspective and certainly no reason for governments to put any sort of special focus on decreasing carbon emissions and/or preparing for more severe climate change-related disasters.
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s annual climate report says that the Earth’s atmosphere boasted 417 parts per million of carbon dioxide in 2022, up 2.2 ppm from the previous year. That reflects a roughly 300 percent increase in the rate of increase in atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide since the 1960s and helps explain why 2022 was one of the hottest years on record despite the dampening effects of the La Niña phenomenon. As the item above indicates, we’re now seeing what all that atmospheric carbon can do under El Niño conditions and it’s not terribly pleasant.
The Syrian Democratic Forces militia on Wednesday declared an end to over a week of clashes between the SDF’s predominantly Kurdish forces and a number of Arab fighters in eastern Syria’s Deir Ezzor province, after seizing control of the town of Diban. According to AFP, however, there are indications that hostilities are not yet completely over and the SDF is still consolidating that seizure. Over 90 people are believed to have been killed since the SDF arrested Deir Ezzor Military Council leader Ahmad al-Khabil on August 27, mostly combatants though there have been some civilian casualties. The SDF and the Council agreed last week that Khabil would be removed from his post but that did not bring an end to the violence.
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