This Week Around the World Oct. 14-21

Oct. 15 Minsk, Belarus: The Russian Orthodox Church has split from the Constantinople Patriarchate in what is being hailed a historic decision and “the largest schism in Orthodox Christianity for over a century,” according to Al Jazeera. The decision was made by the Holy Synod, the governing body of bishops in the Russian Orthodox Church, after the Ecumenical Patriarch, based in Istanbul, officially recognized the autocephaly of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine.

Oct. 17 Canada: In historic legislation passed on June 21, cannabis became legal federally in Canada at midnight on Oct. 17 due to Bill C-45, otherwise known as the Cannabis Act. The bill made Canada the second country in the world after Uruguay to legalize recreational use of marijuana. Depending on the province, adults aged at least 18 or 19 may have between 30 grams to an unlimited amount in their homes. All provinces allow for online sales and limit possession on a person to 30 grams. According to Canadian news source Global News, over 72,480 sales were made on the first day throughout the provinces, with the exception of New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and Prince Edward Island, where cannabis sales have either not been released or have not been counted.

Oct. 17 Pakistan: Mohammad Imran Ali, the man convicted of raping and murdering six-year-old Zainab Ansari, was executed by hanging at the Kot Lakhpat jail in Punjab’s capital city of Lahore. National outrage ensued when Ansari was found on Jan. 9 after her body was dumped in a rubbish heap. Ali was arrested two weeks later and convicted on Feb. 17, and was also found guilty for four other rapes and murders of children. He was executed in the presence of Ansari’s father, Muhammad Amin Ansari.

Oct. 19 London, UK; Quito, Ecuador: According to German news outlet Deutsche Welle, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange filed a lawsuit against the Ecuadorian government for inhumane asylum conditions, including violation of his “fundamental rights” and lack of internet access since March. Assange has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for the past six years after seeking asylum in part for leaked information via Chelsea Manning, as well as allegations of sexual assault. Assange obtained Ecuadorian citizenship in December 2017.

Oct. 19 Punjab, India: Around 60 people are dead after a train slammed into a crowd that had gathered near railroad tracks in the northern Punjab city of Amritsar. The crowd, which numbered in the hundreds, had gathered to celebrate the religious festival Dussehra when the incident occurred. Witnesses told Al Jazeera the conductor had not sounded the whistle and the train continued on its route after the incident took place, while others also reported the train could not be heard over the sound of the celebratory fireworks.

Oct. 19 China: As reported in an Oct. 19 article by TIME, scientists in China have developed what is essentially a satellite capable of imitating the moon to provide night light to the city of Chengdu. The satellite would act as an artificial moon with up to eight times more luminosity than the actual moon while orbiting 310 miles above the Earth. The satellite is on track to launch in 2020 and could save the city $173 million in energy costs.

Oct. 19 Mexican-Guatemalan border: Hundreds seeking asylum from the ongoing violence in Honduras were attacked by Mexican border police as they attempted to cross into Mexico from Guatemala. They were subsequently pushed back by force and spent the night on a bridge which separates the two countries. As reported by Telesur, President Trump offered Mexico $20 million to stop the migrants entering into the country. However, Mexican Secretary of the Interior Alfonso Navarrete denied the Mexican government partaking in “a cent of a dollar.”

Oct. 21 London, UK: Around 700,000 people marched through the streets of London demanding a secondary vote to Brexit, a referendum which would withdraw the UK from the European Union. With five months until the withdrawal is scheduled, there is still uncertainty surrounding the logistics, as Prime Minister Theresa May’s efforts in securing a deal continue unsuccessfully.