World Stories You May Have Missed: August 2017


With stories from all corners of the globe, this edition of World Stories You May Have Missed takes a look at the little snippets of news that may have passed you by throughout August.

Selfies too embarrassing for Iran

Iranian Members of Parliament came under intense criticism from the country’s Twitter users after posing for selfies with the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini.

Mogherini was in the country to attend the inauguration of President Hassan Rouhani, and was photographed posing with a number of male MPs in the centre of the parliament chamber. Social media users criticised the MPs actions, accusing them of ‘embarrassing the nation’ and engaging in ‘self-surrender to the west’.

Some Iranian Twitter users took a much lighter view of the interactions, and compared the image of men crowding Mogherini to scenes from popular films including Malena (in which a crowd of men jostle to light the cigarette of a character played by Monica Belucci) and Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Ahmad Mazani, one of the MPs visible in the images, explained on Twitter that MPs rushed towards Ms Mogherini after the event as they had been banned from interacting with guests during the ceremony itself.

An infestation of rodents

After returning home from a stint of medical treatment in the UK, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari found himself forced to work from home due to damage caused by rats in the presidential office.

Government spokesman Garba Shehu told the BBC that damage had been done to both the furniture and the air conditioning during Buhari’s absence, but he has a ‘well-equipped’ office at home that he is able to work from.

Some Twitter users were quick to point out the irony given Buhari is nicknamed the ‘Lion President’.

Buhari has travelled to the UK three times since June 2016 to receive medical treatment for an undisclosed illness. His long absences have led to some calls for his resignation and suggestions that he is unfit to run the country.

More practice needed

The Libyan Army Band’s rendition of the British National Anthem during Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s visit to the country this week was widely panned online.

Johnson was in the eastern part of the country to visit Field Marshall Kalifa Haftar, leader of the the Libyan National Army (LNA). The visit represented the first time that the military leader, who controls much of the country’s east and south, has hosted a senior western politician.

Although he is now one of the country’s most influential powers, Haftar is considered by many Libyans to be a remnant of the Gadhafi regime. He was commander of the former leader’s forces during the country’s war against Chad in the 1980s, but later sought refuge in the US after attempting to oust Gaddaffi from power soon after the conflict.

And finally…

A ‘price war’ in Iceland’s toilet roll industry could lead to the loss of jobs. Papco, the country’s only toilet paper manufacturer, has said that it has had to lay off six staff as it is struggling to compete with the wholesale prices offered by US wholesaler Costco, which has recently opened its first warehouse in Reykjavik.

In an interview with the Visir newspaper, Papco’s Alexander Karason accused Costco of charging much less for loo roll than in its warehouses in western countries, perhaps in an attempt to flush its local competitor’s future down the pan.

‘That’s something we can’t compete with, as we have to buy our raw materials, the paper, at world market prices’, he commented.

Since Costco arrived in the country, more than 80,000 Icelanders (around one quarter of the population) have signed up for membership.


Deputy Editor 2017-18, International Editor 2015-17. Languages graduate interested in Latin America, world news, media and politics.

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