The Sunday Subject – April 10, 2022

Welcome to Subject’s weekly news roundup. We present you the essential headlines, local and beyond.

In a historic vote, the Senate confirmed Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, making her the first black female justice.

“It has taken 232 years and 115 prior appointments for a Black woman to be selected to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States,” Judge Jackson said. In a poignant message to young black women and girls across the country, she continued, “I do so now while bringing the gifts my ancestors gave. I am the dream and the hope of the slave.” Three Republican senators — Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Mitt Romney of Utah — voted with Democrats to confirm Judge Jackson. She will officially join the Court after Justice Stephen Breyer retires at the end of the current term.

Photographs of executed Ukrainian civilians in Bucha add to the growing body of evidence of Russia’s war crimes in Ukraine.

Photographs of lifeless and bloodied bodies, some with bound hands, left abandoned on streets and in homes in Ukraine have further demonstrated evidence of Russia’s war crimes. Other instances of Russia’s flagrant violations of international law include the bombing of a maternity hospital, the flattening of a theater where civilians were sheltering, the shelling of residential areas, and a missile strike at a crowded train station that was a major evacuation point in eastern Ukraine. Experts state that terror, torture and murder have been used by the Russian army since Putin has been in power, and were perfected in Chechnya and Syria. Arbitrary executions of civilians is a violation of the international Geneva Conventions and constitutes war crimes, according to the International Criminal Court.

Sri Lanka’s cabinet has resigned en masse in the midst of large protests in Colombo, the capital.

Every member of the cabinet stepped down except for President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his brother, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. The ministers made a collective decision to resign amidst the protests, a dire economic crisis that has resulted in food and energy shortages, and the president’s corruption. The country is largely controlled by the president’s powerful family, who have ruled the country largely through fear. Prior to the resignations, President Rajapaksa declared a 36-hour state of emergency and blocked social media access in hopes of preventing the demonstrations, though to no avail. Ranil Wickremesinghe, a former Sri Lankan politician, described the situation as Sri Lanka’s own “Arab Spring.”

Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan has lost a no-confidence vote in parliament, ending his nearly four years in office.

Khan will now return to the opposition, where he has spent most of his political career. It is likely that the next prime minister will be Shehbaz Sharif, the leader of the main opposition party and younger brother of Khan’s predecessor, Nawaz Sharif. Sharif has a reputation for both competence and corruption. The new government will need to address the country’s fraught foreign relations, especially when it comes to dealing with its immediate neighbors. The border between India and Pakistan is highly disputed, while the recent Taliban takeover in Afghanistan has emboldened Pakistan’s own jihadists. While Pakistan has not yet recognized the Taliban regime formally, it has closer ties to them than any other country and has tried to persuade the West to engage with them. Elections will take place in late 2023 at the latest.