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What's Going On Around The World Today

A new report accuses Russia of “state-sponsored doping.” Top officials at the University of Missouri resigned in the wake of widespread student protests. And the death penalty abolition movement is coming out into the open.

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Russian athletes should be suspended due to “widespread” cheating, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) says.

Russia should be immediately barred from competing in international athletics, because of evidence of “widespread cheating through the use of doping substances and methods to ensure, or enhance the likelihood of, victory for athletes and teams,” a new report by WADA says. A spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin said “as long as there’s no proof, it is hard to react to any accusations, which look rather groundless,” BuzzFeed News’ Francis Whittaker writes.

WADA’s report also states that “‘it would be naive in the extreme’ to say that this could have happened without the involvement or tacit approval of the Russian state,” BuzzFeed News’ Patrick Smith writes. Russian track and field athletes could be banned from the 2016 Olympics, CNN reports.

And a little extra.

Some other findings from the 335-page report:

  • Russian athletes who should have been banned took part in the Olympic Games in London in 2012 and the Olympics were sabotaged as a result, the report found.

  • The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and the Russian Anti-Doping Agency are responsible for allowing the participation of ineligible runners in competitions.

  • Five Russian middle-distance runners and five Russian coaches should be banned for life from athletics.

  • Russia’s anti-doping laboratory destroyed 1,400 test results in Moscow.

This is what the 2012 Olympic medal count would have looked like without Russian athletes.


University of Missouri System leaders have resigned after student protests over racial tension on campus.

Tim Wolfe, the president of the University of Missouri System, and Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin said they would resign in the aftermath of a student protest against university officials’ handling of alleged racism on campus, BuzzFeed News reports. The resignations came after 30 players from the university’s football team joined the protests. The players said they would not return to the football field unless the president stepped down. Chancellor Loftin, who will be leaving his post by the end of the year, will transition into a new role at the university.

Jonathan Butler, a graduate student at the helm of the protests, ended his weeklong hunger strike after the president’s resignation.

And a little extra.

The protests have resulted in change. In addition to the resignations, the university said it plans to appoint its first ever officer for diversity, inclusion, and equity. University officials also said they would conduct a full review of University of Missouri System policies as it relates to student conduct and provide additional support for students, faculty, and staff who experience discrimination. They also promised to provide additional support for the hiring of diverse faculty and staff, BuzzFeed News reports.

NEVER underestimate the power of students. Our voices WILL be heard.

BuzzFeed News’ Joel Anderson is at the University of Missouri. For more updates, follow him on Twitter.


Catalonia’s parliament approved a plan that would start an 18-month process of breaking from the rest of Spain.

The motion sets up a “road map for independence from Spain by 2017, in defiance of the central government,” CBS News writes. The region would create its own institutions, including a separate Catalan tax agency and an independent social security system, the New York Times writes.

Pro-independence parties “Together for Yes” and Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) are supportive of the idea. The parties won a majority in the Catalan parliamentary elections back in September, a poll that was unofficially deemed a referendum on independence.


What’s next?

Spain’s constitution doesn’t actually allow any region to break away and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has said he is fighting the motion, Reuters writes. Calls for independence resurfaced over the last few years, due to Spain’s financial crisis.

Catalonia, with its own language and identity, is a wealthy region in the northeast corner of Spain that includes the city of Barçelona. Many of the roughly 7.5 million Catalans say they pay too much in taxes to Spain’s central government and get too little in return.

If you want the latest news and stories, download the BuzzFeed News app for iOS and Android.


The death penalty abolition movement is coming out into the open.

The 8th Amendment Project is laying the groundwork for a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the death penalty is unconstitutional, a violation of the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishments, BuzzFeed News’ Chris Geidner writes.

The 8th Amendment Project has a $1 million budget and is a “centralized effort to advance death penalty abolition research, raise issues of legal system accountability, and help capital defense efforts — all with the Supreme Court in mind,” Geidner writes.

The project’s first goal is to “solidify the foundation for a Supreme Court challenge to the constitutionality of the death penalty.” But its ultimate goal — which is already underway — is to support lawyers who will bring cases aimed at ending the death penalty to the U.S. Supreme Court. The project is providing support in potential cases out of Louisiana and Texas, BuzzFeed News reports.

A little extra: #teamnewsapp sat down with Chris Geidner to break down America’s complex relationship with capital punishment. Here are five key issues framing the debate.

Quick things to know:

  • Aung San Suu Kyi’s opposition party is on track to win a majority in Myanmar’s parliament. (The Guardian)

  • The eight Republican presidential candidates are taking part in their fourth debate on Tuesday night in Milwaukee. This is what to look out for. (New York Times)

  • The European Union criticized Turkey for human rights failings in a report on prospects for Turkish membership to the EU. (BBC News)

  • Egyptian reporter and activist Hossam Bahgat has been freed from detention. He was arrested Sunday on suspicion of “publishing false information.” (BuzzFeed News)

  • An appeals court has ruled against U.S. President Barack Obama’s executive actions deferring deportation for millions of immigrants, setting the stage for a trip to the Supreme Court. (BuzzFeed News)

  • A fraternity at the University of Virginia is suing Rolling Stone for $25 million to compensate for damage they said was caused to their reputation by the retracted article, “A Rape on Campus.” (BuzzFeed News)

  • SeaWorld plans to end its current killer whale shows at its San Diego park after 2016. (BuzzFeed News)

  • Your DNA could soon be used in your work’s wellness program. (BuzzFeed News)

  • President Barack Obama is now on Facebook. He’s a little late to the party, but that’s OK. (BuzzFeed News)

  • A painting by Amedeo Modigliani went for $170.4 million at an auction in New York yesterday. It’s a world record for the artist and the second-highest price ever for an artwork sold at an auction. (Pablo Picasso's 1955 painting “Les femmes d'Alger (Version ‘O’)” went for $179.4 million in a Christie's auction in May) (Associated Press)

Happy Tuesday

“Let it go” took on a whole new meaning at Glasgow’s New Royal Hospital for Sick Children when a group of pretty amazing nurses staged a very special sing-a-long for a young girl undergoing chemotherapy, BuzzFeed’s Stephanie McNeal writes. The British girl’s parents are raising £100,000 to get the toddler treatment in the U.S. and uploaded the video to their Facebook page. With the clip, they’re showing that chemo won’t bring the little girl down.

This letter was edited and brought to you by Claire Moses and Stacy-Marie Ishmael. You can always reach us here.

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