Picture: AFP/JOEL SAGET
Picture: AFP/JOEL SAGET

1. Kashmir tensions rise

India’s government has stripped Kashmir of its special status, prompting fears of unrest. Under article 370 of India’s constitution, the Muslim-majority state was guaranteed autonomy. And by revoking that, India has signalled its intention to integrate Kashmir with the rest of the country — by force, it seems. India has deployed thousands of security forces, applied an internet, phone and media blockade, and imposed restrictions on the right to assembly. Political leaders have been placed under house arrest. Kashmir is already one of the world’s most militarised regions. A rebellion against Indian rule has been raging for 30 years.

2. Hopes for Sudan peace

An accord signed by civilian and military leaders in Sudan paves the way for a transition to civilian rule. It will create a council to lead Sudan through a transition of three years. The country has been engulfed in turmoil since protests erupted in December against Omar al-Bashir’s rule. Bashir was ousted in April, but was replaced by military rulers. Protests pressing for a more permanent solution to the crisis were met with violence, including a crackdown in June outside army headquarters in Khartoum. Dozens of people were killed.

3. New straws really suck

All that effort … only to get it so wrong. The paper straws introduced by McDonald’s last year cannot be recycled, the BBC reports. The fast-food chain axed plastic straws from its UK branches to be more environmentally friendly, even though they were recyclable.

But the paper straws are too thick, making them difficult to recycle, and stores have been told to discard them with general waste, rather than sending them for recycling.

The chain uses 1.8-million straws a day in the UK. The makers of the paper straws said they were "100% recyclable" but some local authorities lacked the equipment to handle them.