This week's news by the numbers: October 12-18

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October 18, 2019
BAKR ALKASEM // AFP via Getty Images

This week's news by the numbers: October 12–18

Stacker distills the week's news from around the world into key facts and figures. This week's takeaways includes a five-day ceasefire at the Syrian border, the closure of Rikers Island jail, and the first all-female spacewalk. Click through to read more about some of this past week’s biggest headlines.

Turkey agrees to five-day ceasefire

On Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence announced that Turkey agreed to a five-day ceasefire brokered by the U.S. Kurdish leaders reported, per the Associated Press, that Turkey violated the agreement on Friday as fighting continued and mortar fire was exchanged.

The agreement includes the withdrawal of Kurdish forces from the Syrian border and the removal of the threat of U.S. sanctions on Turkey. But Kurdish-led forces have not yet signaled their withdrawal, calling the agreement an “insult to Kurdish dignity.” The arrangement effectively gives Turkey control over the Kurdish-run border territory that the offensive sought to claim. Ilham Ahmed, a senior Kurdish politician, is scheduled to meet with U.S. officials in Washington this weekend to further negotiate the deal. 

Rikers Island jail to close by 2026

On Thursday, the New York City Council voted 36-13 to close Rikers Island jail. The complex, rife with a history of violence, will be replaced by four smaller, modernized jails. The $8 billion redevelopment is scheduled to be completed by 2026. While supporters of the plan cite falling crime rates and improved criminal justice reform as a reason for voting in favor, critics raise concerns about public safety and whether lower capacity will mean more violent criminals on the street. 

62 people killed in mosque explosion in Afghanistan

Sixty-two people were killed in a mosque bombing in the Afghan province Nangarhar during Friday prayers. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but both the Islamic State and the Taliban are active in the region. Civilian deaths in Afghanistan are at a record high, according to a report released by the United Nations this week. 

Protests in Lebanon leave two dead, dozens injured

Two people died and dozens were wounded when protesters clashed with Lebanese security forces in Beirut on Friday. The riots broke out in response to the government’s plan to impose new taxes on things like gas, tobacco, and software like WhatsApp amid Lebanon’s already severe economic crisis. Protesters blamed political corruption and mismanagement for the country’s crippling debt. 

World’s first all-female spacewalk

NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir made history on Friday as the world’s first all-female spacewalk team. Their mission to replace a broken component of the International Space Station’s power grid was completed successfully, making it the first time in 50 years no males were involved in the process. Koch and Meir modestly said they were just doing what the job required, acknowledging the many female spacewalkers and professionals who came before them. 

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