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Dispatches Human Race

A music legend gone

(Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Solters)

Died

Eddie Van Halen, the guitar virtuoso whose dizzying solos made rock ’n’ roll fun again, died of cancer on Oct. 7. He was 65. His band, Van Halen, formed in 1974 with his brother, drummer Alex Van Halen; singer David Lee Roth; and bassist Michael Anthony. They released their first album in 1978 and dominated the rock scene for more than a decade, first with lead singer Roth and then Sammy Hagar. Van Halen’s best-known work includes the songs “Jump,” “Right Now,” and “Panama.” He also played the famous guitar solo on Michael Jackson’s 1982 single “Beat It.”

Van Halen’s family immigrated to California from Amsterdam when he was 7. His parents loved music and excelled at it, but they barely scraped by with the money his mother made working as a maid. He battled addiction throughout his career but got sober in 2008.

Protested

Belarus police have arrested dozens of people during mass protests calling for the Belarusian president to step down. President Alexander Lukashenko claims he was elected to his sixth straight term with more than 80 percent of the vote. His opposition claims he cheated and that they won by a landslide. Across Belarus, protesters gathered in the streets for seven straight weekends of marches. News media have reported Belarusian police have begun hauling demonstrators away in vans, and police have used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse crowds. The U.S. and several European Union countries do not recognize Lukashenko’s election as valid. 

Uncovered

A new report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute has found more than 380 suspected detention centers in the Chinese region of Xinjiang—a 40 percent increase over what was previously suspected. The institute’s evidence is based on satellite photos, eyewitness interviews, media reports, and official documents. The group says that in the last year, the Chinese have worked on more than 60 new detention sites with more under construction. The Chinese government calls the sites “vocational training centers,” but reporters and analysts have documented the disappearance of Uighur Muslims in the region. Chinese newspaper Global Times has since reported that two of the contributors to the institute’s paper are now banned from entering China. 

Charged

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have charged a Toronto man with deceiving investigators by claiming he was involved in terrorist activities. Shehroze Chaudry has stated in several media interviews, including for the New York TimesCaliphate podcast, that he acted as an executioner for the Islamic State. He withdrew that claim in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., but police had already begun investigating. Chaudry is awaiting his court date and, if convicted, a possible prison sentence of five years.