The Cities This Week: Edition 25

Trayvon Martin supporters rally in Times Square (Source: Mario Tama/ Getty Images)

Trayvon Martin supporters rally in Times Square (Source: Mario Tama/ Getty Images)


he New Zealand capital Wellington was rattled by a strong magnitude 6.9 earthquake on Sunday that broke water mains, smashed windows and downed power lines. Wellington Police Inspector Marty Parker said there had been minor structural damage that had left parts of the city without power. There have been no reports of injury and no tsunami. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake struck under the Cook Strait 57 kilometers (35 miles) southwest of Wellington. It was 10 kilometers (6 miles) underground.


Detroit on Thursday became the largest American city to file for bankruptcy, a historic move sure to ignite complex battles in coming months with creditors, pensioners and unions who stand to lose significantly as the state tries to rescue a city whose failure Gov. Rick Snyder said was 60 years in the making. Bankruptcy and restructuring experts said the filing will initiate a new round of battles in federal court, potentially setting national precedents on matters ranging from whether bondholders get repaid when cities run out of money to whether public pensions, previously thought to be sacrosanct under the Michigan Constitution, are protected in municipal bankruptcies.


The Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has arrived in Moscow after being released from custody, declaring that he is going to win the capital’s mayoral election. Speaking through a bullhorn to hundreds of supporters at Moscow’s Yaroslavsky station on Saturday, Navalny thanked them for their help in winning his release while an appeal is heard against his five-year sentence for embezzlement. “I realise that if it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t be standing here for the next five years. You have destroyed a key privilege that the Kremlin has been trying to keep that it is their alleged right to say to any person: ‘Arrest him on the spot,'” said Navalny, who claims that the case against him was concocted for political reasons.


In Cairo, tens of thousands assembled outside the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque, scene of a weeks-long sit-in. Crowds backing Mr Morsi’s overthrow by the army gathered for a rival rally in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, but in smaller numbers. At least two people were killed during clashes in the Nile Delta city of Mansura, Egyptian media reported. Meanwhile, the UN’s top rights official is pushing Egypt’s interim leaders to state why Mr Morsi has been arrested and when he will be put on trial. Egypt’s first freely elected president was ousted on 3 July in what his supporters, many of them members of his Muslim Brotherhood movement, have said was a military coup. He is being held by the army at an undisclosed location.

U.S. Cities

The parents of Trayvon Martin joined thousands of Americans at more than 100 scheduled vigils in cities nationwide demanding Saturday what they described as justice for their 17-year-old son, who was shot dead last year. “It’s overwhelming,” Tracy Martin told CNN at a rally in Miami attended by hundreds of supporters, many of whom chanted, “No Peace! No Justice!” “It sends a message to the nation that we’re not going to sit back and let our children be killed and don’t say anything about it.” Surveying the crowd, he said, “This is what keeps us going — all of these people that are out here to support us: white, black, brown. There’s a mixture of people. Everybody is out to support not only Trayvon, but their children as well.”


Thousands of protesters demanding the resignation of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy over a corruption scandal have clashed with police in the capital, Madrid. Several people were injured or arrested after the protest turned violent towards midnight on Thursday. The protesters jammed downtown streets outside the Madrid headquarters of the ruling Popular Party, insisting that Rajoy should leave office because of allegations he received payoffs from a slush fund before his party won elections in 2011. Thousands more also demonstrated in the city of Barcelona. An Associated Press photographer saw one protester with his face bloodied, a police officer hurt by a flying projectile and at least two protesters arrested by authorities. The demonstrations came after opposition leaders this week called for Rajoy to explain himself before parliament or face a censure vote.


Dubai’s overweight population is about to get a whole lot richer–that is, if residents can shed their pounds. The city is reportedly paying people in gold if they can lose weight. And the fatter they are, the more gold they stand to gain. The AP reports that Dubai, the famously flashy oil-rich city in the United Arab Emirates, is giving residents one gram of gold (the equivalent of $45 at current prices) per kilogram (a little over two pounds) of weight lost. Participants, who weighed in for the first time on July 19th, have a month to lose as much weight as they can. Dubai’s weight problems have grown along with the local economy. According to the Pulitzer Center, the city’s overweight population has skyrocketed as more restaurants, fast food joints, and shopping mall food centers have opened over the past 20 years. Now over half of all residents in the city are overweight. And now the same oil wealth that caused Dubai to grow so fat is being used to try to lure citygoers back to lower weights.