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What's Going On Around The World Today

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified for 11 hours about a 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Libya. Hurricane Patricia, a Category 5 storm with 200 mph winds, is expected to make landfall in Mexico today. And what it’s like to be an LGBT Syrian refugee.

Posted on October 23, 2015, at 12:58 p.m. ET

HERE ARE THE TOP STORIES

A sword attack that killed two people and injured two others at a school in Western Sweden yesterday was racially motivated.

The attack is being investigated as a hate crime, according to Swedish police who searched the assailant’s apartment and from what they concluded from the his “behavior during the act,” BBC News reports. The attacker chose his victims based on the color of their skin, according to police.

A teenage student and a teacher died and two others were injured in the sword attack at the Kronan School school in an industrial town with a large immigrant population, BuzzFeed News’ Francis Whittaker and Jessica Simeone report. Police shot and killed the attacker, who was carrying at least one large knife and what appears to have been a sword.

- / AFP / Getty Images

Some students at the school initially thought the attacker’s mask had something to do with Halloween, Whittaker and Simeone write.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified for 11 hours about the 2012 attack on an American consulate in Benghazi.

The House Select Committee on Benghazi grilled Clinton, the leading Democratic presidential candidate, on the deaths of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, during an attack on an American diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012. Clinton served as secretary of state at the time.

Evan Vucci / AP Photo

Hillary Clinton during yesterday’s 11-hour hearing.

The Republican-led committee has been criticized for being “a partisan attack on the leading Democratic presidential candidate,” BuzzFeed News reports. The special Benghazi committee called for yesterday’s hearing after learning that Clinton had used a private email server during her time as secretary of state, to make sure that Clinton had released all the emails concerning the Benghazi attack and what she knew about it.

“I would say I’ve thought more about what happened than all of you put together. I’ve lost more sleep than all you put together,” Clinton said during the hearing. “I’ve been racking my brain about what should’ve been done or what could’ve been done.”

Did we learn anything new?

Not really. Three rounds of testimony, some 300 questions, and 11 hours later, chairman of the committee Rep. Trey Gowdy couldn’t tell whether or not any new information about the Benghazi attack came out of yesterday’s hearing, BuzzFeed News’ Ruby Cramer writes. “I’d have to go back and look at the transcript,” Gowdy told reporters after the marathon hearing.

The hearing did present a new glimpse into Clinton’s response to the attack: She told the Egyptian prime minister in a phone call that the attack was planned, rather than a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Islam video. And a previously unseen email revealed that Clinton called the assailants an “al Qeada-like group” in a message to her daughter.

C-SPAN / Via Giphy / Via giphy.com

WE’RE KEEPING AN EYE ON

The strongest-ever recorded storm in the western hemisphere, Hurricane Patricia, is headed toward Mexico.

Hurricane Patricia strengthened into an extremely dangerous Category 5 storm with 200 mph winds, according the National Hurricane Center, BuzzFeed News’ Jim Dalrymple II writes.

“Patricia is the strongest storm ever recorded in the eastern Pacific or in the Atlantic, said Dave Roberts, a hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center,” the Associated Press writes.

What’s next?

The hurricane is expected to make landfall in Mexico today — in the afternoon or evening local time — and the damage could be “potentially catastrophic,” forecasters warned.

The Mexican government declared a state of emergency in dozens of municipalities in Colima, Nayarit, and Jalisco that could be hit by the storm, the AP reports.

National Weather Service

Forecasters called Patricia’s quick growth a ‘remarkable feat.” Only one hurricane, Linda in 1997, intensified as quickly during the satellite era.

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DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THIS?

This is what it’s like being an LGBT Syrian fleeing for your life.

LGBT refugees from all over the Middle East are flocking to Turkey as they escape Islamist militias, sexual assault, and death threats.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees “fast-tracks LGBT refugees for resettlement, because it considers them especially vulnerable,” BuzzFeed News’ J. Lester Feder reports from Istanbul.

Istanbul has become an increasingly important safe haven in recent years as other cities — like Cairo and Beirut — have become ever more dangerous for LGBT people, BuzzFeed News reports.

Istanbul has become an increasingly important safe haven in recent years as other cities — like Cairo and Beirut — have become ever more dangerous for LGBT people, BuzzFeed News reports.

“My dream was to live in a country that respects a queer woman like me as a human being,” one 46-year-old woman told BuzzFeed News last month. “I felt that finally my problems will be solved … but it turned out to be an illusion.” Finally, she has done the unimaginable and bought a ticket back to Syria, telling Feder, “I’m returning to my death, but what choice do I have?"

The process to get a ticket out of Turkey, which takes about two years for LGBT refugees, still leaves many of them in despair. The system isn’t equipped to handle large numbers of people who are in immediate danger and the agencies in charge generally don’t have nearly enough staff to keep up with the workload created by the influx of refugees who are escaping the almost five-year-long Syrian civil war, Lester writes.

Quick things to know:

  • At least 42 people died in a traffic accident between a bus and a truck near the southwestern French city of Bordeaux. Most of the victims are believed to be elderly French people. (BuzzFeed News)

  • A U.S. soldier was killed during a hostage rescue mission in an Iraqi prison. Seventy ISIS hostages were rescued. (BuzzFeed News)

  • South African President Jacob Zuma is meeting with student protesters today. Here’s what you need to know about the week-long demonstrations against a roughly 11% tuition fee hike. (BuzzFeed News)

  • Poland heads to the polls on Sunday in the country’s general elections, which could have an impact on the role the country is playing in Europe’s migration crisis. (The Guardian) And, in an historic first, three women are vying to lead the country. (Associated Press)

  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to use his executive authority to ban discrimination against transgender people in housing, employment, and public accommodations statewide. (BuzzFeed News)

  • Republican Rep. Paul Ryan is running for U.S. House speaker. He had said he would only run if he had support from various factions within the party. (BuzzFeed News)

  • As part of a spending fight with Republicans in the U.S. Congress, President Barack Obama issued a rare veto of a defense bill. (The Associated Press)

  • Why does the online shaming and harassment of women always go viral? (BuzzFeed News)

  • A data breach hit phone provider TalkTalk’s website, exposing banking and personal details from up to four million UK customers. (BBC News) And this man is “disgusted” at his details being leaked in the cyber attack. (BuzzFeed News)

  • Adele released “Hello,” a track from her new album, getting people very excited. (BuzzFeed News) And she’s using a ~flip phone~ in the video. (BuzzFeed)

  • Norwegians are using “Texas” as slang for “crazy.” Whoa, that’s so Texas. (BuzzFeed)

Screengrab / Via nrk.no

The phrase appeared in a news story of a man catching a rare a swordfish in Norway that was described as being “totally Texas!”

Do you know what happened in the news this week? Take the BuzzFeed News quiz!

WEEKEND READS

Our special guest this week is Max Seddon, a world correspondent for BuzzFeed News, sharing some of his favorite recent stories.

I've been catching up on the work of Svetlana Alexievich, the Belarusian non-fiction writer whom I'd never read before she won the Nobel Prize earlier this month. Alexievich's oral histories of the traumatic last few decades in the former Soviet Union are the closest thing the region has to a collective written memory, and the individual voices she channels are often deeply moving when read in isolation. The New Yorker published a good overview of her life and work this week; you can read some of it in English at Granta, The Paris Review, and the Moscow Times.

How did a biker pow-wow at a “breastaurant” in Waco, Texas, end in a shootout that killed nine, wounded 20, and saw 177 people in jail? Was it a violent criminal underworld bubbling to the surface, or a cynical set-up by police? GQ has an oral history, of sorts, of the Bandidos vs. Cossacks saga. Alexievich on a Harley, if you will.

The refugee crisis in Europe may be dropping from the headlines, but we're only still realizing its importance and sheer scale. The Wall Street Journal made a rare trip to Eritrea, the shadowy dictatorship on the Horn of Africa where life is so horrible that 9% of the entire population has fled. In Europe, my colleague Jina Moore reported that female refugees are facing a horrifying litany of sex-related dangers and aid agencies don't even see it as a problem. And in Lebanon, BuzzFeed News' Joshua Hersh met some of the many Syrians who still want to join them, but can't afford the dangerous trip to Germany.

Happy Friday

Addison and Clark — two adorable red panda cubs, who were born at the Lincoln Zoo in Chicago in late June — have made their first public debut, BuzzFeed’s Michelle Broder Van Dyke writes. “The red panda cubs continue to grow in size but also in how vocal they are, their activity level and curiosity levels,” the zoo’s Curator of Mammals Mark Kamhout told BuzzFeed. Welcome to the world, Clark and Addison!

The cubs were eager to explore, along with the help of their mom, even kissing the camera at one point, Broder Van Dyke writes. Red pandas are native to the Himalayan mountain ranges of China, Nepal, India, Burma, and Bhutan. The animals are skilled climbers and eat bamboo shoots and leaves. The International Union for Conservation of Nature considers red pandas a vulnerable species, due to poaching and habitat loss.

Lincoln Park Zoo / Via youtube.com

This letter was edited and brought to you by Claire Moses and Millie Tran. You can always reach us here.

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A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.