On today's episode of The Stream we'll check in on some of the latest news AJE correspondents are covering around the world.
Costa Rica  

Costa Rica closed out 2017 with its highest ever murder rate. According to preliminary data, the Central American nation of five million people saw about 603 homicides last year, up from 578 in 2016. Authorities blame drug trafficking and score-settling between gangs.

"In recent years we do not remember a situation similar to what we are experiencing now," said Walter Espinoza, director of the Costa Rican Judicial Investigative Unit --- Organismo de Investigación Judicial (OIJ).

Costa Rica's murder rate works out to 12.1 murders per 100,000 inhabitants. The World Health Organization considers a murder rate of more than 10 per 100,000 to be an "epidemic". Al Jazeera's Andy Gallacher is in the capital San Jose covering the story and speaking to people on the ground.

West Bank settlement homes

So far this year, Israel has approved the construction of more than 1,000 settlement units in the occupied West Bank, according to Peace Now, an NGO that tracks and analyses developments in the settlements. Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Maliki criticised the plan, blaming the United States for "giving the green light" to Israel to do "whatever it wants with Palestinian land". In December US president Donald Trump announced the US would recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a move that caused international outcry and condemnation from the United Nations.

Settlements are illegal under Resolution 242 and international law, and are considered to be an obstacle to the resumption of negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis. Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan is reporting on the story.


Zainab was just seven-years-old when she was kidnapped, raped and murdered, her body dumped in a garbage heap in her hometown of Kasur, in northeastern Pakistan. Her parents had reported her missing a few days earlier, and her family believes police had failed to act adequately. The city has faced a spate of abduction, sexual assault and murders. There have been several protests across Pakistan and online Zainab's death has caught the attention of thousands and the hashtag #JusticeForZainab is trending.

We speak to aljazeera.com correspondent Asad Hashim and political activist and lawyer Mohammad Jibran Nasir.

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:

Andy Gallacher @AndyGaje
Al Jazeera Correspondent

Mohammad Jibran Nasir @MJibranNasir
Political activist and lawyer

Asad Hashim @AsadHashim
Al Jazeera Correspondent

Imran Khan @ajimran
Al Jazeera Correspondent

Read more:

More than 1,000 settlement homes approved in West Bank - Al Jazeera 
Parents of raped and murdered girl, 7, seek justice - Al Jazeera