Categories
Weekly Summaries

26th of July – 1st of August

Chaos in Tunisia

The President of Tunisia, Kais Saeid, tried to seize power in what some call a coup. He announced that he would fire the prime minister and has already suspended Parliament. However, so far it seems that his success is very limited, although many Tunisians expressed their support. Tunisia has been a democracy since the Arab Spring revolutions.

Other News

  • A landslide in India killed 9 people, most of them tourists. Furthermore, monsoons on the western coast have also killed more than 164 people so far.
  • France has been witnessing many protests against the so-called “Covid Pass” policy
  • North Korea and South Korea have — after 14 months of silence — reopened diplomatic and military hotlines between the two countries
  • Flash floods in Afghanistan have killed at least 80 people, but the search for survivors still continues
  • President Biden announced that EU citizens will continue to be barred from entering the U.S., citing fears that the Delta variant would be spread, despite the fact that U.S. citizens are allowed to enter EU countries, as long as they are fully vaccinated
  • Forest fires in Turkey and wildfires in Greece have had devastating consequences for the people living in the surrounding areas

Are you up to date with the Olympics? Check here for the newest updates

Categories
Weekly Summaries

19th of July – 25th of July

The Olympic Games have started

The Olympics — arguably the greatest sporting event in the world — started on Friday with the opening ceremony. Tennis player Naomi Osaka lit the Olympic cauldron. However, the current circumstances with the outbreak of COVID-19 mean that the games look very different this year. More than 120 people involved with the Olympics tested positive so far, including at least six athletes. Additionally, an Algerian judoka decided to quit the Olympics before his competition had even started as the matching of the competitors may have meant that he would have to fight against an Israeli athlete, leaving concerns about whether the Olympics really is successful in bringing athletes from around the world together peacefully.

Haiti gets a new government

A new prime minister was announced in Haiti last week: Ariel Henry. He will replace the interim prime minister Claude Joseph, a neurosurgeon who had not yet been sworn in amid the chaotic struggle for leadership taking place at the moment. However, the list of cabinet ministers hardly changed.

Other News

  • After floods in Western Europe last week left almost 200 people dead, floods in Zhengzhou, China, caused by very heavy rainfall have left more than 30 people dead this week and displaced more than 250,000
  • Officials announced that a recent bus explosion in Pakistan that killed 13 people, including 9 Chinese workers, was a terror attack
  • Extreme weather conditions in the U.S. have continued, with wildfires raging across the Western part of the country
Categories
Weekly Summaries

12th of July – 18th of July

Protests in Cuba

Last week, Cuba saw some of the biggest protests in decades. Thousands of Cubans went to the streets to protest against power outages and food and medicine shortages, which were caused by the country’s economic crisis. The New York Times describes scenes in which people have to wait for hours to buy food. Although Cuba had already been suffering from an economic crisis before the pandemic hit, lockdowns have meant that the valuable income from the tourism industry has also been cut.

Floods in Western Europe

Violent storms caused floods in Western Europe last week. So far, the number of deaths is over 180 but more than a thousand people still remain missing. Germany and Belgium were hit the worst but Switzerland and the Netherlands have also been affected.

Other News

  • The Death Valley in California reached a temperature of 54 degrees Celsius (130 degrees Fahrenheit) last weekend. This is one of the highest temperatures to ever be recorded.
  • After protests in South Africa connected to the arrest of the former president Jacob Zuma turned violent, the South African military has been deployed by the government. Alone 117 people died last week due to looting and vandalism. 
  • According to the New York Times more than 77% of New Mexico is “in severe drought”.
  • The designated prime minister of Lebanon, Saad Hariri, has resigned after months of trying to form a new government.

Categories
Weekly Summaries

5th of July – 11th of July

Lebanon’s Crisis worsens

The World Bank announced that the current crisis Lebanon is facing could rank among “the world’s three worst since the mid-1800s,” according to the New York Times. In the past year, Lebanon has had to cope not only with the outbreak of the coronavirus but also with the deadly explosion in Beirut’s port. This has meant that Lebanon’s GDP has decreased by 40% from 2018 ($55 billion) to 2020 ($33 billion). Its currency, the Lebanese pound, has decreased in value by 90% since fall 2019. Furthermore, Lebanon currently hosts one million refugees from Syria. All of these factors make it a very difficult and bad situation, providing little hope for people that things may change for the better soon.

Other News

  • After the assasination of President Jovenel Moïse of Haiti, four people who were suspected of being involved in the assasination were shot dead and two arrested by the police. Later on in the week, two Americans and 15 Colombians were detained as well. In recent months there had been protests, demanding Moïse to step down as poverty and hunger continued to increase. Increasingly, armed gangs have also been taking control over streets, causing chaos in what is already the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
  • The Ever Given container ship, which famously blocked the Suez Canal, is finally on its way to continue its journey.
  • Italy beat England in the UEFA Euro 2020 Final, which took place on Sunday, 2:1 after a dramatic shootout. The game took place in the Wembley Stadium in London.
  • A military plane crashed in the Philippines after missing a runway. Onboard were 96 soldiers and crew members. At least 50 people died, including 3 civilians. Later on in the week, a “regional passenger plane with 28 people on board crashed in eastern Russia,” according to the New York Times, as well.
  • The U.S. handed over its final airbase in Afghanistan, ending its military presence in the country after almost two decades.
  • A mudslide in the Japanese town of Atami has left more than 80 people missing.

Fun Fact

England’s deer populations have spiked as the outbreak of the coronavirus halted hunting activity. On a more serious note, the increasing numbers of deer poses serious challenges to the survival of wild plant species.

Categories
Weekly Summaries

28th of June – 4th of July

Civil War in Tigray, Ethiopia

Civil war has been raging in Tigray, a northern region in Ethiopia, for eight months. On Monday night, Tigrayan fighters entered Mekelle, the regional capital shortly after the Ethiopian government troops had withdrawn from Mekelle. Shortly after entering the city, the Tigrayan forces also gained control over the airport and the telecommunications network as residents celebrated. The attack on Mekelle by the Tigrayan forces, known formally as the Tigray Defense Forces, is part of a greater counterattack against the Ethiopian government troops. Ethiopian government troops then formally retreated from the Tigray region on Wednesday after it had occupied the Tigray region since November. More than two million people have been displaced and impending crises, including famine and a lack of water, bear grave prospects for the future of the Tigray region.

Other News

  • The Trump Organization was charged with “running a 15-year-tax fraud scheme” on Thursday, according to the New York Times
  • Western Canada and the northwestern US have experienced a huge heat wave, which has been deadly
  • The highest court in South Africa has ordered the imprisonment of South Africa’s former president, Jacob Zuma, for 15 months. Jacob Zuma previously failed to appear before court for a corruption inquiry
Categories
Weekly Summaries

21st of June – 27th of June

Elections in Ethiopia

Last Monday, elections were finally held in Ethiopia after delays due to the outbreak of COVID-19. However, a number of people were not able to cast their vote. In fact, out of Ethiopia’s 547 constituencies, 102 constituencies were not able to participate in the elections due to war, civil unrest, or logistical issues. At the moment, official results are not out yet, but it is widely expected that Abiy Ahmed, the current Prime Minister, will win.

Elections in Armenia

Nikol Pashinyan and his party, Civil Contract, were able to pull off a win in last week’s elections in Armenia. In November, his unpopular peace settlement with Azerbaijan after six weeks of fighting over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave, caused some civil unrest. Now, however, the results of the election speak for themselves: showing the world that the Armenian people were willing to accept the terms of the peace settlement.

Other News

  • Tong Ying-kit has become the first person to face trial under the new “national security law” in Hong Kong.
  • The collapse of a condominium building in Florida has caused 99 people to be missing, with at least one person dead. Apparently, half of the building collapsed shortly after midnight when an earthquake hit.
  • Domestic viewers will be allowed to watch at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics
Categories
Weekly Summaries

14th of June – 21st of June

Elections in Israel

The former Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu was “formally ousted” by Israel’s parliament last Sunday. The new coalition government was then approved by a single vote (60 to 59) and one abstention. Israel’s new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who is said to be further right than Netanyahu, will be replaced by the centrist leader Yair Lapid in two years. In total, the new coalition government is made up of eight parties — including an independent Arab party for the first time in Israeli history — who have little in common due to their wide distribution among the political spectrum. This could mean trouble for the new government in the future, although they have announced that as the new coalition government, they will focus more on domestic issues instead of issues that divide them to provide some stability. The first step that the new Israeli coalition took on Tuesday was to announce their plans to “repair Israeli ties with the US,” the New York Times reported. However, at the same time, the Israeli military bombed parts of the Gaza Strip in the early morning hours last Wednesday after incendiary balloons were sent by the Hamas into southern Israel. So far, there have been no reports of casualties.

The G7 Summit in Cornwall

The first-in-person summit since the pandemic first began concluded last week. The countries that attended were the US, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, and the UK. Although the G7 countries were not able to reach agreements on all topics they wanted to address, they have planned a range of new policy approaches. You can read more about the G7 summit on Cornwall here: https://econir-web.com/2021/06/20/the-g7-summit-in-cornwall/

Other News

  • Ebrahim Raisi has won the election in Iran, becoming the new President. However, voter turnout, especially among the younger generation, was very low.
  • During the NATO summit, President Biden “reaffirmed his commitment to the alliance,” according to the New York Times. The union has also taken a harder stance towards China and Russia, saying that China’s growing military power and influence around the world may “present challenges.”
  • President Biden met with President Putin in Geneva. The meeting was described as “positive” by President Biden and as “constructive” by President Putin, with outcomes such as an agreement to “open U.S.-Russia talks on cybersecurity and arms control” (the New York Times) being made.
  • Britain and Australia have made a free-trade agreement, which is Britain’s first major trading deal since it left the European Union last year.
Categories
Weekly Summaries

7th of June – 13th of June

Canada and its history

Last month it was announced that on the grounds of the old Kamloops Indian Residential School, the bodies of 215 Indigenous children had been found. This discovery has led to a wider discussion in Canada about its past. Although Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been working on enacting a list of 94 actions to commemorate the victims and improve the lives of Indigenous people in Canada today, Indigenous leaders insist that the government is still doing too little.

Other News

  • This Sunday a vote of confidence by the lawmakers in Israel was held, which will determine the fate of the new coalition government
  • A famine has afflicted at least 350,000 people in the Tigray region in northern Ethiopia. The region is already conflict-ravaged and now at least 5.5. million people in total are facing food insecurity.
  • The finance ministers of the G7 countries agreed to “back a new global minimum tax rate,” which is supposed to prevent large multinational companies from taking advantage of tax havens, according to the New York Times
  • Twitter has been banned in Nigeria
  • Tensions in Northern Ireland have increased. Northern Ireland has been left in an awkward position, caught in between the trading system of the European Union and the UK thanks to Brexit
  • It has been announced that Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, will be on the first spaceflight of Blue Origin (his rocket company) that will carry humans. He will bring along his brother and one lucky fan
  • A train collision in Pakistan, which killed at least 33 people, has raised wider concerns over the safety of rail travel in Pakistan
Categories
Weekly Summaries

31st of May – 6th of June

China’s new 3 child policy

On Monday, the Chinese government announced that it would now allow all married couples to have three children. Previously, couples had only been allowed to have two children. The announcement comes as birth rates in China continued to fall for the fourth consecutive year.

Israeli Politics Update

After four elections in as many years, the coalition between Israel’s opposition parties, which was announced on Wednesday evening, may finally bring some stability to Israeli politics. The coalition is bad news for Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has become Israel’s longest-serving prime minister and is currently facing trial on charges of corruption. Including eight parties with ideologies ranging from the left to the far right, some analysts praised the breadth of the coalition, while others are saying that the range of ideologies and many differences may mean that the parties are “too incompatible for their compact to last” (the New York Times).

Other News

  • The “state of emergency” in Tokyo, Japan, has been extended until at least the 20th of June, scheduled to be lifted just right before the Tokyo Olympics
  • Taiwan has been facing its worst drought in half a century, draining reservoirs
  • Naomi Osaka, the highest-paid female athlete in 2020, withdrew from the French Open last week. Previously, she had already announced that she would not be participating in the usual postmatch news conferences but found herself being fined by tennis officials, who threatened further punishment if she continued to refuse to attend post-match news conferences. Previously, she had already announced that she would not be participating in the usual postmatch news conferences but found herself being fined by tennis officials, who threatened further punishment if she would not attend the upcoming post-match news conferences.
  • This past week, NASA announced that it will launch “two new missions to explore Venus,” according to the New York Times

Fun Fact

Consisting of 15 elephants in total, a herd of elephants has been making its way across China for the past year. They have travelled more than 300 miles, puzzling researchers.

Categories
Weekly Summaries

24th of May – 30th of May

A possible case of plane hijacking by Belarus

Last weekend, a Ryanair plane on the way from Athens to Vilnius was forced to land in Minsk (Belarus’ capital) by a fighter jet, according to the New York Times. On board was Roman Protasevich, a leading opposition journalist who currently lives in exile in Lithuania. Upon landing, he was immediately arrested on what the New York Times calls “charges of inciting hatred and mass disorder.” He will face imprisonment of more than 12 years if he is found guilty. The international response has been critical of Belarus, with Greece and Lithuania both describing the scenario “hijacking by the Belarusian government” and the E.U. “urging” airlines to avoid flying over Belarus’ airspace. Russia, meanwhile, has stood by Lukashenko’s side.

Other News

  • The former leader of Myanmar, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, has been seen in public at the court for the first time since the military coup that detained her, ending her term as leader of Myanmar. If she is found guilty of the many charges she faces, she may be imprisoned for life.
  • The one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s killing was last Wednesday.
  • A cable car crash in Italy killed 14 people. Police have now arrested three people, who may be related to the crash.
  • Just as the last of the remaining U.S. troops in Afghanistan are withdrawing, 25 rural Afghan government outposts as well as bases in four provinces have surrendered to the Taliban, according to the New York Times.
  • Just days after Mount Nyiragongo erupted deadly in the Democratic Republic of Congo, another potential eruption forced the evacuation of Goma.