Categories
Weekly Summaries

29th of March – 4th of April

The Ever Given is Freed

The giant container ship, which got stuck in the Suez Canal on March 23rd, has finally been freed. Completely blocking one of the most important trade routes for a period of six days, some argue that the blockage held up to $10 billion in trade each day as hundreds of cargo ships had to wait to pass through the Suez Canal. The economic impact is not the only consequence of the blockage, however. As global trade increased, ship sizes have increased as well. In fact, the Ever Given is longer than the Empire State Building in New York City is tall. The blockage has now shown that bigger is not always better, perhaps impacting how cargo ships will be built in the future.

Other News

  • The trial over the death of George Floyd began.
  • An ambush in a port town called Palma in Mozambique last week has left dozens of people dead and forced tens of thousands to flee. The Islamic State has since claimed responsibility.
  • Widespread famine is threatening to come up in Yemen. In the previous years, foreign aid helped cope with the famines, but with the current situation resulting in more countries focusing on their internal matters, the famine could prove to be disastrous in what is already the Arab world’s poorest country. 
  • Myanmar’s security forces have started attacking the media, arresting 56 reporters last week.
Categories
Weekly Summaries

22nd of March – 28th of March

Container Ship Gets Stuck in the Suez Canal

By now you may have seen the pictures that are spreading all over the Internet. The ship, which is about as long as the Empire State Building in New York City is high, has been stuck in the Suez Canal since Tuesday evening. It seems as if exceptionally strong winds forced the ship aground one of the Suez Canal’s banks. Because of its tremendous length, this meant that the container ship is now effectively blocking the passageway of one of the most important canals in the world, connecting the Red Sea to the Mediterranean. Over 100 ships are now stuck at either end of the canal, carrying oil and different goods destined for ports around the world. Delays in the transportation of materials from Asia to Europe are being expected. Unfortunately, it does not seem like the container ship will be dislodged any time soon—some suspect that it may take weeks or maybe even months.

Elections in Israel

This past Tuesday, Israel saw the country’s fourth elections in two years. Netanyahu, who is the current Prime Minister, is currently facing corruption charges, but hopes that his policies dealing with the coronavirus outbreak will help him win. Israel has put a vaccination program in place that is far superior to other countries and has been able to successfully vaccinate a large number of people. Recent counts suggest, however, that Netanyahu will have to form a coalition as he only received 52 of the required 61 seats to form a majority. Several parties which jointly hold 57 seats have already announced that they will form a block against Netanyahu, while some parties collectively holding 11 seats have not yet published their decision.*

Other News

  • Indian farmers have camped outside New Delhi for four months now, protesting against the subsidy system that is considered to be “broken” by many
  • An attack by gunmen left 137 people dead in Niger

*according to the news distributor Haaretz

Categories
Weekly Summaries

15th of March – 21st of March

Shooting in Atlanta

Eight people were killed on Tuesday during a mass shooting in Atlanta at massage parlors. The victims include six Asian women, alerting Asian communities around the US. Law enforcement officials have responded by increasing police patrol, responding to an increase in hate incidents against Asians since the outbreak of COVID-19 over a year ago. The gunman has now been captured and has been charged with several counts of murder.

Other News

  • The European Union is taking legal action against Great Britain, claiming that Britain violated a legal agreement over Brexit and Northern Ireland.
  • Northern China experienced its strongest and largest dust storm in a decade
  • A court in Japan ruled that it was unconstitutional to not recognize same-sex marriages
Categories
Weekly Summaries

8th of March – 14th of March

US Stimulus Package is passed

This past Wednesday, the 1.9 trillion US dollar stimulus package passed through the House of Representatives. The bill includes benefits for low-income Americans and also extends the $300 dollar per week supplemental employment benefit until September. President Biden signed the stimulus package on Friday. 

Other News: 

  • A series of explosions at a military base in the city of Bata in Equatorial Guinea killed at least 20 people and injured 500, according to local authorities. 
  • Tens of thousands email addresses have been affected by a hacking campaign against Microsoft. The victims are US businesses and government agencies.
  • Women protested in Mexico City at the residence of Mexico’s president against one of the world’s worst rates of gender violence.
  • The Russian government announced that it would be “slowing” the access to Twitter.
Categories
Weekly Summaries

1st of March – 7th of March

Protests in Spain

The young Spanish generation has been going to the streets in major cities like Madrid and  Barcelona for more than a week now. At first, the protests were a reaction to the arrest of the rapper Pablo Hasel, but now the protests have developed into a much bigger movement. The pandemic has hit Spain’s youth very hard; over 40% of young Spaniards now find themselves unemployed, the highest number in the EU. The current situation is a far-cry from the Barcelona that once was one of the “best places in Europe” for young people.

The Former French President Found Guilty of Corruption

It is the second time in modern French history that a former president was convicted of a crime. The former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was sentenced to at least one year in prison this past week on charges of corruption. Sarkozy supposedly gained confidential information from a judge after offering to help the judge get a job.

Other News

  • Britain and the EU have had some major disagreement this past week. The path to a “normal” relationship between the two parties remains a rocky one.
  • Last Sunday, the Hong Kong authorities charged 47 pro-democracy activists of violating the new Chinese Security Law.
  • New charges have been raised after the civil leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi by Myanmar’s military which staged a coup a few weeks ago. She now faces a prison sentence of up to 9 years.
  • The U.S. announced sanctions against Russia on Tuesday on the accusation of poisoning Aleksei Navalny
  • Three female journalists were shot in Afghanistan last week on their way home from work
  • After hundreds of Nigerian girls were abducted from their boarding school last week, their kidnappers have now released them
Categories
Weekly Summaries

22nd of February – 28th of February

General Strike in Myanmar

A general strike took place in Myanmar on Monday the 22nd of February. Millions participated, protesting against the military rule that has been in place since the military coup three weeks ago. Last weekend, two protestors and dozens more had been injured when the military started shooting at the protestors. Since then Facebook has banned Myanmar’s military from its platforms, making it obvious that they were siding with the pro-democracy protests.

Other News

  • An order was issued by the Supreme Court which allows the release of the former US President Donald Trump’s tax returns
  • Italy’s ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo was among three other people who were killed during an attack close to the city of Goma
  • The Syrian pound reached an all-time low against the dollar on the black market
Categories
Weekly Summaries

15th of February – 21st of February

Developments in Myanmar

This past week, the military supposedly fired rubber bullets, water cannons, and tear gas at protestors. However, several ambassadors from Western countries issued a joint statement in which they urged the military to refrain from using violence against the protestors. The statement also said that the protestors were protesting against the overthrow of “their legitimate government.” Since then, a closed-door trial against Daw Aung San Suu Kyi began in secret.

Other News

  • Almost 7 months after leaving Earth, a new rover from NASA has landed on Mars
  • So far, three people have died from ebola during the recent outbreak in Guinea
  • The former President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, did not appear at an inquiry panel about his role in corruption this past Monday
Categories
Weekly Summaries

8th of February – 14th of February

Protests in Myanmar

After the military re-claimed power during a coup last weekend, hundreds of thousands of people in Myanmar responded by going out on the streets to protest. They called for the release of the civilian leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi who was detained during the coup. In the hopes of gaining international attention, the protestors posted videos on Facebook meanwhile the military has taken a firmer grip. Some of the tactics the military has already implemented are telecommunications outages and banning social media platforms such as Facebook during the process of cementing their power.

Trump’s impeachment trial will go ahead

On Monday, the U.S. Senate voted to go ahead with the impeachment trial. The defending team of the former U.S. President Donald Trump argued that it would be unconstitutional to go ahead with the impeachment as Donald Trump is no longer in office at this point. If Trump were to be found guilty, the Senators could prevent him from running for federal office again.

Other News

  • In India, a Himalayan glacier crumbled, killing 7 people, wounding 125 more, and destroying two dam projects.
  • The Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, pleaded not guilty. He is accused of several corruption charges, and the general election for which he is running for re-election is only a few weeks away. 
  • The Netherlands has suspended international adoptions for the time being. Recent investigations have shown that there were abuse cases between 1967 and 1998 on which the government had failed to act.
  • China has banned BBC programs
Categories
Weekly Summaries

1st of February – 7th of February

Military Coup in Myanmar

After Myanmar’s civilian leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her top lieutenants were detained during raids in the early Monday morning hours, a one-year long state of emergency was announced on a military television network. The army chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing is now in power. Later on, a statement was also issued through television, which was supposed to justify the power takeover by the military, claiming that there had been frauds in the November elections. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s party — the National League for Democracy — had won the election with a landslide victory. Some say that the coup now marks the country’s return to full military rule. She now faces up to three years in prison, being charged with the illegal import of at least 10 walkie-talkies. Since then, the new military government has blocked access to Facebook as Myanmar slowly begins to isolate itself from the rest of the world again.

Navalny sentenced to two years in prison

Aleksei Navalny was sentenced to more than two years in prison by a Moscow court. He is charged with violating a parole from 2014 about regularly checking in with the Russian authorities. Navalny did not do this while he was recovering in Germany. There have been continued protests in Russia, but Russian authorities have signalled that they will remain firm.

Other News:

After the British government announced that they would make it easier for Hong Kong residents to move to Britain, the Chinese government responded by declaring that it would no longer accept the special passports issued by Britain to Hong Kong residents.

Categories
Weekly Summaries

25th of January – 31st of January

Elections in Portugal

President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa was re-elected this past week. He received 61% of the votes, a number that may come as a bit of a surprise because Portugal introduced a new lockdown just two weeks ago over concerns of overwhelmed hospitals. This may also explain the low turnout, which was only 39% of the population. 

President Rebelo de Sousa will begin his second 5-year term with a strong foothold: the candidate with the second highest number of votes — the Socialist candidate Ana Gomes — received only 13% of the votes. In Portugal, the role of President is second to that of the Prime Minister who is in charge of the day-to-day affairs. As President, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa can, however, dissolve Parliament and veto some legislations and is also involved in foreign policy and national security.

Italy’s Prime Minister Resigns

The Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte resigned this past Tuesday after weeks of political conflicts. At the moment there is still hope that Italian politicians may come up with a solution but otherwise early elections may be the only solution. Especially opposition parties are very keen on early elections with polls suggesting that the Nationalist Party may win. 

Other News

  • The House of Representatives sent an article of impeachment against Donald Trump on Monday.
  • This past Tuesday, President Biden and President Putin agreed to extend the last remaining nuclear arms treaty between the United States and Russia.
  • Thousands of farmers entered New Delhi, India, on Tuesday with their tractors to protest against new farming laws.
  • A new law went into effect in Poland on Wednesday which bans abortions in almost all instances (in cases of rape, incest, and threat to the life of the mother abortions are still allowed). Thousands went to the streets to protest, vowing to keep fighting.