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Weekly Summaries

6th of September – 11th of September

Uncertainty in Nicaragua

The current President of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, is taking steps to ensure that he will win the elections in November again. The New York Times writes that there is no “credible challenger” and that Ortega is “turning Nicaragua into a police state.” Seven candidates have been jailed or put under house arrest since June alone and people from all backgrounds — from millionaire banker to a decorated general to a low-profile provincial activist — have been targeted.

Other News

  • The U.S. remembered the 9/11 attacks that happened 20 years ago.
  • Maria Kolesnikova, a Belarusian opposition figure, was sentenced to 11 years in prison during a trial in Minsk last week
  • In a ruling last week, Mexico’s Supreme Court decided that making abortion a crime was “unconstitutional”. Nonetheless, abortion is still not available to most of the Mexican female population.
  • El Salvador adopted Bitcoin as a legal tender, the first country to do so
  • The Taliban named an acting cabinet last week. However, the lack of women and some former leaders from the Taliban’s 1990s regime have raised alarm bells in other countries.
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Weekly Summaries

23rd of August – 29th of August

Afghan refugees and an increasingly dramatic situation at the airport in Kabul

Thousands of people are still waiting at the airport in Kabul for a flight out of Afghanistan and the August 31st deadline to complete the Afghanistan operation is fast approaching. To make the situation even more urgent, Taliban leaders rejected President Biden’s suggestion to extend the deadline for the completion of the operation. Last Wednesday, President Biden then announced that the U.S. was “on track” for a military departure from Afghanistan on August 31st.

On Thursday, two suicide bombers outside of Kabul’s airport killed at least 13 U.S. troops and many Afghans, including children. The Islamic State has since claimed responsibility for the attack. President Biden vowed retaliation, saying “we will not forgive.”

This past week reports also surfaced which state that weeks before Kabul fell to the Taliban, tens of thousands of Afghans were already traveling across Iran, hoping to cross Turkey to reach Europe. However, President Erdogan of Turkey has claimed that Turkey will not be “able to shoulder the additional burden” as it has already taken in 5 million refugees. Last week alone, more than 1,400 Afghans who were in Turkey were rounded up and pushed back by the police in a single operation.

Other News

  • The IMF (International Monetary Fund) gave financial aid to poor countries worth US $650 billion to help them “pay down debt and withstand the costs of combating the coronavirus pandemic,” the New York Times reports
  • The highest point on Greenland’s ice sheet has never experienced rainfall that is until last week
  • To prevent Belarusian migrants from entering, Poland and Lithuania are planning to build fences along their shared borders with Belarus, according to the New York Times
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Online Courses

2nd of August – 8th of August

The Case of the Belarusian sprinter Kristina Timanovskaya

The Belarusian sprinter Kristina Timanovskaya was first under the protection of the Japanese government after she criticized her coaches for registering her for the wrong event, according to the New York Times. Belarus tried to send her home but she was scared that she would be arrested upon her return. Timanovskaya has since stayed at the Polish embassy, hoping to seek political asylum in Poland, which has since been granted to her and her husband by Poland. Two Belarusian coaches who were apparently involved in the attempt to get her to leave Tokyo for Belarus have been expelled from the Olympic Village.

Wildfires in Turkey and Greece

Wildfires in Turkey have killed at least six people and forced tens of thousands from their homes. President Erdogan has also received criticism over his handling of what can be called Turkey’s worst wildfires in decades. Greece has also been badly affected by the wildfires, recording its hottest temperatures on record with thousands fleeing their homes. The wildfires have since also reached the island of Evia and ancient Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympic Games. The New York Times reported that local authorities and the army “dug firelines around the archaeological site” in an attempt to prevent the fires from destroying it. A thick pall of smoke also hung over Athens last Thursday, meaning that people were instructed to stay indoors until the smoke cleared. 

Other News

  • The Lazio region of Italy, which includes Rome, experienced a cyberattack and left it unable to offer vaccination appointments online
  • New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo faces criticism and calls for him to resign after it became public that he sexually assaulted 11 women. Governor Cuomo, however, has denied these accusations.
  • “American forces stepped up a bombing campaign in Afghanistan,” according to the New York Times
  • Over 200 million cases of COVID-19 have now been recorded around the world, as of Thursday
  • Ebrahim Raisi, the new President of Iran, was inaugurated this past week
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.
Categories
Weekly Summaries

26th of October – 1st of November

Judge Amy Coney Barrett confirmed by the Senate

On Monday night the Senate confirmed – with 52 to 48 votes – Amy Barrett’s position of justice of the Supreme Court. She is the fifth woman in the history of the USA to hold that position.

What happened to the protests in Belarus?

After the protests in Belaurs against the President Lukashenko’s fraud win in this year’s elections first started three months ago, the Belarusians have continued protesting. There have been arrests and police violence against the protestors, but people still continue to protest every Sunday in the ten thousands.

Poland’s new abortion law

The high court of Poland recently introduced a new law which bans abortion in the case of fetal abnormalities, and this in a country which was already known to have one of the strictest abortion laws in Europe. This ruling has resulted in the largest demonstrations since the fall of Communism in 1989. The protestors not only chanted anti-government slogans, but also effectively blocked major roads and bridges. 

Categories
Weekly Summaries

28th of September – 4th of October

War breaks out between Azerbaijan and Armenia

On Sunday the 29th of September fighting broke out between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the province of Nagorno-Karabakh. The border running through the province was already a point of dispute between the two countries in the past. Now, the renewed outbreak of fighting has turned into the largest clash between the two countries since 2016, with both countries describing the conflict as “war.”

President Trump tests positive for the coronavirus

Early on Friday morning President Trump announced that both he and the First Lady of the United States of America had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Europe imposes sanctions on Belarus

After only watching and criticizing the Belarusian President’s supposed cheating in the recent elections, the European Union has now taken action. The EU agreed on sanctions after Cyprus agreed in exchange for penalties to be imposed on Turkey to enter negotiation talks with Cyprus and Greece for Turkey’s energy exploitation of Greek and Cyprusian waters.

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Weekly Summaries

14th of September – 20th of September

Signing of the Abraham Accords

This Tuesday, President Trump, the Israelian Prime Minister, and the foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain gathered to sign agreements – the “Abraham Accords” – which will normalize the diplomatic relations between Israel and the UAE and Israel and Bahrain. This will include the establishment of embassies.

Protests in Belarus

Last Sunday, tens of thousands of people gathered not only in the capital city  Minsk but also in other cities throughout the country. Just like on the past few Sundays, there was a heavy police presence, and possibly even soldiers. Then, on Monday the 14th of September President Putin and President Lukashenko met for the first time since the protests in Belarus first started. President Putin of Russia later said that the goal at the meetings was to establish a “strategic partnership and alliance” between the two countries.

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Weekly Summaries

7th of September – 13th of September

Protests in Hong Kong

Last Sunday, people went to the streets in Hong Kong to protest against the decision to delay the elections by one year. Thousands of police officers reacted by using pepper spray and arresting almost 300 protestors.

Belarusian protest leader vanishes

With large-scale protests continuing, the last prominent Belarusian protest leader Maria Kolesnikova was supposedly kidnapped this Monday. However, in the early morning hours of the 9th of September she appeared at the border that Belarus shares with the Ukraine. As soon as she had crossed the checkpoint, she destroyed her passport. This made it impossible for the Ukraine to admit her, and she is currently still in the Republic of Belarus.

Update on the Brexit negotiations

At the beginning of the week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that a no-deal Brexit would be a good outcome for the UK. Following this, the ongoing Brexit negotiations fell into chaos after the top lawyer of the British government resigned because of Prime Minister Johnson’s plan to override an important agreement with the European Union.

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Weekly Summaries

24th of August – 30th of August

Updates on the protests in Belarus

On Sunday the 23rd of August thousands of people gathered in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, to protest against President Aleksandr Lukashenko. Although the total number of participants may have been well over 100 thousand, there were no arrests or clashes between the protestors and the police. However, on Monday the 23rd of August, security forces arrested two high-profile opposition forces. Furthermore, President Putin of Russia warned the protestors in Belarus by saying that he ordered the creation of a special force of officers at the request of Belarus’ President Lukashenko.

Categories
Weekly Summaries

17th of August – 23rd of August

The situation in Belarus

On Sunday the 16th of August, the ongoing protests in Belarus against President Aleksandr Lukashenko accumulated into the biggest protest in the history of Belarus as tens of thousands of people gathered in the capital city. This Monday the President then said that a new election is possible, just minutes after he said the exact opposite. The next day, Mr. Lukashenko vowed to stand firm. The protests continued but on a smaller scale as some protestors returned to work. The next big development came on Wednesday when the leaders of E.U. member countries announced that the election results from last week are not legitimate and that the European Union would impose sanctions on those involved in the manipulation of votes.