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Weekly Summaries

12th of September – 19th of September

Australia to get nuclear-powered submarines

Last week, the U.S. and Britain made a joint announcement that they would help Australia deploy nuclear-powered submarines. If this happens, Australia would be able to conduct routine patrols in the South China Sea, which would challenge China. Nonetheless, Australia “committed never to arm the submarines with nuclear weapons,” according to the New York Times. The deal is a major blow to France because of multiple reasons. As a result of the deal, Australia will not buy French-built submarines, which is bad news for French businesses. France sees the event as yet another example of the “widening rift” in U.S.-French relations and has announced that it will withdraw the French ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia in protest.

Other News

  • Iran will allow nuclear monitoring as agreed in a last-minute deal reached last week.
  • North Korea announced that it had launched “long-range cruise missiles” that hit targets 932 miles away, according to the New York Times. This is a major violation of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions.
  • The company Colossal is hoping to repopulate Siberia with thousands of woolly mammoths, thousands of years after they went extinct.
  • In a huge step towards deciding the fate of Catalonia, Spain’s prime minister Pedro Sánchez and Catalonia’s leader Pere Aragonès met in Barcelona.
  • French forces killed Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahraoui, a leader of the Islamic State
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Weekly Summaries

30th of August – 5th of September

U.S. Forces Left Afghanistan

The last U.S. forces left Afghanistan last Monday. Their departure ended a 20-year long occupation. The war in Afghanistan cost the U.S. over $2 trillion and left more than 170,000 people dead. Shortly before midnight, the last 5 American cargo jets left the Kabul airport, leaving behind many Afghans, including former members of the security forces. The Taliban and fighters celebrated the U.S. departure and gunfire could be heard across Kabul. A day later, President Biden once again defended the withdrawal, claiming that it was a choice “between leaving or escalating” the situation.

Other News

  • The return of a Napoleonic general, Gen. Charles Etienne Gudin, was supposed to improve relations between France and Russia, two countries that have long had difficult diplomatic relations. However, when the ceremony took place, the Presidents were not to be seen. 
  • The leader of Guinea’s special forces led a coup, announcing on state television that the constitution and government had been dissolved. Whether he will be successful is still uncertain.
  • Less than a year after he started office, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga of Japan said that he would not seek re-election
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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

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News

The G7 Summit in Cornwall

What is the G7?

The G7 is a political establishment, founded in 1975, that addresses current and potential future challenges that can affect the growth of the global economy, including the impacts of fluctuating oil prices and of emerging markets. The G7 is made up of some of the wealthiest economies across the world — the US, the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan (China is not a member of the G7). The organisation is not an official, formal entity and therefore has no legislative or authoritative power to enforce policies or laws around the world. However, due to the powerful nature of the countries involved, policies can be introduced within said countries, helping to resolve global issues.

What is the purpose of the G7? 

The intergovernmental organisation meets periodically to assess economic and monetary issues that have developed throughout the world between each summit. They discuss and sometimes act in order to assist in resolving global issues, particularly those that concern the global economy.  Their efforts have allowed the organisation to launch initiatives, which fund issues and relieve crises, including several aimed at relieving debt within developing nations. For example, the establishment provided $300 million in 1997 to help construct the containment of the reactor meltdown at Chernobyl, following the nuclear disaster. 

What did they discuss in Cornwall last week? 

As expected, the main topic of conversation was resolving the current global crisis, COVID-19. The leaders within the establishment debated the importance of a stronger global health system and reviewed a potential plan of action which could reduce the global health inequality that could protect us from future pandemics.  Their agenda further included discussion on actions taken towards climate change, e.g. the unsuccessful Paris Agreement of 2015, and trade agreements. This was a big topic for Britain in particular, since talks regarding Brexit began in 2016 when Britain decided to leave the European Union.

What were the outcomes of the meeting? 

The meeting had three major outcomes: “A Billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine (1)”, “no more coal (2) ”, and “tech giants and tax havens targeted (3)”.

  1.  The leaders at the conference pledged to deliver over 870 million vaccine doses to the developing world, on top of the 250 million already promised by the US and the 100 million from the UK. This action will not only allow the HIC’s to recover from the pandemic but allow LIC’s to recover, also. This will have a rather large impact as the lower-income countries are more at risk of an unrecoverable economic depression than higher-income countries. 
  2. There was a unanimous agreement in which the G7 leaders pledged to phase out coal-fired power generation at home and reduce/end funding for new coal-burning power plants in the developing world. Furthermore, the leaders committed to offering developing nations $2.8bn to help them switch to cleaner fuels. These plans will not only help reduce carbon emissions but will consequently reduce climate change. A large issue within climate change is that developing countries do not have funding to provide renewable sources of energy. Therefore, this initiative is of great importance as it will allow countries to take a global stance against global warming.
  3. The summit agreed to take steps towards dissuading MNC’s (multinational co-operations) from shifting profits to low tax-havens. The leaders signed up to levy a minimum 15% corporate tax rate. This will help boost economies especially following the pandemic, which has caused severe economic instability globally. Furthermore, the leaders have also moved to help protect the global financial system from the impact of climate change by agreeing on rules which require companies and financial institutions to disclose the extent to which their business is exposed to climate change risks.

Sources

  1. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/06/g7-summit-covid19-tax-environment/
  2. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/g/g7.asp

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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
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Weekly Summaries

30th of November – 6th of December

Ethiopia declares victory in the Tigray Conflict

After days of attacks on the regional capital of Tigray, Mekelle, the Ethiopian government claimed it had “won” the conflict against the region of Tigray on the 28th of November, without killing a single civilian. However, local farmers tell a different story, describing dozens of deaths related to the conflict.

Egyptian Human Rights Workers Released

Although the Egyptian government did try to interfere with the freedom of human rights activists in the past by, for example, preventing them from travelling, only very few were arrested and sent to prison. This changed a few weeks ago when three employees from the human rights group Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights were arrested. However, the international public put pressure on Egypt as diplomats, politicians and even celebrities called for the release of the human rights workers. In response to the increasing pressure, the Egyptian authorities released the workers this past week.

Protest in France over new Security Bill

This past week, the streets of two cities in France, the capital Paris and Lyon, were filled with protestors against the new security bill. The bill would restrict the sharing of images of police officers, in addition to strengthening government surveillance tools. Since then, the French government has announced that it will make severe changes to the bill.

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Weekly Summaries

9th of November – 15th of November

Border conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan possibly resolved

On Monday, Armenia’s prime minister Nikol Pashinyan signed an agreement which is supposed to end the border conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Armenia will have to surrender the disputed territories. Armenian forces in these areas are supposed to pull out. They will be replaced by Russian peacekeepers. Russia was also the country which helped to negotiate the deal to end the war. However, only a few hours after the announcement was made public, people started protesting in Armenia’s capital city, Yerevan.

France and Austria meet to discuss antiterrorism measures

This Tuesday the French President Emmanuel Macron and the Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz met in Paris. In recent weeks there have been terror attacks in both France and Austria.