Categories
Weekly Summaries

3rd of May – 9th of May

Unrest in Israel

Last week, a stampede at a festival for the ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel left 45 people dead. Meanwhile the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that he “would be willing to hand over leadership for one year” to Naftali Bennett, a right-wing rival, according to the New York Times. This statement can be seen as a desperate attempt by Prime Minister Netanyahu to form a government. Mr. Netanyahu may have been in office for the past 12 years, but he is currently facing trial on corruption charges and Israel has seen four elections in just two years. However, Naftali Bennett is uncertain about how sincere the Prime Minister is about his proposal, especially because the coalition would still be two seats short of the required number to form a majority government. Soon after, Mr. Netanyahu failed to meet the deadline set for assembling a new government, which was Tuesday night. Yair Lapid, who is politically in the center, now has 28 days to form a coalition.

Other News

  • A suicide bomber blew up a truck in Logar Province, Afghanistan. 
  • German prosecutors were able to break up “one of the largest child pornography sites operating on the darknet,” according to the New York Times.
  • The New York Times reported a subway crash in Mexico City last week, in which a subway overpass collapsed, has killed at least 24 people and wounded 70 more.
Categories
Analysis

Nord Stream 2 – A step in the wrong direction

Nord Stream 2 is a gas pipeline, that carries non-renewable natural gas into the European Union, from Vyborg, Russia to Lubmin, Germany. According to Nord Stream AG (the operator of the project), the overall costs of the construction of the 764 mile long pipeline are estimated to total around 9.5 billion euros (which is enough money to fund the construction of over 6000, 800kW wind turbines, in Britain). The gas that the pipeline is to carry, lies in northern Russia’s Yamal Peninsula, which holds nearly 5 trillion cubic meters of gas reserves, according to the Nord Stream 2 consortium. The aims of the transportation of the natural gas are to enhance the security of supply, to strengthen the internal market, and to relieve pressure on other sources within the EU that previously supplied all the non-renewable resources since the EU’s domestic gas production is in rapid decline. However, it is debatable as to whether relying on other sources of natural gas is the best way forward for our economies and for our planet. Currently, the EU has committed to finance projects worth 168.7 billion euros, of which 21%  will go to measures to address climate change. Why spend this much money on reversing the effects of climate change, if Nord Stream 2 is to be built? 

Over the past decade, we have seen a drastic increase in the demand for the use of renewable resources, in response to the ever-increasing climate change issue. As we all know, climate change will not only affect the weather and temperature of our planet, but it will also hinder human life and activities in a variety of ways. A simple example of this would be the increase in global food insecurity and reducing crop productivity, which feeds our ever-growing population. Over time, farmers have adapted to the weather patterns, planting crops accordingly, however, climate change is altering temperature and rainfall patterns, potentially affecting which crops can be planted at which times throughout the course of the year. I believe that we struggle to understand that climate change can be positively impacted by the individual efforts of the human race, as many wrongly-believe that this global issue could, and should have been resolved by our governments, therefore deeming the global political system incompetent. While it is true that governments should increase the focus surrounding reversing climate change, individual countries and their citizens must cooperate, to reduce their overall carbon footprint; something that will be very difficult to do with the influx of natural gas delivered by Nord Stream 2.

Categories
Weekly Summaries

18th of January – 24th of January

President Biden’s Inauguration

This past Wednesday was Trump’s last day in office. He became the first US President to leave the White House before his successor’s (Joe Biden) inauguration. Biden became the 46th President of the United States and Kamala Harris officially became the first woman and person of colour to take up the position of vice president. Since then, President Biden has already released a national pandemic response plan.

US accuses China of Genocide

The US State Department declared on Tuesday — former US President Trump’s last full day in office — that the Chinese government is committing genocide and crimes against humanity. There has long been criticism of China for suppressing Muslim minority groups, including Uyghurs, in the region of Xinjiang. US officials later said that they hope that other countries will follow in their footsteps.

Other News:

  • Armin Laschet was named the next leader of Angela Merkel’s CDU Party. Elections will take place in Germany in fall.
  • On Thursday morning two bombers wearing explosive vests killed at least 32 people in an attack at a busy market in central Baghdad, Iraq.
Categories
Weekly Summaries

27th of July – 2nd of August

US to withdraw troops from Germany

The United States announced that it will pull out 12,000 troops from Germany. Some of these troops will be relocated to Belgium and Italy, while 6,400 troops will return to the US. As a member of NATO, Germany committed to spend two percent of its GDP on defense. However, Germany has not kept its word. This decision is of significance as American military has been stationed in Germany since the end of World War  II.