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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

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

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.
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Weekly Summaries

26th of April – 2nd of May

The U.S. military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan

This past week, the U.S. military has begun its complete withdrawal from Afghanistan. The New York Times wrote this past week that the Afghan security forces are “unprepared to face the Taliban, or any other threat, on their own. Over the past few years, the U.S. and NATO have spent tens of billions of dollars to build up the the Afghan security forces, but serious shortages of ammunition, the low pay, and abundant corruption are still causing problems.

Other News

  • A fire in an Iraqi hospital caused by an exploding oxygen cylinder killed at least 82 people
  • In the Somali capital of Mogadishu, gunfire erupted when forces loyal to the president confronted groups that sided with his rivals
  • A spacecraft built by Elon Musk’s SpaceX company arrived at the International Space Station last weekend
  • This past month, Iranian military vessels are supposed to have “harassed American ships in the Persian Gulf” twice, according to the New York Times
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Weekly Summaries

12th of April – 18th of April

Explosion at an Iranian nuclear enrichment site

Last weekend, there was an explosion at an Iranian uranium enrichment plant, which caused a power shortage. Since then, Iran’s foreign minister has threatened to take revenge against Israel, whom he blamed for the explosion. The explosion comes just at a point when relations regarding the 2015 nuclear deal were resumed again a few weeks ago.

Other News

  • Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and husband of the Queen of England died. His funeral took place this past Saturday,
  • President Biden has announced that the remaining U.S. troops that are currently still located in Afghanistan will withdraw by the 11th of September, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
  • The U.S. is imposing new sanctions on Russia.
Categories
Weekly Summaries

5th of April – 11th of April

Israel’s Prime Minister attempts to form a government

The President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, is giving Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a chance to remain in office. Mr. Netanyahu is currently facing a trial on charges of corruption, which makes for an unusual situation. Israel has held four elections in only two years, and Mr. Netanyahu has not achieved a majority at any of them. Now, however, there is a chance for him to form a government with the support of another party, although his political enemies are also in the process of forming a coalition.

Other news:

  • Just weeks before the planned withdrawal of the US from Afghanistan, officials are negotiating with the Taliban in the attempt of making a deal
  • A train derailed in Taiwan, killing at least 50 people. So far it is still unclear what caused the incident to happen.
  • Talks between the USA and Iran are currently taking place in Vienna regarding the 2015 nuclear deal.