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Weekly Summaries

19th of July – 25th of July

The Olympic Games have started

The Olympics — arguably the greatest sporting event in the world — started on Friday with the opening ceremony. Tennis player Naomi Osaka lit the Olympic cauldron. However, the current circumstances with the outbreak of COVID-19 mean that the games look very different this year. More than 120 people involved with the Olympics tested positive so far, including at least six athletes. Additionally, an Algerian judoka decided to quit the Olympics before his competition had even started as the matching of the competitors may have meant that he would have to fight against an Israeli athlete, leaving concerns about whether the Olympics really is successful in bringing athletes from around the world together peacefully.

Haiti gets a new government

A new prime minister was announced in Haiti last week: Ariel Henry. He will replace the interim prime minister Claude Joseph, a neurosurgeon who had not yet been sworn in amid the chaotic struggle for leadership taking place at the moment. However, the list of cabinet ministers hardly changed.

Other News

  • After floods in Western Europe last week left almost 200 people dead, floods in Zhengzhou, China, caused by very heavy rainfall have left more than 30 people dead this week and displaced more than 250,000
  • Officials announced that a recent bus explosion in Pakistan that killed 13 people, including 9 Chinese workers, was a terror attack
  • Extreme weather conditions in the U.S. have continued, with wildfires raging across the Western part of the country
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.
Categories
Weekly Summaries

7th of June – 13th of June

Canada and its history

Last month it was announced that on the grounds of the old Kamloops Indian Residential School, the bodies of 215 Indigenous children had been found. This discovery has led to a wider discussion in Canada about its past. Although Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been working on enacting a list of 94 actions to commemorate the victims and improve the lives of Indigenous people in Canada today, Indigenous leaders insist that the government is still doing too little.

Other News

  • This Sunday a vote of confidence by the lawmakers in Israel was held, which will determine the fate of the new coalition government
  • A famine has afflicted at least 350,000 people in the Tigray region in northern Ethiopia. The region is already conflict-ravaged and now at least 5.5. million people in total are facing food insecurity.
  • The finance ministers of the G7 countries agreed to “back a new global minimum tax rate,” which is supposed to prevent large multinational companies from taking advantage of tax havens, according to the New York Times
  • Twitter has been banned in Nigeria
  • Tensions in Northern Ireland have increased. Northern Ireland has been left in an awkward position, caught in between the trading system of the European Union and the UK thanks to Brexit
  • It has been announced that Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, will be on the first spaceflight of Blue Origin (his rocket company) that will carry humans. He will bring along his brother and one lucky fan
  • A train collision in Pakistan, which killed at least 33 people, has raised wider concerns over the safety of rail travel in Pakistan
Categories
Weekly Summaries

31st of May – 6th of June

China’s new 3 child policy

On Monday, the Chinese government announced that it would now allow all married couples to have three children. Previously, couples had only been allowed to have two children. The announcement comes as birth rates in China continued to fall for the fourth consecutive year.

Israeli Politics Update

After four elections in as many years, the coalition between Israel’s opposition parties, which was announced on Wednesday evening, may finally bring some stability to Israeli politics. The coalition is bad news for Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has become Israel’s longest-serving prime minister and is currently facing trial on charges of corruption. Including eight parties with ideologies ranging from the left to the far right, some analysts praised the breadth of the coalition, while others are saying that the range of ideologies and many differences may mean that the parties are “too incompatible for their compact to last” (the New York Times).

Other News

  • The “state of emergency” in Tokyo, Japan, has been extended until at least the 20th of June, scheduled to be lifted just right before the Tokyo Olympics
  • Taiwan has been facing its worst drought in half a century, draining reservoirs
  • Naomi Osaka, the highest-paid female athlete in 2020, withdrew from the French Open last week. Previously, she had already announced that she would not be participating in the usual postmatch news conferences but found herself being fined by tennis officials, who threatened further punishment if she continued to refuse to attend post-match news conferences. Previously, she had already announced that she would not be participating in the usual postmatch news conferences but found herself being fined by tennis officials, who threatened further punishment if she would not attend the upcoming post-match news conferences.
  • This past week, NASA announced that it will launch “two new missions to explore Venus,” according to the New York Times

Fun Fact

Consisting of 15 elephants in total, a herd of elephants has been making its way across China for the past year. They have travelled more than 300 miles, puzzling researchers.

Categories
Weekly Summaries

17th of May – 23rd of May

Israel and Gaza reach a cease-fire

At the beginning of last week, Israel continued to conduct airstrikes on the Gaza Strip while Hamas fired rockets at Israel from the Gaza Strip. Some say that such levels of violence were last seen in 2014. During a phone call with President Netanyahu of Israel, President Biden reportedly expressed “support for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas,” according to the New York Times. Furthermore, Egypt has been continuously working with the United Nations, in the hopes of reaching a cease-fire. Foreign ministers of the European Union have also called for an “immediate cease-fire.” A cease-fire appears to now have finally been reached after 11 days of fighting, coming into effect at 2 am local time on Friday. Both sides claimed victory and there were celebrations both in Gaza and in the West Bank.

Other News

  • In “Nowhere Land” on Mars China has successfully been able to land a rover, even releasing the first photos that were shot of Mars this week
  • Around 8,000 people crossed the border from Morocco to Spain, with Spain reacting by troops, military trucks, and helicopters into Ceuta
  • In Indonesia, a lawsuit pursued by citizens aims to force the government to address the pollution in the metropolitan area of Jakarta
Categories
Weekly Summaries

10th of May – 16th of May

Tensions between Israel and Palestine

The worst violence between Israel and Palestinian groups since 2014 has been seen in the past few days. The conflict escalated over the final Ramadan weekend. Since mid-April there have been daily clashes on Jerusalem’s streets. Over Ramadan, the Israeli government had imposed a daily limit of 10,000 people to gather for prayers at the Al Aqsa mosque. Based on these restrictions, tens of thousands of Muslims were turned back from the mosque. However, that is not all since the possible eviction of six Palestinian families from the Sheik Jarrah district has caused tensions to escalate even further. On May 8th, the holiest day of Ramadan, tens of thousands of Muslims gathered at the Al Aqsa mosque. Israeli police therefore blocked many Muslims from entering the compound, based on the restriction. Two days later, on May 10th, Israeli police also used CS gas and stun grenades inside the mosque. In response, Palestinians condemned this action and rockets were also fired by Hamas, which targeted Israeli communities bordering the Gaza Strip, with some rockets even reaching the suburbs of Jerusalem. Since May 10th hundreds of rockets have been fired from Gaza towards Israel and the Israeli Air Force has carried out airstrikes on Gaza. Dozens of civilians have been killed. 

Bombing in Afghanistan

Last weekend, a bombing in the Dasht-e Barchi neighborhood, which targeted female students. The triple bombing caused the deaths of more than 80 people, most of them belonging to the Hazara minority. Recently, Hazaras have grown increasingly angry and frustrated, saying Afghanistan’s government is not taking the necessary steps to protect them from these frequent terror attacks. 

Other News

  • Nine people died in a school shooting in Kazan in central Russia
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
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.
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