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Weekly Summaries

5th of July – 11th of July

Lebanon’s Crisis worsens

The World Bank announced that the current crisis Lebanon is facing could rank among “the world’s three worst since the mid-1800s,” according to the New York Times. In the past year, Lebanon has had to cope not only with the outbreak of the coronavirus but also with the deadly explosion in Beirut’s port. This has meant that Lebanon’s GDP has decreased by 40% from 2018 ($55 billion) to 2020 ($33 billion). Its currency, the Lebanese pound, has decreased in value by 90% since fall 2019. Furthermore, Lebanon currently hosts one million refugees from Syria. All of these factors make it a very difficult and bad situation, providing little hope for people that things may change for the better soon.

Other News

  • After the assasination of President Jovenel Moïse of Haiti, four people who were suspected of being involved in the assasination were shot dead and two arrested by the police. Later on in the week, two Americans and 15 Colombians were detained as well. In recent months there had been protests, demanding Moïse to step down as poverty and hunger continued to increase. Increasingly, armed gangs have also been taking control over streets, causing chaos in what is already the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
  • The Ever Given container ship, which famously blocked the Suez Canal, is finally on its way to continue its journey.
  • Italy beat England in the UEFA Euro 2020 Final, which took place on Sunday, 2:1 after a dramatic shootout. The game took place in the Wembley Stadium in London.
  • A military plane crashed in the Philippines after missing a runway. Onboard were 96 soldiers and crew members. At least 50 people died, including 3 civilians. Later on in the week, a “regional passenger plane with 28 people on board crashed in eastern Russia,” according to the New York Times, as well.
  • The U.S. handed over its final airbase in Afghanistan, ending its military presence in the country after almost two decades.
  • A mudslide in the Japanese town of Atami has left more than 80 people missing.

Fun Fact

England’s deer populations have spiked as the outbreak of the coronavirus halted hunting activity. On a more serious note, the increasing numbers of deer poses serious challenges to the survival of wild plant species.

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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

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.

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Weekly Summaries

15th of March – 21st of March

Shooting in Atlanta

Eight people were killed on Tuesday during a mass shooting in Atlanta at massage parlors. The victims include six Asian women, alerting Asian communities around the US. Law enforcement officials have responded by increasing police patrol, responding to an increase in hate incidents against Asians since the outbreak of COVID-19 over a year ago. The gunman has now been captured and has been charged with several counts of murder.

Other News

  • The European Union is taking legal action against Great Britain, claiming that Britain violated a legal agreement over Brexit and Northern Ireland.
  • Northern China experienced its strongest and largest dust storm in a decade
  • A court in Japan ruled that it was unconstitutional to not recognize same-sex marriages