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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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Weekly Summaries

25th of January – 31st of January

Elections in Portugal

President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa was re-elected this past week. He received 61% of the votes, a number that may come as a bit of a surprise because Portugal introduced a new lockdown just two weeks ago over concerns of overwhelmed hospitals. This may also explain the low turnout, which was only 39% of the population. 

President Rebelo de Sousa will begin his second 5-year term with a strong foothold: the candidate with the second highest number of votes — the Socialist candidate Ana Gomes — received only 13% of the votes. In Portugal, the role of President is second to that of the Prime Minister who is in charge of the day-to-day affairs. As President, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa can, however, dissolve Parliament and veto some legislations and is also involved in foreign policy and national security.

Italy’s Prime Minister Resigns

The Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte resigned this past Tuesday after weeks of political conflicts. At the moment there is still hope that Italian politicians may come up with a solution but otherwise early elections may be the only solution. Especially opposition parties are very keen on early elections with polls suggesting that the Nationalist Party may win. 

Other News

  • The House of Representatives sent an article of impeachment against Donald Trump on Monday.
  • This past Tuesday, President Biden and President Putin agreed to extend the last remaining nuclear arms treaty between the United States and Russia.
  • Thousands of farmers entered New Delhi, India, on Tuesday with their tractors to protest against new farming laws.
  • A new law went into effect in Poland on Wednesday which bans abortions in almost all instances (in cases of rape, incest, and threat to the life of the mother abortions are still allowed). Thousands went to the streets to protest, vowing to keep fighting.
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Weekly Summaries

26th of October – 1st of November

Judge Amy Coney Barrett confirmed by the Senate

On Monday night the Senate confirmed – with 52 to 48 votes – Amy Barrett’s position of justice of the Supreme Court. She is the fifth woman in the history of the USA to hold that position.

What happened to the protests in Belarus?

After the protests in Belaurs against the President Lukashenko’s fraud win in this year’s elections first started three months ago, the Belarusians have continued protesting. There have been arrests and police violence against the protestors, but people still continue to protest every Sunday in the ten thousands.

Poland’s new abortion law

The high court of Poland recently introduced a new law which bans abortion in the case of fetal abnormalities, and this in a country which was already known to have one of the strictest abortion laws in Europe. This ruling has resulted in the largest demonstrations since the fall of Communism in 1989. The protestors not only chanted anti-government slogans, but also effectively blocked major roads and bridges.