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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

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

8th of March – 14th of March

US Stimulus Package is passed

This past Wednesday, the 1.9 trillion US dollar stimulus package passed through the House of Representatives. The bill includes benefits for low-income Americans and also extends the $300 dollar per week supplemental employment benefit until September. President Biden signed the stimulus package on Friday. 

Other News: 

  • A series of explosions at a military base in the city of Bata in Equatorial Guinea killed at least 20 people and injured 500, according to local authorities. 
  • Tens of thousands email addresses have been affected by a hacking campaign against Microsoft. The victims are US businesses and government agencies.
  • Women protested in Mexico City at the residence of Mexico’s president against one of the world’s worst rates of gender violence.
  • The Russian government announced that it would be “slowing” the access to Twitter.
Categories
Weekly Summaries

1st of March – 7th of March

Protests in Spain

The young Spanish generation has been going to the streets in major cities like Madrid and  Barcelona for more than a week now. At first, the protests were a reaction to the arrest of the rapper Pablo Hasel, but now the protests have developed into a much bigger movement. The pandemic has hit Spain’s youth very hard; over 40% of young Spaniards now find themselves unemployed, the highest number in the EU. The current situation is a far-cry from the Barcelona that once was one of the “best places in Europe” for young people.

The Former French President Found Guilty of Corruption

It is the second time in modern French history that a former president was convicted of a crime. The former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was sentenced to at least one year in prison this past week on charges of corruption. Sarkozy supposedly gained confidential information from a judge after offering to help the judge get a job.

Other News

  • Britain and the EU have had some major disagreement this past week. The path to a “normal” relationship between the two parties remains a rocky one.
  • Last Sunday, the Hong Kong authorities charged 47 pro-democracy activists of violating the new Chinese Security Law.
  • New charges have been raised after the civil leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi by Myanmar’s military which staged a coup a few weeks ago. She now faces a prison sentence of up to 9 years.
  • The U.S. announced sanctions against Russia on Tuesday on the accusation of poisoning Aleksei Navalny
  • Three female journalists were shot in Afghanistan last week on their way home from work
  • After hundreds of Nigerian girls were abducted from their boarding school last week, their kidnappers have now released them
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
Analysis

Will Russia’s New Political Party encourage a new way to Russian Politics?

Currently, in Russia’s political system, the President of Russia, Vladamir Putin,  is head of state and of the multi-party system, with executive power exercised by the government. The government is further headed by the Prime Minister, Mikhail Mishustin, who is appointed by the President, with Parliaments approval. Recently, Russian citizens have been introduced to the ‘New People’s Party’, which was registered with authorities during March 2020. By August, the party saw a staggering 300,000 Russian’s signing nomination papers for their candidates, with the party aiming to put up 100 candidates in 13 of Russia’s regions. The party was originally founded by Alexey Nechayev, a businessman who is also the founder and driving force behind the beauty and apparel company, Faberlik.  The parties ideologies include Reformism, Communitarianism, Direct Democracy and Liberalism, all of which have grasped the attention of the Russian citizens. New Peoples Party has now become the most successful political project among the vast variety of new parties that emerged simultaneously around a year ago. After the election on September 13th, the New Peoples Candidates won seats in four regional parliaments and the city council in Tomsk. Nechayev says “[they] barely failed to make the cut in Krasnodar, falling short of the 5 % barrier needed to be elected a city council by a hair”.  The party signals hope and candour within the country, as they aim to do politics, ‘the normal way’, by rejecting the ‘one-size fits all’ traditional Russian policy. The Party’s programme calls to make small but necessary improvements including: doubling the salary and improving social insurance packages for police officers, combatting low level corruption; keeping taxes low for the self-employed and many more. The party has, however caused tension and feelings of unease to rise throughout the political system, leading to the recent attempted murder of Alexey Nechayev himself. Many of his supporters have blamed the Kremlin, however all accusations have been denied. Should the Kremlin feel threatened by this new and upcoming party?

Comment what you think!

Categories
Weekly Summaries

9th of November – 15th of November

Border conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan possibly resolved

On Monday, Armenia’s prime minister Nikol Pashinyan signed an agreement which is supposed to end the border conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Armenia will have to surrender the disputed territories. Armenian forces in these areas are supposed to pull out. They will be replaced by Russian peacekeepers. Russia was also the country which helped to negotiate the deal to end the war. However, only a few hours after the announcement was made public, people started protesting in Armenia’s capital city, Yerevan.

France and Austria meet to discuss antiterrorism measures

This Tuesday the French President Emmanuel Macron and the Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz met in Paris. In recent weeks there have been terror attacks in both France and Austria.