The Global Rundown: Issue two
By Jack Karnaghan and Alex Krikorian
Welcome to our second issue of the Global Rundown! It has been a busy fortnight in the news - the US President pulled out of the North Korean Summit Meeting, the Ireland abortion referendum results were released, and there have been more updates from Jerusalem. Back at home, the federal government has charged Russia with having a direct involvement in the drowning of Malaysian flight MH17.
Ireland: The Ireland abortion referendum returned a huge majority yes vote. Final provisional results show that 66.4 per cent of voters opted to repeal a constitutional amendment that in effect banned abortion in a vast majority of cases. Read more.
Russia: Russia has denied any involvement in the 2014 destruction of the Malaysia Airlines passenger jet, MH17, following allegations made by Australia and the Netherlands through a Dutch-led international investigation that concluded that the missile belonged to a Russian brigade. Read more.
Germany: German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany and China will stand by the existing nuclear accord with Iran, even as the US has withdrawn and expects its European allies to follow suit. Read more.
Italy: The left-wing Five Star Movement (M5S) and the far-right Lega are close to clinching power in forming a coalition aiming to re-discuss European treaties and the reduction of power from Brussels. Read more.
Greece: Following Washington’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran and its decision to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, there is great potential of further economic damage to Greece’s recovery with growing tension with Turkey against the U.S and Israel. Read more.
European Union (EU): The EU discusses a revitalisation of legislation in favour of European companies to enable their business connections to Iran, despite US sanctions. Read more.
- Southern India: There has a been a reported five people killed and twenty injured following mob activity amid social media rumours of ‘child kidnapping gangs.' Read more.
- Bangladesh: Bangladeshi security claim twenty-six suspected drug dealers were killed during several raids with increasing attention on popular illegal drug, yaba, to minimise “drug menace." Read more.
- South Korea: Major legislative changes are possible with the potential for the decriminalisation of abortion in recognition for women’s rights, in a current court case involving the country’s laws on abortion. Read more.
- South China: China planning to remove the historical policy on the limit of the number of children a family can have. Read more.
- Indonesia: The House of Representatives in Indonesia allowed a revision to the 2003 Antiterrorism Law, which would grant law enforcers and the military greater powers to combat terrorist groups. Read more.
- Australia: The federal government has charged Russia with having direct involvement in the drowning of Malaysian flight MH17. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Attorney-General Christian Porter, have requested negotiations to open dialogue around the circumstances. Read more.
- Australia and New Zealand: The EU is in active pursuit in the negotiation of free trade deals with Australia and New Zealand, negatively impacting the UK due to their withdrawal from the EU. Read more.
- Iran: A fuel crisis has unfolded from a four day strike by drivers objecting the decision of the Ministry of Roads and Transportation to prevent the increasing of their fees, ceasing the transportation of goods and fuel. The Union of Load and Transportation Institutions in Iran is currently negotiating a compromise to increase transport fees between 40%-50%, as drivers refuse to move their trucks otherwise. Read more.
- Afghanistan: The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has reported that 2 million Afghans face severe food insecurity due to an ongoing drought affecting 2 of 3 provinces across the country. Humanitarian partners are seeking US$115 million to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable hit by the drought. Read more.
- Syria: Syria’s Foreign Ministry has provided Russian and Iranian ambassadors a list of members it has named to a committee to review the national constitution control. Control over the constitutional process has been a key point of conflict between President Bashar Assad’s government and the opposing government. There is ambiguity as to whether the Foreign Ministry named its own commission or nominated members to a U.N. commission. Read more.
- Israel: New loyalty laws in Israel have seen Palestinians losing their Jerusalem ID - rendering them stateless. Following Israel’s parliament passing a law in March this year allowing for the revocation of the Jerusalem residencies of Palestinians over breaching allegiance to the Israeli state, rights groups have raised serious concerns with the new legislation, identifying that the new law breaches international law and threatens basic human rights. Read more.
- Yemen: After 3 years of conflict between the Yemeni government and the Iran-aligned Houthi fighters, Yemen is the world's worst humanitarian crisis with 8.4 million people at risk of starvation. The United Nations has urged the Saudi-led military coalition that currently controls Yemen’s ports to expedite imports of vital food and fuel supplies, warning them that a further 10 million Yemenis could face starvation in the war by the year end. Read more.
- Egypt: Egyptian Minister of Trade, Tarek Kabil and his Russian counterpart, Denis Manturov signed a deal to improve Egypt’s infrastructure in the field of dairy, foods and pastries in cooperation with several Russian companies. Kabil announced that the 3 year deal aims to increase cooperation in the field of manufacturing as well and to boost their economic relations into the future. Read more.
- Nigeria: Political, religious and traditional leaders from the southern part of the country gathered in Awka, the Anambra capital, calling for a restructure of the federation to fix a “faulty federal structure”. There has been a new call for a new constitution for Nigeria as demanded by former Central Bank Governor, Chukwuma Soludo. Read more.
- Nigeria: Potential religious war nearing in Nigeria as Boko Haram did not return Leah Sharibu out of the 105 girls returned who had been previously kidnapped. The reason was Sharibu refused to renounce her Christian faith. Both the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Pentecostal Christian Association warn of a religious war if Sharibu dies. Read more.
- Kenya: The introduction of the death penalty for the illegal hunting of wildlife as being a capital offence, has allowed a great deal of critique for Kenya's minister for tourism and wildlife. Read more.
- Sudan: Sudan heavily committed in the Saudi-led alliance fighting in Yemen despite economic hardship. They plan to restore “legitimacy in Yemen” with the principle goal of defending the land of the two holy mosques. Read more.
- Mali: A five-year-old albino girl has been snatched and beheaded after a ritual murder for her body parts, which are deemed magical in Mali. Read more.
- Algeria: Algeria's government denies any human rights abuses against African migrants who have been expelled from the country in large numbers, refuting U.N. allegations. Read more.
- Algeria: The United Nations urged Algeria to stop rounding up and expelling sub-Saharan migrants, highlighting an influx of immigrants from Mali and Niger that Algeria says it needs U.N. help to address. U.N. spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani has observed increases in deportations and expulsions since the second half of 2017. Read more.
- DR Congo: Two Ebola patients slipped out of a treatment center this week in the Democratic Republic of Congo, aid agency Doctors Without Borders said, with the fear of the virus spreading. The patients died within a day. Since an outbreak that started on May 8, there has been at least 22 victims of the virus. Read more.
- United States of America: President Trump cancels the North Korean Summit Meeting with Kim Jong Un. The announcement was made with a letter to Mr. Kim, with North Korea's “open hostility” being the main contributory factor for the cancellation. Had the meeting went along, it would have been the first time a sitting American president has met with a North Korean leader since the Korean War. North Korea has since issued a response, urging Mr. Trump to reconsider. Read more.
- Canada: Following U.S. President Trump’s proposal of an auto trade tariff, members from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) advisory panel have urged Canada to ‘hit back’ against Trump’s actions. Trump’s motivations for these proposals have been associated with his campaign promise of increasing auto jobs as well as in preparation for the midterm elections this year, where he aims to sustain the Republicans control of the U.S House and Senate over the Democrats. If negotiations through NAFTA fail and Trump lashes out on trade, Canada’s Liberal Party has been advised to retaliate in order to maintain their own nation’s interests. Read more.
- Venezuela: The Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), an intergovernmental regional organisation comprising of 12 South American countries, quietly faded away last month. An organisation that once aspired to be South America’s response to the European Union (EU), the UNASUR unravelled over Venezuela’s internal leadership troubles, ending its 10 year life-span. However, this has shone light on the lack of commercial ties between South American nations and an economic isolation between the former member countries which could lend itself to more pressing structural issues in the future. Read more.
- Latin America and the Caribbean: There has been an increase in anchorage crime (pirate attacks) and violent incidents in the first quarter of this year in Latin American and Caribbean waters. The Oceans Beyond Piracy (OBP) non-profit group has recorded 71 incidents in the South American region in 2017, a 163% increase since 2016 with no signs of slowing down. Read more.
- Brazil: A strike by truck drivers in South America’s largest economy has led to fuel shortages, long queues and panic buying at supermarkets, with highway police reporting road blockages in all but one of Brazil’s 26 states. Read more.
- Argentina: One of many recent protests have erupted in Argentina over President Mauricio Macri’s announcement on the 8th May to secure a credit line from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after weeks of market volatility. Many Argentines oppose the negotiations due to blame being passed onto the IMF for worsening the nation’s 2001-2002 economic collapse. Read more.
- Colombia: Colombia has been invited to join 35 other member countries in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). However, the US Trade Representative (USTR) have objected to their entry into the OECD due to Colombia’s “longstanding failure to make meaningful progress in fulfilling obligations” in adequately amending their copyright laws under the US-Colombia trade agreements. OECD membership signifies a stark shift towards higher economic prosperity for the nation. President Juan Manuel Santos will travel to Paris to sign an accession agreement next week. Read more.