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The Weekly Global Roundup

The Weekly Global Roundup: “Where Is North Korea?” (May 15 to 20, 2017)

This roundup covers news summaries across six regions: Africa, the Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, North America, and South America. Wherever possible I draw links to Singapore, but I think it is more important to understand geopolitical developments around the world, to draw attention to meaningful news stories, and to highlight both positive and negative events.

Around the world, I rely primarily on the email newsletters from “The Economist“, “Foreign Policy“, “Muck Rack“, “The New York Times“, “The Wall Street Journal“, and “The World Post“. In Singapore, the weekly digests from the European Union Centre and the Middle East Institute are handy. Do send me recommendations of news outlets or articles too, to jinyao.guan.yin.miao[a]gmail.com!

Taken from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/content/dam/news/2017/05/05/TELEMMGLPICT000127795047-xlarge_trans_NvBQzQNjv4BqpVlberWd9EgFPZtcLiMQfyf2A9a6I9YchsjMeADBa08.jpeg.

Supreme Leader of North Korea Kim Jong-un.

May 15 to 20, 2017

In an experiment conducted by media and technology company Morning Consult, with 1,746 adults in the United States guessing where North Korea is on the world map, only 36 per cent of the respondents got it right. More interestingly – and perhaps unsurprisingly – those “who could correctly identify North Korea tended to view diplomatic and non-military strategies more favourably than those who could not“. The importance of geographic knowledge is therefore emphasised. And in the same week, North Korea successfully launched a long-range nuclear-capable weapon, though estimates of where it splashed down differ. In other news, some security experts have also said that North Korean sleeper cells may be responsible for the widespread ransomware attacks too.

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  • In 2014, Ebola killed more than 11,300 people in West Africa, and now an outbreak of the virus has hit DR Congo again.
  • The discovery of gold and lucrative subterranean resources in Niger have been economically beneficial, but such monetisation has transformed aspects of human and cultural life in the country and may also have adverse environmental impact.

The Asia-Pacific


  • Centrist Emmanuel Macron may have won the French presidency, but the high abstention rate and a “vote nul” (spoiling the ballot paper) or a “vote blanc” (submitting an empty ballot paper) should be causes for concern. Domestic political hurdles persist too.
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Christian Democratic Union have won three straight regional elections, ahead of the national election in September. With economic and political stability in the country, Miss Merkel is expected to stay in power thereafter.
  • Two months after Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte won the most number of seats – in an election which drew a high turnout rate – but coalition-forming among 13 parties in the Netherlands is difficult, and this process has taken an average of 72 days since 1945.
  • A piece of “ransomware” – as part of a large-scale global cyber-attack – affected the National Health Service in the United Kingdom.

The Middle East

  • Seven months into the battle for Mosul, Iraq, government forces of the country – supported by coalition air strikes – have recaptured nearly 90 per cent of the city from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, with the enemy “on the brink of total defeat“.
  • Middle Eastern carriers have been successful in the past few decades, but these larger airlines have been hit by the halving of the oil price since 2014, the growing disadvantage of geography and the perceived threat of terrorism and attacks, as well as the set of travel restrictions – albeit hit by legal challenges – introduced by President Donald Trump.
  • Syrian militias backed by the United States said they seized the town of Tabqa, placing them closer to the city of Raqqa, the capital city of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. It is also their biggest urban stronghold, and therefore a major objective for the militias.
  • The United States State Department accused the government of Syria of using a crematorium to burn bodies of prisoners. “The prison is believed to kill at least 50 detainees a day often by mass hanging“, with the belief that Iran and Russia has given support.

North America

Latin America

About guanyinmiao

A man of knowledge lives by acting, not by thinking about acting. Carlos Castaneda.



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