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!
July 9 to 14, 2018
Brexit negotiations between the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) remain deadlocked over the issue of the Irish border, but it was internal political turmoil in the UK which made the headlines in the past week. Brexit Secretary David Davis and his deputy resigned, and this was followed by the resignation of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Mr. Davis was replaced by Dominic Raab, while Mr. Johnson was replaced by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt. And as the UK government published its blueprint for future relations with the EU, President Donald Trump – who is on a state visit in the country – said “Prime Minister Theresa May’s plans to keep close economic ties with the bloc could ‘kill’ a possible trade deal with the United States”.
- Having been at odds for years, Eritrea and Ethiopia expressed willingness to engage in conflict resolution, and both countries later signed a declaration “ending 20 years of hostility and restoring diplomatic relations and normal ties”.
- Since the end of Mozambique’s civil war, “the heroin trade has developed into a tightly regulated network operated by connected families and allegedly sanctioned by the political elite”. Heroin, facilitated by messaging apps, is the country’s biggest export.
- In China, an explosion at a chemical plant killed at least 19 people.
- Historic rainfalls in Japan led to evacuations of hundreds of thousands of people, and the deaths of at least two people. The death tolls and number of people evacuated from their homes continued to rise.
- Last year, former Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif was disqualified from office after a corruption probe into his family wealth, with the possibility of jail time. Now, he has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.
- In Pakistan, a suicide bombing at an election rally killed at least 12 people. No one has yet claimed responsibility.
- A former Thai navy SEAL who worked to rescue 12 boys and their coach trapped in a cave died after running out of air. The 12 boys and their coach were later successfully rescued.
- A train derailment in Turkey killed at least 10 people.
- Austria took over Bulgaria’s six-month presidency of the European Union, mooting protection from migration as a priority.
- Brexit negotiations between the European Union and the United Kingdom remain deadlocked over the issue of the Irish border.
- An apartment fire in France killed five people.
- Two citizens in the United Kingdom were critically ill from an exposure to the Novichok nerve agent. One later died.
- In the United Kingdom, Brexit Secretary David Davis and his deputy resigned. Mr. Davis was replaced by Dominic Raab. This was followed by the resignation of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Mr. Johnson warned that the “[Brexit] dream is dying, suffocated by needless self-doubt”, and he was replaced by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
The Middle East
- In an apparent insider attack in Afghanistan, an American service member was killed.
- A suicide attack in Afghanistan killed 10 people, as the country continues to be wrecked by violence.
- Tit-for-tat tariffs between China and the United States kicked in, after three rounds of failed talks.
- Meeting with allies of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, President Donald Trump singled out “Germany for criticism over its defence spending”, while urging others to double their military funding target to four per cent of GDP.
- In 2016, former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva faced trial for his role in a corruption scandal, in which he received over a million dollars in bribes. He was found guilty last year, and this week a judge overturned a shock order to free him. He remains locked up.
- A unpopular fuel price hike which triggered violent protests in Haiti was suspended.