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 16 to 21, 2018
Afghanistan, Haiti, and Nicaragua were sites of political protests and unrest in the past week. In Afghanistan, a suicide bombing in Kabul – the site of unrest and violence since the start of the year, with a record 1,700 civilians killed in the first half of the year – killed at least seven people. In Haiti, an unpopular fuel price hike which triggered protests was suspended last week, and Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant has now resigned. And in Nicaragua, paramilitary forces backed by the government killed two people. Violent protests prompted by changes to the social security system in the country which were later scrapped have only continued.
- Algeria has had an expulsion agreement with Niger since 2015, in which migrants are expelled into the Sahara Desert.
- A failed translocation effort in Kenya left eight critically endangered black rhinos dead. The teams are still investigating the circumstances, though differences in the water supply have been cited.
- In Nigeria, 15 million children aged five to 14 work, “the highest rate of working children in West Africa”.
- In South Africa, five copper miners died in a mine after a fire trapped them underground.
- The collapse of a six-storey apartment block in New Delhi, India, killed at least three people.
- In Indonesia, three terrorists were killed in an anti-terror police raid. A fourth terrorist escaped.
- An intense heatwave in Japan killed at least 14 people.
- At least 128 people were killed in Pakistan, after a suicide attack which “targeted the convoy of a political candidate in this month’s general election”. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria claimed responsibility for the attack.
- In Russia, France defeated Croatia 4-2 to win its second FIFA World Cup title.
- In Singapore, the “most serious breach of personal data” in the country’s history affected 1.5 million SingHealth patients, who had their outpatient dispensed medicines’ records taken. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was also specifically targeted.
- In South Korea, five marines were killed when a military helicopter crashed.
- In Thailand, at least three people were killed in a helicopter crash.
- Having won a decisive victory in the presidential elections last month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan switched to an executive presidency, and announced members of his first cabinet who will report to him directly.
- Thousands in Catalonia – a site of unrest since last October, when it voted in a referendum in favour of independence – protested for the release of separatist leaders “held over their role in the region’s secession bid”.
- The European Union and Japan signed a major trade agreement – also characterised as the largest bilateral trade deal in history – creating an open-trade zone and removing tariffs.
- In the European Union, European antitrust officials hit tech giant Google with a S$6.97 billion fine “for abusing its power in the smartphone market”. Last year, Google was also found guilty of abusing its monopoly in online search.
The Middle East
- A suicide bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan, killed at least seven people. Kabul has been the site of unrest and violence since the start of the year, and the United Nations released a report stating that a record 1,700 civilians were killed in the first half of the year.
- Protesters clashed with police in Iraq, as they demonstrated “against unemployment and the lack of electricity and clean water”.
- Israel passed a law declaring the country the nation-state of the Jewish people, but there are concerns over minorities.
- Two people in Massachusetts were killed by a man armed with a rock and a gun.
- A midair collision of two planes in Florida killed at least three people.
- At least eight people died in Missouri, when a duck boat capsized following a thunderstorm.
- After a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump challenged the findings of his country’s intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential elections.
- In Haiti, an unpopular fuel price hike which triggered protests was suspended last week, and Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant has now resigned. Mr. Lafontant has faced pressure and criticism even before the fuel hike.
- “Paramilitary forces backed by Nicaragua’s government killed two people”, in a sign of escalating political unrest. Violent protests – prompted by changes to the social security system in the country, which were later scrapped – have persisted.