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!
October 8 to 13, 2018
The missing head of Interpol is held in China, Africa’s youngest billionaire was kidnapped in Tanzania, and a prominent Saudi Arabian journalist is said to be murdered in Turkey. In China, the government confirmed that it was holding the missing head of Interpol, Meng Hongwei – also a vice-minister of public security in the country – is under investigation for unspecified breaches of the law. In Tanzania, Africa’s youngest billionaire, entrepreneur and politician Mohammed Dewji, was kidnapped by gunmen. And in Turkey, prominent Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who has been critical of his country’s monarchy, went to the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul to obtain a document so he could get married to his Turkish fiancée, but never emerged thereafter.
- A bus crash in Kenya killed at least 50 people.
- Cape Town, South Africa, has one of the highest rates of murder and violent crimes in the world. “The rottenness of the South African Police Service” is a key reason for it.
- Africa’s youngest billionaire, entrepreneur and politician Mohammed Dewji, was kidnapped by gunmen in Tanzania.
- China confirmed that it was holding the missing head of Interpol, Meng Hongwei. Mr. Meng – also a vice-minister of public security in the country – is “under investigation by the country’s anti-corruption body for unspecified breaches of the law”.
- A journalist of the “Financial Times” was denied his visa renewal in Hong Kong.
- The death toll from Indonesia’s earthquake and tsunami last week increased to at least 1,500. Furthermore, it was reported that more than 5,000 could still be missing in the country.
- Later in the week, an earthquake struck Bali and East Java in Indonesia, killing at least three people.
- In April this year, former South Korean president Lee Myung-bak was indicted for corruption. Now, he becomes the fourth former president in the country (including his successor) to be jailed: 15 years for corruption.
- President of Taiwan Tsai Ing-wen criticised China for “ratcheting up military and diplomatic pressure on her self-ruled island”, vowing that the country would resist any effort at unification. Today, however, just 17 countries recognise Taiwan.
- In Germany, police arrested a man “suspected of the rape and brutal murder of Bulgarian journalist Viktoria Marinova”.
- In Spain, at least nine people were killed in the aftermath of heavy rains and flash floods.
The Middle East
- “17 years to the day American forces invaded the country to topple the Taliban regime”, Afghanistan – trapped in a circle of increased violence since early this year – was again the victim of attacks, as 54 people were killed in 24 hours.
- Nadia Murad, a Yazidi woman who was a captive of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, in Iraq, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her campaign “to end the use of mass rape as a weapon of war”. She is the second-youngest winner of the prize. Dr. Denis Mukwege, who has treated thousands of victimised women in DR Congo, was also awarded the prize.
- Prominent Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who has been critical of his country’s monarchy, “went to the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul … to obtain a document so he could get married to his Turkish fiancée”, but never emerged thereafter.
- A crash involving a limousine in New York killed all 18 people on board, as well as two passengers. Seasoned investigators are calling this “the nation’s deadliest transportation accident”, since a 2009 plane crash.
- Two American economists won the Nobel prize for economics, for their work on climate and sustainable growth. At the same time, the United Nations’ scientific panel on climate change published a report – written by 91 scientists from 40 countries – painting “a far more dire picture of the immediate consequences of climate change than previously thought”.
- Alphabet Inc’s Google only just revealed a software glitch in its Google+ social network, despite the discovery in March this year. Google+ will soon close indefinitely. Competitor Facebook has also been hit by recent account breaches.
- United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is stepping down at the end of the year.
- Hurricane Michael hit Florida, killing at least two people.
- The presidential election in Brazil is headed to a run-off, between a far-right former army captain, Jair Bolsonaro, who won 46 per cent of the vote, and member of the ruling leftist Workers’ Party Fernando Haddad, who won 29 per cent. In September this year, Mr. Bolsonaro had been hospitalised in intensive care after he was stabbed at a campaign event.
- At least 10 people were killed after Haiti was struck by an earthquake. Two minor aftershocks were also felt.
- Canada is set to legalise marijuana on October 17, joining “Uruguay as the only countries to allow recreational cannabis nationwide”. Uruguay did so first in 2013.
- In Venezuela, opposition activist Fernando Albán was first arrested. Thereafter, the government says he killed himself for his “alleged involvement in a plot to kill [the president]” (in August this year) by jumping off the 10th floor of a police building. Opposition leader say Mr. Albán was tortured and murdered.