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 29 to November 3, 2018
As far-right former army captain Jair Bolsonaro emerged as Brazil’s president-elect, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that she would not seek another term as her country’s chancellor. In Brazil, Mr. Bolsonaro – who had won the first round of the presidential election earlier this month and who had been stabbed at a campaign event in September this year – was declared the winner of his country’s presidential election after winning more than 55 per cent of the vote. In Germany, where Miss Merkel’s coalition received the worst results since the Second World War in Bavaria’s regional elections last week and haemorrhaged support in the regional election of Hesse, the chancellor announced thereafter that she would not seek another term as chancellor.
- In Africa, while attacks by Islamic militants increased slightly in 2017, the number of incidents attributed to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has gone down.
- A series of attacks by suspected Boko Haram militants in Nigeria left at least 15 people dead.
- In West Africa, the traditional system of Trokosi – “where virgin girls, some as young as six years old, are sent into Troxovi shrines (shrines for gods) as slaves to make amends for wrongs committed by a member of the virgin girl’s family” – leaves these girls vulnerable to sexual exploitation by the priests and shrine elders. They also live in constant poverty and deprivation.
- A public bus in China plunged into a river after colliding with a car, killing two people.
- In India, 16 police officers were sentenced to life imprisonment “for rounding up and massacring dozens of unarmed Muslims during historic riots in the country’s north decades ago“.
- In Jakarta, Indonesia, a Lion Air aircraft carrying 189 people crashed into the sea shortly after take-off. “Indonesia is one of the world’s fastest-growing aviation markets, but its safety record is patchy“.
- An avalanche in New Zealand killed two Germans.
- In the Philippines, Typhoon Yutu killed at least nine people and trapped dozens more.
- A political crisis in Sri Lanka – after the president summarily dismissed the prime minister – turned deadly “when the bodyguard of a former cabinet minister fired on a crowd, killing at least one person and wounding two others“.
- The European Court of Human Rights upheld the decision of an Austrian court, where blasphemy is a crime, “to fine a woman who had described Muhammad the Prophet as a paedophile“.
- German Chancellor Angela Merkel has lurched from crisis to crisis since the start of her fourth term earlier this year. A week after her fragile coalition received the worst results since the Second World War in Bavaria’s regional elections, it “haemorrhaged support in a regional election in the western state of Hesse“.
- Right after, Miss Merkel said she would not seek another term as Germany’s chancellor.
- With 56 per cent of the vote, President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins won re-election to the largely ceremonial role. Voters also voted to remove “the offence of blasphemy from the constitution in a referendum held alongside the election“. This comes months after the Irish voted to overturn a ban on abortion.
- Violent storms in Italy killed 10 people over two days.
- In Leicester City, the United Kingdom, a helicopter crash killed all five people on board, including the chairman of the city’s football club Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.
The Middle East
- The crash of an army helicopter in Afghanistan killed all 25 on board. “The Taliban claimed its militants brought it down“.
- After claiming that prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in a supposed fistfight, Saudi Arabia now says that evidence suggests that the killing was premeditated.
- The killing of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi has also shone a spotlight on the devastating war in Yemen. Economic measures by the Saudis have led to “infrastructure destroyed, jobs lost, a weakening currency, and soaring prices“.
- Again in Yemen, where there are two separate but overlapping conflicts, the United States has unveiled a United Nations-brokered blueprint for ceasefire and peace talks. More than 10,000 lives have been lost throughout this three-year conflict.
- A violent weekend in Chicago left five people shot fatally and another 36 injured.
- A helicopter crash in New York left two people dead.
- In Pittsburg, a shooting in a synagogue left 11 people dead.
- Workers at Google staged walkouts in protest of their company’s lax handling of sexual-harassment claims.
- As a large caravan of Honduran immigrants continue to head towards the United States, the Trump administration says it will “send 5,200 troops, military helicopters, and giant spools of razor wire” to the Mexican border.
- In Brazil, far-right former army captain Jair Bolsonaro – who had won the first round of the presidential election earlier this month and who had been stabbed at a campaign event in September this year – was “declared the winner of the country’s presidential election by a wide margin“. He led with more than 55 per cent of the vote.
- As a large caravan of Honduran immigrants continue to advance to the United States, the Trump administration is considering blocking ports of entry to migrants.
- In July, former mayor of Mexico City Andrés Manuel López Obrador had won the presidential elections in Mexico by a landslide. Yet some cracks have appeared, after word spread that Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro would attend his inauguration.