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!
November 19 to 24, 2018
A landmark ruling in Cambodia found two Khmer Rouge officials guilty of genocide, while disagreements between China and the United States – with different narratives of the disagreements, as both countries blamed one another – resulted in the failure of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) to agree on a leaders’ communique for the first time in its history. In Cambodia, where more than 1.7 million people died from forced labour, starvation, and execution under the Khmer Rouge regime between 1975 and 1979, an international tribunal found two Khmer Rouge officials guilty of genocide. And in Papua New Guinea, APEC failed to agree on a leaders’ communique because of deep divisions between China and the United States over trade and investment, and the chairman of the meeting said “the sticking point was over whether mention of the World Trade Organisation and its possible reform should be in the [declaration]“.
- Along the coast of Kenya, gunmen kidnapped an Italian volunteer and shot four people.
- The suspected explosion of a gas tank on a bus killed at least 42 passengers in Zimbabwe. “Traffic accidents are common in Zimbabwe, where roads are riddled with potholes due to years of underfunding and neglect, and driving standards can be poor“.
- In a landmark ruling in Cambodia, an international tribunal found two Khmer Rouge officials guilty of genocide. “More than 1.7 million people, or approximately a fifth of Cambodia’s population, are believed to have died from forced labour, starvation and execution under the Khmer Rouge which ruled the country between 1975 and 1979“.
- In India, a powerful cyclone killed at least 11 people.
- In Punjab, India, a blast at a religious ceremony killed at least three people.
- Japanese automaker Nissan said its chairman – who “had used company money for personal use” – will be terminated.
- A firefight in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, left five men shot dead.
- A bomb killed at least two people in Karachi, Pakistan. No one has yet claimed responsibility.
- In Papua New Guinea, for the first time in the history of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), APEC failed to agree on a leaders’ communique. Disagreement between China and the United States was the main challenge.
- Flash floods and landslides in Vietnam killed at least 12 people. “At least 185 people have been killed in natural disasters across Vietnam since January“.
- The European Union (EU), in the past week, has clashed with Italy over its 2019 budget, with Romania over concerns of corruption (in the footsteps of Hungary and Poland), and with ex-communist Eastern European countries. In particular, Bulgaria became the sixth EU country – after countries such as Austria, the Czech Republic, and Hungary – to withdraw from a non-binding United Nations pact on migration.
- Protestors in France rallied against “mounting gas prices and eco-taxes on polluting forms of transport“, with hundreds of thousands of them showing up for mass demonstrations.
- The derailment of a commuter train near Barcelona, Spain killed at least one person.
The Middle East
- A suicide bomb attack on a meeting of top clerics in Kabul, Afghanistan killed at least 43 people. “There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, but the Islamic State group has claimed most recent suicide attacks in Kabul“.
- In Yemen, where there are two separate but overlapping conflicts and where more than 10,000 lives have been lost, charity Save the Children estimates that 85,000 children under the age of five may have died from acute malnutrition.
- Snowstorms in the eastern part of the United States killed at least eight people.
- The deadliest and most destructive wildfire in the history of California has now killed at least 76 people.
- In Chicago, four people – including the gunman – were dead after a shooting incident outside a medical facility.
- A crash in New York killed one person.
- An Argentine submarine with 44 on board went missing in November last year, but neither the submarine nor its wreckage were found. A year and a day later, it has been located, though its condition and its retrieval remain unclear.
- A migrant caravan of Honduran immigrants who are headed to the United States – and who became a campaign issue in the United States – are likely to be met by American military troops. They have also been confronted with anti-caravan protestors in Mexico.