The week started with a major fire at the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, France resulting in the collapse of its iconic spire, and ended with eight bombings in church and hotels in Sri Lanka which killed at least 200 people. In France, following the fire at the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the richest French citizens and corporations have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars, and President Emmanuel Macron has pledged to rebuild the cathedral in a restoration process which is likely to take decades to complete. And in Sri Lanka, the series of bombings led to the governmental declaration of a curfew and blocked access to major social media and messaging sites. Continue reading
France and Germany signed the Treaty of Aachen and in Afghanistan the Taliban and the United States said they agreed in principle to a peace framework, as the celebration of Australia Day remains contested, the Palestinian government submitted its resignation, and the Brexit turmoil continues in the United Kingdom. With successes: France and Germany signed the Franco-German treaty focused on political and economic cooperation, and in Afghanistan the Taliban and the US said they agreed in principle to a peace framework. With failures: The celebration of Australia Day – or Invasion Day – remains contested, attempts at reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas in Palestine have remained unsuccessful, and the UK’s plans to reopen negotiations with the European Union have been rejected. Continue reading
In the same week China landed a lunar probe on the moon and Canada said that 13 of its citizens have been detained in China, Chinese President Xi Jinping called on Taiwan to follow the “one country, two systems” model for unification. The president said that “Taiwanese independence should not be tolerated” and urged the start of democratic consultations between the two countries. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, however, said Taiwan will never accept the model, even as Mr. Xi proposed two options: First, military force; or second, the aforementioned “one country, two systems” model.
Later in the week, China’s landing of a lunar probe marked “the world’s first expedition to a lunar region that never faces the Earth”. And in Canada, following the arrest of the chief financial officer of Chinese telecommunications company Huawei, the government said that 13 of its citizens have since been detained in China. At least eight of the 13 have been released. Continue reading