There are six ongoing measles outbreaks in the United States, and 2018 saw the highest level of measles cases in Europe in the past decade. In the United States, despite refutations of the purported link between vaccines and autism – with a recent comprehensive study of Danish children further reinforcing the conclusion – resistance against immunisation persists. This continues too, despite the conclusion by the World Health Organisation that the widespread use of measles vaccinations between 2000 and 2017 has prevented 21.1 million deaths. And in Madagascar, where there are not enough vaccines, at least 922 people, including children, have died of measles. 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
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who had welcomed hundreds of thousands of migrants into her country, agreed to tighten Germany’s border with Austria and to build screening camps for asylum seekers, so as to save her government. In the face of an internal rebellion, she is at her weakest point in office. In response to these planned restrictions in Germany, Austria said it would work to protect its own borders, “with the risk of a domino effect in Europe”. And related to this European issue of immigration, the Danish government has been criticised for its assimilation programmes in low-income immigrant neighbourhoods and its “increasingly sub-human vernacular used to describe Muslim immigrants”, while the Polish government carried out a sweeping purge of the Supreme Court. Continue reading