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The Weekly Global Roundup

The Weekly Global Roundup: Kerfuffles At The G20 Summit (September 5 to 10, 2016)

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!

American President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin (Alexei Druzhinin / AFP).

American President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin (Alexei Druzhinin / AFP).

September 5 to 10, 2016

The scuffle on the tarmac at the G20 summit between American and Chinese officials – when President Barack Obama disembarked from his plane from a rarely-used exit, without a red carpet – may have made headlines, yet both countries formally ratified the landmark climate change agreement adopted in Paris in December last year, which aims to hold the increase in global average temperature below two degrees Celsius. An interesting observation: in democratic America, President Obama did not have to go through Congress for approval of this “executive agreement”, while in autocratic China its parliament reviewed and ratified the Paris agreement.

President Obama’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad G20 experience continued, as he failed to reach an agreement with Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the violence in Syria, and President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte reportedly targeted a “son of a bitch” curse at the American President. And according to “Foreign Policy” throughout his eight-year “pivot” to Asia – to engage China, to maintain a strong alliance with Japan, to address North Korea, and to re-evaluate free-trade agreements – he has been slapped down.

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Africa

  • Presidential elections in DR Congo have been delayed, and in the interim – with a desire to remain in power – President Joseph Kabila and his government seem to be preparing for massive political unrest “in the wake of a delayed or stolen vote“. “Foreign Policy” also reported that new surveillance cameras, drones, anti-riot gear, water cannons, and tear gas have recently been imported.
  • At the presidential election in Gabon last month, opposition candidate Jean Ping won decisively in nearly all of the country’s provinces. However his opponent, Ali Bongo Ondimba – son of founding father Omar Bongo, who ruled for 42 years through fiat at home and patronage abroad – carried his home province of Upper Ogooé with more than 96 per cent of the vote (with a 99.98 per cent turnout), raising his total vote count above Ping’s, 49.8 to 48.23 per cent. Following riots the government has shut down the media, and questions about France’s colonial legacy have also emerged.

The Asia-Pacific

Europe

  • “I believe the fundamental decisions we made in the past months were right, but we have much to do to win back trust,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, after her party were beaten into third place – in an election in her political home-state – by the anti-immigrant and anti-Islam Alternative for Germany party. The refugee crisis has only deepened, with some predicting that the chancellor’s days are numbered.
  • Following the death of a patient with Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever – carried by ticks and fatal in 30 per cent of cases – in Madrid, Spain, 200 people are now closely watched by the authorities.

The Middle East

North America

  • Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton may be nominees of their parties, but Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein “regularly combine for more than 10 percent of the vote in national polls“. Third-party voters are more likely to vote Democratic, potentially hurting Mrs. Clinton’s chances.
  • Yet when Mr. Johnson was asked on television about Aleppo, Syria, he replied, “And what is Aleppo?
  • International banking company Wells Fargo fired at least 5,300 people and was fined S$250 million, after it was found that employees secretly issued credit cards, created fake email accounts, and set up sham accounts.

Latin America

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About guanyinmiao

A man of knowledge lives by acting, not by thinking about acting. Carlos Castaneda.

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