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The Weekly Global Roundup

The Weekly Global Roundup: A Flurry Of Executive Actions (January 23 to 28, 2017)

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!

President Donald Trump.

President Donald Trump.

January 23 to 28, 2017

One week into his administration – and also days after millions took to the streets to protest his presidency – President Donald Trump has been busy with executive orders: pulling the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, banning foreign aid to groups that counsel women on abortion, reviving the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, indefinitely blocking Syrian refugees and temporarily halting the admission of refugees from elsewhere, and ordering work to begin on a wall on the Mexican border (which Mexico has reiterated, it will not be paying for). For the first time too, the Economist Intelligence Unit demoted the United States from a full democracy to a flawed democracy – a country with free elections but with weak governance, underdeveloped political culture, and low levels of political participation – though Mr. Trump is not entirely to blame.

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Africa

The Asia-Pacific

  • A man in Melbourne, Australia deliberately drove into pedestrians, killing three and injuring at least 20.
  • Four candidates are now in the race to be Hong Kong’s next Chief Executive: former Chief Secretary Carrie Lam, former Finance Secretary John Tsang, pro-establishment legislator Regina Ip, and retired judge Woo Kwok-hing. They will have to secure at least 150 nominations from a 1,200-member election committee, who will then go on to select a winner in March.

Europe

  • The German cabinet is abolishing the crime of lese majeste. The Bundestag lower house of parliament still has to decide on the law, brought to attention by comedian Jan Böhmermann for reciting an obscene poem about the Turkish president.
  • European far-right leaders gathered in Germanywith the aim of strengthening ties between their parties“. They included the German Alternative for Germany, the Dutch Freedom Party, the Freedom Party of Austria, the French Front National, and the Italian Northern League. Key elections are scheduled in France, Germany, and the Netherlands in 2017.
  • In Iceland, the use of curfews and sports – radical, evidence-based approaches supported by regular country-wide questionnaires and scientific research – has reduced the rates of drinking, the use of cannabis, and the rate of cigarette smoking.
  • An avalanche in Italy left at least 30 people missing. Earthquakes had hit the country in August and November last year.
  • Singapore on steroids” is the liberal vision of a post-Brexit future in the United Kingdom, but negotiations will be tricky. And in response to Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit speech, that “No deal is better than a bad deal”, most said that it was easier said than done and that Mrs. May “needed to be realistic about the price Britain would pay [for Brexit]“.
  • She later added that the government would produce a white paper to detail its plan for leaving the European Union.

The Middle East

North America

  • Billionaire real estate developer and mogul Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States last week, and his Press Secretary Sean Spicer falsely claimed that the president’s inauguration was the largest audience ever. Advisor to Mr. Trump Kellyanne Conway later explained that Mr. Spicer’s comment was based on “alternative facts”.
  • Meanwhile, the day after Mr. Trump’s inauguration, millions took to the streets to demonstrate against his presidency.
  • Mr. Trump then pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and banned foreign aid to groups that counsel women on abortion. In addition, pipeline projects the Keystone XL pipeline and the Dakota Access pipeline were also revived.
  • In addition, he “ordered work to begin on planning and building a wall on the Mexican border” through an executive action, though there are doubts over its effectiveness and cost-effectiveness. Besides lengthy proceedings involved in financing and the seizure of land, Mexico has reiterated that it will not pay for the wall, and its president is considering cancelling next week’s trip to Washington. He said he regrets the decision by the United States, and cancelled a scheduled meeting next week.
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed atop the 20,000-mark for the first time.

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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