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The Weekly Global Roundup

The Weekly Global Roundup: Climate Change And The Ecological Migrant (February 20 to 25, 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!

Taken from http://gallagher-photo.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Desertification-in-China-01.jpg.

Desertification in China.

February 20 to 25, 2017

Remember the rise of the ecological migrants? Of Chinese and sub-Saharan Africans forced to relocate – respectively – because of desertification and coastal erosion in their countries? Climate change has worsened the coffee rust blight in Guatemala, driving former farmers to leave the country to the cities or to the United States. And beyond the climatic changes, environmental degradation is causing disruption and destruction around the world: air pollution in northern China has been worsened by higher steel production last year, Mexico City in Mexico is facing a water crisis and the threat of collapse, and in the western Pacific Ocean persistent organic pollutants have been found in the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the world’s oceans.

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Africa

The Asia-Pacific

  • China brought more steel production online last year, and a report by Greenpeace noted that the production has worsened air pollution in the northern part of the country. China remains the biggest greenhouse gas emitter in the world.
  • Former Hong Kong chief executive Donald Tsang was found guilty of misconduct, and therefore sentenced to 20 months in prison.
  • Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, died after falling ill with a cardiac condition.
  • The de facto head of South Korean conglomerate Samsung, vice-chairman Lee Jae-Yong, was arrested by prosecutors on bribery charges. The case is linked to the scandal involving President Park Geun-hye, who was impeached in December last year but is looking to overlook that impeachment, and the shadowy influence of long-time confidante Choi Soon Sil.
  • In the western Pacific Ocean, scientists have discovered “extraordinary” levels of toxic pollution in the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the world’s oceans. These persistent organic pollutants, or POPs, do not break down in the environment, and because so little is known about the flora and fauna on the deep ocean floor, the POPs may even be more pervasive.

Europe

The Middle East

North America

  • A week after White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigned for misleading Vice President Mike Pence on his contact with Russian officials, President Donald Trump picked Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as his next National Security Adviser. Previously, retired Vice Adm. Robert Harward had turned down the offer earlier in the week because of operational concerns.
  • Days after President Trump said that Sweden had experienced more crime and violence after taking in large numbers of refugees, his supporters are using a clash of immigrants and police officers in Stockholm as support for that remark. However, the numbers “do not show a major increase in crime from 2015, when the country processed … 163,000 asylum applications, to 2016“.

Latin America

  • Having reached designated demobilisation zones in Colombia, members of the former terror group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, have begun to surrender their weapons to the United Nations. Voters had voted against a historic peace deal with the FARC rebels in October last year, but the Colombian government signed a new deal the following month.
  • Coffee rust in Guatemala has been worsened by the impact of climate change. Rising temperatures and erratic rainfall – coupled by “poor agricultural practices like crop crowding and poor fumigation” – have caused extensive financial damages, and are pushing former farmers in the country and in the central American region to the cities or to the United States.
  • Mexico City in Mexico faces a water crisis, exacerbated by climate change. Because of the greater demand for water, residents are draining underground aquifers, and given the composition of the soil this could also “hasten the city’s collapse“.
  • Trinidad and Tobago wants to stop young Muslims from joining the Islamic States of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). In the country, it is not illegal to join ISIS, “though the government wants to change that” through criminalisation and travel restrictions.
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About guanyinmiao

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

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