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!
July 1 to 6, 2019
In Hong Kong, on the 22nd anniversary of the Chinese handover, thousands marched through the city and some tried to storm the legislature. And in the country’s largest mass demonstration since earlier last month, tens of thousands of protestors gathered in Sudan.
- An election was supposed to follow after President of Algeria Abdelaziz Bouteflika stepped down in April, but the vote has been cancelled by the country’s constitutional council because of a lack of candidates. No new date has been set.
- In Botswana, the number of elephant carcasses – the result of poaching – increased by nearly 600 per cent between 2014 and 2018.
- Tens of thousands of protestors gathered in Khartoum, Sudan “in the largest mass demonstration since the deadly crackdown on a pro-democracy sit-in” earlier in June. At least seven people were killed.
- The capsize of a boat off the coast of Tunisia is said to have left dozens of African migrants drowned.
- An explosion at a chemical factory in China killed two people.
- In Hong Kong, on the 22nd anniversary of the Chinese handover, thousands marched through the city and some tried to storm the legislature. On the other hand, thousands also marched in support of the police.
- Hundreds of riot police later used tear gas to disperse a small group of protestors who had broken into, occupied, and vandalised the city’s legislative council complex for three hours. These acts shocked many and were condemned.
- The collapse of a wall in India left 15 people dead.
- In India too, heavy rains caused the collapse of a wall on shanties, killing at least 13 people.
- Japan lifted its ban on commercial whaling, disappointing environmental groups.
- Together with the passage of the historic Mercosur-European Union (EU) deal last week, the EU also signed an accord with Vietnam.
- German Minister of Defence Ursula von der Leyen will be the first woman to lead the EU. Head of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde is set to become the next president of the European Central Bank.
- Following Romania, Finland will take over the six-month rotating presidency of the European Union. Sustainability is its key theme.
- Germany was hit by two fatal helicopter crashes in a week. The country “has in recent years suffered a string of problems with military equipment, with only fractions of its fleets of tanks, ships and aircraft combat-ready at any time“.
- A gas explosion in Poland left three people dead.
The Middle East
- At least 26 members of a pro-government militia in Afghanistan were killed by Taliban militants, “as the Islamists and [United States] negotiators were set to begin a seventh round of peace talks in Qatar“.
- And as rival Afghan groups met in Qatar for peace talks, a Taliban attack on a government security compound killed at least 14 people.
- In Iran, weeks after announcing that it would exceed limits on its stockpile of enriched uranium – based on a nuclear deal the United States has withdrawn from – the country’s foreign minister said it followed through this week.
- Iran later added that the country would begin enriching uranium at a higher level.
- An airstrike in Tripoli, Libya left at least 40 people killed. There is no confirmation on those responsible for the attack.
- The crash of a private plane in Texas killed all 10 people on board.
- The Trump administration “ended its effort to add a citizenship question to the 2020 [United States] census“. Later in the week, however, the Department of Justice reversed course and the president said the legal fight will continue.
- The historic Mercosur-European Union trade deal – involving Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay – “has drawn fierce opposition from climate activists and farmers’ associations in Europe“.
- In Peru, four former presidents have been accused of corruption, “symptomatic of the demise of an entire political class“.