World Recap

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Weekly geopolitical events

By Keating Smith, Staff Writer 

Africa: (Eritrea) Approximately 200 dissident soldiers surrounded and seized the Eritrean information ministry calling for the release of all political prisoners in the country. According to the UNHRC, roughly 5,000 to 10,000 political prisoners are being held captive in the small East African country. Eritrea has been accused of multiple human rights violations in recent years, which has also resulted in the UN Security Council levying an embargo on foreign aid to the country in 2009 after receiving information that the government was funding Islamic terrorists in neighboring Somalia.

North America: (United States) The Pentagon has lifted a ban on women being able to serve on the frontlines of war. Of the 1.4 million Americans that make up the US military, 14 per cent are women. “Today every American can be proud that our military will grown even stronger, with our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters playing a greater role in protecting this country we love,” President Obama said in a speech last week. The historical movement comes after the Pentagon has come under fierce criticism in more recent years regarding the role women play in the US military and allegations by thousands of women claiming to be sexually assaulted while on active duty and during basic training.

Latin & South America: (Chile) More than 2 million people were left without water for several days in Santiago as city officials shut down the municipal water supply. Flash floods in the Andes contaminated a main arterial river, which supplies the capital with fresh water. The disruption in service resulted in many families relying on fetching potable water that was trucked in by officials to hundreds of areas of Santiago.

Asia- Central & South: (North Korea) North Korea made international headlines again last week after top military officials announced they were preparing to undergo more long-range nuclear missile testing, capable of hitting the west coast of the United States. The North Korean military said in a press statement “We do not hide that a variety of satellites and long-range rockets which will be launched by the DPRK one after another and a nuclear test of high level.” This statement comes just days after the UN Security Council decided to back a US sanction against rocket testing by the Korean People’s Army.

Europe: (Switzerland) The annual World Economic Forum saw political leaders, intellectuals, scholars, corporate heads, and the international media meet last week in the mountain resort of Davos to discuss a variety of global issues at the forefront of every country’s political, social, and economic agenda, including those of the United Nations and other international organizations. Issues of priority included the situation in Syria and Mali, Russia’s international image, women and technology, the perception of foreign aid, and the Euro Zone crisis.

Middle East: (Israel) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has secured a third term in office after the country went to the polls last week. According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, “Voter turnout in the city was actually low in proportion to the general population [with] 62.6 per cent as compared with 66.6 per cent.” Netanyahu called for early elections last fall and his right-wing party, the Likud-Beitenu coalition, lost 11 seats in the Knesset, the Israeli legislative body, last week.