By Patrick Vaillancourt, News Editor
North America: (Canada) Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced plans to prorogue Parliament and start a new session in October with a speech from the throne. While the oppositional New Democrats are adamant this is Harper’s latest attempt to shield himself from questions related to the Senate expenses scandal, the Prime Minister has stated in the past that prorogation of Parliament midway through his mandate was likely to occur. The Prime Minister also answered questions about his political future, saying that he was committed to leading the Conservative Party into the 2015 general election.
(United States) The Obama administration is seeking congressional approval to start a military operation against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in response to Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons in the ongoing Syrian civil war.
Asia: (North Korea) Former NBA star Dennis Rodman concluded a trip to North Korea last week, his second trip this year to the impoverished and secretive country, saying that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “really actually wants to change things.” North Korea’s state media reported that Kim and Rodman had a “cordial talk” and that Kim extended an invitation for Rodman to visit his country again at “any time.”
Europe: (Russia) Former CIA technician Edward Snowden, now living in Russia as a political refugee, has provided the New York Times with more damning information about the American domestic surveillance program. In addition to the previous revelations about phone records, new documents reveal that the NSA has insisted that security software companies install vulnerabilities that would allow American intelligence officials to access the online activities of virtually anyone. The project was codenamed “Bullrun.”
Africa: (South Africa) Former South African President Nelson Mandela was discharged from hospital after a 12-week stay. The former president is said to still be in critical condition, and some say that the anti-apartheid leader is looking for comfort as he nears the end of his life. Jacob Zuma, the current South African President, said in a statement that Mandela will continue to receive the same level of intensive care from his home, which has undergone a retrofit to accommodate the medical care he needs.
(Egypt) The army-backed government in Egypt is moving to completely dissolve the Muslim Brotherhood, the group affiliated with the deposed president Mohamed Morsi. The government will be looking to remove the group’s status as a non-governmental organization, effectively removing all of their legal rights. The Muslim Brotherhood has protested the July removal of Morsi, the country’s first democratically elected president. The military’s intervention in Egyptian politics has once again led tens of thousands of protesters to the streets. Hundreds of protesters have been killed since clashes began in early July.
Oceania: (Australia) The Liberal-National coalition cruised to a landslide victory in the Australian federal election, forming government for the first time since 2007. Tony Abbott, the leader of the Australian Liberal Party, will become Australia’s third prime minister in three months. Outgoing Prime Minister Kevin Rudd—who returned to the position this summer after having been ousted by Julia Gillard in a partisan battle in 2010—had hoped to return his left-of-centre party to power with his personal popularity, but it seems the Australian people have tired of the infighting which has defined the Australian Labor Party government for the last four years.