Weekly geopolitical news
By Keating Smith, Staff Writer
Africa: (Tunisia) The Tunisian government received a $28.8-million cheque last week from Qatar’s attorney general doctor, Ali bin Fetais al-Marri, who has been put in charge by the UN to recover money embezzled out of the country by former president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and his wife. Both are accused of stealing hundreds of millions of dollars from Tunisia and hiding it in accounts outside of the state before the Arab uprisings that brought Ben Ali’s 23 year rule over the country to an end. State media in Tunisia say that the exact amount unaccounted for is unknown at this point. Tunisia asked the International Monetary Fund for a $1.8-billion loan last week to combat high unemployment rates, along with many other economic problems the country is currently faced with.
North America: (Washington) The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) opened an office in Washington, DC last week. Last September, the US State Department removed the party from their list of selected terrorist organizations. The NCRI is best known for being a secular exiled Iranian parliament, opposing the theocratic conclusion of the Iranian Revolution in 1979. The group was accused of killing six American citizens during the same time frame. Several significant politicians in the White House have rallied in recent years from having the party removed from the US State Departments list after determining the organization is both a “peaceful and democratic government.”
Latin & South America: (Uruguay) Officials in Uruguay voted last week in favour of legalizing same-sex marriage in the country. While many people and religious institutions in the country felt disconcerted by the decision, Uruguay’s President Jose Mujica and his majority government are reported to have fully backed the decision. The law, which is expected to come into effect towards the end of the month, also pushes the legal age of marriage to 16 for both genders. After Canada and Argentina, Uruguay is the third country in the Americas to legalize same-sex marriage.
Asia- Central & South: (Pakistan) Two women from the tribal region of Pakistan made history last week after running for parliament in the country’s May 11 elections. The women, who have advocated for change in the hostile area of Pakistan, have cited poor education standards for women and heavy-handed laws placed on women by militants as some of their main concerns for political stability in their home regions of Pakistan. “This step will pave the way for other people, especially women, so that this can happen in other districts of the FATA (Federal Administrated Tribal Area)—that will ensure that other women can come forward,” an official with the Pakistani government told the press.
Asia- Pacific: (Japan) The United States and Japan reached a negotiation last week that saw the US military handing back nearly 600 hectares of land to the Japanese government located on the southern island of Okinawa by 2022. The Futenma air base is one of several US bases located on the island that have been operational since the end of the Second World War. North Korea reaffirmed Japan as hostile nation on Friday, claiming Tokyo as a prime target if a combat were to break out on the Korean peninsula.
Europe: (Serbia) The Russian government arranged a $500-million loan with Serbia last week, promising to back the country and its ailing economy. The deal with Russia comes after officials in the Serbian parliament rejected a negotiation with the EU aimed to see ethnic relations between Belgrade and the breakaway republic of Kosovo rekindled. “The government of Serbia cannot accept the proposed solution as it does not guarantee the safety and human rights of Serbs in Kosovo,” says Serbia’s prime minister Ivica Dacic. The EU is asking Serbia to surrender its control of northern Kosovo in exchange for membership in the EU.