Weekly geopolitical events
By Keating Smith, Staff Writer
Africa: (Mozambique) Over 150,000 people have been displaced and at least 40 claimed dead after extensive flooding on the lower Limpopo River rifled through southern Mozambique last week. Due to the extensive damage caused by the flooding, officials are concerned that the limited amount of medical aid and services available in the southern region of the country may cause large outbreaks of Malaria to occur if foreign aid is not received immediately in the country.
Latin & South America: (Brazil) Two hundred and thirty-two people died in a nightclub in the Brazilian city of Santa Maria last week after police suspect cheap flares used during a live performance set the building ablaze. The flares (which were only to be used in an outdoor environment), a ceiling made of an easily combustible foam, and the lack of a sprinkler system in the building are the main causes of the fire, according to investigators. Upwards of 1,300 people are believed to have been in the establishment at the time of the fire. No charges have yet to be laid against the nightclub owners, who may face manslaughter convictions once investigations are completed.
Middle East: (Syria) Conflicting reports are coming from Syria after the Israeli air force conducted bombings raids near Damascus last week. Although the Israeli Defense Forces have made no comment on the incident, warplanes were reported to have been targeting a convoy of anti-aircraft ordnance en-route towards the border of Lebanon for Hezbollah fighters. The Syrian government has contradicted the reports, reporting on the country’s state run television station that the warplanes struck a military research facility just outside the nation’s capital. Syria and its strongest allies, Iran and Russia, have condemned the attack with Syria and Israel declaring to the UN Security Council that both countries have the right to defend their sovereignty.
(Armenia) Armenian presidential candidate Paruyr Hayrikian has been hospitalized after an assassination attempt on his life last week in central Yerevan. Hayrikian, 64, was shot in the shoulder and chest with non-life-threatening injuries, although the incident may delay elections in the country, according to a spokesperson for the Armenian parliament. The country is scheduled to go to the polls in mid-February.
Asia-Pacific: (Philippines) A US Navy minesweeper is slated to be dismantled and scrapped after it ran aground on an ecologically sensitive reef area in the southern Philippines in mid-January. The 225-foot USS Guardian struck the Tubbataha Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage site, after a possible error ensued with the ship’s navigational equipment. The US Navy is still conducting an investigation into the incident This is the first in history the US military has lost a ship in its entirety during times of peace.
Europe: (Serbia) In an attempt to recreate an iconic scene from the 1992 film, Basic Instinct, a former Playboy model flashed her barely covered legs to Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic during a staged interview. Dacic’s security officials say they are conducting an investigation into the false interview and how he became the victim of it. The prank interview has been viewed several million times on YouTube and left the Serbian population divided on the outcome and popularity of the clip.