Weekly geopolitical news
By Keating Smith, Staff Writer
Africa: (Madagascar) A plague of locusts ransacked agriculture on Madagascar last week leaving the small African island nation worried about food shortages. According to a spokesperson for the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the last time the country experienced an invasion of this degree was in the 1950s and lasted for almost 20 years. The FAO estimates that roughly one half of Madagascar is infested with the billions of plant-destroying insects. An estimated $22 million in emergency funding is needed to combat the swarm of insects through use of pesticides and other agricultural chemical products.
Latin & South America: (Chile) Thousands of Chilean university students rioted with police in Santiago last week, calling on the government for educational reforms. Students in the country view the education system as unfair, citing large gaps in the quality of education students receive in relation to socioeconomic status. Sixty people were arrested during the protests after Molotov cocktails were thrown at riot police and one police officer was injured.
Asia- Pacific: (South Korea) The United States Air Force deployed two B-2 bombers over the Korean peninsula last week amidst military tensions in North Korea. North Korea has threatened both South Korea and the United States in recent months with military action, alarming both countries, and the UN. US and South Korean troops have been engaged in military drills over the past several months and plan to end them in April.
Asia- Central & South: (Myanmar) Myanmar’s President Thein Sein said he is prepared to use forceful measures to control anti-Islamic rioting in the largely Buddhist nation. Rioting in central areas of the country have seen 40 people killed in the last week, displacing thousands of Islamic followers. President Sein has stated that the country “must expect these conflicts and difficulties to arise during our period of democratic transition,” but the use of force if needed will be used as “last resort to protect the lives and safeguard the property of the general public.”
Europe: (Latvia) Russian-speaking minorities in Latvia have founded a ‘non-citizen congress’ lobby in the Balkan country. The movement comes after Russian-speaking minorities in the country feel ostracized by the government, given that they cannot legally hold office or participate in elections. As part of the former soviet Bloc, nearly 300,000 Russian-speaking people in the country of two million are considered non-citizens of Latvia. Russia’s government deems the social unjust of Russian minorities in the country the biggest problem regarding relations between the two countries.
Middle East: (Qatar) Syria’s opposition opened its first embassy in Qatar last week. “This is the first embassy of the Syrian people,” said opposition chief Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib during the opening ceremony. Syria’s rebel flag was also hoisted on top of the building courtesy of the Qatari government. Rebels were allotted another symbolic victory last week when President Bashar al-Assad’s Arab League seats were given to the Syria’s opposition leaders.