Tag Archives: Russia

Global Affairs Weekly Stories (Week of February 6, 2022)

Here’s what’s going on in the world for the week of Feb. 6, 2022.

Global News

Hackers stole 320 billion USD worth of cryptocurrencies from Solona and Ethereum. They accomplished this by exploiting the bridge of Solona and used counterfeit Ethereum coins, which were used to exchange for real coins.

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Coral reefs may die out even if the world limits global warming to Paris Accord pledge levels due to marine heat waves. If global temperatures rise even 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre industrial levels, an estimated 99% of coral reefs unable to recover from marine heat waves, while 2 degrees will affect all coral reefs. It usually takes 10 years for coral to recover, assuming nothing else happens to them, from these heat waves. But climate change and increased carbon levels in the ocean is increasing the number of such heat waves and rapidity of their occurrence.

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The future of the Winter Olympics might be one of indoor artificial snow, as climate change makes winters warmer.

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Americas

Native American tribes will receive $590 million from Johnson & Johnson and three other US drug manufacturers based on a settlement reached last Tuesday. The settlement is the latest in ongoing efforts to hold drug companies in the United States accountable for the opioid crisis, which has hit Native communities the hardest.

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The Colombian Amazon rain forest is under threat from deforestation and wildfires, which risks the country’s efforts to fight climate change.

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Argentina is joining the Belt and Road Initiative in exchange for trade and investment and recognition of the Falkland Islands by China.

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Africa

The French ambassador to Mali has been given 72 hours to leave the country in retaliation for criticism and remarks by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian about the Malian transitional government. Originally the military junta agreed to have elections this year, but went back on its agreement with France by scheduling elections for 2025. The junta is also relying on Russian mercenaries to fight domestic Jihadists, a move criticized by Western nations and some West African countries, as mentioned in stories from last week’s edition of Global Affairs Weekly.

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The European Union has slapped targeted sanctions against members of the Malian military and transitional government over their involvement in coup against the prior Malian government and breaking the deal to hold elections in February by moving elections to 2025.

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Afrigen is the first African company to produce a local COVID-19 vaccine on the continent. Starting with the Moderna mRNA sequence, the company’s scientists developed their own processes and made a different vaccine as part of their research into next generation vaccines that will be locally produced, have longer shelf life, do not need refrigeration and could attack the virus at both the genetic level and on the protein spikes the virus uses to latch on and infect cells, as referenced in last week’s edition of Global Affairs Weekly.

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Europe

Explainer: What does Putin want in Ukraine and what might be driving him.

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Russia and China have inked a deal worth 117.5 billion USD equivalent to ship more natural gas and oil to the world’s largest energy consumer, giving Moscow more connections to Beijing and decreasing dependence on the European market. However, the energy resources in this deal are not connected to energy resources headed for Europe and come from a different part of Russia geographically.

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Turkey’s President Erdogan has tested positive for COVID-19.

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Middle East

Recreational use of cannabis is gaining acceptance among the youth of the Middle East, despite authorities cracking down on it.

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Syrian opposition parties held talks in Qatar to work on developing a unified opposition to Syrian President Bashir al-Assad. While they might not have strength enough to oust Assad from power, these different parties may create the framework for democratic transition someday, assuming they still retain relevance to the Syrian people.

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Tunisia’s Supreme Judicial Council has been dissolved according to Tunisian President Kais Saied, despite lacking the legal authority to do so.

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Asia

India’s national budget plan for 2022 will focus heavily on infrastructure, housing, a spectrum auction of 5G mobile and 5G services rollout. The government also proposed a digital rupee and a 30% tax on profits made from cryptocurrency trading and nonfungible token exchanges.

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A year after the military took over in Myanmar following a coup, the country is on the edge of economic collapse. Almost half of the population is in poverty according to the International Labor Organization, with the economy being 30% smaller than it would have been without the coup and COVID-19 pandemic according to the World Bank.

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A journalist in the Indian-controlled Kashmir has been arrested under India’s anti-terror laws. The authorities cited “publishing anti-national content” without specifying what that content actually was.

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Global Affairs Weekly Stories (Week of January 2, 2022)

Here’s what’s going on in the world for the week of Jan. 2, 2022.

Global News

Five good stories for the environment for 2021.

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Economic and political reforms in China will have winners and losers outside the country’s borders. Here is an analysis of who might gain and lose from the Common Prosperity campaign.

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The Tequila Splitfin, a Mexican fish species that was extinct in the wild, has been conserved in captivity and is now being reintroduced to its native habitat. The effort was community drawn and supported, and provides a template for other communities to follow to preserve endangered species.

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Americas

Guatemala’s Valor Party is attempting to pass a bill that would give amnesty to imprisoned military, government and police members convicted of crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity, torture and other nationally and internationally recognized crimes perpetrated during the Guatemalan civil war. Similar bills have been attempted but defeated, though the current president is the former vice-presidential pick for the 2019 election.

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The Mexican state-owned company Petroleos Mexicanos will reduce exported oil to 435,000 barrels a day in 2022 and stop exporting by 2023, as part of the country’s effort to become energy independent. Mexico is one of the most prominent players in international oil markets.

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Several Latin American countries have higher rates of vaccination against COVID-19 than Europe and North America. While there are outliers like Brazil, many have been successful in vaccinating their populations. This in large part due to a combination of imported vaccines and the development and production of local vaccines.

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Africa

The United States has cut Guinea, Mali and Ethiopia from participation in the African Growth and Opportunity Act, a program that provides duty-free access to the US market in return for meeting eligibility requirements like political pluralism and lowering trade barriers.

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In Mali, the military junta is proposing to stay in power another five years despite the timeline set by West African mediators. The move risks greater sanctions by neighboring countries.

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In a blow to the credibility of the Sudanese military’s transitional government and power-sharing agreement, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok resigned. While the military claims to be on track to a civilian controlled government by 2023, protestors in the country are not swayed and have promised more protests this year.

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Europe

The Conservative Party lost control of a seat they held for nearly 200 years in a by-election last Friday, dealing a blow to Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The seat, in North Shropshire, was won by 6,000 votes by Helen Morgan of the Liberal Democrats party.

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Russia pivots to China for energy exports, as the two nations embrace closer economic and political ties. Gazprom will be finalizing an energy deal to build a pipeline from the Yamal Peninsula in Siberia to China, called Power of Siberia 2, with the capacity of 50 billion cubic meters of gas annually. This is the second such pipeline connecting Russian energy products to China’s markets.

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France takes over the EU Presidency for the next six months. Climate, member-wide digitalization, and “strategic autonomy” are the areas France will most heavily focus on during this period.

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Middle East

Iran launched a rocket into space, carrying three research devices. While this was a space launch, the technology to launch the rockets could also be used to launch missiles.

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More calls for the Tunisian government to release information on the whereabouts of Noureddine Bhiri, the deputy president of the Ennahdha party, after he was detained by plainclothes police officers last Friday.

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Bahrain has sent an ambassador to Syria for the first time in 10 years, following the lead of other Gulf States.

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Asia

Evergrande shares will be suspended from trading Monday as part of efforts to combat the company’s liquidity troubles. The company is the most heavily indebted developer in the world, with more than 300 billion USD in liabilities.

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 South Korea’s Lee Jae-myung, the front runner for Democratic Party, promises to work with the USA to develop nuclear submarines for the country. The ruling party’s presidential candidate also promises to work on mediation for the US and North Korea and to end Seoul’s use of strategic ambiguity in US-China relations by pursuing “pragmatic diplomacy based on national interest”.    

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EU is considering additional sanctions and arms embargo on Myanmar, citing abuses and escalating violence by the military. The country was taken over by the military after a February coup and has faced internal violence by the military against various groups including ethnic minorities and pro-democracy protestors.

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