The Week Wrapped
Week Ending 4 October
Trump Taken To Hospital With Covid-19
Having spent months with an indifferent approach to the virus, president Trump became one of the latest patients of the virus. It was announced on Friday that Trump would be taken to the Walter Reed Medical Centre in the outskirts of Washington D.C. Trump provided video updates over the weekend where he looked tired and frail. It was confirmed that first lady, Melania Trump, had also contracted Covid-19 and was self-isolating. A number of other White House staff also contracted the virus which has killed over 200,000 Americans to date.
Navalny Accuses Putin Of Poison Plot
Political opponent Alexei Navalny believes that it was president Putin who was behind his poisoning and attempt on his life. Navalny was taken to a German hospital for treatment after being poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok. Now, having recovered from the poisoning Navalny told German newspaper, Der Spiegel, “I assert that Putin is behind this act, I don’t see any other explanation”. The Kremlin has denied any involvement.
UK Imposes Sanctions On Lukashenko
The UK imposed sanctions against president Aleksander Lukashenko, his son and six other officials. They are accused of rigging the August election and suppressing the subsequent protests. Those protests have been ongoing for almost two months as Lukashenko shows little sign of being deterred from a position he has held with an iron grip for two decades. The sanctions include an asset freeze and travel ban on Lukashenko himself.
First Presidential Debate Turns To Chaos
The first of three US presidential debates kicked off between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. With the election day only one month away both candidates were closely watched by millions in America and abroad. However, the event itself was, as some described it, far from presidential. Both men repeatedly spoke over each other, with Trump being asked multiple times to let his opponent speak. Moderator Chris Wallace struggled to referee a fiery debate where Biden at one point told Trump to “shut up man”.
Week Ending 27 September
Trump Paid No Income Tax For 10 Of Past 15 Years - NYT Report Claims
The report in The New York Times claims that Trump paid only $750 in federal income tax in 2016 and 2017. The paper has said that it had obtained tax records for Mr Trump and his companies covering the past two decades. In response, Trump said that the claims were “fake news” and that he had paid tax, “you’ll see that as soon as my tax returns – it’s under audit, they’ve been under audit for a long time”. The claims have emerged with only five weeks remaining before the US elections.
Fighting Erupts Between Armenia And Azerbaijan
The two countries territorial dispute erupted into armed conflict over the weekend. The clashes took place over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan but controlled by ethnic Armenians. So far, 23 people have been reported as killed from the fighting. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has thrown his support behind Azerbaijan, as the two countries share historic ties. Meanwhile, Russia, traditionally backers of Armenia, have called for an immediate ceasefire.
Kim Jong Un Apologises For South Korean Killing
A rare apology was offered by the North Korea leader, according to Seoul. It’s reported that Kim told his South Korean counterpart that the killing should not have happened and it was a “disgraceful affair”. He was referring to the killing of a South Korean official, whose body was found floating by North officials. The body was then shot dead and set alight. Tensions have been high between the two nations due to military drills and firing of missiles throughout the year by North Korea.
UN General Assembly Sees China-US War Of Words
The United States and China traded political barbs at the UN General Assembly. The assembly was attended virtually by world leaders and both president Trump and China’s Xi Jinping used the occasion to deliver accusations against each other. Trump blamed China for the coronavirus, stating that they needed to be held accountable for “infecting the world”. Chinese president Xi Jinping said his country had “no intention to enter a Cold War with any country”.
Week Ending 20 September
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, US Supreme Court Judge, Dies Aged 87
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died due to complications from metastatic pancreas cancer. She was appointed by president Bill Clinton in 1993 and was one of the most prominent liberal judges serving on the judiciary. Ginsburg was a lifelong campaigner for women’s rights and her death is now set to spark a political battle 6 weeks ahead of the US elections. Though she had made clear to her granddaughter that she did not want her position to be filled until after the elections, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that president Trump’s nominee would receive a vote shortly on the Senate floor.
Thai Protests Call For Monarchy Reform And Strike
Huge protests took place in the Thai capital, Bangkok, as protesters hand-delivered a letter at the official residence of the King, demanding sweeping changes. Protesters are seeking curbs on the power and budget of the monarchy. The monarchy has been viewed as beyond public criticism but a steady increase of pro-democracy protests has begun to shake old conceptions. Protest leaders also called for a general strike on October 14 and a boycott of Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) of which the king is the largest shareholder.
Trump Reveals He Wanted To Assassinate Assad
President Trump revealed that he wanted to assassinate Syrian president Bashar Assad. In an interview with Fox, Trump said “I would have rather taken him out. I had him all set. Mattis didn’t want to do it”. He said that then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was against the idea. The statement follows revelations in journalist Bob Woodward’s book, Fear, of similar accounts made earlier in Trump’s presidency.
Israel, UAE, Bahrain Mark Normmalisation Agreement
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu was joined by ministers from both Gulf nations to sign the Abraham Accords. President Trump hailed the occasion and said that the signing will “change the course of history”. The move by UAE and Bahrain to recognise Israel is considered to be the beginnings of a wider regional shift among the Gulf nations, with more expected to follow suit.
Week Ending 13 September
West Coast Ablaze As Wildfires Rage
Large parts of the US west coast were consumed by deadly wildfires this week. San Francisco, Oregon and Washington were particularly affected, as governors warned that the peak of the wildfire season had not even been reached. California governor Gavin Newsom said that there was no more debate that climate change was the factor behind the fires. Thousands have been evacuated from homes whilst the death numbers are expected to rise over the coming days.
Bahrain Normalise Ties With Israel
The Gulf nation became the latest Arab country following the UAE in nomrmalising ties with Israel. The news was announced by president Trump and was welcomed by international leaders. However, the Palestinian leadership denounced Bahrain’s move, with claims that their Arab brothers had abandoned them. A UAE delegation is scheduled in Washington on 15 September for a signing ceremony.
India Surpasses Brazil In Covid-19 Cases
India took over from Brazil with 4.2 million confirmed cases. This leaves the country only behind the United States (6.2 million cases). The country has the third highest death rate with over 70,000 deaths reported. Cases have grown daily with a record number of cases in the past month tipping the Asian nation only behind the US. The coronavirus has badly damaged a struggling economy as Indians prepare for a long winter.
Trump Wanted To Play Down Virus
Speaking in February this year, Donald Trump said that he “wanted to always play it down”, referring to the Covid-19 outbreak. The interview was conducted by Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward, famous for exposing the Watergate scandal. Woodward taped the interview and excerpts have been released ahead of a book launch on September 15. In response, Trump said that he wanted to be a “cheerleader” for the nation and was seeking to maintain calm.
Week Ending 5 September
Trump Denies Calling War Dead 'Losers'
The president issued a firm rebuttal of the accusations posted in The Atlantic. In the publication, unnamed sources state that Trump had refused to attend a military cemetery near Paris in 2018. Though the official reason given was that a helicopter could not fly and the secret service would not drive Trump to the location. The sources, all anonymous, state that Trump asked “why should i go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers”. Trump took to twitter to blast the report, The Atlantic and the anonymous sources.
Novichok Source Of Navalny Poisoning Says Germany
German doctors treating Alexei Navalny have said that tests show “without doubt” nerve agent novichok was used. Novichok was used to poison former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, UK in 2018. The blame has once again been firmly pointed at Russia and Vladimir Putin. The Russian ambassador to Germany was immediately summoned. The Kremlin has requested that all data is fully shared by Berlin and has also requested full co-operation in the investigation.
Cargo Ship Capsizes In Typhoon
A cargo ship carrying 5,800 cows and 43 crew capsized and is missing off the coast of Japan. The ship was travelling from New Zealand to China with the majority of the seaman on board from the Philippines. The ship got into engine difficulties off the coast of Japan in the East China Sea. The ship traveled into the path of typhoon Maysak which swept through the East China Sea this week.
Indian PM's Twitter Account Hacked
The twitter account linked to Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, appeared to have been hacked for around one hour. Several tweets were sent from the account asking readers to donate Bitcoin to another account. The breach follows the high profile breach of several famous celebrities and politicians accounts in August. The tweets were swiftly deleted and a twitter spokesperson said that they “are actively investigating the situation”.
Week Ending 30 August
Kenosha Riots Escalate
This week saw the Kenosha riots spill over to bloodshed as the fallout from the shooting of a black man by police continued. Black Lives Matter protesters have led protests since the shooting of Jacob Blake, which left him paralysed in hospital having been shot seven times. On Wednesday, Kyle Rittenhouse was arrested and charged after arriving in Kenosha to defend the police and shooting three people, killing two. He has been charged first-degree intentional homocide.
Belarus Cracks Down On Media
Government authorities have withdrawn the accreditation of a number of journalists. Reporters, covering post-election protests have had their accreditation stripped, detained and in some cases told to leave the country. Affected media outlets include the BBC, AFP, Radio Liberty and Deutsche Welle. The move has been condemned by governments across Europe. The latest move follows weeks of unrest as protesters demand president Lukashenko steps down.
Japan Prime Minister Steps Down
PM Shinzo Abe stepped down on Friday, citing health reasons. He said he could no longer fulfill his role as his health got in the way and apologised to the Japanese people for not being able to complete his term. Abe has been battling ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease. He is Japan’s longest serving prime minister, having assumed office in 2012. Abe will remain as PM until a successor is chosen.
Actor Chadwick Boseman Dies Aged 43
Wakanda actor Chadwick Boseman passed away after a 4 year battle with colon cancer. The actor’s twitter profile was updated with a message stating that he had battled the disease whilst acting in a number of roles over the years. He passed away with his family by his side. That tweet broke the record for the most liked tweet in history. Condolences poured in for the actor who played roles ranging from Jackie Robinson to James Brown.
Week Ending 23 August
Steve Bannon, Ex-Trump Adviser, Charged With Fraud
Bannon was arrested and charged over a fundraising campaign to build sections of the border wall between the US and Mexico. The campaign called ‘We Build the Wall’ raised $25m but the Department of Justice (DoJ) say that Bannon and three others defrauded hundreds and thousands of donors. President Trump said that he felt ‘very badly’ about the news but he had no involvement with the campaign. Mr Bannon pleaded “not guilty” and was released on a $5m bail.
Russian Opposition Leader, Alexei Navalny, In Coma Following 'Poisoning'
Alexei Navalny, outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin, was set to fly from Siberian city of Omsk before he was taken off his flight. Video footage shows Navalny attended to by paramedics and stretchered off the plane. Earlier footage shows Navalny at the airport drinking tea, which many believe to be the source of the poisoning. Hospital doctors said that he was unconscious and in a coma. Despite his wife’s plea, the hospital initially refused to let Navalny transfer to a hospital in Berlin, Germany. However, this was eventually accepted. German doctors confirmed that he was in a comotose state since his transfer.
Golden State Killer Sentenced to Life In Prison
A Sacramento judge sentenced Joseph James DeAngelo to life in prison without parole for the killing of 13 people and raping 50. DeAngelo was dubbed the ‘Golden State Killer’ and remained elusive for decades, until police solved the cold case using DNA matching. DeAngelo has admitted to crimes committed during the 1970s and 80s, originally starting with robberies before escalating to rape, kidnap and murder. DeAngelo, 74, was arrested in 2018 after his DNA was found on a genealogy website.
California Fires Rage As Governor Requests Australia Help
The dry and hot weather in California over the past week has triggered substantial fires in the sunshine state. Over 12,000 firefighters are tackling large wild fires, with estimates at 560 fires across the state. The Governor, Gavin Newsom, has pleaded for assistance from Canada and Australia. Forests and homes have been destroyed and six people have been confirmed as victims of this summers fires. Up to 175,000 people have been forced to evacuate homes as Gov. Newsom requested president Donald Trump to sign a major disaster declaration.
Week Ending 16 August
Israel And UAE To Normalise Relations
The two middle eastern nations made the announcement this week, in a join statement with the United States. Many analysts considered private relations between the nations already developed over the past few years. The Palestinian leadership immediately lamented the decision as did Iran. The UAE and Israel will now develop trade, tourism and diplomatic ties. This was a move welcomed by Egypt and Bahrain, although Saudi Arabia, the regions biggest financial power and oil exporter, did not comment. Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu, confirmed a temporary halt to annexation plans in the West bank but confirmed later that this would be resumed at a later point.
Joe Biden Confirms Kamala Harris As VP Pick
Following weeks of speculation Joe Biden confirmed that Senator Kamala Harris would be his VP for the upcoming November election. The news was met with enthusiasm by Democrat supporters but unsurprisingly bashed by Republican opponents. President Trump tweeted his surprise before stating that Harris was a “mean” person. Harris becomes the first female VP pick of mixed ethnicity – her father is Jamaican and mother from India. Senator Harris is due to face off with current VP, Mike Pence, in an October debate.
UK Economy In Biggest Recession On Record
This week it was confirmed that the UK was in the “largest recession on record”. The Office for National Statistics said that the impat of Covid-19 had seen GDP slump by 20.4%. This was in the second quarter of the year and in comparison to a 2.2% fall in the first quarter. Unemployment had risen to its highest rate in over decade, as the UK government faces up to the stark reality of the long-term effects of the pandemic. The slump is only second to Spain in effects to output, effecting major economies. It is also double to that of the United States.
Protests And Police Crackdown In Belarus
Following the presidential election results, where incumbent Alexsander Lukashenko was declared the winner, Belarus has seen widespread protests. The opposition leader, Sviatlana Tskihanouskaya, fled to Lithuania and released protestors have spoken of police brutality. Further protests have emerged with pro and anti government marches taking place in Minsk on Sunday. Meanwhile, Lukashenko has called on Vladimir Putin to help put an end to the unrest that has challenged his 26 year grip on power over Belarus.
Week Ending 9 August
Beirut Rocked By Major Explosion
Thousands of residents in Beirut were injured and over 100 have died. The blast was caused by the explosion of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate which was stored in a warehouse in Beirut port. A fire had preceded the explosion and it is believed a fireworks warehouse may have triggered the explosion. A huge mushroom cloud engulfed the city. Beirut’s mayor estimates that around 300,000 residents may be temporarily homeless and damage is thought be worth $10-15bn. The explosion has caused civil unrest with many demanding the government step down, with protestors clashing with police. Lebanon has been badly affected by Covid-19 with an already damaged economy shrinking further.
Anti-Netanyahu Protest Takes Place Again In Jerusalem
Hundreds of Israeli’s gathered outside the residency of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, demanding his resignation. Weeks of protests have now taken place calling for the PM to resign. Netanyahu is currently facing a corruption trial. Added to this is the Covid-19 surge that Israel has struggled to get to grips with and has left a large section of Israelis dissatisfied. Demonstrators argue that Netanyahu cannot remain as PM whilst on trial for corruption.
Trump Signs Executive Order Forcing Sale Of Tik Tok
President Donald Trump signed the order which essentially forces the owners of the app to sell its US business. Owners ByteDance have 45 days to sell the app or face the prospect of the app being banned in the United States. Microsoft has already made contact in acquiring the US arm of ByteDance’s app, whilst it emerged that Twitter has also been in discussions. The move by the US administration follows a bitter souring of relations between China and the United States over the course of 2020
Japan Marks 75th Anniversary Of Hiroshima Bombing
August 6th and Japan marked the 75th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe led the memorial with a speech where he called for the abolition of atomic weapons. Japan became the first country to have a nuclear attack launched against it. A minute silence was observed at 8:15am, the time of the bomb landing in 1945. A scaled back memorial event was held with attendees observing social distancing in light of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
Week Ending 2 August
Hong Kong Tightens COVID-19 Restrictions
Dining out was banned in Hong Kong and group gatherings restricted to two, as Covid-19 cases increased. Authorities are grappling with high temperatures and a rise in infections in the densely populated city. The parliamentary elections, set for September, have now been postponed for a year with the government citing the rising Covid-19 cases for the delay. However, the opposition have accused the government of using the coronavirus to stop people from voting. The opposition was expected to gain a majority in the legislative council.
Big Four Tech Companies Testify Before US Judiciary
The heads of Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook appeared in front of Congress, accused of stifling competition and unfair practices. The hearing took place via video call and at one point was stopped due to technical issues. Some of the key claims ranged from Google being accused of working with China, Facebook buying out competitors and Amazon using seller’s data to market their own products. Republicans accused the big tech companies of being anti-conservative. This was a message that has been championed of late by President Donald Trump.
Former Malaysian PM Given Twelve Year Sentence
Najib Razak, ex-Malaysian Prime Minister, was found guilty on all seven charges by a court in Malaysia. Razak had pleaded not guilty to all charges, which included money laundering and abuse of power. The case revolves around the 1MDB scandal and has triggered a series of corruption trials, with Razak being the first and most famous to be sentenced. The investigation looked into the millions that had been transferred from the 1MDB wealth fund, to the ex-PMs private accounts. Speaking afterwards, Najib Razak said “this is definitely not the end of the world, because there’s a process of appeal, and we hope that we would be successful then”.
US Announces Withdrawal Of Troops From Germany
The United States will withdraw 12,000 troops from Germany. President Trump said that the move was due to Germany failing to meet NATO targets on defence spending. Around half the number will be re-stationed in other NATO member countries such as Italy and Belgium. The move was met with criticism from Democrats and those within Germany, who believe that it will weaken the relationship between the two countries and embolden Russia. Trump has long complained of the need for NATO member countries to pay more and reduce the burden on the United States.
Week Ending 26 July
United States Orders Closure Of Chinese Consulate In Houston
Marking another escalation point between the US and China, this week saw the US government order the closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston. Camera footage picked up unidentified individuals, burning paper in dustbins in the courtyard of the consulate building. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, said that the decision was taken due to Chinese theft of intellectual property rights. Chinese officials condemned the US move and swiftly retaliated by closing the US consulate in Chengdu, south western China. This latest spat between the two superpowers follows on from months of accusations and counter accusations as tensions shift any hopes of diplomacy further away.
UK Reintroduces 14 day Quarantine For Arrivals From Spain
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) is advising against all but essential travel to Spain. Anyone returning from Spain must self-quarantine for two weeks. This follows a spike in cases in Spain, where many are stating that the country is facing its second wave of the coronavirus. Spain has been removed from the UK government’s list of safe countries to travel to. The announcement by the UK government follows the first few days of the mandatory requirement for the public to wear masks in shops in England and Wales.
Jacksonville RNC Event Cancelled Confirms President Trump
On Thursday, Donald Trump confirmed that the Jacksonville element of the Republican National Convention would be cancelled, owing to the mounting COVID-19 cases affecting the country. Trump said that it was not right to hold any event in Jacksonville given the state level surge in cases and he did not want to put anyone at further risk. The original convention venue was scheduled for Charlotte before a dispute erupted between Trump and Gov. Roy Cooper. Trump said that it was imperative that an example was set stating “we have to be vigilant. We have to be careful. And we also have to set an example”.
North Korea Reports First COVID-19 Case
Leader Kim Jong Un declared an emergency and lockdown in the border town where the first infected person is thought to have returned to, following a three year defection from South Korea. The highly secretive nation has to date stated that there are no cases of the virus in the country however, this has never been verified. At an emergency meeting Kim Jong Un said it was a “critical situation in which the vicious virus could be said to have entered the country”. If confirmed, this would be the country’s first official case of COVID-19 and one which would draw particular attention given the question marks on how prepared the country is against any outbreak.
UK Suspends Extradition Treaty With Hong Kong
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said that the suspension would be undertaken “immediately and indefinitely”. The move by the UK government follows on the heels of other governments such as the US and Australia who have passed similar suspensions. Raab stated that the UK wanted to have a “positive” relationship with China but cited the new security law in Hong Kong as a key factor in the decision. Other concerns range from the treatment of the Uyghur community as well as the decision to remove Huawei from providing the new 5G network across the UK. In response, China accused the British government of “meddling” and promised a “resolute response” if the UK withdrew from the extradition agreement.
Week Ending 19 July
John Lewis, US Civil Rights Campaigner And Congressman, Dies Aged 80
Rep. John Lewis was a legendary campaigner during the Civil Rights movement and held a long distinguished career in Congress. He was the youngest member of the group of six led by Rev. Martin Luther King. One of his defining moments came when he led protesters across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma. The march would go on to be known as the Bloody Sunday march. Tributes have poured from across the political spectrum from Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi to Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell. President Trump also tweeted his condolences and ordered flags at government buildings to be flown at half staff.
Trump Signs Executive Order Ending Preferential Treatment For Hong Kong
The announcement was made by President Trump at the White House Rose Garden on Tuesday, where he made clear that he held China accountable for the national security law enforced on Hong Kong. The signing of the executive order means that Hong Kong’s special status under U.S. law is now removed with Trump stating “No special privileges, no special economic treatment and no export of sensitive technologies”. China has vowed retaliatory sanctions against the United States as tensions between the two nations reach new heights.
UK Government Issues Mandatory Mask Requirement
The UK government announced that all citizens in England will be required to wear masks in shops and supermarkets from 24 July. Police will have powers to issue £100 fines for those who fail to comply. Shops and supermarkets will not be responsible for public adherence to the requirement. Mandatory mask coverings are already in force across other European nations such as Scotland, Italy, Spain and Germany. Those with certain disabilities and children under 11 will be exempt. The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, said that it would “give people more confidence to shop safely and enhance protections for those who work in shops”. This was followed by a further easing of lockdown measures in one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic.
Teenage Boy Dies Of Bubonic Plague In Mongolia
With countries still grappling with the devastating and relentless affects of Covid-19, cases of new and old viral infections are raising instant alarm bells. This level of alarm increased a few notches this week when Mongolia reported that a 15 year old boy had died from bubonic plague having eaten an infected marmot. Marmot’s are a type of rodent and the country’s health ministry has already issued guidance, warning public not to consume the creature. It is reported that the teenager had hunted and then eaten the marmot before dying of the plague on Sunday. The bubonic plague is reported to have been responsible for up to 50 million deaths in Europe during the Middle Ages.
Actress Naya Rivera's Body Found In Lake Piru
Family, friends and fans of former Glee actress Naya Rivera had their worst fears confirmed this week when a body was recovered from Lake Piru. The actress had gone on a boat trip with her 4 year old son but the search operation only found her son in the boat asleep. As a search operation began it became apparent that it was likely to be to recover the body of the actress, with hope of the actress being alive having faded quickly. Those worst fears were confirmed on Monday when a body was retrieved from the lake. Naya Rivera was 33.
Week Ending 12 July
Trump Commutes Sentence Of Former Adviser Roger Stone
President Donald Trump took the decision to commute the sentence of Roger Stone, days ahead of the beginning of a prison sentence for his former adviser. Stone was found guilty of crimes relating to an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election. Following the decision, the White House stated that Stone had been the victim of a ‘hoax’. Stone said that he was worried about his safety and that the president had ‘saved my life’. The president has long railed against the investigation, often describing it as a ‘witch hunt’ and the ‘Russian hoax’.
Erodgan Gets His Wish - Hagia Sofia To Be Reconverted To A Mosque
Turkey’s highest court ruled on Friday that Istanbul’s iconic Hagia Sophia can be reconverted to a mosque. The court said that a ruling in 1934 to have the building converted to a museum was unlawful. The decision has been viewed by Erdogan supporters as a big victory. Church leaders and western governments have lamented the decision, with Pope Francis stating that he was ‘ deeply pained’ by the outcome. The Hagia Sofia was the main cathedral of the Byzantine empire before it was converted into a mosque following the capture of Constantinople (Istanbul) by the Ottomans.
Brazil's Coronavirus Cases Continue To Mount As President Bolsonaro Tests Positive For Covid-19
Test results confirmed that Brazil president Jair Bolsonaro had contracted Covid-19. Bolsonaro had displayed symptoms and this followed months of downplaying the virus and rejecting its seriousness. The president would often greet supporters without wearing a mask and had little interest in social distancing measures. Brazil’s coronavirus handling has been criticised by opponents of the president at home and abroad. The country has one of the highest infection and death rates in the world.
Australia Suspends Extradition Treaty With Hong Kong
The move by Australia includes a pathway for existing Hong Kong nationals to apply for permanent residency as well as extending current visas. This follows China’s new national security law on the territory and marks further escalation between Canberra and Beijing. The move was condemned by China, with the embassy in Canberra urging ‘the Australian side to immediately stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs’. A number of other countries, including Britain and Canada, have also offered residency to Hong Kong residents.
Amitabh Bachchan And Son Test Positive For Covid-19
Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan and his son Abhishek were taken to hospital on Saturday, both confirmed as having contracted Covid-19. The actor, 77, tweeted ‘Family and staff undergone tests, results awaited’. They are currently in isolation units and the hospital where they are being treated has confirmed that both men are in a ‘stable condition’. In Bollywood, Amitabh Bachchan is considered the premier actor and has over 180 films to his name as well as being one of the highest paid actors in the world.
Week Ending 5 July
New Flu Strain With Pandemic Potential Identified In China
Scientists have warned that a newly identified flu virus has the potential to reach pandemic level. The virus has been detected in pig farms in China and can affect humans. The virus is closely associated with the 2009 swine flu and has been named A/HINIpdm09. Scientists are trying to better understand the virus but have warned that as it is a new strain, humans will have little or no immunity.
UK Set To Remove Huawei Access to 5G As India Bans Tik Tok
A report in the Telegraph claims that the UK government will phase out Chinese company Huawei’s involvement in the 5G network, as soon as this year. This would be an escalation and change of track from the previously indicated phased removal of 3 years. India, this week, banned 59 apps from its vast market, including the highly popular social video-streaming app Tik Tok. The move arrives following clashes with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army in Ladakh, where 20 Indian soldiers were killed.
Belgium King Apologises For Colonial Impact On The Democratic Republic Of Congo
Belgium’s King Philippe expressed his ‘profound regret’ for the ‘acts of violence and cruelty that were committed’ in the Congo during colonial rule. Under the rule of King Leopold II, the Congo was subjected to cruel practices such as amputation with unofficial figures indicating that up to 10 million people lost their lives. The statement came amidst the backdrop of the Black Lives Matter protests that have been sweeping nations.
Ghislaine Maxwell, Ex-Girlfriend Of Jeffrey Epstein, Arrested And Charged
The former girlfriend of Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell, was arrested and charged on Friday. Maxwell is accused of helping Epstein in grooming minors for abuse at the hands of Epstein, as well as taking part in the abuse. Jeffrey Epstein was arrested in 2019 but was found dead in his cell, with the cause noted as suicide. If convicted on all charges, Ghislaine Maxwell faces a possible sentence of over 30 years.
Week Ending 28 June
Russia Alleged To Have Offered Bounty To Militants In Exchange For Attacks On Coalition Forces
A report in the New York Times alleges that a Russian intelligence unit was offering bounties to militants in Afghanistan in exchange for carrying out attacks on coalition troops. According to the report, the White House was informed by US intelligence months prior. Russia has denied the allegations with the Russian Embassy in USA tweeting that the New York Times ‘is there to invent new fake stories’.
Ebola - Congo's Deadliest Outbreak Is Declared Over By WHO
After 2,280 deaths and almost two years, the World Health Organisation declared this week that the Democratic Republic of Congo was free of the deadly Ebola virus. This was the 10th outbreak of the virus in the country. Health officials had to grapple with a separate measles outbreak as well as COVID-19. Progress was hampered by misunderstandings within communities and several pocketed outbreaks in the eastern part of the country.
US Sanctions Against China, Over Treatment Of Uighurs, Held Off For Trade Deal
President Donald Trump stated that he held off issuing further sanctions on Chinese Communist Party officials, as they were ‘in the middle of a major trade deal’. The revelation came in an interview with Axios and follows the publication of the book ‘The Room Where It Happened’ by former National Security Adviser John Bolton. In the book, Bolton alleges that the President was in favour of Chinese authorities building detention camps for the Uighur population. Mr Trump has denied the allegations.
Surge In Covid-19 Cases Prompts States To Drawback On Reopening Plans
The daily number of confirmed coronavirus infections in the United States, surged to a high of 40,000 on Friday. Texas and Florida, two states due for reopening, began to close bars again as they try to prevent a feared second wave. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to close all bars was surprising given the governor had aggressively pushed for re-opening. Head of the coronavirus task force, Vice President Mike Pence, stated that the US was ‘in a much better place’ in a briefing held on Friday. He said that death numbers are much lower compared to numbers recorded in Spring.
Liverpool Crowned Champions As NBA Confirms Date For Restart
Liverpool Football Club were crowned English Premier League champions, bringing an end to a 30 year wait. Deposed champions Manchester City suffered defeat at Chelsea, meaning Liverpool were crowned champions, with an unassailable lead. Fans took the streets around the club’s stadium, Anfield, to celebrate long in to the night.
In basketball, the NBA confirmed that the league would resume on July 30. This came as the NBA and NBPA confirmed that 16 players had tested positive for Covid-19 out of the 302 players tested in total.
Week Ending 21 June
North Korea Raise Tensions With Explosion
This week saw North Korea raise their tensions with South Korea, by blowing up the inter-Korean liaison office. State media described it as a ‘terrific explosion’ which was in response to defectors sending over propaganda to the north – by way of balloons and leaflets. Given the worsening tension between the north and south, questions over Kim Jong Un’s health and any further talks with the United States looking more distant, this marks another escalation from one of the world’s most secretive nations.
India and China Sustain Casualties In Border Battle
Twenty Indian army soldiers were killed in fighting with China’s People Liberation Army (PLA). Soldiers fought with rocks and bats in the remote Himalayan area of Ladakh – a long disputed border territory between the two nuclear-armed nations. The clashes mark another flash point between the two populous countries. Chinese state media made no mention of the conflict and as yet there has been no verification on casualty numbers from the PLA.
Bolton's Book Unleashes More Questions On Trump Presidency
A book by John Bolton, the former National Security Adviser in the Trump administration, makes a number of allegations that have caught the headlines this week. Bolton outlines how President Trump allegedly sought the help of Chinese president Xi Jiping in getting reelected in the upcoming US election, may have been bad mouthed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and questioned whether Finland was a part of Russia. The book is due for release on 23rd June.
Premier League Returns In New Unfamiliar Surroundings
The much anticipated return of the English Premier League took place on Wednesday 17th June. Manchester City, last seasons champions, swept aside Arsenal 3-0, whilst on Friday night Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United drew 1-1 . The EPL joins the German Bundesliga and Spain’s La Liga as some of the major leagues to have restarted following a near three month suspension. Matches are being played without fans, with social distancing being observed by substitutes and coaching staff.