In the news this week #24

Disclaimer, this relies mostly on reliable journalistic sources listed at the bottom and just a bit of my brain to entertain

International shenanigans

France

The role of the country in the Rwanda genocide is being debated again as 3 NGOs are suing a French bank, BNP Paribas, for transferring money to the government and new testimonies seem to indicate France was arming the Hutu forces as the genocide had already began – and was known.

In the meantime Macron commemorated the Vel d’Hiv (when over 13,000 Jews where arrested by the French police and deported in 1942) saying France’s responsibility could neither be denied nor belittled. Some on the far-right. including Marine Le Pen who was outraged when Macron said it is true that the French government collaborated with the Nazis, must have had a bad week.

Macron also invited Trump to celebrate Bastille Day and witness the annual military parade, with added prestige as it commemorated the 100th anniversary of the US’s engagement in WW1. It is worth having a look at Trump’s face when the military orchestra plays some Daft Punk. It seems however that Trump and Macron grew closer than in their previous meeting, with France possibly becoming an interlocutor of choice for the US in Europe.

G20

One of the few good repercussions of the G20 seems to be a ceasefire in Southern Syria agreed upon by the US and Russia and seemingly holding. For the rest, the story is more about US isolation and divisions than anything else.

India

The emerging giant continues its tensed relation with its Chinese neighbor as its army confronted Chinese workers building a road in a contested region not far from the corridor that links the main part of the country to its northern states, a strategic weak point for India.

China

Nobel Peace Prize laureate and human rights activist Liu Xiaobo died of organ failure in a state hospital after the authorities refused to let him seek treatment abroad.

Belgium

The European Court of Human Rights upheld the Belgian law forbidding the niqab, saying the full-face veil is a problem for security and its ban is “necessary in a democratic society”. The case was brought by women who want to wear it, and the verdict might not make everyone happy.

UK

The Brexit bill was rejected by Scotland and Wales’ governments, including because of fears related to the influence of Westminster – it seems this thing won’t be dealt with easily.

Turkey

Despite the his opponents march on Istanbul Erdogan is not backing down, and now suggested he is in favor of restoring the death penalty. This is not going well.

Ukraine

The country announced it would begin discussions to join NATO, and President Poroshenko promised reform to meet the standards of the organization. Moscow can’t be too happy, but I’m not sure what more than a civil war they can do.

Brazil

The corruption case continues to unfold as now former President Lula was sentenced to almost 10 years in prison.

Mexico

It seems spyware sold to the government was used to target international officials looking for 43 students who vanished in the country while the government was trying to block the investigation. Not suspicious at all.

Antarctica

The largest iceberg ever recorded, four times the size of London, detached from the continent. Scientists say maps might have to be redrawn, and between this and alarming reports on disappearing biodiversity it seems calls to act on climate change should make themselves more insistent than ever.

Thailand

The cabinet approved the first phase of a railway forming part of the “one Belt, One Road” pan-Asian Chinese infrastructure project. It seems China is getting its way.

Pacific

Negotiations continue without the US on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and even though gains are less without Washington it seems countries could still gain quite a lot, including Japan, Mexico and Canada. Considering the last two retain access to the US market through NAFTA the US stands to lose GDP if it does not join the TPP – which some hope could bring them back.

Europe

Six countries of the Balkans met with EU leaders to discuss their path to join the Union. the question is key because of the influence of Russia in the region, meaning the EU cannot afford to close the door, but might be reluctant to open it completely, especially in the middle of Brexit.

US Politics

Russia

Trump was heavily criticized – and backed down – after he proposed a special unit to fight cyber crimes… with Russia. No shit Sherlock.

Donald Trump Jr confirmed he invited Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort (Trump’s campaign manager) to meet with a Russian lawyer during the campaign, because the lawyer might have dirt on Clinton – the Times then confirmed he knew exactly who was writing, including the fact that the lawyer was saying this is coming from the Russian government as they would like Trump to win. Then Trump Jr released the whole trail of emails confirming everything the Times said and hired a lawyer, probably because he needed counsel after obviously contradicting denials by the Trump team that they would ever go to Moscow for help to beat Clinton, and the Senate said they’d like to talk to him. Well done, Jr.

Healthcare

GOP Senators continue to weigh a possible vote on their revised version of the Obamacare repeal, which is slightly less horrific than their first one, but it is still unpopular. McCain is out for surgery, meaning for now they don’t have the numbers even if all Republicans were in favor, which is not the case at the moment.

?

Apparently a security contractor is helping the White House devise plans on Afghanistan relying more on… Security contractors. Who knew.

Ivanka Trump caused a scandal by taking her dad’s seat at the G20, with most people wondering what the hell she was doing there. Her dad took to twitter to defend her (by saying if it had been Chelsea and her mom people would not be outraged). It just… Yeah.

Favorite article

For your trivia needs

The information contained in this article mostly comes from:
The New York Times
The Washington Post
Foreign Policy
The Guardian
The Hill
Le Monde
Le Courrier International
The Christian Science Monitor
Pink News
The Advocate
LGBTQNAtion
Human Rights Campaign
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