What in the World?

10 international events to know by the end of 2017

January 11, 2018

It’s been a busy year for those trying to keep up with the news. With unusual situations in and around the White House, we’ve been bombarded with constant domestic goings-on.

So it’s a good time to catch up on the international headlines affecting the other 95 percent of humans on this planet. These ten snapshots of major issues will catch you up on the international events of 2017.

1. Egypt

Egypt suffered its deadliest ever terrorist attack on Nov. 24. Over 300 people were killed when a mosque in the Sinai region was targeted. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi issued a condemnation as expected, declaring three days of national mourning, according to CNN. The country is fighting ISIS in this crucial region and al-Sisi reaffirmed that Egypt will only grow stronger from the attack and will continue to retaliate against such acts.

2. Somalia

Currently plagued with drought, famine and conflict from al-Shabaab, a radical jihadist terrorist group, the country has been unstable since dictator Siad Barre was ousted in 1992. The capital, Mogadishu, is under siege by al-Shabaab and a humanitarian crisis is nearing due to the lack of food and clean water. The United Nations has inconsistently intervened in the crisis and foreign donors are trying to combat the poverty and hunger, according to Deutsche Welle. The nation’s various groups of indigenous people, specifically the Bantu, are in danger due their lack of representation in government and persecution from both the government and instigators of conflict within the country.

3. Zimbabwe

Robert Mugabe, president of Zimbabwe for the last 37 years, resigned on Nov. 19th, 2017, according to Al Jazeera. Mugabe’s resignation letter to the parliament was met with overwhelming cheers, and Zimbabweans led celebrations in the streets. Former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa was sworn in as President on Nov. 24th, 2017. Although Mnangagwa is part of Mugabe’s party and was involved with his controversial decision, Zimbabweans look towards his election as a positive shift in power and policy.

4. Saudi Arabia

Muhammad bin Salman, in line for the throne of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is emerging as a modernizer for the very conservative country. He wants to make the country less oil-dependent, because the cost of reaching further to access the resource is going up while prices stay low. This drive to modernize and become more business-friendly was seen in his decision to push through the law allowing Saudi women to drive, but also in how the Saudis have recently become even more militarily involved in the area’s conflicts.  Their rivalry with Iran continues to define the region.

5. Syria

The seventh year of the Syrian Civil War has claimed approximately 400,000 lives and left around half of the country (11 million people) as refugees, according to CNN. The conflict is confusing to say the least: the pre-war government led by Bashar al-Assad is supported by Iran and Russia in his cause to remain in control of the country; ISIS is fighting in the area; several rebel factions, some of which are supported by Turkey and Saudi Arabia, are fighting against Assad and ISIS; and the Kurdish minority in the north are fighting ISIS as well.

6. Myanmar

Rohingya Muslims are facing extreme violence from their own government. Decades of persecution by the Buddhist-majority government, military and civilian population have escalated in the past year. Many of the one million Rohingya residents have fled their homeland while Myanmar’s leader, 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, has remained silent about her own military’s violent actions against the Rohingya. When the refugees reach Bangladesh, already one of the world’s densest countries, Rohingyans are denied citizenship and have nowhere to go, according to CNN.

7. North Korea

The DPRK has been in the news for developing powerful nuclear weapons with increasing range as of late. Their “chairman” Kim Jong Un is known for being unpredictable, so while his predecessors (grandfather and father) wouldn’t have actually ever launched a nuke at anyone, the international community is unsure what Un’s next move will be. More news of the country was released after a border guard defected in November and doctors treating him found indications of a famine in the most closed country in the world, according to NBC News.

8. Catalonia

Spanish autonomous regions vary pretty widely when it comes to language and culture, and Catalonia is no exception. In one of Spain’s richest regions, 90 percent of Catalans voted in favor of independence in September during a disputed referendum, stated The Telegraph. On Oct. 27, Catalonia declared itself independent from Spain. However, no country has recognized this claim and Catalonia’s leader, Carles Puigdemont, is in asylum in Belgium.

9. Germany

he European Union’s most populous country held its quadrennial elections in September, and Chancellor Angela Merkel was reelected to a fourth term in the country’s highest office. Her centrist party, the CDU, placed so that it holds the most seats in Germany’s parliament. However, the far-right party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) gained ground, placing third with 13% of votes. In the bigger picture, this election reaffirmed Western voter trends that we’ve recently seen in France, the US, and Great Britain; some people, especially of the rural working-class, feel left behind by centrist and liberal economic progress in big cities. In response, leaders and parties are springing up to capture those feelings and turn them into votes for far-right representatives.

10. Venezuela

This past year millions of Venezuelans took to the streets to protest a corrupt government and poor living conditions. In response, President Nicolas Maduro’s forces killed as many as 160 demonstrators and imprisoned hundreds more, according to Al Jazeera. Protests continued until after a questionable referendum which affirmed Maduro’s power, but have died down in recent months as a result of an increasingly disorganized opposition. Venezuelans still experience government censorship as well as one of the worst economic crises west of the Meridian.

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