Issue 79:2016 11 10:Week in brief: International

10 November 2016

Week in Brief: International


UN Flag to denote International news

FRANCE: Authorities cleared the ‘Stalingrad jungle’ migrant camp in Paris and relocated its inhabitants to centres elsewhere in the country.  Their arrival has been met by protests in some towns and cities.

GERMANY: The interior minister Thomas de Maziere is supporting a proposal for migrants found in the Mediterranean to be taken to North African countries such as Tunisia and Egypt for processing.

Vetting in the German army has revealed at least 20 terrorist sympathisers who have joined in order to obtain training and expertise in explosives and weaponry.  It is likely that the law will be changed to allow military forces to carry out vetting when an application to join is made; at present vetting can only be carried out on serving troops.

GREECE: Riot police arrested at least 15 men while evicting far-right demonstrators from a site in Athens where the first official mosque in Greece is to be built.

HUNGARY: Parliament defeated prime minister Victor Orban’s efforts to reject EU quotas for refugees.

MONTENEGRO: 14 people have been arrested, in relation to reports of a plot to assassinate the prime minister on election day last month.  A prosecutor claims that another 40 people were involved, including Russian nationals.

NETHERLANDS: The EU trade deal with Canada could be challenged in Holland, where campaigners opposed to it are organising a petition to trigger a referendum about it. The opposition of Belgium’s parliament of Wallonia was overcome last week.

UKRAINE: Mikheil Saakashvili resigned as head of the Odessa region in protest against the recently-revealed wealth of the country’s politicians.  He plans to challenge President Poroshenko, claiming that the president has not supported him in his attempts to tackle organised crime in Odessa. Mr Saakashvili is a former president of Georgia who was made a Ukrainian citizen last year.

Middle East and Africa

EGYPT: The value of the Egyptian pound fell by almost 50% against other currencies when the central bank decided to float the currency as part of its austerity measures.

IRAQ: Iraqi forces are fighting their way into Isis-held Mosul through the eastern suburbs. Over 240 Isis suicide attacks have been launched against them so far. There are reports that Isis is preparing human shields by rounding up civilians into schools and forcing residents to remain in homes where fighters and weapons have been positioned.  Only 40,000 residents have made it to the Khazir refugee camp outside the city. There are further reports of civilians being killed by Isis, and a mass grave of 100 headless corpses has been found.

There are reports that Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has fled to Baa’j, on the Syrian border.

LIBYA: US helicopter gunships have supported the Libyan ground assault on the last districts of Sirte held by Isis.

SOMALIA: 19 soldiers were killed in clashes between Galmudug and Puntland, semi-autonomous regions, after the collapse of a two-week old ceasefire brokered by Dubai.

SOUTH AFRICA: President Zuma faced more calls to resign after the publication by the office of the public protector of a new report detailing allegations of corruption involving the country’s rich and powerful Gupta family.  He faces a vote of no confidence this Thursday.

SYRIA: After a two week stand-off of its airforce, Russia told all rebels to leave the besieged eastern Aleppo by this week.  The rebels remained defiant, however, and none left, despite the stalling of their recent attempt to break the regime’s siege.  The head of Nato, Jens Stoltenberg, appealed to Russia to abandon the assault.  The Russian fleet, including the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetzov, arrived off Syrian coast.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (a US-backed alliance of Arab tribes, a Christian militia and remnants of the Free Syria Army, led by the Kurdish YPG) have begun Operation Euphrates Rage, the campaign to drive Isis from its capital, Raqqa.  Turkey has protested against the operation, because of the involvement of the YPG.

SUDAN: Security officers raided printing works and seized all copies of three newspapers which reported on a rise in fuel prices.

TURKEY: Nine Kurdish politicians were arrested.  They are MPs from the HDP party (People’s Democratic Party) – the third largest party in parliament – including its two co-leaders.  The authorities temporarily removed internet access and restricted social media.

9 people were killed by car bomb attack on a police-station in the mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir, hours after the arrest of the MPs.

A European Commission report criticised Turkey, alleging a “severe regression” of liberties and democracy since the attempted coup.

Far East, Asia and Pacific

BANGLADESH: Police arrested 53 people, following attacks on Hindu homes and temples triggered by a post on Facebook which allegedly insulted Islam.

CHINA: Over ten thousand protestors demonstrated in Hong Kong against Beijing’s decision to bar two elected legislators from taking their seats in Hong Kong’s parliament.

INDIA: Prime minister Narendra Modi announced that the two largest banknotes (1000 rupees and 500 rupees) are to be withdrawn. The surprise measure is intended to combat corruption, counterfeiting and terrorist financing.

INDONESIA: Tens of thousands of conservative Muslims protested against Jakarta’s first Christian governor, claiming that he has insulted the Koran.

KOREA, SOUTH: President Park Geun Hye apologised for the political influence enjoyed by her friend Choi Soon Sil, who has been arrested over a scandal which involves rumours of corruption, shamanism and exorcism.

PAKISTAN: At least 21 people were killed in a rush-hour train crash in Karachi.

PHILIPPINES: President Duterte met Nur Misuari, whose Muslim rebel group the Moro National Liberation Front has been involved in an insurgency for decades.

The mayor of Albuero was shot dead in his prison cell by police who claimed that he had a gun.  He was arrested last month on charges of drug trafficking.

The Islamist militant group Abu Sayyaf has kidnapped a German from his yacht and killed his wife.  The group, based on an island in the southern Philippines, have extorted millions of pounds in ransom money in recent years.

The Supreme Court ruled that the remains of Ferdinand Marcos, the deposed president who died in exile 27 years ago, can be buried in the national Heroes’ Cemetery. Victims of his regime had protested against the plan, initiated by the current president, to have his embalmed body buried there.

THAILAND: Two security guards and a soldier were killed by Islamist separatist insurgents in the southern province of Songkhla.


NICARAGUA: President Daniel Ortega won a fourth term in office, with 72.5% of the vote. His wife is his vice-president.

USA: The FBI director James Comey, criticised last week for publicly announcing new investigations into e-mails which “appear to be pertinent” to the FBI’s previous investigation into Hilary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server, declared this week that in fact they have no bearing on Hilary Clinton.

Donald Trump, the Republican candidate, won the presidential election. See comments To The Winner… and Give us a ‘T’, give us a ‘R’… and The economic and market consequences of Donald Trump.


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