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This Week in the World

This Week in the World | 10.28.19

Illustration Credit: Peter Naktin

Macri Expelled From Presidency in Argentina as Kirchner Rides Again

by Hal Conte

Cristina Fernandez and Alberto Fernandez became vice-president and president of Argentina in a long-expected victory, with the pair’s 48 percent of the vote leading outgoing President Mauricio Macri’s alliance by 7.5 percent. The election was seen as a rejection of an IMF reform package and the wider liberal economic strategy in place since 2015 which resulted in 56 percent inflation and a 6 percent rise in poverty, although financial analysts don’t expect the country to return to the populist radicalism of Cristina Fernandez’s presidency. Celebrations began in the streets of Buenos Aires as soon as the results were announced. Alberto Fernandez, who is not related to his running-mate, is set to meet with Macri to discuss the country’s financial status.

Image source: AFP

“Negative Majority” in German State Election

by Hal Conte

State elections in Thuringia yesterday saw the Left Party – the political and legal offspring of the East German communists – and the Alternative for Germany, headed up by Bernd Hocke, who participates in neo-Nazi marches and has said the country needs a “180-degree change” in the way it mourns the Holocaust, acheve a combined 54.4 percent of the vote. This is the first “negative majority” for far-right and far-left parties since the Weimar Republic. The Left Party currently runs the state in a coalition with the SPD and Greens, but those parties votes fell to a point where such an arrangement is no longer possible. The CDU, the party of Chancellor Angela Merkel, lost 12 percent of its vote share and refuses to work with the Left, so forming a majority coalition may be impossible.

Image source: Die Linke

1 Million Swamped By Flooding in South Sudan

by Hal Conte

Heavy flooding has submerged multiple towns in Sudan, even as the country reels from an ongoing civil war which has caused its economy to plunge. Rain will likely continue for four to six weeks and is likely to block access to health facilities, shops and other key locations. South Sudan has large oil reserves, which could be used to finance a recovery, and a peace pact was forged just over a year ago between participants in the country’s civil war. In the short term, ruined crops coming out of flooded areas are likely to be inadequate to serve the population. The U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs is on the scene amidst the cleanup.

Image source: IFRC

“Evil” Sanctions in Zimbabwe Draw Angry Crowd

by Hal Conte

Thousands showed up for protests against economic sanctions on President Emmerson Mnangagwa in Zimbabwe which were imposed by the U.S. and EU decades ago. Mnangagwa, accused of election fraud, has been linked to corrupt practices and came to power last year via an internal coup in the ruling party. Sanctions meant to target elites, though, usually have devastating effects on the wider economy and hit the poor, which due to mismanagement already make up the majority of Zimbabwe’s people, and have been described as “evil” by protestors. “Sanctions affect us. Banks can’t mobilise lines of credit. The US sponsor the opposition so that people turn on their government,” said Ephraim Chizola, a vendor interviewed by Al Jazeera.

Image source: AFP

U.S. Country Singer Sexualizes Vietnamese Traditional Clothing

by Yoona Lee

American country singer Kacey Musgraves posted photos on her Instagram wearing a áo dài, the Vietnamese garment. However, she chose to wear only the tunic and not the pants. Traditionally, the áo dài consists of a tunic with two long panels that comes down to one’s knees and pants, and is not meant to appear in a sexual manner. In an interview with NBC News, Thuy Pham, executive director of the Vietnamese Heritage Center in New York City, said that it is very upsetting as a Vietnamese person to see one’s “traditional dress being disrespected on stage.” Pham added that “since she’s a public figure, she might influence more people to think it’s trendy,” resulting in a further fetishization of Asian women. 

Image source: Twitter

Worldwide Takedown of the Largest Child Pornography Website

by Yoona Lee

23-year-old Jong Woo Son was arrested and charged for operating the infamous ‘Welcome to Video’ site based in South Korea. Along with the operator, 337 site users in the U.S., UK, South Korea, Germany, South Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Czech Republic, Canada, Ireland, Spain, Brazil and Australia were also charged. The website was funded by raking in billions in Bitcoin, which authorities say enabled the child predators to hide behind the dark web. The investigation was a collaboration between the IRS’s criminal investigations team, the U.S. Justice Department, and anti-crime officials of the UK, South Korea, and Germany.

Image source: UPI