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Focus This Week in the World

This Week in the World | 1.13.2020

Hal Conte January 13, 2020

Left Forms New Spanish Government

by Hal Conte

Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez was officially approved by parliament on Tuesday as the head of the country’s first coalition government since the country’s 1936-39 civil war with 167 votes in favor and 165 against. The administration, which consists of Sanchez’s center-left PSOE and the populist-left Podemos party, relies on the support of regionalist and separatist parties from the Basque and Catalonian regions and includes commmunist ministers, which has led the right-wing opposition to declare Sanchez a “traitor.” A member of the Francoite Vox party suggested a military coup might be necessary as politicians on both sides. Sanchez’s government, though, has promised to uphold spending limits demanded by the EU, although Podemos was able to negotiate tax increases on the wealthy.

Image source: EFE

250 Million Strike In India Against “Anti-People” Government Policies

by Hal Conte

Workers from 10 trade unions along with aligned university students took part in the largest strike in world history on Wednesday to protest a surge in joblessness and inequality in India under the BJP government. Unemployment is the highest in 45 years, and wages for farmers have been decimated as multinationals continue to encroach into the country’s agricultural sector, leaving many unable to afford basic items including shampoo. Union leaders denounced plans by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to privatise the country’s gas, shipping and airline corporations. At least 55 were injured as police attacked protesters, some of whom set fire to government vehicles and ransacked state buildings.

Image source: AP

Death of Kazakhstan Embassy Worker in Cairo Raises Questions

by Hal Conte

The wife of Elaman Zholdasov, an employee at the Kazakhstan embassy in Egypt found dead in his home before Christmas with a rope around his neck, is now calling for a major investigation of the incident by human rights groups. Officially, Moldabaeva’s death was declared a suicide, but this has been disputed as a “cover up.” He had spent the earlier part of his day with a journalist and a Saudi investor. This news comes at a time when embassies globally are increasingly becoming sources of controversial actions by foreign governments, including the murder of Saudi Jamal Khashoggi in a Turkish embassy and the forcable removal of WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange from London’s Ecuadorian embassy.

Image source: Creative Commons

Chilean Alt-Right Hit By Mark Hamill After Using Jedi Imagery For Hate

by Hal Conte

Fuerza Nacional, a Chilean political group which supports the legacy of the Augusto Pinochet military dictatorship era, has been slammed by Luke Skywalker actor Mark Hamill for tweeting memes showing Pinochet as a Jedi calling on Chileans to “join the real Force” to “destroy the left.” “Greetings to all Chileans! The world is watching you. Resist!” Hamill said in a reply to tweet. Chile is currently host to mass left-leaning protests against Chile’s government, which they accuse of being too closely linked to Pinochet-era policies. 29 have been killed since protests began in October, as military police have deployed chemical weapons and water cannons against demonstrators.

Image source: Twitter

Billions Stolen in Malaysia Global Corruption Ring Involving Princes, De Caprio

by Hal Conte

Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Leonardo de Caprio,  and Malaysian ex-premier Najib Razak have been exposed as part of a multi-billion dollar scam involving a Van Goh painting, luxury yachts and embezzlement from Malaysia’s state-owned investment fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad. Recordings unveiled by Malaysian anti-crime officials show Razak asking bin Zayed to fake a loan to the politician’s son, Riza Aziz, to show that he had received the money from Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Company, and not the Malaysian fund. Aziz owns the film company which produced De Caprio’s “Wolf of Wall Street.” Najib is quoted as saying: “I also have this personal request, your highness, that relates to Riza, my son and his movie… if there can be a loan agreement signed to show that it is a legitimate financing…that’s my special request.”

Image source: Reuters