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Focus This Week in the World

This Week in the World | 2.10.2020


Deadlock In Ireland Election As Nationalist Left Sinn Fein Rises

by Hal Conte

A surge by the pro-reunification Sinn Fien led to a three-way tie between the nationalist party, current Prime Minister Leo Varadkar’s Fine Gael, and the center-right Fianna Fail, leading to a situation where none of the three parties – all of which obtained just over 22 percent of the vote in exit polls – are willing to work with each other to form a government. Supported overwhelmingly by younger voters, Sinn Fien was attacked by the other two parties for its support for the IRA in the 1970s and 1980s, but was able to move past this issue by campaigning on housing and anti-poverty measures.

Image source: Getty


Liberals Elevate Far-Right In German State In Breach Of Postwar Taboo

by Hal Conte

In a maneuver breaking with over 70 years of rejection of the far-right, Thomas Kemmerich was elected minister-president of the German state of Thuringia with support from the nationalist Alternative for Germany, and was forced to immediately vow to resign in the face of public outrage. Kemmerich’s Free Democratic Party was the smallest party in parliament with just 5 percent of seats, but was installed as the government after the Christian Democratic Union and AfD voted to 45-44 against the outgoing Left Party premier. With new elections likely, the Social Democrats and the Left Party have highlighted how Thuringia was also the first state to allow Nazis into government by liberal and conservative parties in 1930.

Image source: MDR


40 Percent Of World’s Nations Will Experience Unrest in 2020, Study Predicts

by Hal Conte

Political risk intelligence firm Verisk Maplecroft claims 40 percent of countries worldwide will see civil disorder in 2020, with protests and riots most likely in Venezuela, Iran, Libya, Guinea, Nigeria, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Chile, Palestine, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Lebanon, India, Zimbabwe and Bolivia. The report described 2019’s protests as the “new normal,” adding that “Even if tackled immediately, most of the grievances are deeply entrenched and would take years to address.” The company claims that demonstrations in Hong Kong and Chile, which began over central government influence and inequality began in force last year, are  likely to continue for months.

Image source: Verisk Maplecroft


Standoff Between Canadian Police And Anti-Pipeline Activists At Wet’suwet’en

by Hal Conte

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police attacked indigenous protesters opposing a gas pipeline in at a camp in British Columbia, arresting six. The Caostal GasLink pipeline is a $4.5bn project set to run through the historic Wet’suwet’en area. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudaeu said he sees the pipeline as a “provencial issue.” In explosive leaked recordings, police were discovered to be planning to use lethal force against activists, but they deny any plans to shoot activists, who have remained non-violent. 

Image source: Michael Toledano


Top Korean Novelist Sparks Boycott Of Literary Prize Over Copyright

By Yoona Lee

The famous Korean publishing company Munhaksasang (Literature and Thoughts) apologized on Wednesday about their contract terms with the writers who received the company’s Yi Sang Literary Award after three writers who were won this year’s award – Kim Geum-hee, Choi Eun-yeong and Lee Gi-ho – refused to accept it The contract terms stated that the writers had to transfer their copyrights to the company for three years. This also allowed the company to make movies, dramas, and other products without the writers’ approval. A prolific writer Yoon Yi-hyung, who was awarded the last year’s Yi Sang Literary award had tweeted on Jan 31st that she decided to end her writing career, saying “I’ve grown so tired of the unfair practices in the literary world that I no longer want to continue writing.” Company CEO Lim Ji-hyun said they had canceled this year’s awards and the Korean Publishers Association expressed regret as well.

Image source: Korea Times


Kenyans Mourn Dead President Moi, Autocrat For Decades

by Yoona Lee

Kenya’s longest-serving president, Daniel arap Moi, who led the country from 1978 to 2002, died last Tuesday. In Nairobi, a long line of people came to see his body in the parliament building. Current president Uhuru Kenyatta praised Moi for his leadership in Kenya’s break from the UK, and a peaceful transition to a multi-party system. However, Moi was criticized for economic stagnation and his ruthless suppression of political opponents, following a failed coup in 1987. He ran a program of torture and killings, and limited freedom of the press. Corruption in his government led the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank to stop lending to Kenya. There will be a state funeral on Tuesday and his body will be buried at his home.

Image source: Wikimedia