The Week in Brief

Babylon Radio’s weekly column is here to provide you with a quick insight into some of the world’s most pressing issues.

Disturbing violence has taken centre stage this week. A suspected terrorist rammed a lorry into a group of Israeli soldiers today, resulting in four deaths and thirteen injuries. This grave incident has come at a fragile time in Israeli society, as a soldier was recently convicted of unlawfully killing a Palestinian terrorist.

Florida also witnessed tragic scenes when a former US soldier opened fire at Fort Lauderdale airport. Five people were killed, whilst another six were injured, in what remains a developing case.

Military unrest in the Ivorian city of Bouake resulted in a weekend of instability. Soldiers began firing weapons and seized the army headquarters in Abidjan at the beginning of Friday. For now, it seems that peace has been restored. The sharp division experienced between the state and military is being replicated in the natural world too. Scientists have announced that one of the biggest icebergs ever documented is set to become detached from Antarctica. Such an event can have several consequences, with rising seawaters one such example.

Rising oil prices were not well received by the Mexican people this week. Multiple deaths and approximately 1,500 arrests were triggered when the government decided to remove their state subsidy, leading to mass protests and a twenty per cent increase in the price of petrol. A South Korean monk made a memorable impact during this week’s protest by lighting himself on fire. The monk was showing his disdain for a recent agreement reached with Japan, regarding the use of South Korean sex slaves during World War Two.

Terror Strikes the Streets of Jerusalem

Unsuspecting soldiers were targeted in an act of terrorism in Jerusalem. The Palestinian man, who rammed a lorry into a group of soldiers, is alleged to have been a supporter of ISIS. Whether there is any direct link or not remains to be seen, but the calculated attack left three women and one man dead, as well as thirteen injuries. The driver bulldozed the lorry through the crowd before reversing over the fallen victims. The surrounding soldiers shot and killed the assailant. The latest episode in a decades-long conflict has come at a troubling point in Israeli proceedings. The recent conviction of a soldier for manslaughter, in regards to an unlawful killing of a Palestinian terrorist, has significantly divided public opinion. Whilst Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for a presidential pardon, public opinion has been sharply split.

Multiple Victims in Baggage Claim Shooting

An ex-US soldier, Esteban Santiago, has been charged with the murder of five people in a Florida airport. Santiago began his attack in the baggage claim area of Fort Lauderdale airport, injuring six people. After collecting his bag, which contained a semi-automatic gun that was legally checked-in to his flight, Santiago loaded the weapon in the toilet before unleashing a flurry of bullets at random. Although terrorism has not been ruled out, reports have begun to surface that the suspect may have been experiencing severe mental health issues.

Ivorian Mutiny Finally Ends

A weekend-long uprising by soldiers in the Ivory Coast has reached its conclusion. Troops began their rebellion on Friday morning in the city of Bouake. The unrest entailed the capturing of the army headquarters, significant disturbances across several cities, and the brief detainment of the state’s defence minister. President Alassane Ouattara took to the nation’s television sets on Saturday night to confirm that a deal had been struck with the quarrelsome troops. Any potential reasons for the uprising remain unconfirmed.

Iceberg Set to Depart from Antarctica

An iceberg measuring 5,000 kilometres is about to break off from the Antarctica. Scientists say that the separation between this gigantic iceberg and ‘Larsen C’, a northern ice shelf in Antarctica, will leave the rest of the area vulnerable to future collapse. The substantial fear lies in any potential weakening of ‘Larsen C’, which is responsible for reining in the glaciers that make up West Antarctica. The detachment of one of the world’s largest ever icebergs has been a long time in the making, however it is believed that climate change has been a significant contributor to the speed at which the break has come.

Rising Cost of Petrol Fuels Unrest

1st January 2017 marked an important day in the Mexican economy. Following the financial strain of state subsidies, the Mexican government decided to scale down public spending and stop offsetting the price of fuel. The response, perhaps unsurprisingly, has been overwhelmingly negative amongst the Mexican public. The removal of the state subsidy has meant an increase in fuel prices by twenty per cent. So far, six people have died and 1,500 people have been arrested as Mexicans show their displeasure with the government policy.

Monk Sets Himself on Fire to Protest International Agreement

A South Korean monk set himself on fire in a clear act of defiance. The public incident was committed during the perpetual protests that have been held against the sitting President, Park Guen-hye. Rather than voicing their displeasure about the President’s recent corruption scandal, the monk took issue with a recently agreed deal between South Korea and Japan. The two states have finally reached an agreement regarding reparations for Japan’s use of South Korean sex slaves during World War II. This longstanding issue seemed to have reached a diplomatic solution, yet many believe that the deal does not hold Japan to account for its actions during the war. The monk suffered third-degree burns and remains unconscious at a local hospital.


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