Babylon Radio’s weekly column is here to provide you with a quick insight into some of the world’s most pressing issues.
This week we have witnessed important developments on the European Continent. French authorities are in the process of demolishing the Calais ‘Jungle’, whilst the Canadian government signed a comprehensive trade agreement with the EU. South America made some positive inroads in its fight against Zika, with Colombia and Brazil setting the scene for a monumental project to combat the disease’s spread. Two weeks after the death of Thailand’s beloved King, the public were granted permission to visit his body at the Grand Palace.
In happier news, Taiwan hosted the largest gay pride event in Asia, with supporters calling for the legalisation of same-sex marriage as they marched through the streets of Taipei. Hillary Clinton, on the other side of the world, was on the end of some bad news concerning her controversial use of a private email server during her time as secretary of state.
Calais’s Burning: The Demolition of the ‘Jungle’ is Almost Complete
Police officers, fire services, NGO’s, aid workers. Together, these different bodies started the process of clearing out and demolishing the camp on Monday 23rd. Since 1999, Calais has served as a hub for migrants from all over the world, seeking to enter into the UK. Despite being planned for months in advance, the clearing out process has not been plain sailing. Multiple fires were taking place across the camp, as huts were set ablaze and gas canisters were heard exploding across the camp. Whilst five thousand people have been evacuated and taken to reception areas across the country, many still remain. President Francis Hollande noted that 1,500 unaccompanied children remained amidst the ruin of the ’Jungle’. Although brandishing the operation, which will finish on Monday, as a success, Hollande will remain keen for Britain to welcome in a large proportion of the unattended youth. For now, the process continues.
One In, One Out
As the European Union braces itself for the future departure of Britain, Canada has agreed a wide-ranging agreement called Ceta, that will lead to closer economic ties with the EU. The culmination of seven long, arduous years of negotiations will meet their end on Sunday. Fears that the deal would fall at its final hurdle were raised last week as a small Belgian region demanded greater protection for the local economy before consenting to the deal. Yet, following intensive talks, the region of Wallonia and EU officials reached an agreement, paving the way for the agreement to be completed. Canada will now have greater access to an economy made up of 508 million people, whilst European exporters can look forward to a €500 million saving in export duties.
Clash of the Mosquitoes
An $18 million program to combat the spread of the Zika virus is beginning to bear fruit. Scientists have marked the beginning of 2017 as the desired start date for their project. The project concerns the use of genetically modified mosquitoes, in a bid to infect mosquitoes with a bug called Wolbachia, that will decrease mosquitoes ability to pass on Zika or dengue. By releasing millions of mosquitos that contain the necessary bug, it is hoped that they will mate with non-modified mosquitoes and consequently produce mosquitoes with a reduced ability to spread diseases. With the international health agency for the Americas, PAHO, claiming that 500 million people are at risk of contracting diseases from mosquitoes, the latest developments are highly welcomed.
Thai Mourners Descend on the Grand Palace to Pay Respect to Late King
King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s death two weeks ago rocked the people of Thailand. Having ruled for over seventy years, King Adulyadej was seen as a unifying figure that transcended politics. The year-long mourning that commenced has now taken a step further as tens of thousands of civilians will have the opportunity to pay their final respects to the King, as his body lies in state at Bangkok’s Grand Palace.
Love is Blind: Taiwan Gay Pride Sends A Clear Message to the Ruling Party
Thousands of people flocked to the streets of Taipei to take part in Asia’s largest gay pride event. Organisers of the event demanded that the political elite introduce a new law that will make same-sex marriage legal, making Taiwan the first Asian country to introduce such laws. The hugely successful day, whilst celebratory in tone, retained a deep, political message. Taiwan’s LGBTQ community are demanding equal rights, and they are demanding them now. The ruling party’s leader, President Tsai Ing-wen, has already voiced her support for same-sex wedlock, indicating that a significant change may be on the horizon in the country’s marriage equality laws.
US Election: Hillary’s Scandal Deepens
Hillary Clinton has had to apologise and reflect upon her use of a private email server whilst secretary of state throughout the presidential election. Yet, Friday 29th October may prove to be an incredibly significant moment, not just for Clinton personally, but for the whole course of the presidential race. Despite clearing Clinton of any criminal offence for her handling of classified material in July, the FBI’s Director James Comey stated yesterday that his organisation was looking into new evidence that may incriminate Clinton’s actions. Whilst little is known how serious the evidence is, presidential rival has seized the opportunity to brandish the episode as the ‘biggest political scandal since Watergate’. As Americans go off to vote in ten days time, the damage of Comey’s comments will only be truly observed once the world finds out who will be the next president of America.