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.
The biggest political upset of our lives took place this week. Donald J. Trump’s ascendency to the role of America’s President-elect marked a significant shock, both domestically and across the world. The repercussions of this event will unfold as time passes, but already Europe seems to be reeling from Trump’s rise, as NATO worries for its future stability. Marine Le Pen of France, on the other hand, was encouraged by the underdog’s success. In New Zealand, unsettling shocks were also felt, but this time in a geological manner, with an immense earthquake being promptly followed by a thunderous tsunami.
South Korean President Park Guen-hye remains embroiled in a corruption scandal that will force her to come before the state’s prosecutors. Somewhat under the radar, reports have emerged that nearly 30,000 people around the city of Lagos have been made homeless following coordinated fires and demolitions. Amongst all the doom and despair, there was brighter news to emerge from our South American cousins. Following the public’s rejection of a peace plan between the Colombian government and Farc rebels, a new agreement has now been reached, paving the way for a peaceful resolution to this age-old conflict.
American Dream or American Psycho?
Following Brexit it seemed that anything was possible. So much so that Trump promised that the U.S. election would be ‘Brexit plus-plus-plus’. This promise was fulfilled on Tuesday, as voters defied the pollsters and declared Trump as their President-elect. In what has been a bitterly fought and abuse-ridden campaign, Hillary Clinton had to concede defeat to her controversial rival. The former star of America’s version of ‘The Apprentice’ secured a comfortable victory against his political opponent, by claiming surprise victories in ‘battleground states’, such as Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Florida. Although his acceptance speech suggested a more restrained and conciliatory tone than that seen on the campaign trail, it seems that much work remains to be done. Three nights of protests were unleashed across America, as thousands of protesters carried signs declaring that ‘Love Trumps Hate’ and ‘Not My President’.
The Hangover: Europe Divided on Trump’s Surprise Victory
NATO’s Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, had a strong message for America’s President-elect. Stoltenberg noted that despite Trump’s numerous criticisms and description of NATO as ‘obsolete’, now was not the time to jeopardise the alliance. NATO believes that the threat of Russian expansionism and international terrorism, amongst other things, ensure that NATO is more relevant now than it has ever been. To further his point, Stoltenberg was kind enough to remind America that the only time NATO had ever invoked article five, the clause for self-defence, was in response to the 9/11 attacks. Marine Le Pen was more pleased than her Norwegian counterpart. As France braces itself for presidential elections next year, Le Pen claimed that Trump’s victory had made ‘possible what had previously been…impossible’. Furthering an anti-immigration, eurosceptic approach, Le Pen is expected to make a significant impact on the upcoming elections, and may have to thank Trump for leading the way if she does better than expected.
New Zealand Becomes the Latest Country to be Ravaged by a Quake
A fatal earthquake overcame the southern island of New Zealand late on Sunday night. Reading a colossal 7.8 on the Richter scale, the huge earthquake rocked the coastal region of New Zealand, which was then subjected to a tsunami approximately two hours after the initial quake. So far there have been reports of numerous injuries and two deaths, but with many towns along the coast losing communication, the true extent of this event will only become clear as time goes by.
Power Corrupts: South Korean President Set to Make History
Weeks of public anger, demonstrations and distrust may finally have taken its toll. State prosecutors will begin questioning South Korean President, Park Guen-hye, following allegations of corruption. The President is accused of allowing her close friend Choi Soon-sil to influence political proceedings. Hundreds of thousands of people came to the streets on Saturday to voice their disapproval and seek Guen-hye’s resignation, as her approval rating collapsed to a mere five per cent. This marks the first time that a reigning President has been questioned by public officials.
Lagos Set Alight
According to human rights group Amnesty International around 30,000 people have been left homeless in the city of Lekki. Whilst the situation remains unclear and widely underreported, it is known that a court order issued on Monday prohibited the state government from demolishing the makeshift settlements along the waterfront. Reports state that fires were set on Wednesday morning, with police and demolition experts returning at night to bulldoze the existing homes.
Better Late than Never: New Deal Paves the Way for Peace
Government officials and Farc negotiators agreed a new peace deal today. Following the public’s rejection of a previous settlement, which many believed was too lenient on the rebel group, the two parties were able to establish a new compromise. The government stated that opposition concerns were included in the new round of talks, with a more stringent deal reached with the rebels. However, unlike last time, the government will not seek to ratify the deal amongst the people, and instead will submit the proposal to congress. The government’s bid to bypass the public and head straight for congress may not sit too well with certain elements of society. Whilst there is newfound hope for a peaceful resolution, the road ahead is far from clear.