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 past week began in tragic circumstances, as news emerged of a plane crash in the mountainous region of Colombia. In total, seventy-one people died in the incident that took place just outside the city of Medellin.

Donald Trump’s future as the President of America continues to take shape, as the controversial figure broke US policy to communicate directly with the President of Taiwan. Whilst China was infuriated by Trump’s diplomatic act, fighting in Libya continues to rage on as Tripoli experiences its heaviest fighting in two years.  

Anger, pain and devastation seemed to be the theme of the week, with Australian protesters overrunning parliament security for two days. ISIS, on the other hand, seems to be expanding their operations in Europe according to Europol. The continental police force has painted a bleak picture for the European landscape, in respects to its clash with the terrorist organisation.

Finally, in a bit of good news for a change, the NHS has finally agreed to prescribe a drug that significantly reduces the risk of contracting HIV in England.

Tragic Plane Crash Unites the Footballing World

A plane that was carrying seventy-seven people from Bolivia came crashing down in the mountains of Colombia. Of the seventy-seven people on board, Brazilian football team Chapecoense were on board and on their way to the club’s biggest match in their history. Scheduled to play in the final of the Copa Sudamericana, the team and the rest of the plane’s passengers met their catastrophic end on Monday. Reports suggest that the pilot had signalled a shortage of fuel, but investigations continue. Six people survived.

Trump Calls Taiwan

In an act of clear defiance, President-elect Trump has contravened America’s long-standing policy regarding Taiwan. The United States have not had official relations with the Taiwanese government since the former severed diplomatic ties in 1979. Yet, Trump has ignored American protocol and held a phone conversation with President Tsai Ing-wen to discuss political, economic and security concerns. China’s State media cast Trump and his team as inexperienced when it comes to foreign affairs. Trump had continuously voiced his desire to challenge China on a range of issues should he be elected, with Friday’s phone call sure to antagonise his international rivals further.

Libya fighting

Libya has been besieged by years of fighting and internal strife. The UN-backed government lacks the internal support, authority and capability to rule the country effectively. Added to that, the country is governed by a number of different militias and militarised bodies across Central, Western and Eastern regions. In what has been described as the worst fighting to hit the Libyan capital in two years, local militias are battling one another in the streets of Tripoli. Eight people have been reported as dead, and twenty injured, although with fighting set to continue, those figures look set to rise.

‘Close the Bloody Camps Now’

Australia’s parliament in Canberra set the scene for determined protests over the past week. The government’s much-criticised policy of interning asylum seekers in camps in Papa New Guinea, has sparked impassioned demonstrations. Banners reading: ‘close the bloody camps now’, and an array of other politically-charged placards. Protests spilled into the parliament itself, as security struggled to cope with the determined protesters. An Amnesty International Report published last month described the camps as ‘open-air prisons’.

IS Europe Threat

Europe’s leading continental police force has highlighted the threat posed by ISIS. Charlie Hebdo and the Bataclan Concert Hall were two prominent attacks supposedly orchestrated by the terrorist organisation. However, Rob Wainwright, Europol’s Director, said more attacks in Europe were a real threat. Ranging from ‘lone wolves’ to organised collectives, ISIS would look to expand its European attacks as it faced impending defeat in the Middle East, according to Wainwright.

New HIV drug on NHS

Following on from an unsuccessful court battle over the summer, the NHS has announced that they will provide a drug used to reduce the risk of contracting HIV. PrEP, the drug in question, has been proven to reduce the risk of being infected with HIV. These developments mark the beginning of a three year trial that will help the NHS understand the drug better, as well as conceive of how to distribute the drug to substantial numbers. Only those at high risk of infection are prescribed PrEP. Studies show that the drug can reduce the risk of HIV by 86%.


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