Babylon Radio’s weekly column is here to provide you with a quick insight into some of the world’s most pressing issues.
As 2016 ground to an undignified halt, 2017 has been ushered in with several worldwide events.
New Years Eve revellers were subjected to a night of terror in Istanbul. A lone gunman entered a popular Turkish night club and opened fire on the 600 partygoers, leaving thirty-nine dead and many more injured.
Russia and America’s fragile relationship endured further controversy when thirty-five Russian diplomats were expelled from their American homes. The move came in response to Russia’s supposed cyber interference in November’s presidential election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. In Brazil, at least sixty prisoners have died following a day of rioting. Reports suggest that the violence began when two rival gangs clashed in the Amazonas prison and resulted in many injuries but no known escapes.
The Spanish city of Ceuta, situated on the north coast of Africa, also witnessed vigorous clashes. Approximately 1,100 migrants tried to enter Europe by climbing the border fence separating Spain and Morocco. Sticking with North Africa, German police have been lambasted for apparently targeting men of Arab and North African descent, in a suspected case of racial profiling.
True to form, 2016 bid farewell to an eventful year with a spate of high-profile deaths. The passing of George Michael at the age of fifty-three years old was followed by Carrie Fisher’s unexpected death, which was rumoured to have contributed to her mother’s, Debbie Reynolds, subsequent passing.
Turkish New Year Blighted by Terrorist Attack
Thirty-nine people were killed in a brutal attack on New Years Eve. The suspected gunman, who has now been claimed as a member of ISIS, stormed the Istanbul nightclub before opening fire. Seen as a response to Turkey’s ongoing battle against ISIS fighters in Syria, the indiscriminate attack left dozens of people injured. The Reina nightclub is renowned as one of Turkey’s most exclusive nightclubs. Yet, as the violence unfolded, innocent bystanders had to run for cover in order to avoid the 180 bullets fired from the terrorist. For now, Turkish police continue to search for the gunman and any accomplices.
Best of Enemies: American-Russian Relations Continue to be Tested
One of the many talking points of November’s presidential election in America was foreign interference. The hacking of Hillary Clinton’s personal emails, which were then published on Wikileaks, was seen as significantly impacting the course of the elections. Suspicions that Russia was responsible for the hacks were confirmed by leading American intelligence services, such as the CIA, FBI and Department of Homeland Security. In retaliation for these ‘cyber attacks’, America has expelled thirty-five Russian diplomats and ordered the closure of two Russian buildings used for intelligence purposes. Russian President, Vladimir Putin, responded to the news by inviting American diplomats and their families to the Kremlin for New Years Eve, whilst president-elect Donald Trump praised the Russian leader for his calculated response.
Harrowing Bloodshed Hits Brazilian Prison
Seventeen hours of rioting finally met its end today. Violence erupted in the Brazilian city of Manaus on Sunday between rival gangs in a state prison. Although the twelve guards taken hostage were released unharmed, at least sixty prisoners were killed in gruesome circumstances. Overcrowding is seen as a serious issue in Brazilian prison, with reports noting that the building designed for around 400 prisoners was housing over 1,200 inmates at the time.
Spanish-Moroccan Border Breached by Migrants
1,100 migrants stormed Europe’s only land border from Africa to Europe on Sunday. Five Spanish guards and fifty Moroccan border police were wounded as the migrants tried to reach European land. Only two migrants were able to successfully climb the border fence, but injured themselves in the process, meaning that neither person was able to reach the European shore. In December, four hundred migrants managed to successfully climb the Afro-European border fence.
German Police Accused of Racial Profiling
Police in Cologne have been accused of targeting North African and Arab men on New Years Eve. Last year’s celebrations were marked by countless complaints of sexual assault on German women. In a bid to avoid a repeat of last year’s events, German police stopped 650 individuals, of which ‘ninety-nine per cent’ were reported to be North African men. Questions remain about the legality of such a move.
Curtain Call for Three More Celebrities as 2016 Meets its End
George Michael, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds joined the string of celebrities that passed away over the past year. Aged fifty-three, sixty and eighty-four years old respectively, the three stars passed away in the space of four days. In a music career spanning over thirty years, Michael was responsible for several hits, both as part of pop group Wham!, as well as a successful stint as a solo artist. Fisher on the other hand endeared herself to Sci-Fi fans across the world through her portrayal of Princess Leia in Star Wars. Fisher had featured in many other productions, but will forever be known for her depiction of the Star Wars character. Debbie Reynolds, Fisher’s mother, was famed for her role in the hit musical Singin’ in the Rain. Reynolds was taken ill a day after her daughter’s death having suffered a suspected stroke. Michael’s death remains inconclusive, whilst Fisher endured a substantial heart attack on a flight from London to Los Angeles.