October 22-28, 2017

Europe

The Catalan parliament took a vote in Barcelona, Spain, winning 70 of 135 votes to declare independence and create a new Republic of Catalonia. The Senate immediately responded by overwhelmingly approving the Government of Spain’s right to declare the act void and to dismiss Catalonia’s move towards independence by imposing direct rule over the region. No European government will recognize Catalonia as an independent state moving forth.

Asia

 Protests over the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar. || Jorge Silva, Reuters.

Protests over the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar. || Jorge Silva, Reuters.

South Korea declared its intentions to raise the minimum wage by 16.4% to 7 530 won/hour ($6.65 USD) this year and to increase the minimum wage by 55% to 10 000 won by 2020. This aggressive approach will bring the lowest wage to 70% of the current mean wage. Moon Jae-in, the president of South Korea, describes it as “people-oriented growth” relying on increasing domestic consumption rather than exports to boost the economy.

After more than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Rakhine state in Buddhist-majority Myanmar to Bangladesh, the US is considering declaring the crisis as a case of ethnic cleansing. Ramifications of this proposal could lead to new sanctions if it can be confirmed that crimes against humanity have been committed.

As tensions over a North Korean nuclear crisis continue to rise, United States Secretary of Defense James Mattis has formally claimed that any use of nuclear weapons will result in hostile retaliation.

Oceania

The world’s youngest female leader, Jacinda Ardern, was sworn in as prime minister of New Zealand this week. The 37-year-old formed New Zealand’s first government comprised of losing parties. Ms Ardern’s campaign, which unseated an almost decade-long reign by the National Party, included promises that range from curbing low-skilled immigration to cleaning up polluted rivers.

North America

Stephen Harper, the former Canadian prime minister, released a memo entitled “Napping on NAFTA” that accused the Trudeau government of dealing poorly with NAFTA renegotiations. The memo sparked controversy, as some deemed it ill-timed encouragement to the Trump administration’s recent aggressive demands. The next round of NAFTA negotiations begins on 17 November in Mexico City.

For the first time in the course of the Mueller Investigation, official charges have been filed. A federal grand jury has approved the arrest of multiple individuals. Although their identities and crimes still remain unknown, they could be arrested as early as this coming Monday. The Mueller Investigation has also made public the involvement of the Clinton campaign and DNC in financing the Trump Dossier. The Trump Dossier was a document released in the heat of the 2016 campaign that accused Trump of several unsavory things, and to be possibly colluding with Russia.

On Saturday, The Hill reported on the Trump sons' new trade deals in India which include two residential projects in the cities of Delhi and Kolkata. These deals were signed before the Trump organization's pledge to avoid new international trade deals during Trump's White House tenure, and once again has critics pointing out the serious conflict of interest such deals pose for the President.

Africa

The situation in Somalia only seems to be growing more and more dire. Just a week after the explosion of a truck bomb that killed over 350 people, another deadly terrorist attack has struck the war-riddled country. In Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, a car-bomb detonated outside a hotel that killed at least 13 people. Just like the preceding attack, the terrorist group Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility.