Latin America and Caribbean
Venezuela – Following the contentious election in Venezuela that gave Nicholás Maduro the power to shut down the Parliament to re-write their constitution, which was reported last week by Florian in our News Roundup, Donald Trump threatened the possibility of military action in the increasingly crisis-ridden state. While Donald Trump made this threat in the hopes of deterring the Maduro government from a worsening humanitarian crisis, it seems to have done the opposite and emboldened the regime against the United States. On August 14th, Maduro threatened President Trump of military exercises to deter the United States from interfering in their affairs and warned his people of the imperialism of the United States. Further, Trump’s call to military action in Latin America has united many countries against the president claiming that Latin America is a “community of peace.”
Sierra Leone – Last week, a devastating mudslide hit the capital of Sierra Leone, Freetown. Heavy rains, flooding, and the deforestation of Mount Sugar Loaf caused the devastating mudslide. Reports are coming out stating more than 400 people have already been found dead with an additional 600 people still missing. As the search for survivors continue, health ministers in Sierra Leone fear water-borne illnesses, such as cholera, will infect search volunteers. The increased deforestation in the area was caused by a population boom and lax regulations on building in the hillside. As deforestation compounds with the increased frequency of intensified storms due to climate change, it is possible that more tragedies like this will be seen around the world.
Asia and Pacific
Australia – August 24 marks a questionably important date for marriage equality in Australia as it is the last day citizens can enroll in a voluntary, postal plebiscite (or postal vote) that will poll the Australian public on its acceptance of gay marriage. The legality of the plebiscite is at the same time being challenged by marriage equality advocates, who claim the Turnbull government and the agency executing the vote are overstepping their legal authority. The litigants believe that a vote on the right to marry in Parliament should not be dependent on the outcome of a voluntary postal vote. Australian high court is expected to rule on the legality of the vote by mid-September.
North Korea – The Hermit Kingdom has been in the news for past few weeks as threats from both Kim Jung-Un and Donald Trump have flown across the Pacific Ocean. After weeks of missile tests that have proven the North Korean’s ability to target Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) at the United States, Donald Trump has threatened the recluse regime with a promise of “fire and fury” if they continue to test missiles and threaten the security of the United States. North Korea matched Trump’s threats by claiming they would conduct military exercises near Guam, a statement that was later walked back by officials in North Korea. While it is unlikely that nuclear war will break out soon, the fear that it will is very real. In what turned out to be a shocking vote, the UN Security Council approved intensified sanctions against North Korea for their threats of nuclear war. The vote was shocking due to the approval of China, North Korea’s only ally, which has long vetoed measures to punish North Korea’s actions. The New York Times broke down how possible it will be for North Korea to attack the United States with a nuclear bomb.