Weekly Global Newscast |16 September – 23 September, 2019
Trump Hails Indian PM at ‘historic’ Texas Rally
US President Donald Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi exchanged warm words of friendship in Texas at a rare mass rally for a foreign leader. Around 50,000 people gathered for what Mr. Trump called a ‘profoundly historic event’. The event was billed as one of the largest ever receptions of a foreign leader in the US. A 90-minute show, featuring 400 performers, warmed up the crowd before Mr. Modi and Mr. Trump shared the stage.
“The rally has been called a win-win for both the leaders. For President Trump, it was a chance to court Indian-Americans for the 2020 presidential election race where Texas could emerge as a battleground state. For Mr. Modi, a PR triumph and picture with the president of the US may help him shrug off the criticism over his recent strong-arm polices at home’ said BBC.
‘The joint appearance also underscores the growing strategic significance of US-India ties. The world’s two largest democracies are a vital check on China’s ambitions to dominate the Asia-Pacific region, as Mr. Trump recognizes and Barack Obama did as well’ quoted by MSN.
Deadly Clashes on Tajik-Kyrgyz Border Leave One Dead
A shoot-out on a disputed section of the border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in the Ferghana Valley has left at least one border guard dead and 19 other people wounded, officials from both countries say. Both sides blamed each other for starting the shooting in Kyrgyzstan’s Leylek district and the Bobojon Ghafurov district of Tajikistan. The Tajik and Kyrgyz border agencies said the shooting, which they said followed a dispute over construction at a non-demarcated section of the border, stopped and that officials were trying to prevent further escalation.
“Many border areas in Central Asia have been disputed since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The situation is particularly complicated near the numerous exclaves in the volatile Ferghana Valley, where the borders of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan meet’ said by Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty.
‘This year alone, there have been at least half a dozen cases of violence, typically stemming from differences among local residents about how to share land and resources’ said Eurasia Net.
Middle East & North Africa
Arab Parties Back Gantz to Oust Netanyahu in Israel Elections
Israeli-Arab lawmakers have recommended that the former army chief Benny Gantz should become prime minister. Last week’s election put the incumbent leader Benjamin Netanyahu neck and neck with Mr. Gantz, and the two are now vying to build a governing coalition. Joint List, the bloc of Arab parties that came in third, says it wants to oust Mr. Netanyahu from power. This is the first time since 1992 that an Arab political group has issued an endorsement for prime minister. This was Israel’s second general election of the year. After the first, in April, coalition talks fell apart and a snap poll was called.
“Faced with yet another deadlock, Israel’s president Reuven Rivlin has recommended the new government includes both Mr. Gantz’s Blue and White Alliance, and Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud party. Joint List won 13 seats in the election. If Mr. Gantz had the endorsement of all 13 seats, he would still fall short of the 61 seats needed for a majority in the 120-seat legislature. This is a significant exercise of political power by Israel’s Arab citizens’ as said by BBC.
‘Netanyahu has repeatedly been accused of political rhetoric and actions amounting to racism toward Israel’s Arab population. “We have become illegitimate in Israeli politics in the Netanyahu era,” Odeh told Israeli president Reuven Rivlin when informing him of the endorsement,’ as quoted by The Guardian.
Sub Saharan Africa
Nigeria Army Accuses International Aid Agency of Feeding Boko Haram Terrorists
An international aid agency has been shut down in Nigeria after army bosses accused it of “aiding and abetting” terrorists in the country’s war-torn northeast region. Military spokesman Ado Isa said “Action Against Hunger” gave food and drugs to Boko Haram fighters, despite several warnings from the army not to do so. The army declared the NGO ‘persona non grata’ claiming it had credible evidence from its troops that the charity did not heed its orders.
“Nigeria’s army has been previously embroiled in disputes with NGOs working in the country’s troubled northeast, where terrorist networks continue to stage deadly attacks, accusing them of undermining efforts to fight terrorism. UNICEF activities were briefly suspended by the military in December 2018 over allegations its staff were training terrorists in the region’ said by CNN.
‘In total, around 30,000 people have been killed, and more than two million forced to flee their homes, in the decade-long insurgency led by Islamist Militant group Boko Haram. Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) split from Boko Haram in 2016. The United Nations has said that 7.1 million people still need humanitarian assistance in the region’ quoted by Africa News.
Johnson Heads to UN where Brexit will dominate the Agenda
Boris Johnson heads off this weekend for the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations summit in New York where, despite an official focus on subjects including the environment and Iran, Brexit seems likely to yet again dominate the prime minister’s agenda. He is scheduled to holds talks with Donald Tusk, the European council president at the United Nation General Assembly (UNGA), as well as having joint discussions with Emmanuel Macron of France and Germany’s Angela Merkel, and a meeting with Ireland’s Leo Varadkar.
“With the trip already expected to be potentially interrupted by the supreme court ruling on whether Johnson was lawful in suspending parliament, his meetings with EU leaders will face intense scrutiny over signs of any emerging Brexit compromise. It will be a first chance for Tusk and others to interrogate Johnson personally on the draft ideas for a possible solution to resolving a hard Irish border outlined by the UK government, amid signs of continued EU skepticism on the issue,’ as said by The Guardian.
‘The PM, who is expected to be accompanied on the trip by his partner Carrie Symonds, said he had three priorities for the upcoming meeting. First, would be the working mechanism of European and American allies on peace and stability in the Middle East. The second would be the role of science and new technologies that can help the world deal with climate change and the third would be how post-Brexit Britain will be a better place to invest in and live in’ as quoted by BBC.
Kiwi Economy Heading to a Slump ‘because of Trump’
Acting New Zealand Prime Minister Winston Peters has foreshadowed a slump in the New Zealand economy, citing US President Donald Trump as a reason. The economy grew by 0.6 per cent in the March 2019 quarter, with a fresh quarterly figure to be announced on.
“New Zealand grew by 2.5 percent – compared to Australia’s 1.8 per cent – in the 12 months to March 2019, when a major downturn in primary industries was more than offset by boosts in construction, manufacturing and mining’ said by The Sydney Morning Herald.
‘The opposition nationwide event has taunted the authorities this week in anticipation of a smaller yelp price. Peters perceived to fair uncover that destiny when puzzled in Wellington’ said by Headlinez Pro.
Iran Rejects Prospect of Talks with Trump at UN
Iran’s top diplomats have said they will not enter into negotiations until the US stops its campaign of ‘maximum pressure’ on Tehran, making bilateral talks between leaders attending the meeting of United Nations General Assembly this week highly unlikely.
“Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said that “maximum pressure” from the United States has produced “maximum resistance” from Iran, and that Tehran will continue to resist’ while talking to The Independent.
‘The Pentagon said it would send weapons and hundreds of troops to Saudi Arabia to help the kingdom protect itself. Mike Pompeo, US secretary of state, on Sunday said Iran was “bloodthirsty and looking for war”. Mr. Zarif hit back at his US counterpart, saying he was acting like a “warmonger” instead of a diplomat’, quoted by Financial Times.