Global Report: Stories Making the News

Sulawesi Hospital (BBC News)

WORLD RECAP

Every week, I do a news recap of important global events. Please look in the subtitles to find news of your favorite regions of the world.

North America: The United States House of Representatives has entered uncharted waters as it impeached Donald J. Trump for the second time. This time, however, it appears there is more bipartisan support than for any other presidential impeachment in U.S. history. The Senate will not likely hold trial until after the January 20 presidential inauguration. Trump accounts have been removed from social media giants Twitter and Facebook, causing some to argue those giants hold too much power over free speech issues. Others argue that future insurrections and violence will diminish by not having the incessant Trump narratives of rigged and fraudulent elections. The FBI and local police report the possibility of armed protests at many state capitol buildings on or near inauguration day.

Central / South America: Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro remains president two years after the United States and around 50 other countries declared his presidency illegitimate and supported Juan Guaido, head of the old National Assembly, as interim president. Maduro’s hold on the country is bolstered by his control of the military and the nation’s food distribution. China and Russia remain supporters of Venezuela, likely due to Venezuela’s mega-oil rich territory that is currently not being tapped. Recently, the National Assembly was taken over by Maduro loyalists from his United Socialist Party, clinching his hold on the nation’s political control.

Middle East / North Africa: The United States has brokered an alliance of Arab nations in support of normalizing relations with Israel and creating strength against an ever-increasing power struggle with Iran. U.S. money and military armaments sweetened the pot. The UAE was given a sweet package of sophisticated weapons, including F-35s, as a reward for normalizing Israeli relations. Sudan was given U.S. funds to pay the IMF and arrears to the World Bank and assistance to pay reparations from the 9/11 attacks to U.S. citizens. In payment, they agreed to move toward normalizing relations with Israel. Sudan also was removed from the designated state sponsor of terrorism list on December 14, 2020. No question, sales of sophisticated weapons to nations in the regions creates a problem for Israel’s ‘quantitative military edge.’ Peace negotiations always come at a price.

According to the UN atomic watchdog agency, Iran has begun installing equipment to produce uranium metal in addition to building underground facilities to enrich uranium. Iran insists that the production of uranium metal will only be used as an improved type of fuel and not for nuclear weapons. President-elect Joe Biden says he plans to return to the so-called Iran nuclear deal or ‘Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action’ with Iran. Donald J. Trump pulled the United States from the deal, calling it the worst deal in U.S. history. In my opinion, the 2015 Iran nuclear deal was nothing more than a business deal to bolster trade between western corporations and an Iranian virgin economy of roughly 80 million people. The influx of released assets and billions in funds made it a prize to multi-national corporations ready to do business and sell goods. The talk of it being a nuclear deal was only to get it passed off. Does that remind anyone of the ‘weapons of mass destruction’ narrative we heard during the Iraq war? I’ve seen better sleight-of-hand routines from amateur carnival magicians.   

Africa: It looks like Ethiopia has reopened talks with Egypt and Sudan regarding filling their Grand Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile. A resolution is sought regarding Ethiopia filling the new dam and taking much-needed water from countries downstream. It’s an argument over the age-old water rights disputations that have arguably hailed back to the beginning of mankind. It’s been said, ‘Whoever controls the purse, controls the country.’ It can also be said, ‘Whoever controls the water, controls the land.’ A resolution to the dam problem should be mapped out soon and involve the African Union. Look for it in my next global report.

Natural Disasters and Pandemics: People are always intrigued by severe storms, earthquakes, and volcanoes. Earthquakes occur every day, and we seldom hear about them unless a big one hits, and major destruction ensues. Asian countries, especially around Indonesia, seem to get hit with minor tremors regularly. On January 15, a major 6.2 magnitude quake hit Indonesia near Mamuju and caused significant damage to some buildings; at least three people were reportedly killed, and 24 others were injured.

Countries all over the world are in different phases of controlling the COVID-19 pandemic. The United States still leads the world in daily average number of new deaths reported, which account for one in every four deaths reported worldwide each day. Germany just passed the 2 million mark for COVID-19 infections, for those keeping track.

Another disease that I track is EBOLA. Just last June 2020, the second largest outbreak of Ebola was declared in DR-Congo in the North Kivu and Ituri provinces. A total of 3481 cases were reported with 2299 of those ending in death. Thankfully, a knowledgeable contingent of folks responded to the situation and kept it from spreading. Medical volunteers in some countries should be commended for their bravery. Many isolated populations entertain broad conspiracy theories regarding health crises and workers. One such conspiracy rampant in some isolated villages suggest that medical workers are actually vampires in disguise and should be dealt with harshly – killed.

Stay safe everyone; it’s a dangerous world!        

Published by Jeff Hicks

I am a podcaster and author working and living in the Western United States.

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