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  • Writer's pictureBait Al-Amanah

International Affairs Update (Week 2 of January 2020)

A. Singapore

i) E-Scooters Ban

  1. $1 billion to triple cycling path network in Singapore amid the e-scooters ban on footpaths

  2. Extending from 440km to 750km in 2025; 1300km in 2030

  3. Since the ban, accidents involving e-scooters have dropped by about 30%

  4. Incentives: 6,100 food riders are eligible to apply for the $7 million trade in grants (bicycle, e-bikes, PMAs)

ii) Wuhan Pneumonia (UPDATED)

  1. A 26-year-old China national with pneumonia who was suspected to have been infected by the Wuhan virus has been cleared- His test results came out negative

  2. The first suspected case of the 3-year-old girl had also been cleared

iii) General Election

  1. Chan Chun Sing (Minister of Trade and Industry): The Electoral Boundaries Review Committee (EBRC) is still deliberating

  2. A political analyst predicted that GE is unlikely to be held in the first quarter of 2020

B. Indonesia

i) Jakarta: The Sinking Megacity (UPDATED)

  1. Rising rivers submerged at least 182 neighborhoods

  2. Landslides at the outskirts of the city buried at least a dozen of people

  3. Died: 67

  4. Missing: 2

  5. Displaced: 175,000

  6. It is predicted that most Jakarta will be under water by 2050

  7. Advocacy teams set up complaint centers for flood victims

  8. The 2020 Jakarta Class Action Lawsuit Advocacy Team, 2020 Jakarta Flood Victims Advocacy Team, 2020 Bekasi Flood Victim Advocacy Team and Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation

ii) Reynhard Sinaga

  1. A 36-year-old postgrad student studying in the UK; Had 4 degrees

  2. The son of a wealthy Indonesian family based in Depok

  3. Known as the UK’s most prolific rapist

  4. Raped and sexually assaulted 48 men who appeared in court with a total of 190 victims

  5. Preyed and found particular pleasure in heterosexual men

  6. Used GHB (Class C prohibited drug) which rendered his victims unconscious before assaulted

  7. Detectives were able to find his victims through films and “trophies” such as phones, watches, ID cards, images Sinaga downloaded from his victims’ social media profiles, searches he conducted online

  8. Mohammad Idris (Depok Mayor): Instructed the Depok Pubic Order Agency (Satpol PP) and the Population and Civil Registration Agency to conduct raids against the LGBT community in the wake of Reynhard Sinaga case

  9. Requested the city’s Health Agency, Social Affairs Agency and Child Protection and Family Empowerment Agency to heightened efforts to prevent the “Spread of LGBT” in the name of strengthening families’ resilience and protecting the children

C. China

i) Mysterious Pneumonia Outbreak (UPDATE)

  1. As of 12/1/2020, 41 people are infected with pneumonia caused by a preliminary determined new type of coronavirus in the Central City of Wuhan

  2. Died: 1

  3. Critical: 7

  4. Discharged: 2

  5. Yuen Kwok-Yung (Chair of Infectious Diseases, HK Uni): The mystery outbreak is 80% similar to that of the pathogen which caused severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)

  6. Not enough information to conclude whether the new Wuhan coronavirus could cause an epidemic like the SARS outbreak in 2013 which infected nearly 2,000 people

  7. Hong Kong strengthened checks and cleaning measures at all border checkpoints (port, airport and rail stations)

ii) Xinjiang: Persecution of Ethnic Minority Extends to the Dead

  1. More than 100 Uighur Muslim graveyards had been destroyed as part of Beijing’s campaign to destroy the Muslim’s minority culture

  2. Satellite images analyzed by CNN showed few burial sites in western Xinjiang turned into carparks and playgrounds

D. India

i) Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) (UPDATED)

  1. BJP launched a 10-day nationwide door-to-door campaign aiming to “dispel rumors” about CAA

  2. Amit Shah (Home Minister): Addressed a rally in Jabalpur to create awareness about the CAA

  3. Sonia Gandhi (Congress President): Termed CAA a “Discriminatory and divisive” law with the purpose of dividing people along the religious lines

  4. Kolkata: Activists and protesters hit the street with placards “Down with BJP” and “Modi Go Back” amid his visit to West Bengal

ii) Palm Oil Ban on Malaysia

  1. Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry issued a notification declaring the import of refined palm oil has been amended from “Free to Restricted”, implying an effective ban on imports of refined palm oil

  2. The ban came in force after Mahathir’s criticism of Modi’s government and Delhi’s new CAA and abrogation of Article 370 (Jammu and Kashmir)

*For more info on the impacts of the ban, click*

E. Middle East

i) US-Iran Conflict (UPDATED)

  1. 8/1/2020: More than a dozen of ballistic missiles hit 2 Iraqi military bases housing US forces- Al-Asad and Erbil military bases

ii) Iran Plane Crash (Flight PS752)

  1. Iran has admitted to shooting down a Ukrainian passenger jet unintentionally, killing all 176 passengers and crews on board

  2. President Hassan Rouhani:An investigation found that “missiles fired due to human error” and described the crash as an “unforgivable mistake”

  3. Hundreds of protesters took it to the streets of Tehran to vent angers at officials, calling them liars for having initially denied shooting down the plane

  4. This situation is fully exploited by the United States to further push for a regime change

iii) Turkish Troops Deployment to Libya

  1. Despite receiving strong oppositions from local and international community, Turkey proceeded with its military cooperation and deployed troops 4 days after the bill was passed on January 2.

  2. The move was crucial to protect both Libya and Turkey’s interest

F. Australia

i) Worst Bushfires in Decades (UPDATED)

  1. Reaches up to 8 million hectares across the State

  2. Destroys 2,500 buildings

  3. Kills 28 people, as of 10/1/2020

  4. Kills 1 billion animals

  5. Thousands rally in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra to press Morrison’s government to make a quick transition away from fossil fuels

  6. Scott Morrison (Prime Minister): Expressed regret over his government’s response to the bushfires and its climate policy after receiving backlashes

G. Mali, West Africa

  1. A military camp in West Niger was attacked, leaving hundreds dead

  2. Soldiers: 89

  3. Enemy: 77

  4. Three days of national mourning have been declared to honor the dead

H. The United States

i) US-Iran Conflict

  1. US announced more sanctions on Iran, marking the latest move in a series of financial US punishments that have left the Iranian economy reeling and its citizen under extreme pressure

  2. This latest sanction targets multiple sectors including construction, textiles, mining and manufacturing, in addition to the top 8 officials whom were already under sanction

ii) Trump’s Impeachment

  1. Speaker Nancy Pelosi received mounting pressure from both sides to deliver the articles which would allow the Senate to begin preparations for Trump’s impeachment trial

  2. Pelosi made a commitment to send the articles over to the Senate the following week

  3. The reason for withholding the articles is to ensure a fair trial after the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell publicly announced his cooperation with the White House

For the PDF version of the update, refer to the attachment below:

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