This week, several events have sparked discussion about the state of foreign affairs. Particularly, this has been a monumental week for women's rights as scores of women protested a controversial abortion law, and Pakistan finally instituted a law to deter "honor killings" against women. Sadly, the United States has crossed onto thin ice with the Philippines and Russia, due to recent suspensions of historical agreements. Haiti and the United States have been forced to cope with devastating floods from Hurricane Matthew, as thousands of citizens are stranded due to the ominous storm. If you're worried about what's going on in the world, we have you covered.
1. Crowds of Women Took to the Streets to Protest Polish Abortion Law
Poland is known for having one of the toughest restrictions on abortion in Europe. This week, nearly 30,000 women skipped work in order to protest the new draft of an abortion law in the country. Even though the Polish government is in denial of the repressive abortion laws in the country, the "Black Protests" were a clear sign of the resistance to the ongoing cultural conservatism in the country. The new law would potentially extend prison time from two years to five years in Poland for the "crime" of having an abortion. Unfortunately, only 14% of women in Poland support this coercive measure.
2. Russia Suspended Nuclear Agreement with the United States
Last Wednesday, Russia announced that it would suspend yet another nuclear agreement with the United States in backlash to the American sanctions on Ukraine. The nuclear agreement was signed in 2013, and provided the legal framework for American and Russian nuclear laboratories to collaborate together. The suspension of this nuclear agreement will officially end the uranium pact between the two countries. Russia also stated that it was ending the pact due to feasibility studies regarding the conversion of Russian research reactors to low-enriched uranium. Simply, Russia does not believe that the U.S. has the capacity to keep up with the modernization and security of Russian nuclear facilities.
3. Philippines President Ordered U.S. Forces Out of Country
Rodrigo Duterte, President of the Philippines, has ordered the United States to suspend all military exercises that are happening in the country. The Filipino defense secretary also stated that the 107 American troops operating surveillance drones will be asked to leave as well. Duterte has reached out to China and Russia in order to acquire military equipment from them. Many of the country's citizens have criticized the Filipino President's foreign policy actions. Agot Isidro, a famous actress, wrote a Facebook post calling the leader a "psychopath." She wrote this post after the President said that he would be "fine" with the U.S. and the European Union withdrawing financial support to the Filipino nation.
4. Afghanistan Forces Gained Control of Tunduz After Raids
On Wednesday, Afghan forces have been able to gain control of the city of Tunduz after scores of raids from the Taliban. These forces were reacting against pre-dawn raids that were initiated on the city this Monday. As the conflict ensued between the Afghan forces and the Taliban, senior officials abandoned the city as fighters flooded the streets. The fall of Kunduz was a huge clout to the Afghan government last year, and many countries withdrew their support of the western-backed country after the incident. Now, hope may come for the country after years of conflict with the Taliban.
5. Hurricane Matthew Swept Through Haiti, Floods North Carolina
Hurricane Matthew has been one of the most devastating storms this year. This powerful hurricane pushed into Haiti with 145 MPH winds that killed nearly a thousand residents of the country. The country now has to address concerns about the rampant spread of cholera, in addition to supply water, food and shelter to hurricane shelters. The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has stated that 1.4 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. The intense flooding from the hurricane has stranded 1,500 people in North Carolina, and the governor has issued a state of emergency in the state. The storm's death toll has amounted to about two dozen lives in the United States.
6. Head of UK Independence Party Resigned After 18 Days
Diane James, head of the UK Independence Party, has decided to resign after a mere 18 days. She cited "personal and professional reasons" for her resignation and was ambivalent about running the party without ample funding. James has sent the party in turmoil because it will have to find a new leader in little time. Although she has resigned as the party's head, she will continue her work as a UKIP member of European Parliament.
7. UAE Began Construction of World's Tallest Skyscraper
Last week, Dubai began construction of a groundbreaking tower that will become the world's tallest building. This building will be completed in 2020 and will be taller than Burg Khalifa, which is currently the world's leading skyscraper. The tower is estimated to cost around $1 billion dollars. Dubai has developed a reputation for its breath-taking skyscrapers and plans to debut this skyscraper during the Expo 2020 Trade Fair.
8. United States Ended Sanctions Against Myanmar
After meeting with Myanmar's leader this week, President Obama has formally ended sanctions against the country. Currently, Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) is transitioning to a democracy and is trying to remove itself from decades of economic isolation. America lifted the sanctions because it no longer feels as if the country is a threat anymore. Burmese President, Auug San Suu Kyi, has urged Americans to hold more business affairs in the country. Even though the United States has eased tough restrictions on investment and trade, it still maintains measures against military-owned companies.
9. Pakistan Has Formally Issued Punishment for Honor Killings
On Thursday, the Pakistani government formally passed a bill mandating prison sentences of 25 years to any perpetrators of "honor killings." This religious practice has allowed many fundamentalist religious groups to murder any woman who violates the cultural norms. The new law would allow family members to pardon the killer, but the culprit could not avoid a lifelong prison sentence. The country began to recognize the outdated practice after the popularity of a recent documentary on the subject. The film was nominated for an Academy Award, and tells the story of a woman who was murdered by her father and uncle for marrying someone without her family's consent.
10. Official List of Nobel Prize Winners Released
This week, the official list of nobel prize winners was announced. Two Harvard and MIT economists share the Nobel Prize for laying the foundation for "contract theory." This theory will influence everything from corporate governance to constitutional law. The recipients for the Nobel Prize in Physics made theoretical discoveries about superfluidity and superconductivity in fluid.
After this week, let's hope that the world can come together to offer aid to any Hurricane Matthew victims. Haiti and many American states are suffering from the brutal force from this damaging storm. Although this hurricane has been quite a saddening event, the Nobel Prizes and the construction of the breathtaking UAE skyscraper may offer hope in the midst of turbulent times. It's quite inspiring to learn that the world can make such creative and ingenious advancements in science and in future relations with other countries.
Lead Image Credit: International Amnesty USA via Flickr Creative Commons