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Sep 16 2016
by Madeleine Williamson

World News Round-Up: A Ceasefire, a Nuclear Test and Free Wi-fi

By Madeleine Williamson - Sep 16 2016
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It's been a busy week for college students as we settled into the quarter or semester. But it's been a busy week for international news, too. Commercial flights to Cuba and free wifi in the EU may make them your next study abroad destinations. North Korea and the Arctic, on the other hand, look as unfriendly as ever. Read on for all you need to know about what's going on in the world this week.

1. Both sides agree to a ceasefire in Ukraine… again.

For over two years years, Ukrainian government troops have fought against Russian separatists. That came to a tentative end Tuesday, USA Today reported. A separatist leader announced rebels would begin a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine Wednesday. He asked the Ukrainian military to do the same. But don’t get your hopes up. This comes after rebels broke an older ceasefire agreement two weeks ago.

2. North Korea goes nuclear.

North Korea conducted its largest nuclear missile test yet on Friday, Teen Vogue reported. The test occurred on patriotic holiday National Day. State media reported the perceived triumph with joy. But those outside the DPRK aren’t so happy. Among the test’s biggest critics were the United States and Japan. The countries are monitoring the air above the test site for radiation.

3. The entire EU may get free wi-fi.

EU executive body head Jean-Claude Juncker gave his state of the union address Wednesday. Technology was a major focus. He proposed instituting free wi-fi in public spaces in all European cities, BBC reported. If all goes according to plan, Europe’s cities should be wireless by 2020. But there is an exception. The United Kingdom could be exempt from the plan if it leaves the EU within this decade as planned.

4. Polar bears trap researchers in Arctic.

A research ship rescued the staff of a weather station on the remote Troynoy Island on Wednesday, NPR reported. 10 adult polar bears and many cubs had surrounded the station for two weeks. They made it impossible for anyone to enter or leave. But Wednesday, a passing Russian research vessel delivered flares and three dogs. The researchers were able to scare the bears off. Scientists say the bears may have just been hungry. Melting ice caps have made finding food harder for polar bears in recent years.

  • 5. After devastating Taiwan, Typhoon Meranti is headed to China.

  • Typhoon Meranti brought high winds and pounding rain to Taiwan, USA Today reported. With conditions like hurricanes, typhoons are tropical storms that form in the Pacific. Meteorologists downgraded Meranti from “super typhoon” status, but it’s still a danger. The storm is headed to China. There, meteorologists worry heavy rain could lead to mudslides.

6. A world leader’s outfit makes the news.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May met with the European Council president Friday. The Daily Mail made an interesting editorial choice for the coverage of the meeting. Rather than substance, they focused on style, deeming May’s knee-length skirt too short. The internet, including The Tab’s women’s interest site Babe, picked up the story and skewered the Mail in response.

7. A Siberian river runs red.

Nobody’s sure why, but the Daldykan River in northern Russia turned blood red last week, NPR reported. The river runs through a mining town, so chemical or mineral leaks are possible culprits. Because it’s in a mining town, the river has changed color due to such leaks before. But there’s one upside: the river isn’t a source of drinking water.

8. The president visits Asia one last time.

President Obama embarked Thursday on his final presidential trip to Asia, NPR reported. He visited China, the Philippines and Laos. The president also had an opportunity to criticize North Korea from a bit closer than usual. Their missile test occurred during his trip.

9. Mexico’s finance minister resigns in the wake of Trump’s visit.

Mexican finance minister Luis Videgaray resigned Wednesday. Many blame Donald Trump’s visit to the country. Videgaray is part of an administration many Mexicans see as too friendly with Trump, NPR reported last Wednesday. He was in charge of planning Trump’s visit, so he’s taken much of the heat. Whoever Americans cast their votes for this November, one thing is clear – Mexicans won’t be casting their votes for Videgaray in their 2018 election.

10. American commercial flights head to Cuba.

Americans haven’t been able to hail a commercial flight to Cuba since the 1960s. But flights began arriving on the island from Miami last Wednesday, NPR reported. It’s still tough to get to the country. An embargo is still in place. Travelers must be approved to go as journalists, students, or one of a few other categories. But the flights make it easier for Americans to get to Cuba. The flights represent a thawing of U.S.-Cuba relations, tense since the Cold War.

In the coming weeks, look for - or start!- typhoon relief efforts on your campus. Watch for how Obama wraps up his last term and how the candidates' actions impact other countries. And try not to get kidnapped by polar bears.

Lead image credit: Korean Central Television.

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Madeleine Williamson - DePaul University

Madeleine Williamson is a freshman at DePaul University majoring in journalism and minoring in political science and Spanish. She loves tea, stationery and exploring her new hometown of Chicago.

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