NORTH AMERICA & SOUTH AMERICA
After Finally Challenging the Election, Jair Bolsonaro Gets Shot Down
After warning that he would not accept the results prior to the election, Jair Bolsonaro finally posed his challenge, citing a software issue in the voting machines. This comes three weeks after the election was called in favor of Lula de Silva. Bolsonaro’s initial silence was taken as a relief to those supporting Brazilian democracy, especially since he won by such a small margin: 1.8%.
Now that he has voiced his complaint, the Supreme Court justice who runs Brazil’s elections agency, Alexadre de Moraes, denied the Bolsonaro campaign’s arguments saying that they were false and anti-democratic. Many think that his late election denials are a way to rally up for a bid in 2026, perhaps emulating former American president Donald Trump. Bolsonaro is a public fan of Trump, who just announced his re-election this month.
U.S. Midterms are Unexpectedly Underwhelming for Republicans
Before the midterms, a much anticipated “red wave” was set to sweep the nation, giving Republicans control of the House and Senate by overtaking the Democrats’ narrow margins. However, Democrats fought off the concerns of inflation before the midterms, a generally Republican-favoring issue, by campaigning on concerns of Roe and threats to democracy. This led them to lose fewer House seats than many polls predict, keep the Senate with an anticipated Georgia run-off, and win some contested governor elections, like Arizona’s.
However, Republicans did count a few wins this month. Greg Abbott successfully fought off another challenge from Beto O’Rourke. DeSantis won Florida’s gubernatorial election by nearly 20 points. This is good news for those who potentially want DeSantis to face off against Trump in the 2024 Republican presidential primary.
AMLO Joins Protesters Against Potential Electoral Changes
Just weeks after protests against proposed changes to Mexico’s electoral rules, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (or AMLO) marched with crowds through the capital to show his support for these programs. These electoral changes would give more control to the president, and Obrador doesn’t have enough support to pass it through Congress. However, the president drew support from all across the country, many traveling to join him in his electoral reform, all of which the President maintains is genuine. Many opponents of Obrador accuse him of using his presidential power to unfairly push his agenda and win popular support, like by using executive orders or misusing funds for welfare programs that bolster his popularity, so they view these reforms more skeptically.
ASIA & CENTRAL ASIA
Death Toll Continues to Rise from Indonesian Earthquake
A 5.6-magnitude earthquake struck Indonesia’s most populous and agricultural province this month. Many are forced to leave their village homes, and repairs may take a while as some villages are currently inaccessible. Death tolls continue to rise as rescue efforts continue, but officials put current estimates at around 310 people. Around a third of the deaths are children, as they were stuck in schools or other buildings. The damage by the earthquake was heightened by landslides caused by deforestation, mining, and urban development.
China’s Xi Jinping meets America’s Biden for the first time in the G-20 Summit in Bali
President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping committed to addressing tensions between the two countries Monday morning in Bali ahead of the G-20 Summit. The three-hour meeting addressed the Russia-Ukraine conflict, tensions in Taiwan and the United States’ sanctions on China. The leaders met face-to-face for the first time at a crucial point in world politics, after both men strengthened their political positions at home, according to analysts.
China has been under pressure from the United States since Trump imposed economic sanctions on the country in 2018 which limited the country’s growing economy. China’s refusal to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine heightened international tensions last year.Both leaders expressed an “openness to restoring channels of communication” and repairing the relationship that has been compared to a second Cold War. Biden said that the conversation between the two leaders was “very blunt.” According to Jinping’s spokesperson, the Chinese leader viewed the meeting as “in-depth, candid and constructive.”
Prominent Journalist Bolot Temirov Deported to Russia Following Fake Charges
Bolot Temriv, a prominent and well respected journalist has been under persecution by the Kyrgyz government for a long time. He came under fire by the repressive government for uncovering corruption at its highest level.
In January 2021, Temirov via his Youtube channel released a detailed report on the company of Taimuras Tashiev, the son of Kamchybek Tashiev, head of Kyrgyzstan’s State Committee for National Security and a close advisor to Japorov. In the report, Temirov detailed the instances of corruption and nepotism amongst the high ranks of the government, evidencing his claim that many government deals were freely being awarded to Taimuru.
Temriv was allegedly charged with illegal possession of drugs and illegal crossing of the state border, forgery of documents related to use of a fake military ID and fake temporary ID. The state prosecutors sought a five year sentence until September 2022 when the Sverdlovsk District Court of Bishkek acquitted the human rights defender and journalist.
The state prosecutor filed an appeal on the acquittal of Temirov and on Nov. 23, 2022 the Bishkek City Court unprecedentedly ruled to deport the human rights defender to Russia.
North Korea Tests Nuclear Weapons, Leader Makes an Appearance With His Daughter
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un oversees the testing of the country’s new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Nov. 18.
Kim made an appearance with his daughter, Kim Ju Ae, in her debut to the world. This has sparked debates of the North Korean succession. While the country still functions in a patriarchy, experts believe that his daughter’s launch on the political world stage is a sign of Kim promoting his daughter up the ranks.
Ju Ae is believed to be the leader’s second child aged about nine or ten years old. The presence of his daughter has not restricted world leaders from pouring in condemnation for the leader and his isolated regime. Many countries including Japan and the United States have criticized North Korea for its testing and development of nuclear weapons.
The weapons have been reported to be within fireable range of the continental United States. Kim has solemnly declared that if his enemies continue to pose threats against North Korea, his government will react with nukes. He has emphasized the importance of nuclear weapons to his reign for the country’s safety.
China’s Zero-Covid Policy Sparks Rare Protest
China’s authoritarian grasp makes protests a relatively rare occurrence in China. However, China’s unnecessarily draconian zero-covid policy changed this trend. A power strip fire that could have been quickly put out by firefighters took too slow and ended up killing ten; many blamed the lockdown for hindering rescue efforts.
Now, many are taking to the streets, staging vigils, holding up blank pieces of paper in silent protest, and even calling for the step-down of Xi Jingping, just as he secured another term of power in the country. It remains to be seen how long China can disrupt the lives of millions before they must succumb to the demands of their citizens, from looser Covid policies to a ballot box.
India’s Unique Position In Diplomacy
India is in a rare position for diplomatic relations, as it has good ties with the West, China, and Russia. During the Russia-Ukraine War, India has quietly stepped into loud disputes. It helped to free up millions of pounds of much-needed Ukrainian grain this summer. It asked Russia to back off from the Ukrainian power plant Zaporizhzhya this fall. India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has high ambitions when it comes to its diplomatic power.
The United States seemed to recognize this potential when Janet Yellen, the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, made a visit to India’s capital in order to form a friendship that can capitalize on India’s relations. This could be helpful for the United States as the cost of products are rising and the security of some supply chains are in jeopardy. In the future, India may see deepening ties with the United States, like how Microsoft is expanding operations in the country and a larger role in diplomacy.
MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA
The FIFA World Cup Off to a Start in Qatar and Not Without Controversy
Nov. 20 saw the FIFA World Cup 2022 kick start with its opening ceremony. Qatar opened its gates to large crowds and even large criticisms and evaluations of its human rights record.
The country has banned any and all LGBTQ paraphernalia in teh stadiums out of respect for the country’s religious practice. Many countries have criticized Qatar for restricting freedom of expression. While it is saddening to see rights of LGBTQ members and allies restricted it also questions the double standards of the world and the FIFA committee.
Awarding a Muslim-majority country to host FIFA, what did the world expect? The soccer governing body, FIFA, knew this in 2010, when it awarded Qatar the football tournament. FIFA’s own governing statutes, in force at the time, ban LGBT discrimination of the kind Qatar enshrines in its national laws, and FIFA’s due diligence to enforce its own policies around the world has been ineffective.
Additionally, when Qatar was awarded the football tournament it employed migrant workers to create a facility that could house large crowds. Since the country was awarded the tournament almost 6500 migrant workers have died over a span of 10 years.
In the past 10 years, Qatar has embarked on an unprecedented building programme. In addition to seven new stadiums, dozens of major projects were completed including a new airport, roads, public transport systems, hotels and a new city. In this process much cheap labor has been employed from countries like India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Egypt Hosted COP27 In Another Effort to Advance Climate Talks
The United Nations Climate Change conference was hosted by Egypt in the green city of Sharm El Sheikh.
The conference ended with an agreement to create a fund to compensate less wealthy countries already suffering destruction stemming from rising average temperatures.
The meeting also secured more commitments to cut methane pollution and addressed a renewed, desperate call to keep the planet from warming more than 1.5 degrees Celsius , one of the targets of the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
The deal for a loss and damage fund marked a diplomatic coup for small islands and other vulnerable nations in winning over the 27-nation European Union and the United States, which had long resisted the idea for fear that such a fund could open them to legal liability for historic emissions.
Benjamin Netanyahu Wins Re-election as Prime Minister of Israel, Lapid Concedes.
The former prime minister who made way for Yair Lapid earlier in the year has won the country’s 5th election in the last 4 years following Lapid’s concession in the recent November 1 elections.
The popular vote was evenly split with about 49% of the vote going to Mr. Netanyahu and 49% going to his opponents.
He comes into office with an experience of over 15 years as prime minister. He has always been stringent on making concessions to the Palestinians to advance a peace process and has been reluctant to change the status quo in the West Bank in favor of his allies in the settlement movement. Under him ties between Turkey had worsened and now it will be interesting to see him continue to restore the ties, an attempt his predecessor, Lapid, did.
The United States says Saudi Crown Prince Immune from Khashoggi Case Brought to the Justice Department
Over four years ago in October, Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was assassinated by agents of the Saudi government in Istanbul by direct order of the crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS).The brutal attack on freedom of speech and the press by MBS vis-à-vis the Saudi government has not been held accountable until recently.
Washington Post columnist, Hatice Cengiz filed a lawsuit with the U.S. Department of Justice against the crown prince. However, the Justice Department announced in mid-November that the prince has complete immunity in the case brought by Cengiz. A U.S. intelligence report that Biden declassified after coming into office said Khashoggi’s killing could not have happened without MBS’ knowledge.
The DOJ argues that MBS is immune from prosecution due to the office in Saudi Arabia that he holds. The department in the filing said, “Mohammed bin Salman, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is the sitting head of government and, accordingly, is immune from this suit.”
Under Saudi law, the only authority which is immune from any prosecution is that of the King’s. The argument made against immunity is that the King holds all powers legislative, executive and judiciary in the absolute monarchy, and has full authority even over the Prime minister, unlike the United Kingdom. Many believe that the Prince’s appointment as prime minister is that of exception in a pure attempt to evade accountability. He was made prime minister just days before the lawsuit was filed.
Although it is unsure as to why the United States acknowledged the immunity of the prime minister instead of just staying silent. Could it be to regulate oil prices, considering Saudi Arabia controls one of the largest shares of the world oil or just a diplomatic decision?
Iran’s Merciless Responses To Ongoing Protests
Ever since protests erupted in Iran two months ago after the death of Mahsa Amini, Iranian officials have seen an unprecedented level of fury by its citizens. Many of those protesting are younger citizens, mostly in their teens. Growing up in a regime of repression, the youth of Iran do not hide their defiance. They have set fire to the childhood home of Khomenei. They are clashing with officials on the streets, schools, and campuses and say they will not rest until Mr. Khamenei steps down.
Iran is no stranger to quelling protests, though. Their first crackdown comes this month with large arrests, the UN estimating that it totals to around 14,000. Officials have also been raiding high schools around Iran, barging in to interrogate and beat students. Security forces have been leaving their citizens riddled with rubber bullets and metal pellets, leaving some blinded in their eyes. Iranian officials are sentencing children to adult prisons and even death, enraging citizens even further of their brutal treatment of their most innocent of citizens.
Russian Troops withdraw from Kherson, Victory for Ukraine, Putin Faces Defeat
On Friday, Nov. 11, Russian troops completed their withdrawal from the Ukrainian city of Kherson – a hastened retreat of thousands of Russian troops across the Dnipro river in the south of Ukraine.
Vlodymer Zelensky, the president of Ukraine celebrated the victory over Russia by raising the Ukrainian flag citywide and singing national anthems in joy of the victory. A spokesperson from the Kremlin earlier had said that the Ukrainian city of Kherson was part of the Russian Federation making the victory even more symbolic for Ukraine.
Kherson’s loss for Russia now threatens its influence over the region. Ukrainian troops have gone and taken back control of the city, it lies geographically very close to Crimea – A strategic and critical region for Putin.
Griner’s Release Still Undecided
Brittney Griner, an American basketball star sentenced to jail for 9 years after entering Russia with vape cartridges, was rumored by a Russian diplomat to be closer to release through a prison exchange. However, U.S. officials dismiss this idea, saying that the Kremlin is not serious about prison exchange.
The negotiation is still ongoing and Griner is currently in a penal colony where harsh treatment is common. This is just one of many conflicting disputes between Moscow and Washington: a Russian source said that they are working through a special channel to resolve the Griner issue, while the State Department declined this, saying Russia is not negotiating in good faith.
Rishi Sunak’s Debut
Rishi Sunak starts out his time as Prime Minister with a tough sell to Britons: a 55 million pound budget plan that includes tax raises and spending cuts to fill a gap in the budget. This comes from a Prime Minister that has more wealth than the current monarch. However, the budget’s initial debut did not have the disastrous financial consequences when former Prime Minister Liz Truss unveiled her plan. Additionally, many of the taxes’ onset would happen after the next general election. Finally, additional funding would go to healthcare and education. Despite all these ideals, Britons will nevertheless need to be sold on the perks of higher taxes and lower government spending.
NATO Maintains Poland Strike Was Not a Russian Missile
After a missile struck Polish farmland and killed two people, Polish officials blamed Russia for the attack. However, as Poland borders Russia, Polish president Andrzej Duda did not blame Russia and said it was not an intentional attack. However, NATO asked for further information on this, and President Biden claimed that it was unlikely that Russia fired the missile, but did not give an alternative for the assailant; the Kremlin praised this response. Had Russia targeted Poland, they would have risked drawing NATO into the war.