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October 2nd – The BESA Times

Fortieth Edition - Monday, 2nd

Every week, a complete snapshot of what happened around the world in the past seven days


Last weekend, police tried to stop Catalonia’s referendum by sealing off 1300 of the 2315 schools that were designated as polling stations. 4000 state police on top of the 5000 already in the region have been sent to prevent the voting from taking place. However, people’s sentiments still run high, as they believe that they have the right to vote on their future. The wealthy region of 7.5 million people in north-eastern Spain has its own history, language and culture. It already has a high degree of autonomy, but is not recognized as a separate nation under the Spanish constitution. For many years, support for independence was a fringe view, with only 15-20% of Catalans in favour. The will for independence from Madrid has grown over the past years as austerity has hit the Spanish economy hard while many Catalans feel their region contributes far too much to the central government’s budget. In the end, about 90% of people voted for independence on a 42.3% turnout, officials claimed. In practice, the vote will have little official legitimacy in the eyes of the Spanish government, Spanish courts and the international community. However, it will be an important event for some other European nations as it might encourage the separatist movements in Scotland or the Flanders.

China has ordered North Korean companies operating within its borders to shut down within 120 days as it seeks to implement United Nation’s sanctions. At the same time, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who is currently in China for talks, has mentioned to reporters in Beijing that the US is probing North Korea to see whether it is interested in dialogue, signaling hope that tensions will loosen between the two countries. This was the first time the Trump Administration suggested that they were willing to communicate with Pyongyang about the nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula. But President Trump branded the move a “waste of time”.

According to human rights groups and the UN, more than 450,000 people have fled Myanmar’s western Rakhine state, one of the world’s poorest countries, due to alledged ethnic cleansing by the Myanmar government. Aung San Suu Kyi, the country’s de facto leader and once a revered figure of democracy, has failed to openly condemn what is going on. In a televised speech, she failed to mention the word Rohingya or acknowledge the atrocities carried out by the military forces. Rohingyas arriving in Bangladesh have reported shootings, rapes, torching of villages and forced expulsions on an colossal scale. A new analysis of satellite imagery from the area conducted by Human Rights Watch showed the near-total devastation of 214 villages comprising tens of thousands of homes. The number of refuges arriving in Bangladesh since August 25 is almost three times the total that entered the EU by sea this year. The Rohingya people in Myanmar have faced persecution at the hands of the Myanmar military for decades. The current round of violence began on August 25 when militants from Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army targeted about 30 police posts and an army base in Rakhine, killing several people. Myanmar’s military responded with a brutal clampdown that sent people running from their homes.


What to remember of last week's news?

Puerto Rico: Trump lashed out at San Juan mayor over their criticism of US relief efforts on the Island following Hurricane Maria, which has left millions in need for aid. The mayor has been pleading for help, as I the island many people are stranded without power or water.

Google has begun an internal probe on whether Russia-linked actors used its advertising services to influence last year’s US presidential election, after both Facebook and twitter have given information about political ad spending and accounts affiliated with Russia.


Our Homemade Article


Did you know?

Today, an average of between 400,000 – 500,000 Chinese students study abroad every year, as they seek to achieve a holistic Western education. A large proportion of Chinese parent’s savings goes to their child’s education. More than half of students studying abroad consulted middlemen before making their decision. These middlemen often tend to paint as fancy a picture as possible. Now many students returning from abroad after completing their education find that having an overseas education no longer guarantees a good job. Competition is fierce and salaries are much lower than they used to be. There have also been more people returning home than before. In 2007, only 44,000 people returned to the mainland, yet in 2016, this number was nearly 10-fold to 432,500.


What to expect for next week

Both the British and the Canadian governments expressed anger at America's decision to impose a 220% tariff on a 125 Bombardier’s C-Series jets delivery to Delta. The Canadian company, which employs around 4000 people in Belfast, is accused by its rival Boeing of receiving state funding from Canada and the UK, although the former claims the Canadian government only made an investment. Boeing also accused Bombardier of price dumping by selling 75 planes $14m below their original price. A trade investigation was launched by two US government agencies.





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