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April 23rd - The BESA Times

Fifty-second Edition - Monday, 23rd Every week, a complete snapshot of what happened around the world in the past seven days


Throughout 2017, the world has been living in constant fear of an escalation of the dispute on the Korean Peninsula. The relationship between the US and North Korea suffered due to several nuclear tests and missile launches, ordered by North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. Recently though, North Korea has shown efforts to negotiate about formally ending the war. After scheduling a meeting with the South Korean Prime Minister, Moon Jae-in, for April 27th, North Korea announced on Saturday that it would suspend its nuclear weapons and missile tests effective immediately, as well as shut down its test site. President Kim described the development of nuclear weapons as “great victory” but conducting further tests would not be necessary; instead, the country will “focus on the development of the socialist economy”. The announcement, broadcasted by the state-run KCNA news agency, has been hailed as great progress around the world, resulting in the response of US President Donald Trump via Twitter: “North Korea has agreed to suspend all Nuclear Tests and close up a major test site. This is very good news for North Korea and the World - big progress! Look forward to our Summit.” Although welcoming North Korea’s pledge, Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, added sceptically that it is unclear “whether the move will lead to the complete abandonment of missile and nuclear developments in a verifiable and irreversible manner”.

For six decades, Cuba has been in the hands of the Castro Brothers Fidel and Raúl. This era came to an end on Wednesday, when the country's national assembly selected Miguel Diaz-Canel, the former vice-president of the country, as candidate to replace Raúl Castro. The new President, hand-picked by Raúl Castro himself, is expected to implement more market-oriented reforms. Although Raúl Castro does no longer hold the office of President, he will remain politically active, serving as first secretary of the Communist party until 2021. It is expected that even though Díaz-Canel will be in charge of the daily administration, Castro’s opinion will play an essential role in case of an international crisis or problem.


What to remember of last week's news?

To retaliate the alleged chemical attack in Syria that led to the death of 80 people, America, Britain and France fired missiles at strategic targets in Douma, destroying a research centre for chemical weapons and two military bases. The strike was characterised by officials as a one-time measure to prevent the regime of Bashar al-Assad from deploying chemical weapons again. The attack has further increased tensions with Russia, whose ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, responded: “We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences”.

On April 11th, Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, testified before a Senate committee about Facebook’s privacy settings. The Senate was concerned about recent findings that a researcher from Cambridge, Aleksandr Kogan, had collected information about some 300,000 Facebook users without their permission, and, subsequently shared these data with Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy. As 87 million users were affected by the scandal, and Facebook did little to prevent it in the first place, politicians were eager to determine what measures Facebook would undertake to safeguard their user’s privacy in the future. Overall, Zuckerberg’s performance made a positive impression on investors as Facebook’s share price increased by 5.7% during the day.


Understand in Pictures

Even though fewer protested, authorities reported four deaths at last Fridays toll. The protests along the Gaza border continue to cost Palestinian lives.


What to expect for next week:

On April 27th, the leaders of North and South Korea, Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in, are going to hold an inter-Korean summit in Panmunjom, a village on the southern side of the demilitarised zone. Such an event has happened before only three times in history and indicates the North’s willingness to establish diplomatic relations between the countries. The meeting seems promising and is likely to influence the future development of the two countries’ relationship.


Did you know?

Oregon has around 455,000 kg of unsold marijuana – almost three times the amount of what the state consumed last year. The reason for such a high stack of weed is that Oregon has been giving away more producer licenses than expected, and the market cannot swallow such a supply. The federal legislation does not let producers with mountains of weed to export to other states, leaving producers to drop prices and diversify their products.





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