Babylon Radio’s weekly column is here to provide you with a quick insight into some of the world’s most pressing issues.
Another week has passed and America continues to dominate the news throughout the world. Friday 20th January marked the day Donald J. Trump finally assumed the role of President of the United States of America. Like his campaign though, his inauguration was no easy ride.
In Gambia, a potentially volatile situation has been resolved through diplomatic means. Former President Yahya Jammeh needed some convincing before leaving power, despite originally admitting defeat in December’s national election.
Staying on the African continent, a military blunder resulted in at least fifty-two people being killed by an airstrike in Nigeria. In what appears to be an strike aimed at the insurgency group Boko Haram, the mistake led to a camp for internally displaced people (IDPs) being struck instead, leading to many fatalities and even more injuries.
An avalanche weighing in at 120,000 tons decimated an Italian hotel situated in the central region of the country. Five deaths have been confirmed so far, whilst nine people have been pulled out from the snow. Rescue efforts continue, as twenty-four people remain unaccounted for.
For counter-terror forces, it has been a relatively good week. The terrorist responsible for the New Years Eve killings in Reina nightclub, Istanbul, has finally been captured. In Austria, police forces detained a suspect who was believed to be on the brink of carrying out a large-scale attack in Vienna.
A United Nations (UN) statement has claimed that 10,000 people have died in Yemen. Fighting between Houthi rebels and government forces intensified in 2015 and has been ongoing ever since.
Trump Paints a Troubling Picture of American Society
In what has been a highly publicised, thoroughly controversial and constantly ridiculed path, Trump is now in charge of the world’s most powerful state. Like his journey though, the past week has been filled with significant incidents. Barack Obama used his final days in office to commute the sentence of Chelsea Manning, who had leaked classified information to Wikileaks in 2010. This move angered Trump’s incoming administration, but perhaps not as much as the fallout from his inauguration day. Trump’s inauguration speech highlighted a perilous state of affairs in America, and vowed that the “American carnage” would end on his watch. Yet, the amount of people who actually heard his speech in person has been a point of contention in the day’s aftermath. Trump’s team have lambasted the media for allegedly ‘distorting’ the actual number of attendants, and sounded out warnings that alluded to media censorship. Pictures comparing Obama’s inauguration to Trump’s showed a stark contrast in the number of attendants for each event, with Obama appearing to have a sizeable majority. When it comes to numbers, however, the biggest figures were witnessed on Saturday. Dubbed ‘Women’s March’, the event took place across 600 rallies across the world and drew millions of people, in a show of anger against Trump’s views on women’s rights. The protests came a day after Trump’s inauguration, where protesters smashed shop windows and set fire to a limousine in the streets of Washington D.C., leading to 217 arrests.
Gambian President Relinquishes Power
Yahya Jammeh’s twenty-two year rule has ended. Jammeh seized power in a coup back in 1994, but following December’s electoral defeat to Adama Barrow, has been destined to leave political office. Today, Jammeh boarded a plane headed for Guinea. This relatively peaceful transition was never a foregone conclusion. Although Jammeh originally admitted defeat, he subsequently backtracked on his admission and demanded another election before giving up power. This move drew international condemnation from political figures and eventually led to troops from neighbouring states, such as Senegal, being deployed in Gambia to ensure the electoral vote was upheld. Whilst negotiations were ongoing between Jammeh and representatives from Mauritania and Guinea, Barrow was sworn-in as President in the Gambian embassy in Senegal. Barrow is now expected to return in the coming days and assume power as the country’s new leader.
Mistaken Identity: Nigerian Air Force Strike Camp for IDPs
The Nigerian military has been engaged in a long, bloody and drawn-out battle against Boko Haram. The insurgency group have been pinned back in the government’s latest offensive, which has targeted several of the group’s strongholds in the northeast of the country. However, a routine airstrike by the military went horribly wrong, when a camp for IDPs was hit instead of a genuine military target. Fifty-two people were killed, including six aid workers from the Red Cross, in the attack which took place in Rann. Scores more were injured. The military expressed great remorse for the incident, whilst President Buhari also expressed sincere shock.
Avalance Buries Italian Hotel
A 60mph avalanche buried an entire hotel in the Italian town of Farindola. Guests found themselves wedged alive in a mountain of snow, as earlier earthquakes had taken their toll on the local area. So far, rescue efforts have been hindered by severe weather, but nine people have been found alive, whilst five bodies have been recovered. The rescue operation will continue, with significant hope that more survivors can be found of the twenty-four people still missing.
Counter-Terror Forces Strike Back
Sixteen days after the brutal murders of thirty-nine partygoers in Istanbul, the man responsible for the attack has been detained. Abdulgadir Masharipov, from Uzbekistan, was captured in a suburban neighbourhood in Istanbul after he was able to escape in the aftermath of his deadly attack. Questioning of Abdulgadir continues, but it appears that his choice of target was selected at random, as his initial preference of Taksim Square had robust security in place. For Austrian police, a significant attack was averted after they arrested an eighteen-year-old suspect. Following a few days of observation, the police swooped in and detained the alleged terrorist before they were able to carry out their attack in Vienna.
10,000 People Killed in Yemeni Civil War
10,000 people have died in Yemen. That is according to a UN statement in the past week. Government forces, supported by Saudi Arabia, and Houthi rebels, who retain the apparent backing of Iran, have been locked in a bloody conflict for nearly two years. The recent update came as UN officials met with President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi in Aden, and tried to find a solution to the incessant fighting.