The Week in Brief

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Babylon Radio’s weekly column is here to provide you with a quick insight into some of the world’s most pressing issues.

The dust may have settled on Donald Trump’s surprise victory last week, yet the past few days have conjured up a number of events that remain fresh in our minds.

Sunday bore witness to a devastating train crash in Northern India, leaving over 100 people dead and many more injured. In Nigeria, a religious procession turned sour as police clashed with locals in the city of Kano, resulting in several people dead. The Syrian city of Aleppo did not fare much better this week, with reports from the region describing the bombing of Aleppo’s last remaining hospital.

Russia, on the other hand, has decided to withdraw its membership from the International Criminal Court (ICC), weakening the ICC at a time when other states, such as South Africa, Gambia and Burundi have also reneged on their memberships. Amidst all of the week’s apparent ‘doom and gloom’, there was good news to emerge from both Haiti and Morocco. Riddled with political instability and natural disasters, Haiti has finally gone to the polls in order to elect a president after months of turmoil. For the environment, the future appeared slightly clearer as the world’s forty-seven poorest countries committed to a greener future.    

Indian Train Crash Leaves Over 100 People Dead

A devastating crash on India’s rail network has left at least 115 people dead. The reason for the train’s derailment on Sunday morning (local time) in the Northern state of Uttar Pradesh remains unclear. Rumours suggest that it may have been due to a break in the track, although such reports are unconfirmed. Over 150 people were injured in the incident, which marks the most recent disaster on India’s widely used rail network since a terrorist attack in 2010. With over twenty-two million people using India’s trains every day, there will be significant pressure on authorities to find out the cause of the crash, and how to prevent such disasters from happening in the future.    

Marchers Clash with Local Police in Northern Nigeria

The religious tension between Nigeria’s various sects has erupted once more. A religious procession led by the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) on Monday 14th was intercepted by local police before violence broke out. There were at least nine deaths reported, with one of those being a police officer. Whilst police claim that the procession was disrupting traffic and its members were heavily armed, IMN claims that police opened fire on a peaceful march. The group had been banned in October with the state governor discarding them as an ‘unlawful society’. Whilst Northern Nigeria is a predominantly Muslim region, the Sunni variant is the most commonly practiced form of Islam, with Shiite followers representing the minority. Tensions have been running high since 347 IMN members were killed last December during two days of clashes with the army.  

Rack and Ruin: Syrian Airstrikes Destroy Aleppo’s Last Hospital

The Syrian government, alongside its Russian friends, have wreaked greater havoc onto the besieged city of Aleppo. Airstrikes on rebel strongholds in the city over the past week have led to the destruction of the city’s last working hospital. The bombing of four hospitals in Eastern Aleppo has meant that approximately 250,000 residents are unable to undergo surgery. This is particularly concerning in most environments, but even more so when we consider the relentless violence that reverberates throughout the Syrian city.

Over and Out: Russia Withdraws from the ICC

In a related story, Russia has decided to withdraw from the ICC. A tide of calls for an investigation into Syrian air strikes has been met with a firm response by the Russian government. Following in the recent footsteps of other member-states, Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has instructed his foreign ministry to withdraw the country’s signature from the ICC’s founding document. Claiming that the ICC had failed in its original purpose of being an objective, independent judicial body, Russia has now departed from the troubled organisation.  

Haiti Goes to the Polls

The people of Haiti have had more than their fair share of troubled times. Natural disasters, such as Hurricane Matthew of last month, have ransacked the country over the past few years. Add to that political turmoil dating back to October last year, and it’s plain to see that Haiti has had a rough time. Yet, there is hope that better times are just around the corner. The people of Haiti have gone to vote for their new president in an attempt to restore political stability to the troubled nation. Although the new president will not begin their new role till February 2017, the UN monitored vote represents a ray of hope that one of the twenty-seven candidates running for president, will be able to rebuild the country following its most recent disaster.   

The Future’s Bright, The Future’s Green

Trump’s recent election has sparked widespread fears about the environment’s future.  As Trump voices his dislike for the Paris Climate Pact of 2015, forty-seven of the world’s poorest countries gathered in Marrakech, to discuss the future of renewable energy. Whilst supporters of the Paris agreement gathered outside the conference in Morocco, representatives were busy affirming their commitment to combatting climate change. The two weeks of negotiations culminated in the states unanimously agreeing to produce future energy demands from renewable sources. This means that between 2030 and 2050, the members of the Climate Vulnerable Forum will attempt to run their national economies on renewable energy sources alone.  

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