Category Archives: Globe in Brief, Autumn 2017

Largest Arms Deal in U.S. History

The President of the United States, Donald Trump, has signed a decade-long arms deal with Saudi Arabia with an initial sale of $109.7 billion and a potential projection of up to $380 billion. This, the largest arms deal in U.S. history, stands in stark contrast to Trump’s prior comments about Saudi Arabia’s status as the homeland of the 9/11 instigators. He previously called for economic sanctions against the country. The administration says this move is in the best economic interest of both countries. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, was known to be integral in negotiating the prices. Saudi Arabia is expected to use some of the weapons in their involvement in the Yemeni civil war. Rights activists have said this has the potential to make the USA complicit in possible war crimes committed by Saudi Arabia in that conflict.

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U.S. Mayors Sign Unofficial Paris Agreement

In the wake of Donald Trump’s refusal to endorse the Paris climate accord, more than 300 mayors of cities large and small across the United States have promised to uphold the goals outlined in the agreement. Their initiative represents a commitment of over 65 million Americans to invest in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and cleaner-running automobiles. This effort means that the mayors are choosing not to recognize or enforce the Trump administration’s new executive order that rolled back the Obama administration’s policies on gas emissions and energy production. The Paris accord also emphasizes overall environmental justice, a crackdown on greenhouse emissions, and an aim to keep the overall global temperature from rising no more than 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels.

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Comey says Trump May Have Obstructed Justice

In front of the most anticipated U.S. congressional hearing in years, former Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation James Comey claimed that the Trump administration lied and defamed him and the FBI’s investigation into alleged Russian influence into the 2016 presidential election. U.S. intelligence agencies believe Russia aided the Trump administration by hacking damaging emails and taking other steps to discredit democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Russia denies any interference.
Trump has acknowledged Comey’s dismissal was due to the investigation. Comey says it is up to the Senate Intelligence Committee and special counsel Robert Mueller to decide whether or not Trump’s actions constitute obstruction of justice in the investigation and the FBI probe of former national security adviser Michael Flynn and Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

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Women Can Contribute $12 Trillion, says U.N.

Women can add a further $12 trillion annually to the global economy, said the U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at the opening speech to the sixty-first Commission on the Status of Women in New York City. He emphasized the need to break down barriers to allow women to maximize their potential and urged those in attendance to focus on honing strategies to empower more women to enter and contribute to the workforce. Women who have access to education and better reproductive health show a positive correlation with a better quality of life, higher salaries, and better health practices during child-rearing. Guterres called for all men to join the International Gender Champions campaign, to create a cultural shift recognizing women as truly equal and end sexual exploitation and abuse.

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Merkel Says E.U. Must Take the Lead

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Europe can no longer rely on its English-speaking allies in an incisive speech after the G7 and NATO conferences this spring. She called on the E.U. to maintain rapport with their existing allies, such as Great Britain and the USA, and new ones, like Russia, but also to forge a new path ahead. This speech came in the wake of both U.S. President Donald Trump refusing to endorse the Paris climate accord and denouncing valued NATO allies and the continued fallout out from the Brexit vote in the U.K. Merkel asserted that the E.U. needed to take its fate into its own hands and ensure its own future. The German Chancellor also singled out France in wishing President Emmanuel Macron success in his presidency, offering Germany’s help and emphasizing that Germany’s success is very much tied to that of the E.U. as a whole.

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Kenyan Election Contested

Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta was re-elected on August 8 with 54,27 percent of the vote, but opposition candidate Raila Odinga has contested the results and announced that he will challenge them before the Supreme Court, though independent observers have called the elections “free and fair”. Post-election violence has erupted in several of the opposition’s key strongholds, in which at least 24 people have been killed. Odinga’s calls for a general strike, however, have mostly been ignored, and despite pre-election fears, the country has so far avoided a return of the violence that followed the 2007 election, which resulted in 1,100 deaths and 600,000 displaced persons.

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