Author: Genevieve Lai

UN General Assembly Elects First Pacific President

  On June 13, the first person to be elected as President from the Pacific islands was elected at the UN General Assembly’s 71st Session. Fiji’s ambassador to the United Nations, Peter Thomson, was elected after beating out Andreas Mavroyiannis, of Cyprus, by four votes. This was a rare occasion

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Tensions Flare in East China Sea

On Thursday 8 June, the world was reminded of the often-forgotten dispute in the East China Sea when Japan summoned the Chinese ambassador, Cheng Yongshua, after a Chinese frigate entered the contiguous zone around the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. The Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands have been in dispute for some time and are claimed

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US Lifts Cold War Arms Embargo on Vietnam

  On a recent visit to Vietnam, US President Barack Obama announced that the US would lift the embargo on lethal arms sales to the Southeast Asian nation. The announcement follows the US’s attempts to forge closer ties to the region and to ground support against China against the backdrop

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The World Humanitarian Summit: Doomed To Fail?

  Due to take place in Istanbul from May 23-24, the World Humanitarian Summit will be the first of its kind in the global attempt to restructure the way international aid and humanitarian practices are conducted. However, the Summit has already been poised to fail after the withdrawal of key

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Islands in the Sea–or Rocks?

Whilst attention in the South China Sea has been directed at China’s strategic movements and its own claims to territory, a lesser known dispute also threatens to erupt and challenge the frayed and fragile relationships in the region. The contention over Okinotori by Japan, Taiwan and to some extent China

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Kremlin Begins Attempts to Ensure Electoral Victory

  The Kremlin is seeking to ensure a Putin-victory at its parliamentary elections in September by passing laws changing the electoral process, including reform to rules around campaigning and observation. As it gears up for the next election, the Duma – the Russian parliament – has passed laws that censure

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FIFA Commits to a Workers’ Welfare Body

After allegations of exploitation and abuses of human rights, the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) has announced it will establish a body to ensure there are ‘decent working conditions’ for the workers constructing the Qatari 2022 World Cup stadiums. FIFA president, Gianni Infantino, announced that the body would comprise

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The 13th Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Summit

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) met for a two-day summit (14-15 April) in Istanbul to strive for closer relations, cohesion amongst differences in the Muslim world and to discuss ongoing tensions, predominantly Syria and Yemen. The OIC is comprised of 57 member states and is designated as the collective voice

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Sino-Vietnamese Relations Sour

Tensions between Vietnam and China, inflamed from the South China Sea dispute, have been further fueled by a dispute over an oil rig in the controversial sea. As an ongoing dispute since 2014, Vietnam recently demanded that the Chinese abandon their plan to drill in waters Vietnam claims there is

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The Nuclear Security Summit

Leaders from over 50 countries and members from four international organisations flew into Washington D. C. to attend the fourth Nuclear Security Summit on 31 March. What was primarily framed as a meeting to draw attention to the security threat of nuclear proliferation became focused specifically on issues of country attendance

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China’s foreign NGO laws: Silencing or increasing transparency?

China has attempted to curb the powers and movement of foreign NGOs working within China’s borders over the last two years and has revisited debate over the contentious Foreign Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) Law in early March. The new laws, affecting approximately 7,000 foreign NGOs in China, attempt to standardise the largely

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Iranian Foreign Minister Condemns Australia’s Treatment of Asylum Seekers

On a recent and brief visit to Australia, the Iranian Foreign Minister, Dr. Mohammed Javad Zarif, condemned Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers, adding Iran to the long list of critics against Australia’s controversial asylum seeker policy. Dr. Zarif used a media conference with Australian Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, and media

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The Proxy War: Lebanon and the Saudi-Iranian Conflict

Saudi Arabia and its allies in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), comprised of Bahrain Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, have formally labelled Hezbollah, a political party and militia in Lebanon, a “terrorist organisation” as part of its hedging of Shia power in the region. GCC

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Afghan Peace Talks: Doomed To Fail?

  The Taliban has claimed responsibility for two separate suicide attacks that have left more than 20 people dead in Afghanistan. This has occurred against the back-drop of attempted peace talks between Afghanistan, China, Pakistan and the United States, due to reassemble next week in Islamabad. The first suicide bomber

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EU and Turkey to Discuss Refugee Crisis

Members of the European Union (EU) and Turkey are due to meet in early March to discuss possible solutions to stem the influx of refugees making the journey across the Aegean Sea. The meeting could be as early as 5 March. The meeting will seek to track the progress of

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The forgotten insurgency

A protest in front of the White House in Washington has highlighted the plight of an ethnic group, the Balochs, in Pakistan, who seek reprieve from the ‘occupation’ of Pakistani forces in their province of Balochistan. The protest, aimed at garnering wide attention, hoped to seek US or NATO intervention

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Zimbabwe In A State Of Disaster

Zimbabwe’s President, Robert Mugabe, has declared a state of disaster in light of the severe drought that has affected rural parts of the southern African nation. Food insecurity has affected over 2.44 million people, just over one quarter of the total population of Zimbabwe. Given that the United Nations World

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Ex-Ivory Coast Leader Denies War Crimes At The ICC

  January 28 marked the first day of Laurent Gbagbo’s landmark trial at the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC). The former Ivory Coast President pleaded not guilty to the charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes. Specifically, Gbagbo has been charged with four counts of crimes against humanity, where

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Desperate Diplomacy To Quell Burundian Tensions

On Friday  January 22, high-level meetings between diplomats from the UN Security Council, the Burundian President, the President of the National Assembly, civil society, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission attempted to resolve the political turmoil that has threatened the stability of the Central African country Burundi. . The escalation

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Memorial for refugees in Greece

Members from Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Sea-Watch, the Dutch Refugee Boat Foundation, Starfish and Greenpeace have led a project that created a peace sign from the fluorescent life jackets discarded by refugees on the Greek Island of Lesbos to pay tribute to those who have crossed over the Aegean Sea

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