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October 15, 2018 | by  | in News | [ssba]

5 News Stories You Missed This Year

While you were studying, “studying”, or generally letting your own life consume your attention this year, things were happening in the world. Some larger themes — the US is a mess, the UK is tangled in Brexit, New Zealand is relatively functional, but is far from perfect — may have percolated through to you. In an effort to counter Western-centric news coverage, Salient is rounding up some important things that you might not have heard of, so you can impress your friends and family with your knowledge of the globe this summer.
A New Leader in Ethiopia
On 2nd April, the surprise resignation of Ethiopia’s previous leader meant that Abiy Ahmed became the country’s Prime Minister. He’s the first Oromo leader of Ethiopia, even though the Oromo are the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia. His leadership is mainly seen as a victory for democracy in Ethiopia, which has been under a pseudo democratic, but really autocratic regime for the last two and a half decades. Since becoming leader, Ahmed has lifted a state of emergency in Ethiopia, negotiated a peace treaty with Eritrea, and welcomed political dissidents to return to the nation. He is enormously popular, particularly with other Oromo people. However, his popularity may not last forever — he has recently arrested several thousand people on suspicion of inciting violence.
Anti-tourism Movements in Europe
Europe has some of the most iconic monuments in the world, and so each year cities like Paris, Barcelona, Venice, Rome, and Amsterdam are flooded with tourists. Avaricious developers have snapped up central city properties to rent out on Airbnb, driving rent up; many residents of these cities feel like the tourists are driving them out of their own homes. Groups in Barcelona emblazon posters with “#tourists go home”; in Venice, people occupy abandoned houses to make the point that the population of the city is dropping even as tourism soars. Legislation has passed to discourage visitors from lingering. In Amsterdam, residents complain that services like libraries are neglected. This has been going on for a few years, but has become particularly vociferous recently.
Brazilian Elections
On 8th October, Jair Bolsanoro secured almost 47% of the vote in the first round of Brazil’s presidential election. Pro-torture, supportive of dictatorships, anti LGBTQIA+, anti indigenous rights, Bolanoro is a paragon of the far-right. If he had got more than 50% of the vote, his victory would have been assured. He is up against Fernando Haddad, a centrist, who must quickly form alliances in Brazil’s volatile political landscape if he is to have any chance of victory.
Famine in Yemen
Yemen, which has had significant civil unrest since 2014, is still at war. This is preventing food from being grown or imported, causing a deadly ongoing famine. The war is between Shia rebels and soldiers loyal to the president, with Saudi Arabia trying to support those fighting for the president, and Iran accused of supporting the rebels. Fighting around key ports like Houthi, and the inefficacy of attempted peace talks, mean that the famine is likely to continue.
Tokelau Finances Escalate Tension With NZ
Tokelau is an island in the Pacific which is a dependency of New Zealand, which means that it uses NZ currency and some governance structures. Millions of dollars were spent on helicopters and property without proper authorisation, and this has not been investigated as many of the financial records were unaudited. This continues tensions over how NZ and Tokelau will negotiate their relationship to govern the state as best as they can.


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