World this week

Thursday, November 16th, 2017


Widely criticised for her stance over Rohingya refugee crisis, Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi now told her fellow Southeast Asian leaders that her country will take back Rohingya refugees after it signs an agreement with its neighbor Bangladesh. Suu Kyi gave the assurance after two of the unnamed Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) leaders raised the issue during a plenary session of the Asean summit in Manila on November 13. “The process of repatriation of IDPs (internally displaced persons) will conclude within three weeks after a signing of a memorandum of agreement for understanding with Bangladesh,” Philippines Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Roque said quoting the de facto leader of Myanmar.


Lebanon believes Saad al-Hariri, who resigned as prime minister on November 11 while in Saudi Arabia, is being held by Riyadh, and Beirut plans to work with foreign states to secure his return, a top Lebanese government official said on November 13. A second source, a senior politician close to Saudi-allied Hariri, said Saudi Arabia had ordered him to resign and put him under house arrest. A third source familiar with the situation said Saudi Arabia was controlling and limiting his movement. Hariri’s shock resignation, read out on television from Saudi Arabia, pitched Lebanon into a deep political crisis and pushed the country back to the forefront of a regional struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran.


Britain‘s overseas aid minister Priti Patel quit on November 8 over unauthorised meetings in Israel, becoming the latest cabinet member felled by scandals that have rocked Prime Minister Theresa May’s government. “I offer a fulsome apology to you and to the government for what has happened and offer my resignation,” Patel wrote to May, becoming the second minister to leave the cabinet in one week. May summoned Patel back from a trip to Africa to explain her talks with Israeli politicians and officials, in which she raised the possibility of Britain diverting aid to the Israeli army. Patel had apologised on Monday for holding 12 separate meetings — including with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — during a family holiday to Israel in August, without notifying the Foreign Office or Downing Street in advance.


Teams of Iranian rescuers dug through rubble in a hunt for survivors on November 13 after a major earthquake struck the Iran-Iraq border, killing at least 415 people and injuring thousands. The 7.3-magnitude quake rocked a border area 30 kilometres southwest of Halabja in Iraqi Kurdistan around 9:20 pm (1820 GMT) on Sunday, the US Geological Survey said. Many people would have been at home when the quake hit in Iran’s western province of Kermanshah, where authorities said it killed at least 407 people and injured 6,700. Across the border in more sparsely populated areas of Iraq, the health ministry said eight people had died and several hundred were injured. Iraq’s Red Crescent reported nine dead and more than 400 injured. As dusk approached yesterday, tens of thousands of Iranians were forced to sleep outside in the cold for a second night as authorities scrambled to provide them with aid.

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