World this week

World this week
Thursday, October 19th, 2017


The most powerful bomb blast ever witnessed in Somalia’s capital killed 276 people with around 300 others injured, the country’s information minister said on October 16. In a tweet, Abdirahman Osman called the attack “barbaric” and said countries including Turkey and Kenya had already offered to send medical aid. Hospitals were overwhelmed a day after a truck bomb targeted a crowded street near key government ministries, including foreign affairs. The blast occurred two days after the head of the US Africa Command was in Mogadishu to meet with Somalia’s president, and two days after the country’s defense minister and army chief resigned for undisclosed reasons.


The United Nations recently announced that its top official in Myanmar, Renata Lok-Dessallien, is being recalled to headquarters in New York amid allegations that she commissioned and then suppressed a report that was highly critical of UN’s approach in Myanmar. Quoting the UN, the BBC, on October 10, reported UN Resident Coordinator Renata Lok-Dessallien in Myanmar would leave by the end of October. Diplomatic and aid community sources in Yangon, however, told the BBC’s Jonah Fisher the decision was linked to her failure to prioritise human rights. Since then Dessallien has remained in post with the government of Myanmar, rejecting her proposed successor. Renata was the focus of a BBC investigation last month in which she was accused of suppressing internal discussion on Rohingya Muslims.


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is on track for a landslide win in Japan’s upcoming election, the latest survey suggested on October 16, as a new party founded by Tokyo’s popular governor loses momentum. Abe’s conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is projected to win as many as 303 of the 465 seats up for grabs in the October 22 election, according to a poll by the Mainichi Shimbun. Its junior coalition partner Komeito is expected to gain more than 30 seats, allowing Abe’s ruling camp to have a comfortable two-thirds majority in the powerful lower house, the poll suggested. A two-thirds majority in parliament would allow Abe, 63, to push through an amendment to Japan’s pacifist constitution.

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