Story by Yashowanto Ghosh, Staff Writer
Photo courtesy of BBC News
SOUTH CHINA SEA – Defense Secretary Ash Carter visited the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt 70 miles northwest of Borneo on Thursday, November 5. He called his visit “a symbol” of America’s stabilizing presence in the region, reports BBC.
A week earlier, after US Navy ship had sailed into waters claimed by China, Chinese Admiral Wu Shengli had said during a video conference with US Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson that a minor incident could spark war if the USA did not stop its “provocative acts,” according to Reuters. Just before Carter’s visit, a Beijing spokeswoman warned against “waving the banner of freedom of navigation to push forward the militarisation of the South China Sea.”
SINAI PENINSULA – A Russian plane, flying from Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport in Egypt to Saint Petersburg, Russia, crashed in the Sinai Peninsula on Saturday, October 31. Everyone on board—217 passengers and seven crew members—were killed. Most of the passengers were tourists. The victims were 219 Russians, four Ukrainians, and one Belarusian.
Russia declared a day of mourning for Sunday, November 1, and ordered an official investigation. The plane appears to have broken in two shortly after disappearing from radar. ISIL has claimed responsibility, and as of this writing investigators have not been able to rule out a bomb on board as the cause of the crash.
MYANMAR – Myanmar is scheduled to hold general elections on Sunday, November 8. The Union Solidarity and Development Party, which is the ruling party, is backed by the Burmese Army; the main opposition is the National League for Democracy, which is led by 1991 Nobel Laureate for Peace Aung San Suu Kiy.
Suu Kiy was placed under house arrest and the election was nullified by the army when her party won the elections in 1990. She was released in 2010, and this year’s elections are the first general elections since her release.
TURKEY – Turkey held general elections on Sunday, November 1. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party won with almost 50 percent of the vote in a surprise landslide.
Earlier elections in June had resulted in a hung parliament when no party won a clear majority and efforts to form a coalition failed, which had led Erdoğan to announce fresh elections for November 1.
The Republican People’s Party retained its position as the main opposition with just over 25 percent of the vote, but the third and fourth largest parties suffered heavy losses.
AFGHANISTAN – A magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck Monday, October 26, with aftershocks continuing for the next three days, killing almost 400 people in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India according to the latest counts. Tremors were felt as far away as Nepal in the east, Kyrgyzstan in the north and Turkmenistan in the west. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said UN agencies are mobilizing to help in relief operations.
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