Story by Yashowanto Ghosh, Staff Writer
Photo courtesy of Reuters/Pauline Askin
ANTARCTICA – The European Union and 24 countries signed an agreement to create a marine park in Antarctica’s Ross Sea at the annual meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources in Australia on Friday, Oct. 28, reports tagesschau.de. The agreement is a product of five years of negotiation.
The protected area is 1.55 million square kilometers large, of which 1.12 million square kilometers will be reserved as a non-fishing zone. The last objections had been from Russia, which feared disadvantages to its fishing industry. US Secretary of State John Kerry expressed satisfaction with the agreement.
The agreement will remain valid for 35 years.
LIBYA – Over 200 people died as two separate refugee boats sank in the Mediterranean trying to reach Italy from Libya; one on Wednesday, Nov. 2, and another on Thursday, Nov. 8, reports The Guardian.
An agreement between the European Union and Turkey earlier this year has reduced the number of refugees trying to reach Greece from Turkey, but the number of refugees from multiple African countries crossing on rubber and inflatable boats from volatile Libya to the Italian island of Lampedusa is already almost 160,000 for the year. The record high of 170,000 from two years ago might be beaten. This year’s number of refugee drownings is at a record high of 4,220 deaths.
TURKEY – Members of the pro-Kurdish opposition party HDP were detained on Friday, Nov. 4, as the government crackdown in response to July’s failed coup attempt continues, reports BBC News.
The two leaders of the HDP, Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, were held at their respective homes, while the party’s headquarters were searched and several of the party’s members of parliament were arrested. Demirtas had tweeted about being arrested; subsequently, social media websites, including Twitter, Facebook, Whatsapp and even YouTube could no longer be accessed in Turkey. HDP, with 59 seats in the parliament, is Turkey’s third largest party; the government claims that the HDP has links to the terrorist PKK.
Turkey has been under a continuous state of emergency since the attempted coup.
UNITED KINGDOM – A high court decision introduced a new twist in the Brexit drama on Thursday, Nov. 3: Three judges ruled that the government can’t start the process without first going through the British parliament, reports Reuters.
The British pound rose in response; the government is appealing the decision, and the British supreme court is expected to hear the appeal early next month. Prime Minister Theresa May said the ruling will not derail the government’s plans. Most members of the British parliament had campaigned against Brexit before the referendum in June, but are not expected to oppose it any longer. Still, having to go through the parliament would be likely to affect the terms of Brexit.
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