Yesterday’s News Today’s Reality

Greece. The Greek government has proposed to set up a floating wall to stop refugees from reaching the island Lesbos by blocking the main sea route between Greece and Turkey. Around 20 000 refugees are currently being held in a camp on Lesbos with a holding capacity of less than 3 000 people. According to Vasileia Digidiki and Jacqueline Bhabha of The Guardian, the floating-wall project is a sign of the failure of European migration policies.

Chile. The protests in Chile, which began in October 2019, are continuing despite concessions made by the government, including the drafting of a new constitution, sumbission for approval of which is scheduled for late 2021 provided that the required public spending can be afforded. While the concessions might have appeased some Chileans, others continue to protest against inequalities within Chile, as well as against the human rights violations and police repression (having led to the death of several protesters) they accuse the government of.

Switzerland. While most attendants of the 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, which took place in January, arrived by private jet, a group of climate activists set out on a three-day protests march from Landquart to Davos. The march was one of several protests organised around the World Economic Forum to raise awareness on climate change and put pressure on politicians and big companies to take climate action. 

USA. In a vote on the US president’s impeachment, Donald Trump has been acquitted of charges of impeachable crimes laid against him as all Republican members of the Senate except Mitt Romney voted against Trump’s impeachment. With the presidential elections in November, however, the long-term impact of the impeachment process remains to be seen. 

Great Britain/ EU. On 31 January 2020, Great Britain left the European Union (EU). The European Parliament voted with a majority for the Brexit contract. While the Brexit party was celebrating the decision, the majority of delegates in Brussels were less enthusiastic about the development and some wore scarves with the writing “United in Diversity” on them. As a good-bye, they stood up together and, holding each others hands, sang the European anthem. During the one year transition period following the Brexit there will be a lot of work and (re-)negotiations to be done.

Australia. The Australian bushfires of the past months have fuelled the debate on climate change. Climate activists organised big demonstrations in major cities in Australia, but also worldwide, to protest against the coal mining industry, emission politics and for more climate action. The Australian prime minister Scott Morrison, who was on holidays in Hawaii shortly after the fires started, was widely criticised for his reaction to and handling of the situation, as were other Australian politicians. Morrison admitted that climate change could have a part in the events, but also said this is not the time to discuss it since there was an emergency to deal with. The public (domestically and internationally) expressed a lot of support, respect and empathy for the firefighters as well as critique of the government, because the firefighters do not receive enough resources.

 

Photo Credits

pi-IMG_5623, zhrefch, CC0 1.0