YGA’s international extravaganza: no. 13

Tuvalu undergoes constitutional review

by Gracie Daw

image credit: lirneasia

There is currently a constitutional review in Tuvalu which could introduce reforms to the country which would see the Queen removed as Head of State and the Prime Minister directly elected. Tuvalu currently has a political system similar to that of the UK as there is a parliament which has 16 MPs and a cabinet of eight ministers. 

The prime minister is currently elected by parliament and the ministers are appointed by the governor-general, the Queen’s representative, on advice of the prime minister. These reforms could see Tuvalu have a government which would resemble a presidential style. The review is not yet completed and the constitution has not yet been changed. 

Uganda: Opposition leader hits out at Museveni

by Harry Padoan

image credit: Mbowasport (Wikimedia Commons)

“Museveni will end up in the dustbin of history”. That’s exactly what Uganda’s opposition leader, Bobi Wine had to say of the incumbent President after being offered to engage in cross-party talks. Earlier this year, both figures went head-to-head in a monumental election, in which Museveni reportedly emerged victorious. 

However, the election was deeply impacted by violence against Museveni’s opponents, a deactivation of internet services and alleged fraud. In the previous week, Wine had called Museveni “hypocritical” for his move to prosecute those responsible for violence during the campaign, claiming that the President’s eldest son was a key culprit of such crimes. The opposition leader also argued that the acceptance of Afghan refugees was yet another attempt to “clean his [Museveni’s] image” on the international front after the USA and EU called for a probe into governmental abuses of power.

Ukraine and the US to begin joint military exercises

by Jessica Pender

image credit: TeeFarm / 696 Bilder (Pixabay)

The exercises are in response to the “Zapad 21” drills run by Belarus and Russia on sites close to EU borders. “Rapid Trident-2021” will be a series of military exercises run by the Ukraine, US, and members of NATO until 1 October. The drills will take place in Yavoriv, Ukraine, and at the International Peacekeeping Security Centre. 

This will be accompanied by over $60 million in US military assistance, in addition to the previous $125 million aid package which included two Mark VI patrol boats. The Ukrainian government hopes the drills will be the first step towards NATO membership.

UAE’s five year plan to diversify their economy

by Max Bedford

image credit: smarko (Pixabay)

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has revealed plans to invest £10 billion into the British economy in an effort to diversify their economy beyond fossil fuels. Announced on 16 September by the UK office for Investment, and the UAE sovereign wealth fund, Mubadala; the nations claim that the investment will boost green energy infrastructure over the next five years. 

However, the terms of the agreement prioritise “job creation”, with critics fearing that this will be used to divert money to pre-established fossil fuel industries. In a separate announcement  from the UAE, it was suggested that greater ‘climate action’ could be achieved through greater cooperation between their national oil company Masdar and BP. While more economic cooperation is expected between the two nations, it is unclear going forward if funds will be invested into green energy or diverted into a web of fossil fuel organisations.

Neil quits GB News

by Josh Chapman

image credit: GB News (Wikimedia Commons)

Andrew Neil has quit GB News, saying he didn’t want to be a part of a ‘British Fox News’. Whilst he said that this wasn’t what he set out to do when he became chairman of the news channel, making an appearance on Question Time, the veteran broadcaster said he would let ‘people make up their own minds’ but has also said he was a ‘minority of one’ in the management of the channel. 

Neil is not the first big-name signing to resign from the controversial news channel recently; ex-BBC correspondent Guto Harri quit after he was suspended for taking the knee. GB News has not had the start that it might have wanted. Neil himself said that the launch ‘couldn’t be filed under startling successes’. This latest resignation will only harm GB News’ already dwindling viewing figures.

California’s recall election

by Kate Nuttall

image credit: Jeff Chiu

On 14 September, the state of California held a gubernatorial recall election. The ballot asked voters to select whether the Democrat governor Gavin Newsom should be removed from office. There are almost double the number of Democrat voters in the state than Republican voters. While turnout was only 23.44 percent, a similar 2-to-1 pattern was reflected in the votes, with around two thirds voting not to recall Newsom as of the time of writing. The results will be certified by the Secretary of State of California on the 38th day after the election. 

This recall election is California’s first in 18 years and only it’s second against a governor. Should more than 50 percent of voters have selected to recall Newsom, he would have to step down from his position as governor.

Uruguayan meat exports leapfrog Argentine competitors

by Luke Jones

image credit: Ernestovdp (Pixabay)

Uruguayan meat exports have surpassed their Argentine neighbours following restrictions imposed by President Alberto Fernandez on the key industry to protect domestic prices. Prior to these restrictions, Argentina:, the ‘beef capital of the world’ with a population twelve times the size, had reclaimed its place as a top-five global supplier despite economic difficulties.

Uruguay, a country where cattle outnumber people four to one, has readily taken its place. With an eye on China, Uruguay aims to build its brand as a safer, more environmentally friendly alternative and thus sell at a higher price. While the Uruguayan President Lacalle Pou rejoices, Fernandez’s coalition, Frente de Todos, will face difficult questions in Argentina’s midterm election this November.

Uzbekistan’s interesting visitors

by Joe Mawer

image credit: LoggaWiggler (Pixabay)

Uzbekistan’s foreign policy has meant that it has become an incredibly important regional player, especially when they hosted the US and the Taliban for successful peace deal talks in 2020. This week, once again, Uzbekistan has played host to both the Taliban and a Western Power, this time Britain. Although there is no evidence in the public domain that both Lord Tariq Ahmed (the minister for South Asia) and Taliban representatives met, despite being in Tashkent  simultaneously.

Separate meetings between the Uzbeks and the Taliban achieved results as Uzbekistan agreed to give 1,300-tons of aid which will contain food, medication, and clothing. Moreover, Uzbekistan also signed a Memorandum of Understanding on economic cooperation with Britain. This therefore shows that Uzbekistan’s standing in the Central Asian and the world leader has grown.

A new milestone for Vanuatu

by Angel Hill

image credit: wreindl (Pixabay)

For the first time since Vanuatu’s independence, 41 years ago, an Employment Tribunal Adjudicator has been appointed. Mr Clifton Rau, an experienced lawyer in both private and government sectors, will enter office as soon as possible with his first task to draft the regulations of all tribunal operations. 

The Commissioner of Labour, Murielle Meltenoven, has disclosed that most employees in Vanuatu have experienced difficulties in accessing any services of the court of law due to high costs and time inefficiencies. The establishment of the Employment Tribunal provides an affordable and transparent avenue that employees can use to seek justice from workplace disputes. 

Mr Rau agreed that the future of the tribunal would follow the government’s decentralisation policy and “allow workers to express their plights”. This includes seasonal workers who may have disputes with their agents or the Vanuatu government.

Pope Francis considers allowing women to join the Pontifical Swiss Guard

by Dylan Nykamp

image credit: Paul Ronga

Rumours have begun circulating that women will soon be allowed to join the Vatican’s armed forces; the Swiss Guard. Former commander, Colonel Elmar Mäder, stated that he would never allow women to join, as “Sixty percent of our corps is under the age of 25; women in the same barracks would create big problems”.

Currently, most guards are single men living communally. However, the new barracks, due to be completed in 2026, has been designed to “provide space for serving women” according to Jean-Pierre Roth, the chairman of the foundation in charge of the project.

In 2008, Colonel Daniel Anrig, said that he would welcome female recruits when the housing situation changed. Although, the current commander is yet to comment. With the housing problem being addressed, the decision now lies with the Pope.

Opposition boycott ends

by Sophie Moseley

image credit: OpenClipart-Vectors (Pixabay)

President Maduro of Venezuela has presided over continuous years of hyperinflation which has caused food shortages, vast reductions in quality of life and the breakdown of democracy culminating in the opposition leader declaring himself president in 2019. Despite Juan Guaidó’s unsuccessful power grab he did manage to coordinate opposition parties to form the ‘unitary platform’ which stood to boycott any regional or national elections.

The unitary platform saw no conditions under which a free and fair election could take place, citing Maduro’s blatant corruption. However, the unitary platform has recently broken their boycott and decided to take part in the upcoming regional elections. This decision has not come as a result of its ability to ensure free and fair elections but instead an opportunity to create a “useful field of struggle”.

Vietnam faces prolonged lockdown amid Covid surge

by Toby Gill

image credit: GDJ (Pixabay)

Once praised for its response to the pandemic, Vietnam’s luck has now dissipated. Citizens of Ho Chi Minh City have faced severe food shortages and economic hardship for three months under a draconian lockdown, where residents couldn’t even leave homes to buy food. The government promised to provide aid to the residents, but actual support from the authorities has been lacklustre. 

Many residents of the city have been surviving  on meagre food rations. The temporary crisis has left locals practically helpless. Official statistics state that 3.5 million citizens in Ho Chi Minh City alone have slipped into a state of economic difficulties.  

As the lockdown extends indefinitely, and factories remain closed, local hopes for an easing of restrictions and an end to the financial hardship seem hopeless.

Yemen’s president reiterates UN’s support

by Owen Buchan

image credit: David_Peterson (Pixabay)

Yemen’s President Abed Rabbo Mansour has reiterated his support for an UN-led peace effort to end the war that has plagued Yemen since 2014. The war between the Yemenis government and the Iran-backed Houthis rebels have continued to cause sever casualties. This conflict has recently escalated to the Red Sea, with the Houthis planting naval mines thus threatening civilian maritime navigation in the region.

President Mansour met a special UN envoy to Yemen and urged the international community to put an end to the Houthis naval threats. Vital civilian facilities such as oil tanker SAFER and the port in Mocha have been threatened and shelled by Houthis. With a president open to peace and in communication with the UN, a fundamental change could be on its way to Yemen.

New Zambian president to tackle country’s debt

by Tiffany Choong

image credit: BlueSalo (Wikimedia Commons)

On 24 August, Hakainde Hichilema was sworn into office amidst the country’s piling amount of debt to the international community. Hichilema succeeded in achieving the presidency after five failed attempts and following the nation’s loss in faith towards his predecessor due to the economic crisis and corruption.

As the second largest producer of copper in Africa, Zambia has lost out to depressed prices in recent years and become the first African country to default in the pandemic. Mostly due to over-borrowing, they owe foreign lenders at least £8.6 billion. The new government plans to seek a bailout from the International Monetary Fund and to manage spending while improving on mining as copper prices are on the rise.

The crime surrounding Zimbabwean mining

by Connor Crout

image credit: Stevebidmead (Pixabay)

The Zimbabwean police are currently investigating the killing of a mine manager in Surawe, located in the Zimbabwean province of Mashonaland West. They are also investigating the theft of explosives and 20 tonnes of gold from that mine.

Zimbabwean mining has had a violent recent history which has also seen high gold theft – hundreds of people have lost their lives after a series of attacks were carried out by gangs associated with the growing artisanal mining sector. According to Kazembe Kazembe, the Zimbabwean Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, gold smuggling is costing Zimbabwe approximately $100 million per month.

Unless the Zimbabwean government takes drastic measures, it appears to be the unfortunate case that killings and theft over mines and gold will continue.

Thank you message

from Connor Crout (YGA Director of Journals)

As we’ve now come to the end of the YGA 2021 International Extravaganza, I’d like to take this time to thank:

  • Luke Jones and Joe Mawer for the original idea of this project.
  • Everyone who wrote articles for this project:
  1. Adam Spencer
  2. Angel Hill
  3. Caitlin Baptista
  4. Connor Crout
  5. Dylan Nykamp
  6. Frank Roberts
  7. Gracie Daw
  8. Hannah Boyle
  9. Harry Padoan
  10.  Jessica Pender
  11.  Joe Mawer
  12.  Jonathan Vallee
  13.  Josh Chapman
  14.  Kate Nuttall
  15.  Leanna Devabalan
  16.  Lefteris Anagnostou
  17.  Lucas Barker
  18.  Luke Jones
  19.  Max Bedford
  20.  Megan Edwards
  21.  Orestis Sechas
  22.  Owen Buchan
  23.  Rachael Ward
  24.  Samiha Hamze
  25.  Sophie Moseley
  26.  Theo Mitchell
  27.  Tiffany Choong
  28.  Toby Gill
  • Gracie Daw, Harry Padoan and Josh Chapman for editing the articles.
  • Harry Padoan and Tiffany Choong for uploading the articles to the YGA website.
  • Finally, you the audience – thank you for reading our articles! I hope you enjoyed them.

We will soon be resuming ‘The Brief’, our weekly journal – so look forward to more articles soon! Get in touch if you wish to write for us:

  • Facebook – York Global Affairs
  • Instagram – @yorkglobalaffairs
  • Email – cc1932@york.ac.uk (me) or yorkglobalaffairs@yusu.org (society)

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