the brief: issue nine


Military coup puts Sudan’s democratic future into question

by Harvey Young

image credit: Ola A. Alsheikh (Wikimedia Commons)

Sudan was plunged into chaos on 25 October when the military temporarily detained the Prime Minister whilst occupying the capital’s key infrastructure,TV, and radio stations. Since 2019 the nation had been governed by a ‘Sovereignty Council’ made up of both civilian and military leaders and was set to be transferred to full civilian control after elections in November.

Sudan has been experiencing an economic crisis and the coup’s leader stated the move was to prevent a civil war, following a series of protests and attempted coups. However, the move has been met with anger from the Sudanese people, leading to large ongoing strikes which have led to at least ten deaths after soldiers opened fire.

The move has also provoked widespread condemnation and retaliation from the international community, including both the US and World Bank suspending financial aid.


Love over life in royalty

by Rachael Ward

image credit: Shizuo Kambayashi (AFP via Getty Images)

In an uncanny comparison to the royal debacle in the UK, Princess Mako of Japan has ended her royal life with the advent of a new marriage. In classic fairy tale fashion, Princess Mako has been stripped of her royal status after marrying what Japan characterise as a ‘commoner’. This marks another royal marriage where media mania has taken its toll on the mental health of the newlyweds. There was no ritual or rendition of a royal ceremonial wedding and Mako has rejected money offered at her departure from royal duties.

The wedding day was not without its objections, with its critics staging a protest to pronounce their adversity. This withdrawal from royal life has earnt itself historic status as Mako is the first female family member to reject this royal ceremonial and the payment offered to prop up her private life.


Fishing row places Anglo-French relations in ‘deep water’

by Connor Crout

image credit: Nzeemin (Wikimedia Commons)

France have detained a British fishing trawler for not being able to prove it was allowed to fish in French waters and have fined another for initially resisting a check by the maritime police, adding to the ongoing Anglo-French row over post-Brexit fishing rights.

France has threatened to stop UK boats landing in its ports unless the licensing row is resolved by 2 November. The UK Environment Secretary has in turn has warned that “two can play at that game” and the UK government has threatened to start “rigorous” checks on EU fishing activities.

Boris Johnson’s spokesperson has said that he will have a “brush by” meeting with Emmanuel Macron at the G20 summit in Rome. Both sides are likely to value their countries’ relationship and will therefore seek a resolution to this fishing row.


Biden fights own party in bid to pass domestic legislation

by Max Bedford

image credit: Jackelberry (Pixabay)

Over the last week, Senate and Congressional Democrats have undergone debates over Biden’s economic reconciliation package, seeing significant demands from both the progressive and moderate branches of the party. The Bill itself houses a number of Biden’s election promises, including spending on welfare, healthcare and environmental programmes alongside myriad state specific projects.

As of October 29, Biden has suggested a new framework for a proposed $1.75 trillion package that largely focuses on increased welfare funding; however moderate Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have yet to endorse the bill, leading to fears of further cuts going forward. The debate on 29 October ended with the House delaying a vote on the bill, the progressive caucus stating: “Members of our Caucus will not vote for the infrastructure bill without the Build Back Better Act”.


Climate change devastates Fijian village

by Harry Padoan

image credit: GDJ / 10056 Bilder (Pixabay)

Vunidogoloa village, in the eastern region of Fiji has been forced to move inland for the second time in order to avoid severe flooding on the coast. The coast is completely exposed to storm surges which are caused by Pacific cyclones – the village itself is also situated at the mouth of a river. These factors have meant that Vunidogoloa has desperately struggled against rising sea levels.

Climate change of course, is at the centre of such catastrophe. Shifting ocean currents, increasingly powerful storms and higher sea levels have all been traced back to human greenhouse gas emissions, leaving many other vulnerable villages in fear of similar devastation.


A strong Venezuelan relationship forged

by Angel Hill

image credit: OpenClipart-Vectors (Pixabay)

In a joint press conference, the Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and Venezuelan Foreign Minister Felix Plasencia finalised a comprehensive plan of economic cooperation and a strengthening of relations. This strategic plan is founded on a mutual disaffection with imperialism and excessive policies leveraged by the United States, with Plasencia stating that this new relationship has united them against “those who wish to harm our independence”. This broadly refers to the heavy US sanctions placed on both Venezuela and Iran, plunging both economies into serious crisis. 

Venezuela’s variety of tourist and historical attractions have also heavily influenced the need for developing tourism ties with Iran, following the decline in Venezuelan oil revenue over the past few years. The 20 year roadmap plans for bilateral cooperation with the intended result of mutual economic growth, investment opportunities, new trading markets, and stronger long-term relations.

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