the brief: issue sixteen


Tales of a survived coup attempt

by Angel Hill

image credit: Clker-Free-Vector-Images (Pixabay)

Umaro Sissoco Embaló, President of Guinea-Bissau, has survived five hours of intense gunfire in a coup attempt on 1 February. Despite local media reporting six deaths, Embaló has guaranteed that the situation is under control. The six victims have not been formally identified, however government officials have alluded that the aggressors were linked to Bissau-Guinean drug trafficking organisations. Historically, Guinea-Bissau has been dubbed Africa’s first ‘narco state’. 

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has condemned the attempted coup and has reinforced that it is the military’s responsibility to protect all members of the government. Over the last decade, ECOWAS has imposed sanctions on Guinea-Bissau which were previously said to have reduced military instability. This instability in the (previously known) Africa Coup Belt has been making a resurgence following this violent display in Guinea-Bissau and the coup attempt earlier this year in Burkina-Faso.


Can 3D printing technology help convert waste heat energy into electricity?

by Lauren Wright

image credit: CR-3D (Pixabay)

Fossil fuels are still the largest energy source used across the world. The combustion of fossil fuels produces a significant amount of waste heat energy – approximately 72 percent of energy is lost. Researchers in South Korea are looking to exploit this waste energy to produce much more practical electricity.

A team from Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology have utilised 3D printing technology, to create low-cost thermoelectric generators. These are placed in exhausts and convert thermal energy into electrical energy. Generators are 3D printed with thermoelectric ink and are completely customisable. Customisable generators allow for more efficient energy transfer and higher power output than already available suboptimal rectangular devices. Further research is needed, but thermoelectric generators are an exciting prospect for reducing waste and finding greener electricity sources.


British diplomacy in Ukraine: Boris ‘lets the lion roar’ 

by Luke Jones

image credit: Number 10 (Flickr)

In 2017 then-Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson urged post-Brexit Britain to ‘let the lion roar’. On 1 February the Prime Minister met with his equal in Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, cautioning in a joint press conference that a Russian invasion would be a humanitarian, political and military disaster. 

More substantively, Britain has weighed in that it would toughen sanctions should the Kremlin choose to invade which it can now do independently outside the EU, a fact which former-US Ambassador to the EU called ‘a major Brexit upside’. 

With political uproar at home, the battle-scarred leader will be keen to divert attention to the turmoil abroad and put himself at the helm of the fight. The question becomes: is this the lion Boris had in mind?


Mike Pence’s mission to return to ‘top’ U.S. politics

by Connor Crout

image credit: GPA Photo Archive (Flickr)

Mike Pence, the former Vice President of the United States, has publicly dismissed the claims from former President, Donald Trump that the results of the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election could’ve been overturned. Joe Biden won 306 electoral votes (270 needed for an outright majority) and 51.3% of the public vote in the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election, being inaugurated as President on 20 January 2021.

Despite his statement, back in January 2021, Mike Pence refused to use the 25th amendment to remove Donald Trump from office the day after riots in the U.S. capitol, perpetrated by those who believed the election was stolen from Trump, which caused the deaths of five people. With Mike Pence currently one of the statistical favourites to become the next President, it must be wondered whether he’s trying to make his way back into ‘top’ U.S. politics.


Freedom to fly

by Rachael Ward

image credit: Aerospace Technology Institute

New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, has announced that its border is set to open bit by bit. Although the long-awaited reopening was pushed back by Omicron, Ardern has now judged it safe to let the outsiders in. The process by which the border will be opened is a gradual one, starting in February and ending by October.

The initial invitees to New Zealand are fully vaccinated Australian’s, those with Working Holiday Scheme visas, and eventually the rest of the world. While those outside New Zealand are now free to get their foot in the door, arrivals will be expected to quarantine for ten days. This is a bold move for an island that has sealed itself off from the globe for two years. Although New Zealand is not yet moving at jet-like speed, passengers can finally get their passports ready.

Pork barrel your way out

by Ellis Holden

image credit: OpenClipart (FreeSVG)

As the election draws nearer so does the Australian issue of ‘pork barrelling’. This seems to be the way out and way under for Scott Morrison in the 2022 election in order to hold onto key seats held or won since 2019. This involves funding the Liberal Party’s own constituencies over Labor Party constituencies.

Ultimately the Liberal-National Coalition’s seats have been found to have received $1.9 billion in contrast to Labor’s $530 million over the entire tenure of Scott Morrison’s Premiership. With Anthony Albanese focusing on campaigning on the island of Tasmania where government funding has been lacking. We can be sure that there will be a focus on this as we get closer to summer. As the Labor leader pointed out ‘tax payers don’t pay different rates of tax according to what electorate they’re in’.


Chilean anti-migration protests

by Eleanor Austin

image credit: mayns82 (Pixabay)

Tensions have risen in the northern city of Iquique once more, with 4,000 people protesting against Venezuelan migrants. Iquique was home to large scale anti-migration protests last September, which saw violence and migrant tents being burnt. Although not as violent, this protest echoed the ‘us vs them’ rhetoric, showing they do not want to welcome migrants in this city. 

The UN predicts that around 448,000 Venezuelan migrants and refugees have entered Chile, mainly through this northern border. Additionally, they predict that 21 people died at the border in 2021, further highlighting how this current system is inadequate. These deaths, as well as the growing tensions in northern Chile, present how the new left-wing government needs to improve this in order to protect these migrants as well as introduce better methods of rehousing them throughout the country to reduce the strain on the northern towns. 

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