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IN THIS WEEK'S EDITION
Here's what you need to know: Belarus says West left us no choice but to deploy nuclear arms, Turkey's Erdogan triumphs in election test, South Korea and US hold the largest live-fire drills to respond to 'full-scale' attacks, Russia gold: UAE cashes in as sanctions bite, G7 officials to hold first meeting on AI regulation this week, neural implant helps paralyzed man walk again.
African nations urged to end ‘neutrality’ in the Ukraine war. Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has called for certain African nations to end their neutrality over Russia's invasion of his country, and to endorse the call for Russia to withdraw from the country.
Ukraine's Zelenskyy introduces Iran sanctions bill. Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has put forward a bill that would see Ukraine impose sanctions on Russian ally Iran for 50 years, a response to what Kyiv says is Tehran's supplying of weapons to Moscow.
Turkey's Erdogan triumphs in election test, extending 20-year rule.President Tayyip Erdogan and his supporters celebrated an election win extending his rule into a third decade. Turkey's opposition braced themselves for ‘difficult days ahead’ against an increasingly autocratic government.
Saudi Arabia arrests over 12,000 people in one week. The Kingdom announced more than 12,000 arrests in a single week as it clamps down on residency, labour and security breaches, with arrests made by multiple security agencies. The arrests included 6,598 residency violations and 1,413 labour law violations.
Mexican President increases tension with Peru. The outspoken Mexican leftist has repeatedly derided Boluarte as illegitimate. A day earlier, lawmakers in Peru declared Mexico's president was not welcome in the South American country, citing what they described as his meddling in their internal affairs.
Biden, McCarthy appear near two-year deal on US debt ceiling as default looms. U.S. President Joe Biden and top congressional Republican Kevin McCarthy are closing in on a deal that would raise the government's $31.4 trillion debt ceiling for two years while capping spending on most items.
Nigeria ex-oil Minister seeks $215 million in defamation lawsuit. Diezani Alison-Madueke filed a defamation lawsuit against the country’s anti-corruption agency, demanding $215 million in damages. The agency accused her of graft during five years at the helm of the West African nation’s key economic sector.
South Korea, US hold the largest live-fire drills to respond to 'full-scale' attacks. South Korean and US forces undertook live-fire exercises simulating a "full-scale attack" from North Korea. These are the biggest such drills to take place, demonstrating their ‘overwhelming military capability against the North's threats’.
Kosovo: Fresh clashes as NATO troops called in to northern towns. NATO has condemned as ‘totally unacceptable’ attacks by demonstrators in Kosovo that left some 25 of its peacekeepers injured. Police and NATO troops clashed with Serb protesters in the north where there has been unrest over the installation of ethnic Albanian mayors.
UN Chief: World ‘failing’ to protect civilians caught in conflict. The world is failing to protect civilians as the number of people caught up in conflicts and their humanitarian aftershocks skyrocketed last year, Antonio Guterres said. In 2022, the United Nations tallied a 53% in civilian deaths compared to the year prior.
Senegalese government websites face cyberattack. Hackers linked to the ‘Anonymous’ hacking group took multiple Senegalese government websites offline last week. The group claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying that ‘the people have the right to freely choose a President’.
Sudan’s army recalls ex-soldiers as fighting persists. Sudan’s army has asked reservists and retired soldiers to re-enlist to boost its troops amid the ongoing war with the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). The Sudanese army has also asked the UN to replace its local envoy after pushing a political transition to civilian rule that some in the army opposed.
From Russia with gold: UAE cashes in as sanctions bite. Russian customs records show that the UAE has become a key trade hub for Russian gold since Western sanctions over Ukraine cut Russia's more traditional export routes. The Gulf state imported 75.7 tonnes of Russian gold worth $4.3 billion, up from just 1.3 tonnes during 2021.
South African Central Bank sounds alarm on threat of sanctions. South Africa’s central bank has warned of dire consequences should the country face censure due to its stance on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The country adopted what a 'non-aligned stance' toward the war in Ukraine, abstaining from UN votes condemning Russia’s actions.
China's Wuhan finance regulator urges hundreds of firms to repay debt. The financial regulator of China's Wuhan city publicly exposed 259 firms with debt to the government and urged them to immediately pay up. The rare action from Wuhan's finance bureau comes as local governments in China become increasingly pressed by higher debt and expenses.
Apple strikes major US-made semiconductor deal. Apple says it has struck a multi-billion-dollar deal with chipmaker Broadcom to use more US-made parts. The move comes as a trade row centred on the technology industry continues to intensify between Washington and Beijing.
Congo to hike stake in copper, cobalt venture with China. The DRC aims to boost its stake in a cobalt and copper joint venture with Chinese firms to 70% from 32% on concerns that the deal gives away too much of Congo's resources with little benefit to the country.
G7 officials to hold first meeting on AI regulation this week.G7 nation officials will meet to consider problems posed by generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools like ChatGPT. The working group will consider issues such as intellectual property protection, disinformation and how the technology should be governed.
Taiwan to fast-track communications protection. Facing earthquakes and potential conflict with China, Taiwan aims to fast-track its plan for a resilient digital infrastructure. Audrey Tang, head of Taiwan's Digital Affairs Ministry, wants the island to be prepared to withstand a total communications collapse in the event of an emergency by the end of 2024.
Musk’s Neuralink receives approval for brain implant tests. Elon Musk's start-up Neuralink said it has received approval from US regulators to test its brain implants in humans. Neuralink said clearance from the FDA for its first in-human clinical study is "an important first step" for its technology.
Iraq launches $17 billion road and rail project to link Asia and Europe. Iraq launched a $17 billion project designed to link a major commodities port on its southern coast by rail and roads across to the border with Turkey, in a move designed to transform the country's economy after decades of war and crisis.
China deletes 1.4 million social media posts. China's cyberspace regulator said 1.4 million social media posts have been deleted following a two-month probe into alleged misinformation, illegal profiteering, and impersonation of state officials, among other ‘pronounced problems.’
Neural implant helps paralyzed man walk again. Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology have developed a neural implant which helped a paralyzed man gain his mobility again. The implant transmits the brain stimuli to the spinal cord via an externally worn processing unit.
The human brain shows a weird preference for sounds from the left. According to the brain scans of 13 adults, positive human sounds, like laughter, trigger stronger neural activity in the brain's auditory system when they are heard from the left-hand side, suggesting the human auditory cortex is specially tuned to the direction of sounds that make us happy.
Modern slavery most common in North Korea and Eritrea. North Korea, Eritrea and Mauritania have the highest prevalence of modern slavery in the world. The Global Slavery Index notes a “worsening” situation globally since its last survey five years earlier. Rights group Walk Free says up to 50 million people were experiencing forced labour in 2021.
World’s oldest Homo sapiens footprint discovered – and it’s 153,000 years old. Scientists working in Africa identified the track made by Homo sapiens in the Garden Route National Park, west of the Cape Coast town of Knysna. It is older than the two previously discovered tracks by 25,000 years.
Creating electricity from moisture in the air, even in the Sahara Desert. A 'science-fiction' device developed by scientists in Massachusetts would allow people to pull electricity out of thin air. According to the scientists, any kind of material can harvest electricity from the air—it just needs to have holes smaller than 100 nm (nanometers), or less than a thousandth of the width of a human hair.
In last week's Future Trends: Which is the first country to introduce health labelling on alcohol?