Highlights of the Week (10/02/2020)

Our editors give us the breakdown of this week’s biggest news stories

Scotland: Ryan Morrice

Jackson Carlaw was elected as the new leader for the Scottish Conservatives.

The UK government announced it was examining the feasibility of building a bridge between Northern Ireland and Scotland. It has been suggested that such a bridge could cost over £20 billion. Critics called it a ‘vanity project’.

UK: Ryan Morrice 

The government approved the construction of the HS2 rail project. It would see travel times dramatically reduced between London, Birmingham, Manchester, and Leeds. With a finish date of 2040 and a price tag of £106 billion critics warned of potential delays and cost overruns.

Eight people who were being treated for coronavirus in the UK have been discharged from hospital after being tested negative for the virus. Only one person remains infected in the UK.

Boris Johnson reshuffled his cabinet. Sajid Javid unexpectedly resigned as Chancellor of the Exchequer and was replaced by Rishi Sunak.

The UK economy experienced no growth in the final quarter of 2019.

Europe: Charlie Whiteley 

Far-right Italian politician Matteo Salvini is scheduled to go on trial for allegedly kidnapping migrants. This trial will bring Salvini and his anti-immigrant Lega Nord party further into the national spotlight. Already polling at 30%, he has risen in popularity due to anti-immigrant and law-and-order rhetoric.   


English football club Manchester City have been banned from competing in European competition by Europe’s football governing body UEFA. The punishment also includes a 30m Euro fine. UEFA alleges that Manchester City overstated sponsorship income to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations, which are in place to halt unsustainable overspending by clubs.

Asia: Max Dowden

This week, Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte has finally followed through with anti-Washington rhetoric by officially backing out of a longstanding defense pact with the United States.

Meanwhile, India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party received a poor electoral performance in the country’s elections, in a sharp blow to the legitimacy of divisive Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.

Finally,  the government of Singapore has announced a massive stimulus plan under its latest budget, in the hopes of countering the economic fallout of Coronavirus. It is believed that the ruling People’s Action Party may even call a snap election regarding the handling of the viral outbreak. 

Africa: Lucy Wright

The coronavirus is continuing to have a negative impact on African economies. Latest reports show that the epidemic now threatens the airline industry, with a considerable decrease in the number of flights from Africa to China. Six airlines from the continent have suspended various routes amidst concerns surrounding the public health emergency.

In Morocco, Berber women have voiced concerns surrounding the pay and working conditions in the argan oil industry. The predominantly female workforce normally make less than £170 a month, below the Moroccan recommended minimum wage, despite the lucrative profits made in the industry as demand for argan oil increases following studies demonstrating the product’s health benefits.

Americas: Alex Watt 

President Trump has tweeted he has “the legal right” to intervene in criminal cases after his attorney general, William Barr, complained White House tweets were making his job “impossible”. President Trump has claimed he has not meddled in any cases, but Mr Barr spoke out after Trump reinvigorated his attack on the criminal trial of his ex-advisor, and long-time Republican insider, Roger Stone. Prosecutors have recommended Stone serve a stiff sentence, but the President disagrees. The Department of Justice was in recent times supposed to operate without political interference following the Watergate crisis in the early 1970s.

In Brazil, President Bolsonaro has controversially appointed Sergio Camargo to head the Palmares Cultural Foundation, an organisation responsible for promoting and maintaining the historic, social, cultural and economic values of black society in Brazil. Mr Camargo describes himself on his social media as a “black right-winger, an anti-victimist”, and has previously used terms such as “nutella racism” to criticise younger activists.

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