And in the Rest of the World: The Refugee Crisis

Aug 20, 2016 11.00AM |

THE refugee crisis is ballooning along with the atrocities committed by the Islamic State. World leaders are starting to deal with this global concern – with an eye on their respective national interest and the demands of their constituents.

In the United States, Conservative leaders are strongly against setting up refugee resettlement programmes in the belief that ISIS is “spreading like cancer” among refugees, as stated by Nato’s top commander – US general Philip Breedlove.

Meanwhile, human rights groups persist in condemning anti-immigrant sentiments and continue to advocate for the need to provide shelter for the refugees. If halted, it “would be a cowardly abdication of responsibility and a tragic victory for terror over humanity”, said Amnesty International director John Dalhuisen.

We’ve compiled some differing reactions to the influx of refugees and took a look whether the refugees are receiving adequate access to basic necessities. Use the map below as a guide.

Then check out the quotes below for a gist of other world news.

Forest fires in Riau, Indonesia 

“Smoke from forest fires and peat in Riau has already crossed the Malacca Strait… It’s still only a little but it should be addressed immediately.”

–Mr Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, Indonesia’s disaster management agency chief

A special fire fighting team is working round the clock to monitor the 74 hotspots in Indonesia’s Riau province on Sumatra island. The haze from the forest fires and in oil palm plantations, is said to have crossed over to Malaysia, affecting the air quality in certain areas. As of Wednesday (Aug 17) at 5pm, 31 areas in Malaysia were recorded to have a ‘moderate’ (50-100) reading on the Air Pollutant Index (API) while one area, Tanjung Malim, recorded an ‘unhealthy’ 110 reading. As of yesterday (Aug 19) at 4pm, the API in most cities were ‘moderate’, with Ipoh at 90 and Kuala Lumpur at 72.



Escaped girl misses her Boko Haram husband

“I want him to know that I am still thinking about him. Just because we got separated, that does not mean that I don’t think about him.”

–Ms Amina Ali Nkek, Chibok girl who escaped the Boko Haram group

The first missing Chibok (a town in Borno state, Nigeria) girl was found after being kidnapped two years ago by the terrorist group, Boko Haram. Held in captivity, Ms Amina Ali Nkek was married off and gave birth to a girl. She fled the Boko Haram camp with her baby and a man claiming to be her husband. They were found on the outskirts of Nigeria’s Sambisa Forest. Ms Ali and her baby have been placed in a government facility for “de-radicalisation” while her husband is being interrogated in a detention centre.


Swiss knifeman sets fire to a train 

“The attack could be a crime of passion… A terrorism background still seems very, very far-fetched.”

–Mr Bruno Metzger, of the St Gallen cantonal police

Last Saturday (Aug 13), a 27-year-old Swiss national ignited flammable liquid on a train and stabbed people with a knife. The knifeman and six other people were injured, and at least one victim has died. Terrorist or political motives have been ruled as unlikely and police have confirmed the knifeman is not of an immigrant background. Estimated damage to the train that was approaching the Salez station at the time of the incident is CHF100,000 (S$139,886). On Sunday (Aug 14), the knifeman died after being hurt by the fire.


China launches quantum communications satellite 

“Quantum computing is largely seen as the next big thing in communications… There are millions of applications. Some people say quantum computing could change everything.” 

–Marc Einstein, Director of the Information Communications Technology (ICT) practice of Frost and Sullivan

On Tuesday (Aug 16), China launched the world’s first ever quantum satellite, establishing an “unhackable” communication network. Quantum technology, a field of physics and engineering, attempts to apply the mechanics of tiny, subatomic particles to other sectors such as secure communications. The Quantum Experiments at Space Scale (QUESS) also known as ‘Micius’, was launched from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in Gansu. Secure communications between Beijing and Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang where the government is battling an Islamist insurgency, is enabled by the satellite, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency. China will also be testing out quantum teleportation with QUESS.


Flooding in Louisiana 

 “We still have to go out with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to get a comprehensive assessment of the damage… It’s still early in this process.” 

–Mike Steele, a spokesman for the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.

After torrential rains poured down on Louisiana last weekend, the extent of damage is still being assessed, with the death toll rising to 13 on Thursday (Aug 18). Over 40,000 homes have been damaged and over 30,000 people from flood-soaked areas needed to be evacuated. The disaster relief cost is expected to require at least US$30 million (S$40.3 million) said Red Cross spokesman Craig Cooper. Over 70,000 people have applied for federal assistance and those numbers are expected to climb. President Obama has declared a state of emergency in the affected state.


Aung San Suu Kyi’s first China visit as Myanmar’s leader

 “She (Aung San Suu Kyi) also said that she is willing to look for a resolution that suits both sides’ interests via both sides’ energy administrations’ cooperation.”

– Liu Zhenmin, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister

Myanmar’s state counselor Ms Aung San Suu Kyi arrived in China on Thursday (Aug 18) to begin talks with China’s President Xi on the suspended Chinese Myitsone dam project in northern Myanmar. The outcome of the talks will determine the nature of relations between the neighbouring countries in the future. Previously, Mynamar’s former military-backed President Thein Sein, suspended funding for the Myitsone dam project in northern Myanmar. Opponents in Myanmar are against the dam because the reservoir created would mean massive flooding on the Irrawaddy River. It will be a challenge for Ms Suu Kyi to appease both China and the opposers back home but she plans to use cooperation from China to bolster peace conferences from those in the region.

US swimmers were not robbed in Rio, they were vandals 

“(The incident) has tapped into one of Brazilians’ biggest pet peeves — gringos who treat their country like a third-rate spring break destination where you can lie to the cops and get away with it”

– Brian Winter, vice president for policy at Americas Society and Council of the Americas.

Swimmer Ryan Lochte told a frightening story of how he was robbed at gunpoint by men identifying themselves as police officers in Rio. News of the armed assault on four US swimmers surfaced online on Sunday (Aug 14) but police investigations on Thursday (Aug 18) revealed that Lochte and the others had fabricated the story. Video footage proved that during the supposed time of the robbery, the swimmers were vandalising and causing destruction to a bathroom at a gas station. Furthermore, the swimmers’ accounts of the aftermath of the robbery did not match security footage obtained. Two swimmers were detained when they tried to fly home to the US on Thursday (Aug 18) but were able to leave a few hours later.


Compiled by Kathleen Bei and Khin Oo Thazin

Featured image Whole World – land and oceans by NASA on Wikimedia Commons. 

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