Medical staff attend to a person on a stretcher at the scene where many people died and were injured in a stampede during a Halloween festival in Seoul, South Korea, Oct. 30, 2022. | Photo Credit: Contributor/AFP via Getty Images

Weekly Recap Oct 24 – Oct 30

Oct 31: Halloween crowd surge in Seoul kills at least 153 people, Brazilian leftist presidential candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva leads over far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) government orders expulsion of Rwandan Ambassador Vincent Karega.

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North America:

  • 19-year-old Orlando Harris attacked Central Visual and Performing Arts High School in St Louis last Monday (Oct 24), resulting in two fatalities. According to officials, the attack in Missouri — where Harris used an AR-15-style, semi-automatic rifle — also injured six people. During the attack, students tried to flee from the attacker by jumping from windows and hiding in classroom corners. The police who arrived at the scene had a gunfire exchange with Harris which caused Harris to die from fatal wounds. In recent months, the United States (US) has been experiencing a nationwide call regarding stricter gun control measures. 
  • US President Joe Biden had talks with Israeli President Isaac Herzog last Wednesday (Oct 26), which focused on the crackdown on anti-government protests in Iran. According to Herzog, both leaders mainly discussed Iran’s nuclear capabilities. Israel has been opposing diplomatic efforts between the US and Iran to revive the 2015 nuclear deal in which Iran received sanctions relief for scaling back its nuclear programme. However, the talks led human rights advocates such as Sana Siddiq, who is with the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, to express disappointment in Biden for not addressing Israeli abuses against Palestinians. In a White House statement, Biden claimed he had “underlined the need to take continued steps to improve the lives of Palestinians” during the talks with Herzog. 
  • Canadian MPs rejected a motion proposed by the Quebec opposition party Bloc Quebecois, for Canada to cut ties with the British monarchy last Wednesday (Oct 26). The tally in the House of Commons observed only 44 votes in favour of the notion, with 266 votes against it. Canada has been a constitutional monarchy, now with King Charles III as its “head of state”. Yves-Francois Blanchet, leader of Bloc Quebecois, reasoned that the death of Queen Elizabeth II served as an opportune moment to “free” the country. Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected the motion, emphasising that the Liberal Party has more pressing topics to address.
  • A senior US official said last Thursday (Oct 27) that other countries will join the US in restricting China’s access to chips and chip-making equipment. The latest sanction dates back to early October when exports of advanced chips and components made with US technology were restricted to China. The US claims that the sanctions seek to halt China’s ambitions of developing its own chip industry. Undersecretary of Commerce for Industry and Security Alan Estevez said that the goal was to defend US national security.
  • US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband was attacked last Friday (Oct 28). The culprit, whom police arrested at the scene, was identified as a 42-year-old man named David DePape. DePape allegedly entered the couple’s home in San Francisco and attacked Pelosi’s husband with a hammer while questioning her whereabouts. In efforts to search for a motive behind the attack, police believe that DePape was influenced by online hate speech against Pelosi. According to his internet profile, DePape is a supporter of former President Trump and the QAnon conspiracy theory, of which Pelosi is the centre of attention. This incident came during a period of tension due to the upcoming midterm elections on Nov 8. 

South America: 

  • Xavier Vera, Ecuador’s energy minister, resigned last Friday (Oct 28) while investigations about his bribery were ongoing. Accusations claim that Xavier arranged jobs at Petroecuador, Ecuador’s oil company, in exchange for bribes. Vera has since denied any wrongdoings and had decided to resign in order to prevent the government from being affected by the accusations. 
  • Brazil’s Supreme Court released a court statement last Thursday (Oct 27), that outlined plans to demand the government to reactivate a billion-dollar international fund to protect the Amazon rainforest. A majority of the top court’s justices believed the government has to take concrete measures within 60 days in reactivating the fund which has been frozen since 2019 during President Jair Bolsonaro’s reign. The nation has been facing deforestation at increasing rates in recent years.
  • Brazilian leftist presidential candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was leading over far-right President Jair Bolsonaro according to two polls last Thursday (Oct 27). This overview came just ahead of the run-off elections last Sunday (Oct 30). The AtlasIntel poll revealed that Lula received 52.4 per cent of the votes compared to Bolsonaro’s 46 per cent, while the Datafolha poll revealed that Lula increased his lead from four to five percentage points while Bolsonaro slipped one.
  • Colombia’s Congress approved a law last Wednesday (Oct 26) that enables President Gustavo Petro to seek peace deals with leftist rebels and criminal groups involved in drug trafficking. The law will allow peace talks with the National Liberation Army and dissident groups from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), as well as groups accused of drug trafficking such as the Clan del Golfo. The leftist President had proposed a process to end the nearly six years of internal armed conflict by having negotiations with these groups. Currently, 450,000 have been killed while millions of others are displaced.
  • Argentina secured a deal to restructure the approximately US$1.97 billion (S$2.79 billion) it owed to the Paris Club last Friday (Oct 28). Argentine Economy Minister Sergio Massa said that the agreement will push repayments to 2028, allowing the country to be relieved of US$248 million (S$351.19 million).

Asia Pacific: 

  • North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) from its east coast last Friday (Oct 28). The SRBMs were shot from Tongcheon of Gangwon province, causing South Korea to heighten its defence. South Korea has had two weeks of major drills and exercises in an effort to deter North Korea and its growing nuclear arsenal. South Korean troops finished the 12-day Hoguk 22 field exercises last Friday (Oct 28), which included drills with US troops. North Korea mentioned that the recent missile launches were in protest against these joint exercises which seemed like a rehearsal for an invasion of North Korea.
  • Head of Taiwan’s China-policy-making Mainland Affairs Council, Chiu Tai-san, urged China to consider maintaining peace and stability through diplomatic dialogue with Taiwan last Friday (Oct 28). He highlighted in his speech that China should refrain from its sabre-rattling against Taiwan and should instead, attempt to resolve disagreements with Taipei through constructive dialogue without preconditions or threats. Since August this year, China has stepped up military activities like blockade drills around Taiwan following the visit to Taipei by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
  • Foreign ministers in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) met in Jakarta last Thursday (Oct 27) to discuss the ongoing crisis in Myanmar. However, the junta was not represented after declining the invitation to send a non-political figure. Myanmar’s junta has warned the regional bloc that working to defuse its political crisis by setting a timeframe for the peace plan could lead to negative implications. Junta leader Min Aung Hlaing has not been invited to an ASEAN leaders’ summit for two years in a row, while Myanmar’s top diplomat Wunna Maung Lwin has been excluded from ministerial talks. The junta may not consider constructive engagement with the ASEAN members if Myanmar continues to be excluded from these dialogues.
  • Cyclone Sitrang hit Bangladesh last Monday (Oct 24), killing 28 and leaving millions of others without power. Authorities managed to get about a million people to safety before another monster storm hit. Nearly 10,000 tin-roofed homes were destroyed or damaged, while crops in farmland were wrecked at a time of record-high food inflation. The heavy rains also caused flooding in cities like Dhaka, Khulna and Barisal. Scientists believe that climate change has caused cyclones to become more intense and frequent.
  • Japanese minister of economic revitalisation, Daishiro Yamagiwa, resigned last Monday (Oct 24) due to allegations over his ties to the Unification Church. The Unification Church is currently under scrutiny after the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. This is because the man who was accused of killing Abe was found to be motivated by resentment against the group. Local media reports revealed alleged ties between Yamagiwa and the group through a group photo in 2019 that showed Yamagiwa with Hak Ja Ham, the wife of the founder of the church. The church has, however, denied any wrongdoings despite there being criticisms from former members on practices. 
  • At least 153 people were killed in a Halloween event crowd surge in South Korea last Saturday (Oct 29). The nightlife area of Itaewon in the capital’s Seoul was said to be extremely crowded due to the launch of its first Halloween event in three years since COVID-19 measures were lifted. According to fire officials and witnesses, victims were crushed in a narrow alley where people toppled over each other. In response, South Korean President Yoon Suk-Yeol declared a national mourning period last Sunday (Oct 30).


  • Wholesale spot prices of European natural gas went negative last Monday (Oct 24). Officials have warned of an energy crisis this winter as Russia slashed energy supplies in retaliation for the sanctions that were imposed on it due to its invasion of Ukraine. As such, Europe has stepped up efforts to supply its energy. The Europe gas storage facilities are about 94 per cent full which is well above the 80 per cent target the bloc set out to reach by November. 
  • Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom mentioned last Tuesday (Oct 25) that the new government was committed to overcoming Turkey’s objections to Sweden’s bid to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s objection was based on the accusation of the Nordic neighbours of harbouring Kurdish militants being hostile to Ankara, especially supporters of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Sweden backed the stance that Turkey and the European Union (EU) have taken on the PKK as they were known to be a Kurdish militant political organisation. Deals were made between Turkey, Sweden and Finland to address Ankara’s requests for terror suspected to be deported or extradited. 
  • Rishi Sunak was elected as Britain’s first Prime Minister of Indian descent last Tuesday (Oct 25) after the resignation of former Prime Minister of Britain Liz Truss. The new British Prime Minister announced last Tuesday (Oct 25) that Britain will take a hard stance against China and outline plans to shut down controversial Chinese cultural institutes that are allegedly seen to promote Beijing propaganda and influence activities. Sunak mentioned that Britain’s 30 Confucius institutes in British universities would also be shut under his government’s new China policies.
  • Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba demanded for Tehran to stop providing Russia with weapons in a phone call with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amirabdollahian last Friday (Oct 28). Iran has been accused by Ukraine and its Western allies of providing “Kamikaze” drones to Russia to aid in its invasion of Ukraine. Russia has used Iranian-made Shahed-136 attack drones that cruise to their target and explode on impact. These drones have brought about massive damage, especially to Ukrainian infrastructure. Russia has been unleashing waves of missiles and drone strikes in recent weeks, some hitting Ukraine’s energy infrastructure which led to power cuts across Ukraine.
  • A person was killed while four others were injured in an attack at a shopping centre near Milan, Italy, last Thursday (Oct 27). The attacker was a 46-year-old Italian man who suffers from psychological problems. He allegedly grabbed a knife from the shelf in a Carrefour supermarket and started attacking people at random. Among those who were hurt was Pablo Mari, the Spanish defender for Monza Football club, on loan from Arsenal. 

Middle East: 

  • Elon Musk took over social media company Twitter last Thursday (Oct 27), making Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holding Company (KHC) to be the second largest investor along with the private office of Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, since US$1.89 billion (S$2.68 billion) or 16.9 per cent of KHC is owned by the Saudi Arabia sovereign wealth fund. Bin Talal shared that the deal of Musk buying over Twitter was in line with the long-term strategy of KHC. Musk aims to impose fewer limits on the content that can be posted as he strongly believes in free speech.
  • Egypt’s pound slid about 14.5 per cent to a record low against the US dollar after authorities announced a US$3 billion (S$4.25 billion) deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) last Thursday (Oct 27). The deal included a commitment to adopt a flexible exchange rate regime. The central bank raised interest rates by 200 basis points, aiming to anchor inflation expectations and contain demand-side pressures. Egypt has been in talks with the IMF for a new loan since March this year when their economic woes deepened due to the war in Ukraine. 
  • Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced last Thursday (Oct 27) that Greece is ready to help Turkey amid escalated tensions. During a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Athens, Mitsotakis said that Turkey and Greece did not have to resort to needless sources of tension and that both allies could live peacefully without rhetorical outbursts. The NATO allies have been divided over a series of issues and have come to the brink of war thrice in the last 50 years. Tensions rose due to disputes over sea boundaries in Argan as well as the eastern Mediterranean and Turkey’s military presence on Greek islands.
  • The United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP) released its annual Emissions Gap report last Thursday (Oct 27). The report revealed that the current commitments by governments to curb the rise of global temperatures are inadequate and that nations are off track from tackling global warming. The current government climate policies leave the world on track to reach an average 2.8 Celsius temperature rise this century while the implementation of current pledges lowers the rise of temperatures to 2.4 Celsius this century. To reach the goal of limiting temperature rise to 1.5 Celsius, annual emissions must be further reduced by 45 per cent, requiring an investment of at least US$4 trillion to US$6 trillion (S$5.66 trillion to S$8.50 trillion) a year. 
  • At least 15 people were killed and 40 others were injured in an attack on a Shia religious shrine in the southern Iranian city of Shiraz last Wednesday (Oct 26). Three armed men entered the shrine which was an important site for religious pilgrims. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement on their telegram channel. 


  • The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) government ordered the expulsion of Rwandan Ambassador Vincent Karega last Saturday (Oct 29). The DRC has been accusing Rwanda of supporting the M23 rebels, who have taken control over eastern towns in the DRC. Even though Rwanda has been denying such allegations, the DRC’s decision to expel Karega was said to heighten tensions between the two countries.  
  • At least 100 people were killed and 300 others were wounded in Somalia last Saturday (Oct 29), where two car bombs exploded. The incident, which Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud believes to have been done by the al-Shabab armed groups, took place at the Sobe intersection in the capital of Mogadishu. The Somali government has been working with the US and allied local militias to launch an offensive against the group, but the aims of the offensive have not materialised. 
  • Ugandan Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng released a statement last Wednesday (Oct 26) highlighting that at least 15 people have been infected with Ebola in the capital city of Kampala. This statement comes after the government’s reassurance that there were no infections in the capital. As such, the Ugandan government is facing pressure to address the escalation of the Ebola outbreak. 
  • Peace talks between the Ethiopian government and rival Tigray forces began last Tuesday (Oct 25) and lasted until Sunday (Oct 30), marking the first time the two warring parties met formally since the start of the conflict in November 2020.  The peace talks were aimed to facilitate the agreement of a peaceful solution to the conflict, according to Vincent Magwenya, spokesman for President Cyril Ramaphosa. The talks were mediated by a team from the African Union and led by Nigeria’s former President Olusegun Obasanjo. 
  • Ethiopia’s Tigray region ran out of medical supplies, according to officials from the World Health Organisation (WHO) last Friday (Oct 28). Due to the lack of access to vaccines, antibiotics and insulin, the officials warned that death tolls in the region may increase. The Tigray conflict caused a blockade lasting two years, which has caused the deliverance of aid supplies to be difficult for affected regions.
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