People shopped in a supermarket in Kharkiv, Ukraine, as the city suffered a power outage on Monday.

People shopped in a supermarket in Kharkiv, Ukraine, as the city suffered a power outage on Monday. | Photo Credit: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Weekly Recap: Nov 14 to Nov 20

Nov 21: 10 million Ukrainians left without electricity after Russian air attacks, Brazil announces itself as leader in discussion of climate change, Biden and Xi meet for first time in three years over talks on avoiding usage of nuclear weapons.

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North America: 

  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was seen to be publicly rebuked by China’s President Xi Jinping at the G20 Summit last Tuesday (Nov 14) over supposed leaked information to the media. Trudeau was said to have raised concerns about media reports regarding the alleged espionage by Beijing in the Canadian elections. Such reports include China covertly funding 11 candidates in the election. Accused by Xi of being inappropriate and lacking in “sincerity”, tensions between the two states continue to increase.
  • Twitter shut its offices and cut staff badge access after an ultimatum by its new Chief Executive Officer, Elon Musk, last Wednesday (Nov 16). This resulted in hundreds of employees leaving the social media company. Staffers said they were reluctant to stay on at a company where Musk has threatened to fire half of its employees, including top management, should they not accept working conditions with longer hours and a more intense pace. Office buildings are stated to remain temporarily closed with immediate effect until Monday, November 21. 
  • Former President Donald Trump announced his bid for the presidency yet again for 2024 last Tuesday (Nov 15). The twice impeached former president refused to concede defeat and made a decision to head for the political spotlight, while facing potential criminal indictment. Proclaiming that his presidential campaign is not merely a campaign, but a “quest to save the country”, Trump prepares for his place in the spotlight once more.
  • Canada’s Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal rejected an Arctic mine expansion project last Wednesday (Nov 16), after fierce protests against it have been ongoing since 2021. The deliberate expansion by Baffinland Iron Mines to Mary River is aimed at doubling the mining output. It also consisted of a plan to construct a 110 km railway near Pond Inlet, an Inuit community, to deliver the ore to the market. There have been demonstrations by Inuit groups due to concerns of the expansion causing adverse effects on marine life. There were also concerns about the potential socio-economic effects of the expansion on Inuit harvesting, culture, land use as well as food security. Community members as well as campaigners thus perceived the rejection of the project as a win for the marine ecosystem and wildlife. 
  • United States (US) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that she will not be running for elections to the Democratic Party’s congressional leadership last Thursday (Nov 16). Pelosi, who has been the top House Democratic lawmaker for nearly 20 years, said that she would nonetheless continue to serve in Congress as a representative in California. Expected to replace Pelosi’s role is Democratic Conference Chairman Hakeem Jeffries, a New York representative.  

South America: 

  • An estimated 200,000 Mexicans took part in a march against Manuel Lopez Obrador’s proposed electoral reforms last Monday (Nov 14). The proposed reform includes removing the state level electoral office, reducing public funding of political parties, and lowering the chambers of the Congress. In other words, it may result in the National Electoral Institution becoming less independent and more political. The reason for the uproar was speculated to be the President potentially possessing more control over the electoral systems. Without support from opposing parties, the President may struggle to pass the change in the constitution.
  • Demonstrators took to the streets in Bolivia and called for the delay in using census to decide public fund distribution last Wednesday (Nov 16). Since the last census was taken in 2012, there have been hiccups in providing the population with the necessary public utilities such as schools, hospitals, and other basic necessities. It is said that the demonstrators want to delay the national census due to the expected population growth in Santa Cruz. The growth could force the government into cutting budgets and congressional seats from some areas and allocating more funds and representation to Santa Cruz as the 2025 presidential election draws near. 
  • Brazil announced itself as a leader in the discussion of climate change in the COP27 Climate Conference last Sunday (Nov 13). “Brazil will return to the protagonist role it previously had when it comes to climate, to biodiversity”, said Marina Silva, former Environment Minister and potential candidate. With a drive to fight against deforestation, Silva emphasised the need to follow through with the financial commitments made previously by Brazil. The recent election with the Leftist signified a huge shift in how Brazil intends to handle the Amazon Rainforest, which is the largest rainforest in the world that plays a crucial role in addressing global warming.
  • A Latam Airlines plane collided with a truck last Friday (Nov 19) at Jorge Chavez International Airport in the capital, Lima. No passengers or crew were killed. It remains unclear why the fire truck entered the runway while the plane bound for the southern Peruvian city of Juliaca was taking off. The prosecutors’ office said it was investigating the incident as potential manslaughter. 
  • Ten prisoners were killed during a prison riot in Ecuador’s Quito last Friday (Nov 18). Authorities said the riot at El Inca prison occurred following the government’s decision to move three crime bosses to a high-security facility. Such prison riots and killings continue to be a challenge for the country which has seen approximately 400 fatalities from gang-related violences. 

Asia Pacific: 

  • Former two-time Prime Minister of Malaysia Mahatir Mohamad lost his election contest for the seat of Langkawi, a first since the year 1969 after Malaysian general elections were held last Saturday (Nov 19). The main parties in contestation were Barisan Nasional, Perikatan Nasional, and Pakatan Harapan. The election result was said to be difficult to predict with parties going neck-to-neck with each other. As of last Sunday (Nov 20), Muhyiddin leads in the general election with Anwar close behind. 
  • The Presidents of the United States (US) and China met for the first time in over three years in Bali last Tuesday (Nov 15)  for agreement talks that nuclear weapons should never be put to use, even in the Russia-Ukraine war. Talks between the superpowers were aimed at avoiding conflict, with US President Joe Biden raising objections towards China’s increasingly aggressive policy towards Taiwan. Tensions have been rising between the two nations in view of Xi’s consolidation of power and Beijing’s encircling of Taiwan with large-scale military drills.
  • COVID-19 lockdowns sparked violent protests in Guangzhou last Wednesday (Nov 16). Ever since China imposed its zero-covid policy, Reuters’ economic reports have shown that the frequent lockdowns have caused retail sales and factory outputs to fall. Other than crippling its overall economic outlook, zero-covid fatigue has also become increasingly prevalent and lockdown hardship have led to increased discontent and anguished citizens clashing with police and security forces officials.  
  • The Hong Kong Special Administrative Regional Government approved HK$12.1 billion (S$2.1 billion) as of October in wage subsidies for the month of May 2023. These subsidies will be for eligible employers as part of its employment support scheme under the anti-epidemic fund. Inclusive of self-employed individuals, 90,000 time limited jobs in both the public and private sectors have been created under the scheme, and approximately 68,000 of them have been filled. This measure is aimed at relieving the unemployment caused by the pandemic and its containment measures.
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping rejected attempts to politicise trade and economic relations in a written speech released last Thursday (Nov 16) at the  Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit, heightening tensions between the US and China. According to Xi, the Asia-Pacific region is not a place for attempts to wage a new cold war, and that there should instead be deeper, non-discriminatory support amongst regional countries. 


  • The European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) imposed additional sanctions on Iran last Monday (Nov 14) due to Tehran’s use of violence against protestors. The use of force against protests had caused the deaths of 336 demonstrators. The protests resulted from an incident where 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died after an arrest by the morality police in September for allegedly infringing hijab rules. Those sanctioned by the EU include the four members who arrested Amini, high-ranking members of the Revolutionary Guards and Iran’s Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi. The UK sanctioned 24 Iranian officials, including Iranian Communications Minister Issa Zarepour. “[T]he violent crackdown on protests must stop and freedom of expression must be respected”, said UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly.
  • Foreign Minister of Greece, Nikos Dendias, refused to disembark from his plane after landing in Libya last Thursday (Nov 17). The Greek Foreign Ministry said this was due to violations in protocol and terms for the visit, where Dendias’ Tripoli counterpart Najla Mangoush made an appearance at the airport to greet him even though the Greek ministry had indicated that Dendias did not want to meet her. He was supposed to have a meeting with the president of Libya’s western government, Mohammad Younes Menfi but due to the violations, decided to only follow through on the second half of his trip by flying to Benghazi, where he delivered coronavirus vaccines and a US$568,000 (S$781,620) donation for the reconstruction of the Benghazi port. 
  • The Netherlands’ Hague District Court sentenced two Russians and one Ukrainian to life imprisonment last Thursday (Nov 17) for intentionally shooting down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in 2014, resulting in all 298 passengers being killed. The Russians that were sentenced were former Russian intelligence agents Igor Girkin and Sergey Dubinsky; while the Ukrainian was separatist leader Leonid Kharchenko. These suspects have two weeks to file an appeal. While Ukrainian President Volodoymr Zelenskyy welcomed the ruling, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ivan Nechaev said the government would look into the court’s findings. 
  • A Swedish prosecutor said last Friday (Nov 18) that Swedish and Danish authorities found traces of explosives at the damaged Nord Stream pipelines, adding that further investigation may reveal perpetrators of the incident. The leakage of gas from the Nord Stream pipelines in late September raised alarms regarding environmental damage. A preliminary investigation conducted last month showed that the leaks were caused by explosions. While Russia’s defence ministry claimed that British navy personnel were the ones who had blown up the pipelines, the West had also suspected the same of Russia’s forces. 
  • Ukrainian President Volodoymr Zelenskyy highlighted last Thursday (Nov 17) that more than 10 million Ukrainians were left without electricity following Russia’s air attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, Russia’s air attacks on Ukraine were in retaliation to Ukraine’s alleged refusal to open negotiations back in February this year. In response, a United Nations agency warned that millions of Ukrainians could face a detrimental humanitarian crisis as winter looms. 

Middle East: 

  • Members from the Israel army shot 15-year-old Palestinian Fulla Rasmi Abdelazeez Masalmeh, who was in a vehicle near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, during a raid last Monday (Nov 14). Witnesses at the scene claim that the Israeli forces fired at her without any notice. According to an Israeli army statement, the Israeli soldiers involved deemed the vehicle Masalmeh was in as “suspicious”, and that it continued accelerating towards Israeli forces despite demands for the vehicle to stop. However, surveillance video showed that the vehicle pulled up before being shot at the scene. In response, the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged for international support to stop Israel’s aggression towards Palestinians. 
  • Iran saw three days of protests from last Tuesday to Thursday (Nov 15 to Nov 17), where demonstrators took to the streets following the September 16 death of Mahsa Amini, who was killed by morality police. At least seven people were killed in the southwestern province of Khuzetan while at least six more were killed in the central province of Isfahan last Wednesday (Nov 16). In response, the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly approved a resolution last Wednesday (Nov 16) that censures Iran.
  • French oil giant TotalEnergies said last Tuesday (Nov 15) that it signed a framework agreement with Israel, opening up exploration in the Qana field. This comes after an agreement to put an end to the maritime border disputes between Lebanon and Israel was made last month. The agreement made last October entailed that Israel retains full rights to develop the Karish field while Lebanon does likewise in Qana. However, Israel is allowed to receive royalties under the terms of a separate deal that was discussed with Block 9 operators. 
  • Seven people were publicly hanged in Kuwait last Wednesday (Nov 16), marking the executions the first of its kind since 2017. Amnesty International called for the executions to be stopped, claiming it was a “violation to the right of life”, and also advocated for Kuwait to abolish the death penalty. The death penalty was passed in Kuwait back in the 1960s. Its executions are mainly targeted at those convicted of murder or drug trafficking. 
  • United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini said last Monday (Nov 14) that it needs US$50-80 million (S$68.80-110.09 million) to sustain its services for the rest of the year. UNRWA’s mission is to provide necessities such as education, food and healthcare to over 700,000 Palestinians who were expelled from their homeland in 1948. According to Lazzarini, the largest donor to the agency is the US, which has contributed over US$340 million (S$467.87 million). However, he notes that the funding in general has been affected by the Russia-Ukraine war.


  • A soldier shot and killed a staff member from French organisation Médecins du Monde, that was providing humanitarian aid in the Northeast area of Nigeria last Thursday (Nov 17). The same soldier also wounded the co-pilot of one of the United Nations (UN) helicopters. The terrorist groups Islamic State and Boko Haram have been waging an insurgency in the Northeast area of Nigeria, the most populous nation in Africa, since 2009. One of the worst worldwide humanitarian disasters of the twenty-first century, the conflict has resulted in over 40,000 deaths and two million displaced persons. 
  • Ghana’s president Nana Afuko-Addo terminated the appointment of Minister of State of Finance Charles Adu Boahen last Monday (Nov 14) over allegations of corruption. Boahen had allegedly collated money from investors, while using the Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia’s name during the exchange. However, Bawumia has denied any such association. This news comes at a time when the President requests for a risky and highly controversial loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to counter the hyper-inflation in Ghana. 
  • The European Union (EU) granted about US$1.03 million (S$1.42 million) to Tunisia last Monday (Nov 14). Since 2011, Tunisia has been experiencing economic turmoil, exacerbated by the pandemic. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine further fueled the economic crisis. According to a statement by the EU delegation in Tunisia, the grant is part of the reforms agreed by Tunisia with the International Monetary Funds (IMF) for a future program. The agreement made with the IMF in mid-October in return for  about US$2 billion (S$2.75 billion) includes the Tunisia government committing to reforms such as restructuring their state-owned companies and gradually lifting state-subsidies for basic products. 
  • President Filipe Nyusi announced last Sunday (Nov 13) that Mozambique has officially started exporting liquified natural gas (LNG). Africa is said to house over 621 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves. Mozambique is expected to soon become one of the top ten exporters of LNG. The president said that this venture  “is a sign of the recognition by the market that Mozambique offers a stable, transparent and predictable environment for the realisation of multi-billion investments”. 
  • Around a thousand Tunisia people took their concerns and complaints over landfills reaching maximum capacity to the street last Thursday (Nov 17). They protested for measures to be taken regarding the unsafe, unhygienic and unpleasant situation. Protestors also demanded the resignation of the Governor who downplayed the seriousness of the matter at hand. President Kais Saied has vowed to resolve the situation, but Tunisia people say little has changed.
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