Palestinian children inspect the destruction of a home in the aftermath of the Israeli raid in Jenin. [Zena Al Tahhan/Al Jazeera]

Weekly Recap: Jan 23 to Jan 29

Jan 30: US State of California shooting leaves seven dead, Israeli raid on Jenin in the West Bank kills nine Palestinians, Western nations pledge to provide Ukraine with 321 tanks.

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North America

  • The video of the police beatings of 29 year-old Tyre Nichols, in the United States city of Memphis, Tennessee, was released last Friday (Jan 27), sparking protests calling for justice for his death. Nichols was beaten for three minutes by officers during a traffic police stop and succumbed to his injuries days later in the hospital. The five officers related to his arrest have been charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression. US police departments also warned against police brutality via social media, and were put on high alert for the possibility of mass protests. 
  • A mass shooting left seven dead and one critically injured last Tuesday (Jan 24), in Half Moon Bay, a coastal community in the  northern region of the US State of California. The attack occurred less than 48 hours after the Monterey Park shooting which killed 11 people. The Sheriff’s Office of San Mateo County received reports of a shooting around 2:30pm, and found four people dead from bullet wounds, and one other person injured. Later, they found another three people who had died from gunshot wounds at a second location about 8km away. The 66-year-old suspect identified as Chunli Zhao was taken into custody. He is facing seven counts of murder and one count of attempted murder.
  • The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced draft guidelines last Friday (Jan 27), that would do away with the current three-month abstinence requirement for blood donations from gay and bisexual men. Instead, potential donors would be screened with a questionnaire that evaluates their individual risks for HIV based on sexual behaviour, recent partners and other factors. This move is likely to boost the US blood supply, and would be the latest FDA move to broaden donor eligibility. Gay rights groups have long opposed blanket restrictions on blood donations, saying it discriminates against the LGBTQ community. Medical societies have also said such exclusions are unnecessary given advances in technology to test blood for infectious diseases.
  • A high-ranking United States Air Force official stated in a memorandum last Friday (Jan 27) that he believed the US would engage in a major conflict with China within the next two years. However, officials refuted his claim, as the Pentagon stated that these comments do not align with the military’s official assessments of the situation. “I hope I am wrong,” General Mike Minihan, who heads the Air Mobility Command, had written to the leadership of its roughly 110,000 members. “My gut tells me we will fight in 2025.” The United States and Taiwan are both scheduled to have presidential elections in 2024, which could present a possibility for China to take military action.
  • Mexican officials intercepted a truck carrying 67 migrants from Guatemala, including 57 unaccompanied minors, last Thursday (Jan 26). The group was stopped at a checkpoint in Chihuahua state and was found to be without proper migration permits. The majority of the migrants were boys aged between 14 and 17. In December last year, there was a high number of individuals being apprehended at the border, as reported by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. However, this number decreased significantly in January due to new restrictions on migrants put in place by President Joe Biden.

South America 

  • Peruvian President Dina Boluarte’s request for an early election  was rejected by Congress last  Saturday (Jan 28), amid deadly protests against her leadership. Congress voted down the proposal, with 45 members voting in favour, 65 against, and 2 abstaining. Moreover, left-wing political groups insisted that any move to bring forward the elections should be accompanied by a constitutional convention, which is something that the protesters have been demanding repeatedly.
  • Protesters took to the streets in Haiti’s capital of Port-au-Prince last Thursday (Jan 26), blocking roads and firing guns into the air in response to the recent spate of killings of police officers by local gangs the week prior. Public transportation was disrupted and a number of schools were closed due to the protests, according to reports. The newspaper, Le Nouvelliste, stated that armed protesters pretending to be police officers attempted to enter the prime minister’s residence which later headed towards the airport road. Gang activity has been increasing in Port-au-Prince in recent months, following the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in July 2021, which has contributed to widespread political instability and a power vacuum. In November, the United Nations reported that approximately 60% of the capital is controlled by armed gangs who are committing a variety of crimes such as murder, kidnapping and sexual violence, as a means of increasing their power and intimidating the population.
  • A new study published last Thursday (Jan 26) found the Amazon rainforest is quickly degrading due to drought and human activity. According to the publication in Science, human activities and drought may have damaged more than one-third of the Amazon rainforest, which is double the previous estimate. The findings have raised concerns that the globally important ecosystem is at risk of irreversible damage. Degraded forest is more prone to “megafires” and is less able to regulate the climate, store carbon and serve as a habitat for wildlife. The International study in conjunction with Brazil’s University of Campinas (Unicamp), the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM) said measures against forest degradation need to be taken, in addition to Brazilian President Lula de Silva’s promised zero-deforestation policy. Brazil’s government  declared a state of medical emergency last Friday (Jan 27), in the Yanomami territory, the country’s largest indigenous reserve.  Reports of malnutrition and other diseases caused by illegal gold mining, led to the hospitalisation  of dozens of Indigenous children suffering from malnutrition and acute illnesses including gastroenterocolitis, pneumonia and malaria.
  • The health secretary of Boa Vista in Brazil’s Roraima state, Regiane Matos, stated last Friday (Jan 27), that 59 Indigenous children are currently at the state’s only paediatric hospital, with 45 of them being from the Yanomami people, and 8 of them are under intensive care. The figure is significantly higher than the total 703 hospitalizations in the previous year. Brazilian officials have called the crisis a “genocide,” blaming the former President Jair Bolsonaro’s administration for the neglect of the territory, wich saw an increase in illegal mining in the territory during his term. Brazil’s Supreme Court said in a statement last Thursday (Jan 26), it had noticed signs that the Bolsonaro government had failed to comply with court decisions aimed at protecting the Yanomamis. 
  • A bus carrying 60 passengers fell off a cliff in northern Peru, killing 24 people, last Saturday (Jan 28). Peru’s transportation supervisory agency (SUTRAN) confirmed the crash. The tragedy, involving a bus for the company Q’Orianka Tours Aguila Dorada, occurred in the district of El Alto in the far north of Peru. SUTRAN stated that the bus appears to have up-to-date safety inspections and accident insurance based on preliminary reports. The agency said that road accidents are common in Peru due to precarious driving conditions and that most drivers do not have adequate training.

Asia Pacific 

  • A state of emergency was declared on Saturday (Jan 28) in Auckland, New Zealand, due to record levels of rainfall. Three people had died and one was reported  missing as flash floods affected the area. A large amount of rain in Auckland, equivalent to the amount that would normally fall during an entire summer, occurred in a very short period of time. Over 150mm (6 inches) of rain fell in just three hours in certain  locations.
  • Kim Yo Jong, the influential sister of Kim Jong Un, condemned Washington for escalating a “proxy war” against Russia, last Friday (Jan 27). In her statement she said, “I express serious concern over the US escalating the war situation by providing Ukraine with military hardware for ground offensive”. The statement came as  Washington pledged to send 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, reversing months of indecision by Washington on the issue. The decision by the U.S. was made following Germany’s commitment to provide Ukraine with 14 Leopard 2 A6 tanks from within its own arsenal.
  • Malaysia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its disapproval last Friday (Jan 27) of the desecration of the Quran by far-right activists in  the Netherlands and Sweden. Demonstrators assembled outside the embassies of the Netherlands and Sweden in Kuala Lumpur in protest of far-right leader Edwin Wagensveld’s desecration of the Quran near Dutch parliament on Sunday, as well as his Swedish counterpart’s burning of the book outside the Turkish embassy in Sweden, a day prior. .The Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated “Malaysia is appalled that such an Islamophobic act has been repeated within the last few days despite global condemnation…Malaysia reiterates that bigotry, racism and any form of desecration of the Holy Scriptures, regardless of religion is unacceptable and should be condemned”.
  • Japan decided last Friday (Jan 27) to implement stricter sanctions against Russia in response to its recent missile strikes on Ukraine. As part of these measures, Japan has added new items to its export ban list and has also frozen the assets of Russian officials and organisations. The actions were taken after Russia’s missile attacks on Ukraine resulted in the deaths of at least 11 people. The decision followed the announcement by Germany and the United States to provide tanks to aid Ukraine against potential Russian aggression. “In light of the situation surrounding Ukraine and to contribute to international efforts to secure peace, Japan will implement export bans in line with other major nations,” Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said in a press release.  Japan will prohibit the shipment of the banned items to 49 organisations in Russia that could be used to enhance Moscow’s military capabilities, such as water cannons, gas exploration equipment, semiconductor equipment, vaccines, X-ray inspection equipment, explosives, and robots. 
  • The US-led United Nations Command said last Thursday (Jan 26), that both North and South Korea breached the armistice that regulates their shared border by flying drones into each others’ airspace in December. The incident occurred on December 26th, when five North Korean drones flew into South Korea, resulting in South Korea’s military to launch fighter jets, helicopters, and surveillance aircraft to photograph military installations in the North. “United Nations Command reaffirms that adherence to the terms of Armistice is essential for mitigating the risk of both accidental and deliberate incidents through prevention of escalation, and for preserving a cessation of hostilities on the Korean Peninsula,” the UN Command said. The relationship between North and South Korea has been particularly strained, especially with an increase in military activity from both sides. North Korea has been conducting more missile launches and weapons tests, while South Korea has been engaging in joint drills with the United States and Japan in response.


  • Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan warned Swedish officials last Monday (Jan 23), not to expect Turkey’s support for their country’s bid for NATO membership. His statement followed the leader of Denmark’s far-right political party, Rasmus Paludan’s public burning of the Quran in front of the Turkish embassy in Sweden, during a police-approved protest in Stockholm, in the week prior. Erdogan criticised Sweden’s actions as “blasphemy”, stating that Stockholm should not expect his government’s backing if they do not show “respect to the religious beliefs of the Republic of Turkiye or Muslims”. He had additionally summoned Sweden’s ambassador to Turkey and cancelled a planned visit by its defence minister. The Turkish foreign ministry called the actions “unacceptable” under the “guise of freedom of expression” — a stance Swedish officials maintain despite extending their sympathies for those affected by the incident. Turkey and Hungary remain the only NATO members not to have ratified the Nordic nations’ bid to join the alliance in light of the Russia-Ukraine war. 
  • France announced last Wednesday (Jan 25) it would be withdrawing its troops from Burkina Faso within a month of the nation’s termination of its 2018 agreement with France regarding its military presence. The decision came amid protests against the 200-400 special forces France retained in Burkina Faso, which locals feel have not aided in the fight against armed groups in the nation, as well as neighbouring Mali. Ouagadougou said its government terminated the agreement as it would like Burkina Faso to be able to defend itself. The nation has seen violence leaving thousands dead and more than two million fleeing their homes since fighters linked to Al-Qaeda and ISIL (ISIS) armed groups became active in the region in 2015. 
  • A total of 321 tanks would be delivered to Ukraine from its Western counterparts including the United States and Germany, according to Ukraine’s ambassador to France last Saturday (Jan 28). The statement followed President Joe Biden’s announcement that the US would be providing 31 state-of-the-art Abrams tanks for the nation, last Wednesday (Jan 25). Germany, the United Kingdom, Poland, Norway, Finland, the Netherlands and Spain have also made statements to express their willingness to provide tanks, subject to each of their constraints, with the former three nations pledging to provide 14 each. The announcements were made amid heavy fighting between Ukrainian and Russian troops in the southern regions of Bakhmut and Vuhledar this week, which President Vlodymyr Zelenskyy described as “extremely acute”. The President also said Russian forces were deliberately and methodically destroying towns and villages in Bakhmut and Vugledar. Three people were also killed in a Russian attack on Konstantynivka in eastern Ukraine. Meanwhile, Russia accused Ukraine of deliberately attacking a hospital in Russian-held eastern Ukraine, leading to 14 deaths and 24 wounded patients and staff. However, the claim is yet to be verified.
  • UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak fired his Conservative Party Chairman Nadhim Zahawi last Sunday (Jan 29), after a probe into his tax affairs uncovered a “serious breach of Ministerial code”. The issue surrounded Britain’s tax office disagreeing with the number of shares awarded to Zahawi’s father, inYouGov, the company the former Chairman co-founded. He had previously handed over a fine of late payment worth £5 million (S$8.14 million). The Prime Minister’s administration had been facing significant pressure regarding Zahawi’s case, as well as Sunak’s own leadership and tax affairs. The Prime Minister gathered his cabinet for a large ‘away’ meeting in his country retreat in Chequers last Friday (Jan 27) as well, to discuss his government’s priorities including those highlighted in Sunak’s New Year speech: tackling price rises, growing the economy, cutting NHS waiting lists and stopping small boats crossing the Channel.
  • Former NATO General Petr Pavel won the Presidential election in the Czech Republic last Saturday (Jan 28). Pavel, who is to be the nation’s fourth President, won 58.3 per cent of the votes. His victory over former Prime Minnister Andrej Babis suggested a surge of support for liberal democracy, and raised hopes that the nation would be joining the Western mainstream. 

Middle East

  • Nine Palestinians were killed and at least 20 were injured, in an Israeli raid on Jenin, in the occupied West Bank last Thursday (Jan 26). The attack is one of the deadliest days since Israel intensified its activities in the West Bank at the start of last year. Another Palestinian, a 22-year-old man, was shot by Israeli forces in the town of al-Ram, north of Jerusalem, the day of the raid. The raid has been considered by Palestinians to be a massacre and a “war crime”, amid complaints that Israeli forces hindered efforts to transport wounded to hospitals and allowed the spread of tear gas in the hospital’s vicinity. Two missiles were fired from Gaza into Israel in retaliation, and were intercepted. 15 missiles were then fired from Israel into Gaza last Friday (Jan 27), causing property and power damages. Amid the rising tensions, the death of 18-year-old Karam Ali Ahmad Salman was reported last Sunday (Jan 29), as he was shot dead near the settlement of Kedumim in the West Bank. More than 30 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the year. The United Nations previously stated 2022 was the deadliest year for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank since 2005, with at least 170 people killed including more than 30 children, and 9,000 others injured.
  • Seven people were killed and three were wounded, as a Palestinian gunman opened fire near a synagogue in an Israeli settlement in occupied East Jerusalem, last Friday (Jan 27). The incident came following the fatal Israeli raid on the Jenin camp in the West Bank the day before. Israeli forces pursued and shot the gunman thereafter, and 42 Palestinians have been arrested in connection. Two Israelis were also injured in a separate shooting incident last Saturday (jan 28), with the attacker being a 13-year-old Palestinian boy. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised a “strong, swift and precise” response to the attacks, while US President Joe Biden condemned them. On Friday, thousands protested in the Gaza Strip against the recent wave of violence against Palestinians. Anti-government protests also continued in Tel Aviv for the fourth week, against Netanyahu’s right-wing government’s possible infringement upon democracy. 
  • Bahrain’s crown prince and the Qatari emir conducted a call last Thursday (Jan 26), in a move that signified a step towards the reparation of ties between the two countries. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain ended their three-and-a-half year blockade on Qatar, however, Bahrain had yet to engage in bilateral discussions with Qatar. The conversation aimed to resolve differences, with the two leaders agreeing to cooperate on joint concerns, and highlight the importance of cohesion within the Gulf Cooperation Council. The call came following Qatar’s emir and Bahrain’s king attendance of a small Arab summit hosted by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) last week that was also attended by the rulers of Oman, Jordan and Egypt.
  • The Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs introduced additional sanctions on European officials last Wednesday (Jan 25), including  three entities and 22 individuals from the European Union in addition to one entity and eight officials from the United Kingdom. Some of the blacklisted individuals include members of the  European Friends of Israel within the European Parliament and Charlie Hebdo, as well as city, military and police officials. The sanctions were introduced due to their “supporting terrorism” and “fomenting unrest”. The move came amid the European Union (EU)’s highly-ratified proposal todesignate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp as a “terrorist” organisation, which Tehran strongly condemned. 
  • Dozens of protestors demonstrated in Beirut, Lebanon, last Thursday (Jan 26), following an attempt to stop a judge from continuing the investigation into the ammonium nitrate explosion, which killed at least 218 people in 2020. Family members of victims were among the protesters attempting to break into the Justice Palace in Beirut, frustrated at the lack of justice for the victims of the tragedy. The latest development saw Judge Tarek Bitar announce the resumption of his investigation last Monday (Jan 23), however he quickly faced ppushvack from the nation’s top public prosecutor Ghassan Oweidat, claiming Bitar did not have the authority to circumvent legal and high-pressure political complaints. Oweidat also filed charges against the judge and released the remaining detainees still held as part of the investigation. Bitar said he would continue with the investigation, calling Oweidat’s actions “illegal”.


  • The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) condemned an offensive by M23 rebels last Thursday (Jan 26), saying the group must cease hostility in accordance with the mini-summit  held in Luanda last year. The latest offensive in Kitshanga, in the nation’s east, forced 450 people, including women and children, to seek refuge around the UN base. The onslaught of rebel seizure of areas in the province threatened the country’s capital, Goma, and inflamed regional tensions, with the DRC and United Nations accusing neighbouring Rwanda of backing the M23 — an allegation it denies.
  • The United Nations children’s agency UNICEF urged the armed group, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), to release 13 abducted children, last Friday (Jan 27). The agency said 11 boys and girls were abducted in the raid on the village in North Kivu, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which left 23 dead this month.The ADF is one of the most dangerous armed groups in the country, among 120 other armed groups in eastern DRC. 
  • A Zimbabwean court granted bail to 26 opposition party members last Friday (Jan 26), after being held by authorities for holding an “unlawful gathering”. The arrest of the Citizens COalition for Change (CCC) members stoked fears of an opposition crackdown ahead of a Presidential election this year. Tha party is seen as a significant threat to the rulling  ZANU-PF party’s 43-year hold on power.
  • Malawi’s worst cholera outbreak in 20 years has killed more than 1,000 people, according to the death toll announced by the World Health Organisation last Tuesday (Jan 24). More than 30,621 people have been infected with the disease, with most of the fatalities coming from the cities Lilongwe and Blantyre, where children had returned to school despite delaying their openings. While cholera outbreaks are common in the region, its usua.l fatalities hovered around 100 per year, well below the unusually high numbers affecting the country recently. 
  • A court in Mali sentenced a man to death last Tuesday (Jan 24), over the attack on five United Nations peacekeepers in rural Siby, in southern Mali, which left three of them dead. Bamako’s criminal court convicted the man of acts of criminal association, murder, robbery and illegal possession of firearms in connection with the Siby attack. The death penalty has not been carried out in Mali since a moratorium was placed on executions in 1980. The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) has been active in Mali since 2013, and had deployed 13,000 troops to contain armed group violence linked to Al-Qaeda and ISIL (ISIS) in Mali. The organisation reported nearly 300 deaths of its peacekeepers in the nation, many occurring in detonations of armed group devices.
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