Opposition parties in Nigeria call for fresh elections as ruling party takes the lead.

Weekly Recap: Feb 27 to Mar 5

Bola Tinubu declared winner of Nigeria’s presidential election amid mixed reactions, Former US President Donald Trump announce continued interest in running for 2024 president elections, Large fire blazes through populated Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh.

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North America

  • US President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz met last Friday (Mar 3) in Washington DC as the United States announced a new US$400 million (S$537.8 million) military aid package for Ukraine. During the meeting, both countries expressed their commitment to continue imposing high costs on Russia for its war in Ukraine. The new military aid package includes ammunition and tactical bridges to move tanks and armoured vehicles. According to US officials, other discussion topics between the two country leaders included the state of the Ukraine war and how they will respond should China provide military aid to Russia. 
  • US President Joe Biden announced last Thursday (Mar 2) that he will not block a congressional measure that would overturn a criminal justice reform law in Washington, DC. The decision fueled debate surrounding Washington’s right to self-rule, and the rise of public safety as a pivotal issue in current US politics. The White House initially opposed Congress’s efforts to overturn the local law, however, Biden said last week that he would not veto the Republican-led bill. 
  • A United Nations-appointed team of human rights experts last Thursday (Mar 2) accused Nicaragua’s government for committing serious violations amounting to crimes against humanity. The organisation has since called for international sanctions against the government. The violations include acts of torture, extrajudicial executions, and arbitrary detention that the Nicaraguan government has continued to commit since 2018. Both President Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo have been named as participants in the violations. 
  • Former US President Donald Trump announced last Saturday (Mar 3), that he would continue his presidential campaign for the 2024 election, even if he were to be indicted in any of the investigations he is currently facing. Trump is currently the subject of two state and two federal investigations with the state investigations believed to be in its advanced stages. Trump has accused the prosecutors of being politically motivated and has linked his candidacy to the status of potential prosecutions, claiming that an indictment might increase his poll numbers. He believes that his presidential campaign can be used to fight back against the prosecutors.
  • Violent storms with tornadoes and heavy rains swept through parts of southern United States last Friday (Mar 3), leaving at least nine people dead and over one million citizens without electricity. The storm moved to the Northeast, where it was forecast to cause heavy snow and sleet, with some areas expected to see over a foot of snow over the weekend. More than 1.4 million homes and businesses were without power in the impacted states.
  • The United States requested the extradition of Ovidio Guzman, son of the notorious drug lord, Joaquín Guzman, also known as “El Chapo”, last Wednesday (Mar 1). Ovidio’s arrest in January led to a wave of violence in Sinaloa, Mexico, the capital of the family’s drug empire. He allegedly helped run the Sinaloa cartel since his father’s 2017 arrest. Guzman was captured in January but obtained a court order blocking his immediate extradition. He is accused of overseeing methamphetamine labs in Sinaloa, conspiring to distribute cocaine and marijuana, and ordering multiple murders.

South America

  • Violence erupted in Colombia’s southern Caquetá province last Thursday (Mar 2) after residents blockaded an oil exploration company’s compound,demanding help to repair and build new roads. A police officer and a civilian were killed while 79 others were taken hostage by the protestors. Many of the protesters consisted of rural and indigenous people who wanted the oil company to build new road infrastructure around the San Vicente del Caguan area. Colombian President Gustavo Petro hoped they would be released unilaterally, and requested medical help from the Red Cross. 
  • Over 20 million people in Argentina were left without electricity last Wednesday (Mar 1) due to a large fire that erupted in open fields west of Buenos Aires. The fire brought down crucial power lines and forced a nuclear power station to be taken offline. This occurred in the middle of a heatwave and drought that has impacted all of Argentina, causing the daily lives of citizens to be disrupted. As a result, classes were suspended, businesses were shut, and water distribution services were interrupted. Power cuts are not uncommon in Argentina, with several smaller outages having occurred this year already 
  • Colombia’s president, Gustavo Petro criticised El Salvador last Thursday (Mar 2) over the newly built “mega prison”. The previous Friday (Feb 24), two thousand inmates consisting of gang members were transferred to a 40 thousand capacity “megaprison” in El Salvador, considered to be the largest prison in the Americas. The move has caused the country’s prison population to soar, with over 64 thousand suspects arrested in the anti-crime dragnet. The crackdown has been controversial, with numerous human rights organisations arguing that innocent people have been caught up in the policy and that dozens have died in police custody. Despite this, President Nayib Bukele’s anti-gang push remains popular with Salvadorans, and the country’s security minister has stated that it will continue until all criminals are captured.
  • Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador accused the United States last Tuesday (Feb 28) of meddling in Mexico’s affairs after the US State Department made comments about a Mexican electoral reform law that would cut the budget for Mexico’s independent electoral agency. The US statement did not explicitly criticise the measure but emphasised the importance of “independent, well-resourced electoral institutions that strengthen democratic processes and the rule of law.” Lopez Obrador defended the law as a cost-cutting measure and criticised the US for interfering in matters that do not concern it. He also accused the US of supporting “the coup plotters who trampled on freedoms and democracy” in Peru.”
  • Brazilian authorities stepped up efforts to combat illegal mining in areas inhabited by the Yanomami Indigenous people last Tuesday (Feb 28). Authorities deployed helicopters searching for clandestine dig sites. Camouflaged soldiers were seen torching the illegal mining camps while agents questioned miners. Yanomami leaders say that around twenty thousand clandestine miners have invaded their territory, sexually abusing women and adolescents, killing Indigenous people, and contaminating rivers with the mercury they used to separate gold from sediment. The miners also triggered a food crisis by burning down parts of the Amazon rainforest. In January, federal police launched an investigation of possible genocide linked to the miners’ abuse of the Yanomami and their resources. 

Asia Pacific

  • A large fire blazed through a populated Rohingya refugee camp in southern Bangladesh last Sunday (Mar 5), leaving thousands of huts damaged rendering thousands of refugees homeless. The blaze hit Camp 11 in Cox’s Bazar, a border district where more that a million refugees live, with most of them living there as a result of the military-led crackdown in Myanmar back in 2017. 
  • Foreign ministers of India and China met on the sidelines of a Group 20 meeting last Thursday (Mar 2) in New Delhi, India and addressed current challenges in their relationship and discussed peace and tranquillity in the border areas. Chinese minister Qin Gang said that maintaining good ties between both countries is fundamental to their interests. The two nation’s relationship was strained since 2020 when fighting broke out between soldiers from both camps along the border in the Ladakh region which resulted in twenty Indian and four Chinese soldiers to be killed. 
  • 54 British Members of parliament and public figures pleaded last Friday (Mar 3) for the release of former Hong Kong lawmaker, Claudia Mo, in order for her to visit her critically ill husband. Claudia Mo urged the UK Foreign Secretary to intervene on her behalf so that she can be with her husband, British journalist Philip Bowring, who is in an intensive care ward with pneumonia. Mo is one of the so-called Hong Kong 47 group, who are on trial for alleged “subversion” and were arrested for organising and holding an unofficial primary vote in 2020. The UK-based rights group Hong Kong Watch has organised a letter from prominent figures including Hong Kong’s last British governor, Chris Patten, and former Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind, urging the UK government to press Hong Kong authorities and secure the release of the Hong Kong 47 opposition lawmakers and activists.
  • It was reported last Friday (Mar 3) that protests by workers have erupted in Sri Lanka as a result of the postponement of local polls. Sri Lanka is currently awaiting a bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and for foreign investments to chart its path towards economic stability. Staff from the public sector walked out on the streets to protest against the cost of living, and food inflation that has reached  around 94 per cent. The local government has hiked income taxes to up to 36 per cent, raised power tariffs by two-thirds, and postponed local body elections slated for Thursday, as it attempts to put its finances in order and qualify for the US$2.9 billion (S$3.9 billion) IMF bailout provisionally agreed in September of last year.
  • Thousands of fishermen in the Philippines were ordered to stop fishing as authorities tried to contain an oil spill caused by a sunken tanker as reported last Friday (Mar 3). The Philippine tanker, the Princess Empress, carrying 800 thousand litres of industrial fuel oil sank due to the rough seas. All 20 crew members were rescued by another vessel. Diesel fuel and some of the cargo have leaked into the sea, causing concern for the environment and industries dependent on the ocean. Rough seas have prevented the deployment of oil spill booms. As a result, chemical dispersants have been sprayed on the water surface to break down the oil. 


  • Residents in Kupyansk, a city in northeastern Ukraine, were ordered last Friday (Mar 3) to evacuate due to the constant shelling by Russian forces. Families with children and those with limited mobility were among those who must leave, according to Kharkiv’s regional authorities. Meanwhile, Russian mercenaries claim to have “practically encircled” the key city of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine. Ukraine’s military said Russian troops were continuing their offensive on Bakhmut, but claim that the attacks were “repelled.” Last month, Ukraine warned that Russia was preparing a major new offensive, with officials saying Moscow had amassed thousands of troops on Ukraine’s eastern flank.
  • It was reported that Nobel Peace Prize winner Ales Bialiatski was sentenced to ten years in prison by a court in Belarus last Saturday (Mar 4). Bialiatski is a Belarusian human rights activist who won the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize. He was convicted of smuggling and financing “actions grossly violating public order” in relation to his alleged funding of opposition activity during the widespread protests that followed the 2020 presidential election, which many deemed to be fraudulent. Bialiatski’s supporters argue that the authoritarian regime of Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko is trying to silence him. Two fellow campaigners, Valentin Stefanovich and Vladimir Labkovich, were also sentenced to nine and seven years in prison, respectively. All three had pleaded not guilty. 
  • The death toll of the previous Tuesday’s (Feb 28) train crash in Greece increased to 57 as of last Friday (Mar 3). The accident occurred when a passenger train collided with a freight train on the same track, causing the front carriages of the passenger train to burst into flames. The government acknowledged that austerity measures during Greece’s economic crisis in the 2000s may have contributed to a lack of investment in the railways. The railway workers’ union blamed successive governments’ “disrespect” towards Greek railways for the tragic result. A station master in Larissa has been charged with manslaughter by negligence, and Transport Minister Kostas Karamanlis has resigned, taking responsibility for the authorities’ “long standing failures”. The incident has caused outrage and protests in Greece, with many calling for accountability and improvements in the country’s rail network.
  • Italian authorities arrested 3 individuals last Thursday (Mar 2) on suspicion of human-trafficking following the deaths of around 67 migrants in  a shipwreck on Sunday (Feb 26). The wooden boat was carrying around two hundred migrants, mostly from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. More than 80 people were rescued and many more continue to be missing. Three men, a Turkish national and two Pakistani nationals, were arrested on suspicion of being responsible for the vessel. They allegedly sailed the boat from Turkey to Italy despite poor weather conditions and demanded €8 thousand (S$11.4 thousand) from each migrant. The incident has raised questions about whether the authorities did enough to prevent the disaster, with some relatives of the victims seeking answers. 
  • It was reported last Thursday (Mar 2) that Finland has started constructing a two hundred kilometre long fence in an attempt to fence off their border with Russia and boost their security. Their main motivation for doing this is to prevent Russians who are avoiding conscription from escaping to Finland. The project is expected to be completed by the end of June. Night vision cameras, lights, and loudspeakers will be installed in some sections of the fence. In July of last year, Finland amended its Border Guard Act to permit the construction of stronger fences. The country has sought to strengthen its eastern border since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Middle East

  • Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Israeli cities for the ninth straight week last Saturday (Mar 4) to protest the government’s plan to overhaul the country’s court system. A protest that began peacefully turned hostile as footage released by police later showed protesters breaking down barriers in Tel Aviv and igniting fires as they blocked roads. The protesters oppose legislation that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing allies hope to pass that would limit the Supreme Court’s powers to rule against the legislature and the executive, while giving lawmakers decisive powers in appointing judges.
  • European countries last Saturday (Mar 4) condemned recent Palestinian militant attacks that killed Israeli citizens in the occupied West Bank and called on Israel to halt expansion of their settlements in the area. Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Poland and Spain has since set out a joint statement urging the Israeli government to “reverse its recent decision to advance the construction of more than 7,000 settlement building units across the occupied West Bank and to legalise settlement outposts” 
  • Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi last Friday (Mar 3) blamed foreign enemies as the source for the poisonings of hundreds of school girls around the country. The poison attacks that affected more than 30 schools in at least four cities continue to be unexplained. The wave of poison attacks started in November in Iran’s city of Qom, prompting some parents to take their children out of school. Iran’s health minister said last Tuesday (Feb 28) that Politicians have alleged the schools could have been targeted by religious groups opposed to girls’ education. A spokesperson for the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a briefing that the findings of a government investigation should be made public and the perpetrators brought to justice.
  • The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Turkey signed an agreement in Abu Dhabi last Friday which aims to increase trade between the two countries to US$40 billion (S$53.8 billion) in the next five years. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) will take economic and trade relations between the two countries to a new phase. The CEPA is expected to focus on strategic sectors such as agritech, food security, and clean energy, as well as continued cooperation on construction and real estate projects.
  • Qatar has sent four hundred temporary homes that were used to house fans during last year’s World Cup to Turkey and Syria to aid those affected by the recent disastrous Turkey-Syria earthquakes. It is estimated that two million people are living in temporary shelters after the earthquakes last month left more than 50 thousand people dead in Turkey and Syria. Two ships have since arrived in Iskenderun, Turkey with four hundred portable homes. 


  • Bola Tinubu from Nigeria’s All Progressives Congress (APC) was declared the winner of Nigeria’s presidential election last Wednesday (Mar 1), triggering mixed reactions across the country. Tinubu had won 37 per cent of the vote in the election and his inauguration will happen in May of this year. Major logistical problems, disenfranchised voters and a lack of transparency by the electoral commission were noted by some observer missions regarding the election. 
  • Qatar, Somalia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States have expressed concern over fighting around a disputed town in Somalia’s northern breakaway region of Somaliland, where at least 34 people were killed in clashes last month. Fighting around the town erupted early last month after elders in three provinces of Somaliland – including Sool Province, where Lascanood is located announced that they wanted to rejoin Somalia and issued a statement pledging support for Somalia’s federal government. A ceasefire was announced on February 10, but both sides in the conflict accused each other of violating it.
  • President Emmanuel Macron has said the era of French involvement in Africa was “well over” as he began a four-nation tour of the continent to renew strained ties. Anti-French sentiment has run rampant in some former African colonies as the continent has become a renewed diplomatic battleground, with Russian and Chinese influence growing in the region. Macron said in a statement that France has no inclination to return to past policies of interfering in Africa. Last year, France withdrew troops from former colonies Mali, Burkina Faso, and the Central African Republic.
  • The Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) rallied in the country’s capital last Saturday (Mar 4), mobilising thousands of supporters against President Kais Saied in a demonstration after his recent crackdown on prominent opponents. Thousands of protesters filled the streets in central Tunis, holding banners that read “No to one-man rule” and chanting “Freedom! End the police state”. The crackdown is the biggest since Saied’s seizure of powers and Saied has since denied his actions were a coup, saying they were legal and necessary to save Tunisia from chaos.
  • Rwandan soldiers killed a Congolese soldier who crossed the border and shot at security forces last Friday (Mar 3), triggering a brief exchange of fire between the two sides,. The incident at the border took place when the Congolese soldier crossed into western Rwanda from the Grande Barriere border post, outside the city of Goma, and shot at Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) soldiers, according to the Rwandan defence ministry. Furthermore, Congo’s accusations of Rwanda of backing the Tutsi-led group has been backed by similar allegations by The United Nations, the United States, France and other international powers. However, Rwanda has since denied this and says it is being scapegoated for Congo’s military incompetence. 
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The IAS Gazette is a news site run by undergraduates from the Singapore Institute of Management’s International Affairs Society (IAS). Founded in 2018, it traces its roots to The Capital, a now defunct bimonthly magazine previously under the IAS.

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