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INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS - October 2020

Oct 2020

Sep 20, 2021

Voters Choose New Hong Kong Electors

  • Select Hong Kong residents voted for members of the Election Committee that will choose the city's leader in the first polls following reforms meant to ensure candidates with Beijing loyalty.
  • The Election Committee will select 40 of 90 lawmakers in the city's legislature during elections in December, as well as elect the Hong Kong leader during polls in March next year.
  • In May, the legislature amended Hong Kong's electoral laws to ensure that only patriots, people who are loyal to China and the semi-autonomous territory, will rule the city. The committee also was expanded to 1,500 members, from 1,200, and the number of direct voters for committee seats was reduced from about 246,000 to less than 8,000.

UNSC Extends Mandate for its Assistance Mission in Afghanistan

  • The UN Security Council extended for six months the mandate of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), unanimously voting on a resolution that emphasises the importance of the establishment of an inclusive and representative government.
  • The 15-nation Council voted on the draft resolution that extended the mandate of UNAMA until March 17, 2022.
  • The resolution, stressing the important role that the United Nations will continue to play in promoting peace and stability in Afghanistan, recognises the need for strengthened efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan and the important coordination role of the United Nations, and reaffirming that the effective delivery of humanitarian assistance requires all parties to allow full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access, for United Nations humanitarian agencies and other humanitarian actors.

Manny Pacquiao to Run for Philippines President

  • Philippine boxing star Manny Pacquiao will run for President in next year's election.
  • He was nominated as a candidate by a faction of the ruling party, PDP-Laban.
  • On top of a glittering career as a fighter, Pacquiao is a senator in the Philippines' parliament.
  • Incumbent Rodrigo Duterte is barred from another term but has been picked by a rival party faction to run for vice-president, a move critics say is an attempt to cling to power.

France Pulls Out of UK Defence Talks amid Row

  • France's Defence Minister has cancelled talks with her UK counterpart amid the row prompted by a new security deal between Britain, the US and Australia.
  • Paris is angry after Australia signed the Aukus pact to build nuclear-powered submarines, pulling out of a major contract with France in the process.
  • UK PM Boris Johnson said that France had nothing to worry about from the deal.
  • But Florence Parly's meeting with UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace in London this week has been called off.
  • The Aukus agreement brokered last week, widely seen as an effort to counter China's influence in the contested South China Sea, ended a deal worth $37bn (£27bn) signed by Australia in 2016 for France to build 12 conventional submarines.

Sep 19, 2021

Albania Approves New Female-dominated Cabinet

  • The Albanian parliament approved a cabinet dominated by women, following a 20-hour parliamentary debate.
  • The country's parliament voted 77-53 for the new cabinet under Prime Minister Edi Rama.
  • Of the 17 cabinet seats, 12 will be held by women.
  • The newly reelected premier said his new government "will enter history as the Cabinet with the highest number of women."
  • According to the latest UN figures, Albania now ranks fifth globally in women's representation in Cabinet.

Sep 18, 2021

Beijing Seeks to Join an Asia-Pacific Trade Deal Donald Trump Left

  • Beijing has applied to join an Asia-Pacific trade pact once pushed by the U.S. as a way to isolate China and solidify American dominance in the region.
  • China submitted a formal application letter to join the deal, known officially as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.
  • The treaty was originally envisioned by the U.S. as an economic bloc to counterbalance China's growing power, with then-President Barack Obama saying in 2016 that the U.S., not China, should write the regional rules of trade. His successor Donald Trump pulled out of the deal in 2017, with Japan leading the revised and renamed pact to a successful conclusion the following year.

Sep 17, 2021

Bahamas PM Concedes Defeat in Polls

  • Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis conceded defeat in the general elections on the Atlantic island chain reeling from a surge in COVID-19 cases and slump in the tourism-dependent economy due to the pandemic.
  • Mr. Minnis called his challenger Philip Davis to congratulate him and his Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) on winning the poll.
  • Mr. Minnis had been hoping to become the first Prime Minister in 24 years to win a second five-year term.

Sep 16, 2021

UK PM Boris Johnson Reshuffles Cabinet

  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson has carried out a reshuffle of his cabinet, removing several key ministers including Gavin Williamson.
  • This is the second major reshuffle since Johnson became leader of the Conservative party and took over as Prime Minister from Theresa May in July 2019. The last one took place in February 2020.
  • Johnson sacked four members of the cabinet as part of his latest reshuffle: Gavin Williamson, who was education secretary; Robert Jenrick, who was housing secretary; Robert Buckland, who was justice secretary; and Amanda Milling, who was Conservative Party co-chair.
  • Dominic Raab, who had been the foreign secretary, was demoted to justice secretary.
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