NEWS BRIEFS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

BY SARAH LOFSTROM ’19 AND GABBY RAYMOND ’20

 

Iraq

Iraqi forces took over a Kurdish held territory in the center of Kirkuk City on Monday, Oct. 16. According to Al Jazeera, the operation was part of an incentive to take oil-rich provinces. Kurdish forces defend Kirkuk City for three days against the Iraqi forces. Thousands of Arab, Kurds, and Turkman civilians have fled the conflict. It took around 15 hours for Iraqi forces to successfully claim the area. 

Kirkuk became a point of contention in the ‘grey zone’ — not a part of Ferderal Iraq nor the Kurdistan region — due to the recent Kurdistan independence referendum. According to the BBC, the Kurdistan Region’s government refused to leave Kirkuk out of the referendum, accelerating Iraqi deployment into the region. Each government hopes to gain Kirkuks economic advantages, since Kurdistan is liable to start a new state. 

 

Japan

Reports from the NHK News station in Japan discuss the death of 31 year old Miwa Sado, who worked 159 hours of overtime as a reporter in one month during 2013 and died of congestive heart failure. According to the New York Times, Sado’s story is just coming to light, and is one of many “karoshi,” or “death from overwork,” which have been an issue with blue-collar workers in Japan since the 1980s. 

According to the New York Times, NHK waited to release details about Miwa’s death so it would coincide with the release of their reformed workplace policies to try to prevent more cases of karoshi. Despite reforms, cases of karoshi—or just extreme overwork — are common in Japan, where workers have no cap on overtime. “The Japan Institute for Labor Policy and Training noted in 2016 that the ‘undeniable problems in Japan’s work environment’ were especially detrimental to regular employees under age 3,” said New York Times reporter Makiko Inoue.

 

African Continent

According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 450,000 people die of cancer on the African continent each year. The ACS worked with the Clinton Health Access Initiative to broker a deal with two major pharmaceutical companies,  Pfizer and Cilpa, to lower the price of 16 cancer treatment drugs in Africa to just above manufacturing costs. 

Megan O’Brien, the ACS’s director ofglobal cancer treatment, told the New York Times that it is now possible to save a leukemia patient for $300 dollars, but the death rate in Africa for leukemia is still 90 percent due to a lack of oncologists. 

Tackling the issue of cancer in Africa will require more doctors, more access to medicine and better hospital budgets, but lowering the price of treatment is a step forward. “These 16 won’t be enough — But in terms of value, they are about 75 percent of our current oncology budget. So we are really, really grateful for a chance to get better quality at a better price,” said Moses Kamabare, general manager of Uganda’s National Medical Stores, to the New York Times.

 

Venezuela

On Sunday, Oct. 15, Venezuela held its gubernatorial elections and the ruling socialist party won 17 of the 23 governorships. According to Al Jazeera, voter turnout was around 61 percent. The results were unexpected due to the severe problems the country has been having under the rulership of the socialist party and its leader, President Nicolas Maduro, includingfood shortages and inflation. Opinion polls had projected that the opposition party would win. 

Opposition leaders have rejected the results and have encouraged their supporters to take to the streets and protest the election results. President Maduro has hailed the victory as a success for his socialist brand of Chavismo, which recalls the former President Hugo Chávez, as reported by the BBC. 

 

Portugal

According to BBC World News, fires in central and northern Portugal have killed at least 31 people. Portugal has declared a state of Emergency for about half the country, where 1,600 firefighters have been deployed. This bout of fires follows one in June which killed 64 people, reported the BBC. Hurricane Ophelia, which is heading toward the western coast of Europe is literally fanning the flames, causing the wildfires to spread. 

However, CNN reports authorities in the Galicia region also believe some of the fires have been started intentionally. Prime Minister of Spain Mariano Rajoyin said that, “ ...a big fire which began at 01:30 (22:00 GMT) in the morning [started] at five different points. So as you can see it’s impossible for this to be triggered under natural circumstances.”

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