Headlines from around the world

BY VICTORIA WANG ’20

Cambodia

Cambodia’s six-person national figure skating team competed at the Southeast Asia Games in Kuala Lumpur for the first time in August, according to the BBC. Unlike other Southeast Asian countries, such as Nepal, which regularly compete in winter sports, Cambodia only formed its national ice-skating team in 2015. Sen Bunthoeun, 27 and Khiev Panha, 23, were the first Cambodians to represent their country in a winter discipline at the Southeast Asian Games and placed eighth and ninth respectively, out of nine individual figure skaters. 

Despite these results, Cambodia head coach Clair Ben Zina plans to get Cambodian ice skaters ready for the Olympics. According to BBC, the coach has a 10-year plan that would see Cambodian speed skaters compete in Beijing in 2022 and figure skaters take to the Olympic ice in 2026.

Zimbabwe

Reuters reports that the former Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, age 93, resigned on Nov. 21, amid a military takeover and mass demonstrations. Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, a longtime ally of Mugabe, became the de facto president.

According to News24, a South African newspaper, President Mnangagwa has already made several changes in the administrative positions during his first week in office. The BBC reports that many of the new appointees are senior military officers. Sibusiso Moyo, the general who played a prominent role in the recent military takeover, was appointed as foreign minister. Meanwhile Perence Shiri, the head of Zimbabwe’s air force, will take over as the minister of agriculture and land affairs. In the early 1980s, Shiri led military operations against supposed political opponents of the former president Mugabe which resulted in an estimated 20,000 civilian fatalities.

United Nations

On Dec. 1, the United Nations appealed for a record-breaking $22.5 billion in humanitarian aid for 2018, according to the BBC. 

The aid is posited to reach 91 million of the world’s most vulnerable people in countries facing conflicts, displacement, natural disasters and epidemics.

Syria and Yemen alone are estimated to need over $10 billion in humanitarian aid. 

Mark Lowcock, under-secretary-general for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, stated in a press release that “Humanitarians can only respond to the growing needs with the generous support of our donors.” 

Lowcock said the U.N.-coordinated humanitarian response plans will provide people with food, shelter, health care, protection, emergency education and other basic assistance.

Germany

The Free Democratic Party (FDP) ended talks on forming a new government coalition with the conservative bloc of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU). According to CNN, three smaller parties are blocking successful coalition- building over disagreements with Merkel’s conservatives on the government’s refugee, environmental and energy policies. The failure to create a coalition between the FDP, the CDU and the Green Party puts Germany in a state of great political uncertainty. Merkel must now face the prospect of forming a minority government or holding a new election. 

As the economic stabilizer of the European Union, the political uncertainty in Germany caused the Euro price to decrease in the global currency market. According to Reuters, the Euro was down 0.6 percent against the Chinese yuan, its lowest point in two months. Additionally, it slipped 0.5 percent against the US dollar and 0.43 percent against the pound. 

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