United Kingdom – The conflict in Syria is ongoing, and the issue of the country’s possession of chemical weapons has yet to be decided on. Discussion of what is to be done with Syria’s stocks of toxic arms is underway, and there is still the looming pressure and possibility of a US-led military strike. Fortunately, members of the United Nations met on Friday, Nov. 15 to debate a proposal put forth by the United States and Russia that offers an alternative, less militaristic path to cooperation.
This deal would involve a plan for the Syrian government to destroy approximately 1,300 tons of chemical weapons. Syria has already agreed to destroy its stockpile of chemical weapons and production facilities, but the solution to the situation is not as simple as that. The question of where to destroy the weapons stockpile has not been unanimously agreed upon and many countries are voicing different opinions on this matter. Norway and Albania were among the countries that voiced opposition to the proposed plan, and as of Friday afternoon, no agreement has been made.
Philippines – The deadly typhoon that devastated the Philippines last week has left the country in a state of destruction and disarray, but there is another emerging consequence: the increasingly imminent threat of disease, including potentially fatal outbreaks of some diseases that were thought to have been eradicated. The destruction of the country’s sanitation system, the fresh water shortage, and slow response of emergency health teams has not helped the health situation and has resulted in the cataclysmic outbreak and spread of illnesses such as cholera, hepatitis, malaria, typhoid fever and dysentery. Doctors fear the return of polio and parasitic diseases such as leptospirosis. The scale of the disaster may have been severely underestimated and many places are still without help nearly a week after the disaster.
Greece – Another boat has capsized in the Mediterranean, leaving only 15 survivors. 4 of the drowned were children. Survivors managed to swim to safety and alerted authorities early in the morning on Nov. 15. A police source stated that the people were most likely refugees from Syria, bringing even more attention to the problematic issue the European Union is currently facing regarding illegal immigration. The event emphasizes the region’s need to implement initiatives to manage this ubiquitous problem that has resulted in an increasing trend of death.
China – A surprising reform proposal that would relax the one-child policy has been revealed following the meeting of the governing Communist Party in China. This proposal would not only allow families to have two children (but only if one parent is an only child), but would also abolish the “re-education through labor” camps, reduce the number of crimes subject to the death penalty, and attempt to boost the economic role of the private sector. It is well known that China is home to a large population, and the one-child policy was introduced in the 1970s to curb the rapid population growth. The effort to relax the policy is a result of its unpopularity and China’s aging population.