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Weekly Round-Up

1. UK based DeepMind AI solves 50-year-old biology problem with huge implications for human security.

DeepMind, a UK based artificial intelligence research-lab, have discovered a means of predicting how proteins fold into 3D shapes, a problem that has troubled biologists for decades. As this is crucial to understanding all biological life, it has considerable implications for many fields of human security. This research will help scientists better understand diseases, produce more resilient and nutritious crops, and find new ways to break down plastic pollution. Work is already under way to use this technology to tackle malaria, sleeping sickness and leishmaniasis.

2. More than one hundred farmers killed in suspected Boko Haram attack.

In Nigeria’s North-Eastern Borno state, a targeted massacre has taken place against a group of farmers. The United Nations estimates that 110 people have been killed. Early on Saturday the 28th November, armed men arrived on motorcycles in the village of Koshobe and the surrounding area and attacked people harvesting their crops. The attack has been claimed by Boko Haram, who have committed wanton murder in acts of nihilist violence and thuggery for over a decade. A spokesman for President Muhammadu Buhari addressed the nation, noting “I condemn the killing of our hard-working farmers by terrorists in Borno state. The entire country is hurt by these senseless killings”.

3. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta calls for military training to be aligned to emerging threats alongside deeper international cooperation.

Whilst presiding over an Officer Cadets Commissioning Parade at the Kenya Military Academy, President Uhuru Kenyatta proclaimed that “To effectively contain the security challenges of the 21st Century, training within the military must be better aligned with emerging threats across all domains”. The President went on to note the importance of the military in responding to “natural disasters, to fellow citizens in need; and to the cries of vulnerable foreign people, in dire need of protection by the peacekeepers”. Kenyatta also stressed the importance international cooperation, as exemplified by the ceremony, which honoured graduating cadets from neighbouring Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. Indeed, he noted his confidence that “the friendships established amongst you will contribute to the strengthening of our national ties and our collective responses to the security challenges that we continue to face in our region”.

4. India, the Maldives and Sri Lanka begin trilateral maritime security summit.

A trilateral meeting between India, The Maldives and Sri Lanka concerning shared maritime defence issues commenced on Saturday. Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Maldives Foreign Minister Mariya Didi, were all in attendance. In a statement, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs noted that the trilateral meeting served as an effective platform for cooperation among Indian Ocean countries. This is the first time that a meeting at this level has occurred in six years and is emblematic of a broader shift in the international relations of the Indo-Pacific. Indeed, New-Delhi has recently been cultivating closer ties with the Maldives, whose allegiance has fluctuated between India and China, gravitating towards Beijing in recent times. However, recent large Indian investments in the Maldives and the resurgence of trilateral defence cooperation represent a reversal of this trend and signal a strengthening of relations between India and the Maldives.

5. Cyclone Burevi set to hit southern India after causing huge disruption in Sri Lanka.

Cyclone Burevi, the second cyclone to hit the Bay of Bengal in a matter of days, is set to cause flash floods in India after ravaging Sri Lanka. The Indian Meteorological Department has issued a red warning to many areas in the south of the country after 23 people were killed last week by another tropical cyclone. Excellent planning for the cyclone by disaster management authorities in Sri Lanka mitigated the most serious consequences. 75,000 people had been successfully evacuated from the Trincomalee area, which was badly affected, before the cyclone made landfall.


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