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Weekly Round-Up

1. International Court of Justice (ICJ) rules that it has jurisdiction over Guyana – Venezuela land dispute.

In a positive move for Guyana, the ICJ have ruled that it has jurisdiction to arbitrate over a long standing land dispute between Guyana and Venezuela. The dispute has risen further to the fore in recent years on account of the vast oil and gas fields discovered off the Guyanese coast. The winner of the dispute stands to gain control of a significant section of the resources. The ruling has been cheered by the Guyanese government under resident Irfaan Ali, who stated “The Court’s decision means that international law can be brought to bear to ensure that Guyana’s patrimony is preserved. The law of nations can be allowed to prevail in the face of efforts that point in other directions. As a result of today’s ruling, the Court will now proceed to hear the merits of the case”. Venezuela had opposed the role of the ICJ in this dispute, preferring instead direct talks with the Guyanese.

2. Schoolchildren arrive safe in Nigeria’s Katsina state after abduction.

More than 300 boys have arrived in the capital of Katsina state after being abducted last week in an attack claimed by Boko Haram. The boys were taken last Friday after an armed attack on their school in Kankara village by the terrorist group, who subsequently marched the boys into the Rugu forest. Although exhausted and traumatised the children are safe. It has not yet been confirmed that all the children taken have been returned safely, but that is believed to be the case.

3. Kenyan infrastructure attacked by Al-Shabaab militants in Somalian border region amidst rising tensions.

Militants believed to be part of the Somalian Islamist group Al-Shabaab have bombed telecommunications infrastructure in Mandera county, Kenya, near the country’s border with Somalia. Kenya’s north-eastern regional police commander Rono Bunei noted that there were an unknown number of casualties caused by the attack and that “communication had been cut in the area”. This attack comes only four days after the group attacked Kenyan police offices and houses in the south of Mandera county. Somalia has cut diplomatic ties with Kenya amidst accusations of Kenyan interference in the recent Somalian election and in the fractious Somali province of Somaliland.

4. Pakistan has begun one of the world’s largest ever reforestation projects

Pakistan’s government has begun implementing an ambitious reforestation plan that will see 10 billion trees planted by 2023. The first stage is underway, in which 3.25 billion trees will be planted, costing $650 million. It is an enormous task, but one that is necessary to secure Pakistan’s security in the future. The United Nations has identified Pakistan as among the six countries which will face the biggest impact from global warming, with acutely increases the risk of flooding and droughts. The nation’s forest coverage of 5% is among the lowest in the world compared with a 31% global average. Healthy forests are key to regulating eco-systems, absorbing carbon emissions, and mitigating the worst effects of climate change. Hopefully, Pakistan’s plans for mass reforestation will go some way to mitigating the countries climate insecurity, an endeavour which will potentially save countless lives.

5. Fiji has been devastated by Cyclone Yasa.

Reports of immense damage are emerging after category-five Cyclone Yasa tore across Fiji last night. The hurricane moved further north than meteorologists expected and made landfall over Bua district on Vanua Levu, the country’s second largest island. Initial reports are suggesting that damage has been severe with entire villages believed to have been destroyed in the North. There have been hundreds of reports of collapsed buildings and severe flooding throughout the country. Damages are estimated in the hundreds of millions and many areas have been left without communication. The damage has not yet been fully assessed but there has been two confirmed deaths and more are expected as rescue crews reach isolated areas.


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