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What’s Happening Around the World?

Who doesn’t love Thanksgiving: a time to be around family that you haven’t seen in a year and make small talk with cousins whose names you don’t even remember. Most of the time these conversations revolve around school and love lives (read: yours), but what do you do when Uncle Billy asks about your opinion on the Syrian civil war, or when Grandma asks who will receive your vote in the upcoming election…? You give them answers! Here is HC Bucknell’s guide to the most current events happening around the world:

 

Asia: The South China Sea Conflict

The South China Sea is home to a messy territorial dispute that pits multiple countries against each other. Tensions have especially risen as China has reclaimed some 2,000 nautical acres in less than 2 years in a massive dredging operation, turning sandbars into islands equipped with airfields, airports, and lighthouses. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam all dispute sovereignty of several island chains and nearby waters in the South China Sea. Father north, in the East China Sea, China is also locked in territorial disputes with Japan and South Korea. The U.S. government takes no position on the territorial disputes in the South China Sea, but it has called for an immediate end to land reclamation. The United States also sails and flies in the vicinity of the reclaimed islands, claiming international law and freedom of movement. However, on November 3, China warned and tracked a U.S. destroyer ship.

 

The Middle East: Syria

Since 2011, Syria has suffered a brutal civil war. After decades of oppression and dictatorship, civilians across the Middle East started a band of protests called the Arab Spring. Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has been in power since 2000. Following the protests, Assad and his regime retaliated violently by opening fire on protestors. This retaliation led to the beginning of the conflict between supporters of Assad and Syrian rebels who seek to overthrow the Assad regime. The conflict is now more than just a battle between those for or against President Assad, particularly in the face of the rising Islamic State (ISIS). Capitalizing on the chaos in the region, ISIS, the extremist group that grew out of al-Qaeda in Iraq, has taken control of huge portions of territory across northern and eastern Syria. Recently, the United States and Russia have decided to lead coalitions in an effort to destroy ISIS. The only problem, however, is that the U.S. supports the Syrian rebels attempting to overthrow Assad, while Russia supports Assad. So now, the U.S. and Russia are fighting ISIS with airstrikes, while backing different allies in the larger fight of the Syrian civil war. This has led the U.S. to question Russia’s real objective in Syria. 

 

Russia & Egypt: Plane Crash

On October 31, a Russian plane departing from an Egyptian resort town to St. Petersburg crashed in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula shortly after takeoff. All 224 people on board were killed. Soon after the crash, ISIS claimed responsibility for it, albeit without providing any proof. Earlier this week, U.S. officials announced that their satellite data indicated a heat flash around the plane right before it crashed, suggesting some kind of explosion. On November 5, British Prime Minister David Cameron said “it is more likely than not” that a bomb brought down the flight. There is still a lot of discussion on what type of explosion may have brought down the flight, whether terrorism or a technical failure. More evidence will certainly surface once the plane’s black boxes are investigated.

 

United States: Election Polls

Donald Trump and Ben Carson continue to dominate the GOP presidential playing field, according to a recent survey conducted by the Wall Street Journal/NBC News Survey. The poll found that 29 percent of GOP primary voters currently back Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, while 23 percent support Donald Trump. Sen. Marco Rubio is also pulling support in the double digits, with 11 percent of voters backing him. Sen. Ted Cruz, came in fourth with ten percent, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush received eight percent support. On the Democratic side, the poll found 62 percent of Democratic primary voters said they support Hillary Clinton for the nomination, up from 58 percent in October. 31 percent now said they support Sen. Bernie Sanders, compared to the 33 percent who said the same last month. Only three percent of Democratic voters said they would support former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.

 

Sources:

I am currently a Junior at Bucknell University studying Political Science and Italian. I hope to one day write informational political pieces for a news reporting agency. When I'm not watching netflix or reading current event I can be found snuggling with my dog.
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