International Affairs Update (Week 1 of January 2020)

    Compiled by Naziehah Nazli


    *Picture Credit: Freepik

    A. Singapore

    i) Digital Tax

    • Singapore started imposing GST on overseas digital services at the current standard rate of 7%, beginning 1/1/2020
    • Service providers include Netflix, Spotify, Google (paid), cloud services and others

    ii) Wuhan Pneumonia

    • A 3-year-old girl from China became the first suspected case of the mystery Wuhan pneumonia and had been warded for further assessment and treatment 

    B. Indonesia

    i) Jakarta: The Sinking Megacity

    • Death toll continues to increase with at least 60 people amid the landslides and floods triggered by torrential downpours 
    • Rising rivers submerged at least 182 neighborhoods 
    • Landslides at the outskirts of the city buried at least a dozen of people

    ii) Earthquakes (5/1/2020)

    • 4 km South of Wonosari: 3.0 Magnitude
    • South of Nias, North Sumatera: 5.2 Magnitude

    C. China

    i) Mysterious Pneumonia Outbreak

    • As of 4/1/2020, 44 people are infected with the illness in the Central City of Wuhan
    • Investigations are still being carried out and no confirmation on the pathogen causing the illness had been released by the authorities
    • The Wuhan health commission: 
      • A number of those infected worked at a seafood market
      • No human-to-human transmission
    • The outbreak raises Hong Kong’s hospital alerts to “serious”

    D. India

    i) Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)

    • Organized by the umbrella group of Muslims and civil society organization, 100,000 attended the protest against CAA in Hyderabad
    • Known as the Million March, protesters chanted slogans such as “The only religion in India is secularism” and “Abort CAA immediately”
    • Several among the 11 states Pinarayi Vijayan (Chief Minister of the Southern State of Kerala) wrote to have already expressed their opposition to the citizenship law and publicly declared they will not implement it

    E. Middle East

    i) Trump’s drone killed Iran’s military leader, Qasem Soleimani

    • Qasem Soleimani was killed in a drone strike ordered by Trump, at Baghdad airport early Friday 3/1
    • The strike also killed the deputy head of an Iran-backed Iraqi militia
    • Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vows harsh revenge against the US
    • The attack prompt reactions from the world governments:
      • The French government told its citizen in Iran to avoid public gatherings
      • China urged the US to show restraint
      • Russia warned grave consequences amid the attack
      • India urged both countries to exercise restraint

    ii) Saudi Arabia escalates cooperation with Iraq

    • King Salman of Saudi Arabia stressed on the importance of restraining to reduce tensions and strengthen cooperation with Iraq to avoid further escalation
    • Some says the US attack on Iran was an act of war, while some says it was a warning to stop further attacks. What do you think? Will this initiate WWIII? Or only further escalate regional tension?

    F. Nigeria

    i) Boko Haram

    • Killed at least 50 fishermen at the Lake Chad, near Cameroon’s border
    • At least 20 Cameroonians were among those killed
    • The dead are believed to be a mixture of nationalities

    G. Australia

    i) Worst Bushfires in Decades

    • Started in September 2019
    • Reaches up to 6.3 million hectares across the State
      • Destroys 2,500 buildings
      • Kills 20 people, minimum
      • Kills 500 million animals
      • Kills 30% of New South Wales’ Koalas
      • Displaces thousands

    H. The United States

    i) US-Iran Conflict

    • US to deploy 3,500 new troops to Middle East
    • Trump: US is ready to attack 52 important Iranian sites if Iran retaliates, representing 52 Americans who were held hostage back in 1979
    • Minutes after the announcement by Trump, several US government websites got hacked:
      • The homepage for the US Federal Depository Library Program went offline and displayed a message:
      • “In the name of god. Hacked by Iran Cyber Security Group Hackers… This is only small part of Iran’s cyber ability! We’re always ready.”

    ii) 2024 Election Poll

    • A poll was done to determine which Republicans would the Americans consider voting for in the 2024 general presidential election
    • The results are as follow:

    For the PDF version of the update, refer to the attachment below:


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