The Global Affairs team share some of the most important weekly headlines that you may otherwise have missed.
A note from the editor
What a week it has been!
One of the largest protests in recent memory took place in London as 300-800 thousand people took to the streets in support of a ceasefire in Gaza.
Hong Kong became the first city to host the highly inclusive ‘Gay Games’, an event in support of LGBTQ+ sportspersons.
One of the most positive news piece to come out of this week is the success of the Sag-Afra strikes. It’s wonderful to know that the future of film does not lie with a series of AI generated sequels to Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 classic ‘Stalker’ starring Dwayne ‘the Rock’ Johnson.
However in more harrowing news failures at the Rafah Border have left many suffering and stranded. The Gaza conflict has seen an increasing number of people in desperate need of humanitarian aid. While this conflict may be occurring Outside OX1 there are many within Oxford who are affected.
If you know a fellow student who may be personally affected by this conflict, check up on them. Even a simple chat could make a world of difference to those who may feel isolated and struggling to cope.
Turned Away at the Rafah Border
Many people are turned away at the Rafah border, as they try to flee war on the Gaza Strip.
On Wednesday hundreds of foreign passport holders made it through to Egypt, after being stuck on the Gaza Strip for several weeks, according to The Guardian. However, many British people were turned away at the Rafah border, and this led to an outcry from the citizens urging for their government to do more for them.
200 British or dual nationals recall the chaos that ensued as people desperately wanted to leave through the crossing. Only 2 British nationals out of the 500 people on the list were allowed to cross over into Egypt. While the rest have to go back to the Gaza Strip because their names were not approved by the Israeli and Egyptian officials.
Lalah Ali Faten is an educational consultant that is frustrated with the British government for not doing more for its people. She said, “… I feel that the government is not doing enough: it’s just lip service at the moment. If other governments have managed to get their citizens out, why not ours? Is there more that they could do? I’m sure there is,” Faten told The Guardian.
A British woman has traveled to the Rafah crossing with her baby, but she has been turned away for the fourth time now. Her husband grows weary as she makes the journey because it’s highly likely she could be caught in the crossfire of the war.
Concerns for loved ones safety continues to be heightened as the days pass and they are still not able to leave.
Additionally, Egyptian nationals are also stuck at Rafah unable to return home. Reem Rasmi went to Gaza to visit family, but it’s been a month and she is still displaced by the war. She was supposed to leave on October 10th, but there still has been no luck for her yet. Rasmi says that her children are worried about her safety, but she doesn’t know how to reassure them, according to Aljazeera.
“My children are consumed by fear and anxiety, and I cannot reassure them and tell them I’m fine because they watch the news on TV,” she said. “The images show the horror and displacement of people in this war. Sometimes even I cannot comprehend what is happening.”
“My children are consumed by fear and anxiety, and I cannot reassure them and tell them I’m fine because they watch the news on TV”
Americans are the other group of people that have been trapped at the Gaza Strip as they anxiously wait to cross through into Egypt. Utah resident Susan Beseiso vocalized frustration before she got the news from the U.S. State Department. She said, “It’s like they’re holding us hostages — not Hamas holding us hostages,it’s the IDF soldiers, Egypt and America. They’re using us as a human shield in a way,” Beseiso told CBS News.
However, on Wednesday in Minnesota, Biden announced they are working nonstop to get them out of Gaza as quickly as possible. According to CBS News 400 American nationals were approved to leave on Thursday, and Matthew Miller, the U.S. State Department Spokesperson announced that there were estimated to be around 400 Americans trapped on the Strip.
As foreign passport holders still remain, the Egyptian foreign ministry said that Egypt will help evacuate “about 7,000” and dual nationals from the war-torn Gaza Strip.
Braverman comes under fire following comments on 11th November ceasefire protests
On the 11th November a planned march in support of a ceasefire in Gaza took place starting from Hyde Park and ending just outside Battersea power station. While the march attracted some criticism for its potential disruption of Remembrance Day events, it began at 12pm, 58 minutes after the commemorative two minutes silence took place (1).
The Met Police estimated that the protest was joined by 300,000 people, however organisers of the event claim that this number was far higher at 800,000. During the protest the police are recorded to have made 126 arrests, a number of these were from counter protests by the far right which took place throughout the day (2).
Incensed by far right figures such as Tommy Robinson (3), self titled ‘defenders of the cenotaph’ were recorded to have clashed with protestors and police at Pimlico, Chinatown and the cenotaph memorial itself, putting the remembrance day events at risk.
Surrounding the protests Suella Braverman, the Home Secretary has found herself the figure of controversy following her comments in an unauthorised article for the Times where she made the claim of ‘double standards’ by the police in the way they dealt with far-right groups as opposed to pro-palestinian marchers (4).
Her accusations of leniency by the police towards Pro-Palestinian demonstrators have led to criticism from leading Conservative figures. Jeremy Hunt claimed her comments ‘are not words that I myself would have used’ and Bob Neil, Conservative MP and chair of the House of Commons Justice Committee stated that she had ‘gone over the line’ (5).
Both the Labour Party (6) and the SNP (7) have called on Braverman to resign over her comments. Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London went as far as to associate her comments with the gathering of far right protestors in London (8).
Such a move has put further pressure on Sunak’s government. The Prime Minister had previously been under fire from his own party earlier this week following Braverman’s crackdown on the usage of tents by the homeless in what she described as a ‘lifestyle choice’ (9).
New deal struck between actors and Hollywood studios to end strikes
On Friday the actors’ union Sag-Aftra announced some of the details of the deal it has agreed with the Alliance of Motion Picture and TV Producers (AMPTP). This will bring an end to the actors’ four-month strike that, in addition to the separate writers’ strike, has severely impacted film and TV production.
Though famous Hollywood stars earn millions of dollars in their roles, lesser-known actors often struggle to sustain themselves amid rising inflation and changes to the industry. Sag-Aftra was seeking an increase in base pay for residuals – which are financial compensations paid to actors and other entertainment professionals in case of cable reruns or licensing to streaming media etc. – as well as guardrails around the use of artificial intelligence in television and film.
Sag-Aftra’s national board has voted to back the deal with 86% approval and next week it will be sent to the union’s 160,000 members for final agreement. On Friday the union gave more detail on the deal’s contents which included higher compensation for background actors, protections against AI that require “informed consent and fair compensation” for performers both living and dead and a first-of-its-kind requirement for intimacy co-ordinators to be hired on set for scenes involving sex and nudity.
Zac Efron described the deal as “incredible” at the premiere for his wrestling film ‘The Iron Claw’.
Hong Kong hosts Gay Games amid tacit opposition
On Sunday, Hong Kong became the first Asian city to hold Gay Games, an Olympics-style global event founded to promote diversity and inclusivity of athletes, artists, and other individuals in the LGBTQ+ community. The event gathered over 2,300 athletes, and was commenced by the participants’ march into the Queen Elizabeth stadium with Cher’s Believe playing in the background.
The Hong Kong Gay Games had faced numerous setbacks since it had won the bid to host the games in 2017. The event, originally scheduled to take place in 2022, had not only been delayed a year, but also been separated into two host cities, Hong Kong and Guadalajara, due to the uncertainties of the pandemic. The games is also held in a different Hong Kong compared to 2017, as the National Security Law endorsed by the Beijing government in 2019 after democracy movements has been used to suppress LGBTQ+ activism and expression amongst other movements.
The games had not been promoted by any official websites, and was primarily held in private facilities. Compared to its host city Guadarajala which had its participants marching with the rainbow flag in the streets, participants in Hong Kong stated that the games “felt like a speakeasy“
The lack of publicity the city organized for the event illustrates the government’s position with the promotion of LGBTQ+ rights. Hong Kong’s pro-China conservatives have recently argued that the event ‘promotes the gay movement,’ and is a ‘risk to national security,’ despite lack of evidence regarding the threat. Moreover, the event’s inclusive message is opposed to the recent court order by the city’s top court, which refused to recognize same-sex marriages.
In Asia, same-sex unions have only been legalized in Taiwan, whilst over forty-one countries, such as Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Vietnam have not recognized the right. Five countries, including Armenia, Cambodia, and Russia, have declared a constitutional ban on same-sex marriages as of 2023.
Despite Hong Kong’s major step as the first Asian city to host the Gay Games, the LGBTQ+ community in the city, country, and the continent continues to face resistance.
Environment – Plastic waste in Africa is ‘spiralling out of control’
Lottie Tellyn | A taster from the Environment sections upcoming edition of their column ‘The Green Piece’
New OECD analysis shows that plastic waste in Africa is growing faster than in any other continent, with the region predicted to end up with 116m tonnes of plastic waste annually by 2060. This represents a sixfold increase on the plastic waste produced in 2019.
The main driver of this is rising plastic consumption in sub-Saharan Africa, which has a very young population driving demand for vehicles and other products amid rising income and population growth.
Rich Gower, a senior economist at Tearfund, a charity which works in over 50 countries combating poverty, noted that “much of the plastic being used in sub-Saharan Africa is plastic packaging and ends up being dumped and burned,” contributing further to rising pollution levels with the lack of recycling and increased emissions from burning.
Closing Remarks – The death of the Caramac and other chocolate mourning
This week, it was announced that Nestle is discontinuing production of the Caramac bar after over 60 years of production. In February 2023, the totally tropical taste of Lilt was confined to the archives (although, technically, it has become a version of Fanta), whilst the axing of Milky Way Crispy Rolls last year sparked petitions, outcry on TikTok and bulk-buying of the product online. It’s no secret that food, particularly junk food, holds a special place in the heart of many Brits – a source of comforting nostalgia, a little treat after a healthy meal, a sugar-rush that accompanies your morning coffee. So let me take you down memory lane, as we remember together some fallen soldiers of the confectionery aisle.
First up – the most hydrating member of the ice lolly hall of fame: Calippo Shots. Every noughties kid remembers throwing these back on hot summer days, often during a trip to the zoo. The tantalisingly fruity flavours of strawberry and lemon were a shock to the tastebuds, barely registering with your infant brain before they slugged their way down the gullet. Reigning alongside the queen of forgotten frozen treats has to be the Smarties Pop-Up Lolly. Although I believe these to have been discontinued, there have been recent sightings of the Smarties ice cream, so do write in – my only market research has been the sale of one such delight for £50 a piece on eBay.
Moving on from our chilled brothers and sisters, to the Cadbury popping candy Magical Elves. The source of great national pride, these choccies were like a Freddo, only 100 times better. The elves had different names and colourful wrappers, which made you feel a need to ‘collect ‘em all’ – I’ve never experienced a rush like biting into one of these little devils. Proper after-school treat.
On the savoury side, a shout-out must be given to Cheese Moments. These salty, oozy snacks, comrades with Scampi Fries and Bacon Fries, were perfect washed down with an ice-cold Panda Pop. Me and my Dad fondly reminisce about this snack – him, remembering hours spent downing pints in the pub with the cheesy accompaniment, me, plied with them after a harrowing Park and Ride journey. Many thanks to Dolly Alderton, whose recent appearance on Kathy Burke’s podcast saw her pick the nibble as part of her death-row meal.
Harriet Kemsley, an excellent stand-up comedian, lamented on-air that every food she’s truly loved has been discontinued, cruelly wiped from the shelves by big greedy corporations. So, let’s not forget the foodies out there, who are still mourning the loss of the Galaxy Truffle, Tooty Fruity, and – Kemsley’s favourite – the ice-cream flavoured Chewit. RIP gang. Gone but not forgotten.
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