The Global Affairs team share some of the most important weekly headlines that you may otherwise have missed.

A note from the editor

This week has proven to be a successful one for right wing leaders with questionable hairdo’s. In the Netherlands we have had the questionably blonde right-wing populist Geert Wilders lead coalition talks, and in Argentina the nation’s leading Guy Martin impersonator* Javier Milei won the presidential election.

While I’m almost as surprised as you that the leading star of hit show ‘Guy Martin’s Spitfire’ and the unforgettable ‘Guy Martin’s best bits’ (surprised this wasn’t 100 hours long) managed to make such an impression on the Argentinian libertarian movement, global left wing movements have had to suspended such disbelief in the face of the shocking news of two electoral defeats.

We’ve also had some harrowing reports from the premature babies evacuated from the Al Shifa hospital (mentioned in last week’s OX1) we can only hope for the survival of those affected by this move.

In more positive news, South Korean women who have experienced sexual abuse by Japanese military officers during the Second World War have made some progress within the South Korean courts.

A lot goes on Outside OX1!

*This claim is untrue and made purely for comedic purposes, according to the Lookalikes Agency there are no available Guy Martin impersonators as of Sunday 26th November 1500 hours

Rise of the right in the Netherlands: radical populist Geert Wilders leads coalition talks 

Anya Trofimova

Wouter Engler, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Far-right populist politician Geert Wilders has vowed to become prime minister of the Netherlands after his party won the most seats in this week’s election. The veteran leader of the ultra-nationalist Freedom Party (PVV), Geert Wilders, is known for his radical beliefs, anti-Islamic rhetoric, and incitement of discrimination. 

The far-right Freedom party (PVV) has more than doubled its representation to become the largest party in the Netherlands after this week’s dramatic election. In a post on X, Wilder assured his supporters that he would become ‘prime minister of this beautiful country’ and ‘continue to moderate’ his positions, if necessary, in order to form a governing coalition. 

Securing 25 percent of the vote in the Netherlands’ fractured electoral system, the PVV’s success is likely to be decisive. The recent election has also placed Wilders in line to lead talks to form the next governing coalition and eventually to become the nation’s first far-right prime minister. This dramatic swing to the right has alarmed even mainstream parties in the Netherlands’ House of Representatives and is expected to send shockwaves throughout Europe. Already, Wilders’ victory has been celebrated by Marine Le Pen in France and Hungary’s Viktor Orbán, who has heralded the recent success of the PVV as ‘the winds of change’. The election was triggered by the resignation of Prime Minister Mark Rutte and the collapse of his four-party coalition due to insoluble internal divides over immigration policy. 

As a hardline Eurosceptic, Wilders was elected on a platform that promised the Netherlands a referendum on the EU, a total half on the ‘asylum tsunami’ and a crackdown on border migration. Known for his inflammatory anti-Islam rhetoric, Wilders has proposed a ‘de-Islamisation’ of the Netherlands which would involve the closure of mosques and Islamic schools. Wilders has previously been charged and tried for incitement of hatred against various religious and ethnic groups. In 2016, he was found guilty of encouraging discrimination against Moroccan immigrants in the Netherlands, though the verdict was later overturned. 

Unlike the current caretaker government, which has allocated over €2 billion in aid for Kyiv over the next year, Wilders has promised to withdraw support for Ukraine and to channel resources into the Netherlands’ domestic army. Wilders is also known to have openly criticized climate scientists and activists, advocating a halt to the construction off wind turbines and solar panels. He has additionally proposed withdrawing the Netherlands from the UN’s Paris agreement.

On Friday, the conservative VVD Party of current Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced that it would not participate in a cabinet with Wilders’ though it shares some of his stances on immigration. Pieter Omtzigt, of the centrist reform NSC Party, has also voiced reservations about forming a coalition with Wilders, whose extremism appears to violate constitutional protections on freedom of religion. In the Netherlands it is common for coalition talks to span several months.

The Argentinian chainsaw massacre‘: Javier Milei wins the presidency

Ben Nolan

Vox España, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The 53 year old Javier Milei, the man who promised to take a chainsaw to the state, has been elected president of Argentina with 56% to left-wing Sergio Massa’s 44%.

The victory has been met with applause from the hard-right. Donald Trump stated that he believes that Milei will ‘Make Argentina Great again’ in a highly creative use of his campaign slogan. Jair Bolsonaro, former president of Brazil, claimed that ‘hope would shine again in South America’.

Dubbed ‘El Loco’ by his critics Milei plans to cut down on the crippling inflation rate of 150% and deal with the $44 billion International Monetary Fund debt program by taking apart the Argentinian state. In the words of Milei ‘Everything that can be [put] into the hands of the private sector, will be in the hands of the private sector’. This involves ditching the Peso for the US dollar, preventing the central bank from printing more money, cutting welfare by removing entire government departments (most notably health and education) as well as privatising Argentina’s state energy company.

In terms of social policy Milei plans to loosen gun laws, abolish abortion and allow the sale of human organs. 

As we enter the festive period Milei’s list of policies might appear more as a Christmas wish list than an easily achievable set of goals. Milei’s party ‘Freedom Advances’ currently hold a small number of seats in the Argentine congress, if any of these policies are to be achieved it will be this congress, most notably those who belong to the right wing bloc ‘Together for Change’  that will decide as to whether they are politically ‘naughty’ or ‘nice’.

While his aims to take a chainsaw to the state and slogan ‘out with all of them’ may have appealed to the disaffected voters of Argentina, in the face of the Argentinian Chainsaw Massacre, a member of the Together for Change bloc could prove themselves to be the ‘final girl’ to Milei’s plans.

Premature Babies Sent to Rafah for Immediate Treatment 

Emily Guerrero

Palestinian News & Information Agency (Wafa) in contract with APAimages, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Premature infants are being sent from Al-Shifa Hospital to Rafah because resources have run scarce during the war. 

The war between Israel-Palestine is hindering the lives of premature babies, with lack of resources in Gaza the infants are being sent to a hospital in Egypt for treatment. 

Nour Al-Banna gave birth to twin daughters on October 4, and they were both born prematurely. The twin girls, Leen and Bayan, were moved to the Al-Shifa Hospital which resides in Gaza City. They were gradually getting stronger and healthier, but then the war broke out causing a major setback for them, according to NPR.  Destruction ensued at the Al-Shifa Hospital as the fighting ranged closer to them, and Al-Banna was filled with terror because she didn’t know whether her babies were dead or alive. 

She said, “I kept thinking, ‘God knows if they are dead or alive,’” according to NPR. 

The girls were a part of the 31 other babies that were being evacuated from the Al-Shifa Hospital, and being escorted by the medics from the Palestinian Red Crescent and the World Health Organization. 28 of the infants were said to be sick enough to be transferred to the Emirates Hospital in Egypt. 

None of the babies were transported with family members, causing the small children to make the journey alone. Last Sunday, the officials in Gaza and Egypt called for the relatives of these infants to go to the hospital and identify them. It even was announced that the parents could join their children in Egypt, according to The New York Times. 

It was extremely crucial that these children were evacuated quickly from Al-Shifa, due to power outages people were dying rapidly. 

One of the doctors noted, “for premature babies, “this is a death sentence carried out the moment the electricity is cut off,” according to The New York Times. The United Nations commented that since November 11, 40 patients and four premature babies have died, due to the power outages at the Al-Shifa Hospital. 

Additionally, for a mother like Lobna al-Saik she is concerned about her prematures baby’s health and well-being. Her child was having breathing troubles, so she received oxygen from Al-Shifa. However, once the war broke out she was forced to leave her daughter behind at the hospital as al-Saik and her three children fled bombardment. 

“They are innocent children, premature babies,” an exhausted al-Saik said in a video interview provided by the Egyptian government. “My message to the world is ‘enough’,” according to Reuters.

The lack of medicine, water, and consistent power outages, is causing the infants to grow sickly and lose a lot of weight. The mother had to leave her other children behind because she needed to accompany her daughter that was in a poor state. 

She said, “I didn’t even get a chance to hug them because I couldn’t leave my daughter in this state. I didn’t say goodbye to them. Something might happen to them, they could be bombed or martyred,” she said, her voice breaking as tears welled up.” 

Women are having to give birth in war-torn countries, putting the mother and child at a greater risk for infections or death. These dire circumstances call for more humanitarian support for people living in battle zones. 

Derek Chauvin, the man convicted of George Floyd’s murder, stabbed in prison

Becky Collet

Chad Davis from United States, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who was convicted of murdering George Floyd, is reported to have been stabbed by another inmate on Friday.

Chauvin was being held in a federal prison in Arizona after being convicted of the murder of George Floyd, after he knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes in 2020, causing worldwide outrage over racial injustice and police brutality. In July 2022 Chauvin was given a further 20-year sentence for violating Floyd’s civil rights.

The Bureau of Prisons confirmed that an incarcerated person was assaulted at the Federal Correctional Institution in Tucson at about 12:30 pm local time on Friday. In a statement from the agency, responding employees were said to have performed “life-saving measures” before the inmate, who was not named, was taken to hospital. 

Nobody else is thought to have been injured and Chauvin is reported to have survived the attack. This is the second high-profile attack on a federal prisoner in the past five months, with disgraced sports physician Dr Larry Nassar having been stabbed by another inmate at a federal penitentiary in Florida in July. 

Rift in South Korea – Japan relations as court orders Japan to compensate ‘comfort women’

Emi Tanimoto

Photo by Kang Min Seok and Office of the President, licensed under BY-NC-SA 2.0 DEED via Flickr

A South Korean appellate court has reversed an earlier ruling on Thursday, and ordered Japan to compensate Korean women forced to work in Japanese brothels during the second world war. 

A group of sixteen Korean women filed a suit in 2016, seeking compensation for the sexual abuse by the Japanese military. However, the Seoul Central District Court had originally dismissed the case on the basis of sovereign immunity, which allows foreign governments to be exempt from civil lawsuits in foreign countries. This decision has now been overturned, as the court recognized the jurisdiction of South Korean courts against the Japanese government. 

A ninety-five year old activist and victim of the Japanese abuse during the war thanked the ruling from the court, and hoped to tell the victims who had already passed.

The Japanese military is estimated to have forced over 200,000 women from Korea, China, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Indonesia into prostitution and sexual abuses during the war. The Japanese government claims that the dispute had been settled in the 1965 diplomatic normalization treaty, as well as the 2015 Japan-South Korea ‘comfort women’ agreement, which Japan offered one billion yen, and a statement indicating Japan’s responsibilities and remorse. Both governments agreed that the comfort women issue will be irreversibly resolved with the agreement.

However, many South Korean victims did not accept the agreement, as the Japanese government had denied that the Japanese military had forcibly taken the women away for prostitution.

The Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida had visited the South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, for the first time in twelve years. In return, the Yoon visited Tokyo to close a chapter of historical disputes. 

The governments of both nations have worked to establish friendlier relations, but the historical disputes continue to affect the relationship. 

Richest 1% of population responsible for more emissions than poorest two-thirds combined.

Lottie Tellyn | Check out the Environment Section‘s latest Green Piece!

A report published this week by Oxfam has shown that the wealthiest 1% of humanity areresponsible for more carbon emissions than the poorest 66% of the world. 

This highlights the growing levels of climate inequality, by which the wealthiest in society are insulated against the worst of the impacts of the climate crisis whilst the poorest in society suffer the worst consequences due to vulnerability to extreme weather, financial insecurity, and often-seasonal work. 

The report calculates that the current emissions alone of this 1% will be enough to cause 1.3 million heat related deaths in the coming decades. 

In light of this, Oxfam is calling for wealth taxes to be increased and for further pushes to move to renewable energy. These would have potential to have massive impacts on the world’s ability to respond to the climate crisis.This news comes amid an updated celebrity aircraft report for 2023, which claims that just 200 celebrities’ aircrafts have flown a combined total of 11 years of in-flight time since 2022.

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