Illustration by Ben Beechener

Each week The Blue’s Global Affairs Team brings you five summaries of key events from the week just past. They are short and snappy summaries of what are inevitably nuanced and complex events and we hope you use them as a springboard to explore global current affairs in more depth.

Russia, Ukraine, and the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline 

The geopolitical stalemate between Russia, Ukraine, and NATO powers continues. This week the US and Germany threatened to abandon usage of Nord Stream 2, a gas pipeline running from Russia to Germany operation of which is yet to begin. Western media critics have launched heavy criticism against the German government for its allegedly laissez-faire response to Russian aggression against Ukraine. Germany’s reluctance to condemn Russia is thought to stem from energy insecurity and over-reliance on Russian gas. The US hopes that threats to abandon the pipeline may act as a significant deterrent against a Russian invasion of Ukraine. However, critics fear the move may prove to be incendiary, further provoking Putin to launch incursions into the East of the country.  

Holocaust Memorial Day 2022 

Thursday the 27th of January marked the annual Holocaust Memorial Day, commemorating the victims of the Holocaust. The Holocaust, translated from the Greek words holos (whole) and kaustos (burning) was the systematic killing of Jewish populations during World War Two. Other groups, including Roma people, people with disabilities, and gay communities were also targeted. Every year, the day provides the international community with a sobering reminder of the dangers of rhetoric, dogma, hatred and prejudice. Holocaust Memorial Day also commemorates more recent genocides that have taken place in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur and acts as a time to refresh our focus on the human rights abuses of today. The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust has called on the world to challenge the discrimination taking place in Xinjiang and Myanmar. 

Erdogan threatens Turkish media 

On Saturday 29th of January, President Erdogan warned Turkish media outlets that he will pursue legal action against organisations producing content that may damage the reputation or moral values of the country. During Erdogan’s 20-year presidency, the Turkish government has increased its control over the media, with 90% of major media now owned by the state or linked to the government. Legal action is already regularly pursued against journalists in Turkey, and over 120 individuals working in media are currently imprisoned in the country. Most recently, journalist Sedef Kabas was arrested on the 22nd of January for insulting President Erdogan over twitter and television. 

India-Israel spyware deal  

A report from the New York Times, released on Friday the 28th January 2022, revealed that Indian Prime minister Modi obtained a series of sophisticated Pegasus spyware as part of a $2 billion deal made between Israel and India in 2017. A series of politicians have accused Modi’s government of using this spyware on the opposition, as well on journalists, business leaders and members of the public, with the Indian National Congress party accusing Modi of “treason”. Modi’s government was previously accused of signing a contract with NSO Group Technologies, the vendor of Pegasus spyware, in July 2021. The Indian government denied any such transaction. Petitions were submitted at the time to the Indian Supreme Court to investigate the matter further. 

Eastern US faces strong blizzards 

The East Coast of the United States was hit by a powerful winter storm on Saturday the 29th of January, leading to the cancellation of almost 5000 flights over the weekend. The event has been described by meteorologists as a “bomb cyclone”, with snow-depth reaching 75cm in Massachusetts. Ten states have been affected by the storm and many have been left without electricity. People in severely affected areas have been told to stay home and travel only in cases of emergency.