Global News Synopsis (Week 20, 13-19th May 2018)steemCreated with Sketch.

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Steemians - My report out on the events of significance that happened this week.


  • Israeli troops shot dead 61 Palestinian protesters and injured 2700 on the Gaza border on May 14th when the high-profile opening of the U.S. embassy to Israel in Jerusalem by the Trump administration raised tension to boiling point after weeks of demonstrations. Israel was celebrating its 70th Independence Day on Monday when the massacre happened. However, among Palestinians - many of whom are descendants of the Arabs who were forced off their land by the Israelis - the anniversary is known as the Nakba, or "catastrophe",and a catastrophe indeed it turned out to be!

  • The United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) issued a rebuke to Israel on 5/18, voting through a resolution calling on the council to "urgently dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry... to investigate all alleged violations and abuses... in the context of the military assaults on large scale civilian protests that began on 30 March 2018," while the UN human rights chief slammed Israel's "wholly disproportionate response." Israel said it would not be co-operating with the investigation!

  • In another surprising development, North Korea cancelled a high level talk with South Korea on 16th May and threatened to pull out of the peace summit with USA on 12th June, over US military drills with South Korea. The drill involving U.S. B-52 bombers and South Korean planes was scrapped later by US, keeping hopes of the June 12th summit alive.

  • The European Union is planning to switch payments to the euro for its oil purchases from Iran, eliminating US dollar transactions, to circumvent US sanctions on buying Iranian oil after US unilaterally exited the multilateral JCPOA (Iran Deal) last week. Switching to alternative settlement currencies allows both sides (EU & Iran) to continue trading despite US sanctions.

  • Speculation Alert - The apparent disappearance of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman from the public eye has led several Iranian media outlets to wonder if one of the most powerful men in the kingdom might’ve been killed during an attempted coup last month. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was allegedly hit by two bullets during the April 21 attack on the royal palace in Riyadh and may actually be dead as he has not appeared in public since the incident, Kayhan newspaper reports citing "a secret service report sent to the senior officials of an unnamed Arab state. Interesting to see if Erik Prince and his mercenary army service Blackwater (Academi) was able to ascertain MBS safety since the corruption purge that saw many high profile princes being locked up and tortured in Ritz Carlton was actually carried out with help of Academi.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled the auto section of a $3.6 billion road-and-rail bridge over the Kersch Strait linking Russia to the Crimean peninsula - much to the consternation of Ukrainian officials who said the bridge showed "disregard for international law." On the same day as the bridge opening ceremony, the Washington Examiner published an opinion piece that called on Ukraine to use air strikes and "destroy elements of the bridge." "Because of its significant length, the Ukrainian air force could strike the bridge while mitigating the risk of casualties by those traversing it," wrote columnist Tom Rogan.


  • Billionaire investor George Soros has invested in electric car maker Tesla at a time when the company is facing stock sell-off amid severe production and legal problems. Soros Fund Management invested $35 million in the convertible bonds of Tesla, which are due in March 2019. This investment comes at a time when Tesla stocks have been heavily shorted, with sales figures not being realized quarterly and exodus of top level executives from the company continuing.

  • Goldman-backed startup to launch dollar-based token. In the crypto world, these are known as “stablecoins” as they are backed by actual central bank currency reserves – known as fiat currencies – to supposedly overcome the volatility and wild fluctuations that have hampered the digital asset industry.

  • Thailand introduces new Crypto law to regulate digital asset transactions that brings the threat of jail to traders who do not register with the Securities Exchange Commission.

  • In a sweeping critique of global finance released by the Vatican on Thursday, the Holy See singled out derivatives including credit-default swaps for particular scorn. “A ticking time bomb,” the Vatican called them. The unusual rebuke -- derivatives rarely reach the level of religious doctrine -- is in keeping with the Pope’s skeptical view of global capitalism gone berserk.

  • Alibaba is planning to conduct a full acquisition of Daraz, an e-commerce company established in Pakistan, boldly extending its e-commerce portfolio in South Asia. This comes at a time when Walmart acquired Flipkart, India's leading e-commerce company.

  • Around a dozen Google employees have quit and close to 4,000 have signed a petition over the company's involvement in a controversial military pilot program known as "Project Maven," which will use artificial intelligence to speed up analysis of drone footage. The resigned employees cited a range of frustrations, from ethical concerns over the use of AI in a battlefield setting, to larger concerns over Google's overall political decisions.

Miscellaneous/Of Note

  • Another school shooting at Santa Fe High School, Texas resulting in 10 dead and dozens injured. The shooter, 17-year-old Dimitrious Pagourtzis, used a sawed-off shotgun and a .38 revolver in the attack. Both weapons belonged to his father. This is the 20th School shooting incident in US in 2018.

  • In an unprecedented move in the modern history of the Catholic church every bishop in Chile has offered his resignation to Pope Francis, in a case involving sex abuse scandal. Pope Francis called the country's bishops to Rome after he received a 2,300-page report detailing sexual abuses by priests in Chile. At the centre of the scandal is the Bishop of Osorno, Juan Barros, whom Francis appointed in 2015 amid an outcry that Barros had known about and covered up abuses.The Pope had stridently defended Bishop Barros, calling accusations against him "calumny", and later in April did a volte-face and said he had made "grave errors in judgment", and apologised to Chile's sex abuse victims.

  • While there has been no official government explanation to the MH370 flight mystery that dominated the news for months after it occurred, experts on Australia’s 60 Minutes have put together a most probable case scenario and surprisingly experts agree that flight MH370 may have come down as an intentional act of mass suicide. "The plane's 2014 disappearance and apparent crash were a suicide by the 53-year-old [pilot] Zaharie — and a premeditated act of mass murder" said a WaPo report.

Cartoon of the week :

Source : PPF_Palestine (Twitter)

My Pick of the week : Reading

Gaza and Palestine 101

My Pick of the week : Video

The Political Alchemy of the Levant

My Pick of the week : Interview

Syrian President Assad's exclusive interview with Greek newspaper Kathimerini

Reference Links



Miscellaneous/ Of Note


Good synopsis man! I learned a few events for sure. Keep it up!

Thanks. I’ll flip you the link to this weekly report out moving forward.

@tftproject @herrleeb - I am starting a weekly synopsis on Global news of significance, trying to keep it a mixed bag as opposed to any one category. Requesting feedback if you get a chance. Thanks in advance.