Dhaka Courier

A tense, stuttering, at times even awkward Summit of the G7

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A tense, stuttering, at times even awkward Summit of the G7- the group of rich, mostly Western powers plus Japan - concluded on a note of relative harmony in the French resort town of Biarritz. US President Donald Trump’s abrasive presence throughout the Summit gave the impression that things could blow up at any moment, but by the time he left Trump was sounding notes of cautious optimism on not only working to end the trade war he initiated between the US and China, but also on the way forward to easing the tensions stoked by his administration's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.

A breakthrough on Iran in particular would owe much to the sheer diplomatic bravura of French President Emmanuel Macron, revelling in his role as host of this year’s Summit to lead a number of initiatives, including the pressure campaign that eventually forced the Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro to get serious about fighting the massive spike in forest fires this year that have burnt down vast tracts of the Amazon rainforest. The audacious invitation that had Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, arriving at Biarritz on the morning of the Summit officially getting underway, may yet turn out to be a masterstroke.All in all, Macron’s efforts earned him a ‘Bien joué’ from the new British prime minister, Boris Johnson (French for “well-played”). Quite right.

 

Hong Kong police defended pulling out their guns and firing a warning shot during anti-government protests over a 12th weekend of protests, and lawmakers on each side of the city’s political divide said the other side bears responsibility for the violence.  Assistant Police Commissioner Mak Chin-ho said one officer fired into the air and six held up their revolvers after protesters charged them repeatedly with metal poles, long sticks and road signs.

“Their use of force was indeed necessary and reasonable,” he told a news conference at police headquarters. Pro-democracy members of the Legislative Council countered that the government and the police need to take responsibility, the former for introducing the extradition legislation that sparked the protests and the latter for what they say is selective enforcement of the law targeting government opponents.

 

A vast "raft" of volcanic rocks stretching over 150 sq km (58 sq miles) is drifting through the Pacific Ocean, scientists say. The sea of pumice - the size of 20,000 football fields - was first reported by Australian sailors earlier this month. Experts say the mass likely came from an underwater volcano near Tonga which erupted around August 7 according to satellite images. Sailors have been warned to stay clear of the potential hazard.

Pumice is a lightweight, bubble-rich rock that can float in water. It is produced when lava goes through rapid cooling and loss of gases. Large "rafts" of the volcanic rock are more likely to form when a volcano is located in more shallow waters, say experts.

 

Indonesia’s capital will move from overcrowded, sinking and polluted Jakarta to a site in sparsely populated East Kalimantan province on Borneo island, known for rainforests and orangutans. President Joko Widodo said intense studies over the past three years had resulted in the choice of the location on the eastern side of Borneo island.

The new capital city, which has not yet been named, will be in the middle of the vast archipelago nation and already has relatively complete infrastructure because it is near the cities of Balikpapan and Samarinda, Widodo said.He said the burden has become too heavy on Jakarta on Java island as the center of government, finance, business, trade and services as well as the location of the country’s largest airport and seaport.

  • DhakaCourier
  • Issue 8
  • World this week
  • Vol 36

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