Top Stories: Week Beginning 1st April

Brexit Negotiations Still Hanging in the Balance

Who could have foreseen that Brexit would be in the news this week? On Friday, MPs were presented with the first segment of Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement. The EU extending our deadline until May 22 is contingent on May getting approval of this part of the deal from parliament. Part of the reason for dividing the deal negotiations was that John Bercow, the speaker of the house of commons (who is a strong remainer), would not allow MPs to vote on the same deal they have already declined twice, by a margin of 129 votes. However, May could not get a majority, leaving us with a mere 2 weeks until the looming April 12th deadline.  Once Theresa May threatened to resign if her cabinet approve her proposed Brexit deal, Foreign secretary and ex-mayor of London Boris Johnson publicized his support for the plan. The DUP, which has propped up the conservative cabinet ever since they failed to win a majority, is widely against the current plan, as it would effectively place a border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK by keeping Northern Ireland subject to some EU laws.

Protests in Algeria

Scores of Algerian citizens march to demand the resignation of President Bouteflika. Bouteflika had previously planned to run for a fifth term as leader despite his alarmingly few public appearances since suffering a stroke in 2013. However, he has withdrawn from the election in response to the protests. Citizens are still skeptical as to whether another President will be elected, as the opposing party is very divided, and lacks the support from powerful businessmen and military authorities that Bouteflika’s administration has. This appears to be how Bouteflika has won 20 years’ worth of elections, despite little to no campaigning action.

Bangladeshi Tower Block Ablaze

A fire broke out in a high rise building in Dhaka, the capitol of Bangladesh on Thursday. The 19-storey office block is believed to contain more people trapped on its upper floors than the 19 who have already been killed and the 70 who have been severely injured. Enamur Rahman, minister for disaster management and relief, blames inadequate safety precautions specific to that building and company, such as not enough fire drills, lack of sprinklers, and too few fire extinguishers. The building’s two exits were reportedly too small, forcing some victims to resort to jumping from windows. The safety regulations in Bangladesh are often considered subpar: over 96 people have been killed in fires since only February 2019.

$22 billion grant to combat climate change

On top of the 200 billion dollars the world bank has pledged to Africa to stave off the apocalyptic effects of global warming, the World bank has agreed to give another 200 billion between 2021 and 2025, contributing to the UN’s ‘one planet’ summit, which aims to protect African countries from the consequences of climate change. 176 conservational projects all over the continent have already gone ahead, for example introducing high quality hydropower infrastructure in Cameroon, from which the country is expected to generate 30% more energy, whilst providing jobs and abstaining from fossil fuels.