World News Beat

Bite-sized news from around the world

SYRIA – Truck bomb in rebel-held Syrian city

An explosion occurred around 11:40 a.m. on January 7 in the rebel-held city of Azaz in northern Syria, killing 50 and injuring 80. The truck bomb exploded near a courthouse and a grocery shop, even though a nationwide ceasefire had begun via efforts from Russia and Turkey. The Free Syrian Army is being blamed by locals for failing to protect them, despite having set up many checkpoints in the area. On December 30, 2016, the Syrian National Army and Syria’s National Negotiations Committee alleged that the truce had been violated more than 30 times within 24 hours of it coming into effect.

With files from CNN

NORTH KOREA – North Korea threatens to fire nuclear missile

North Korea stated that it is capable of launching an intercontinental ballistic missile “at any time.” On the Korean Peninsula, since December 2016, high tension has been felt across the country, when Kim Jong Un said in his new year’s message that North Korea was “close to testing an intercontinental ballistic missile” that had a range which could cover mainland USA. The North Korean Foreign Ministry positioned the blame for the development of its missile program solely on the USA. Both China and South Korea have denounced the test and warned of further sanctions.

With files from CNN

VENEZUELA – Venezuela hikes up its minimum wage by 50%

Venezuela’s minimum wage was increased by 50% on January 8 by President Nicolás Maduro. This is the fifth increase in minimum wage the country has witnessed within the span of a year. This comes after Venezuela saw an acute food shortage for the first half of 2016, and the situation has not yet normalized completely. Inflation in Venezuela is expected to go beyond the current 1,660% and may end up nearing 2,880% by next year, as forecasted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Meanwhile, President Maduro has stated that the situation is a result of “an economic war” waged by his detractors, according to AVN.

With files from CNN Money

CHINA – China’s Mars Ambitions

China’s space agency, in a press conference held on January 3, outlined the Chinese government’s goals for exploring deep space. The deputy chief of the National Space Administration, Wu Yanhua said that they hope to launch their first Mars probe around 2020 to carry out “orbiting and roving exploration.” He also announced a second mission that would focus on collecting ‘surface samples’ from Mars. Yanhua also mentioned plans of sending space probes to Jupiter and its moons. Yanhua added that “our overall goal is that, by around 2030, China will be among the major space powers of the world”.

With files from CNN