World News Beat

Bite-sized news from around the world

By: Benjamin Mussett and Bernice Puzon

Israel – Trump makes comments on Israeli-Palestinian conflict

President Trump broke with long-standing United States (US) policy after saying he was open to either a one-state or a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Trump’s disclosure represented a significant deviation from previous American policy which officially supported the creation of a Palestinian state. “I’m looking at two-state and one-state and I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one that both parties like,” the president said. The comments were made at a joint press conference with Israel’s president during his visit to Washington. Critics of the one-state solution argue that it is unfeasible if Israel wishes to remain both Jewish and democratic as Arab citizens will eventually outnumber their Jewish countrymen.

With files from The Guardian.

Japan – Know before you go: Japanese app will make using public washrooms easier

Tired of waiting in line for a bathroom stall? Major Japanese telecommunications company KDDI Corporation will soon release a new app that will allow its users to know how many cubicles are occupied. The app will provide this information through sensors that will activate once the doors of the stalls are closed. KDDI is planning to launch this service at office buildings first. They will then introduce the service to facilities such as stadiums, train stations, and shopping malls.

With files from The Japan Times

Ecuador – Ecuador presidential elections

Ecuador went to the polls this week to elect a new president and general assembly. Although observers suggested that the country’s government may shift to the right after a decade of socialist rule, the ruling party’s presidential candidate, Lenín Moreno, appeared close to victory. Nonetheless, Moreno was unable to reach the minimum 40% threshold needed to avoid a run-off election with his nearest competitor, Guillermo Lasso of the centre-right Creating Opportunities party. Moreno received 39.4% of votes while Lasso came in second with 28.1%. The run-off election is scheduled for April 2.  South America’s once-hopeful leftist movement now sits in jeopardy.  

With files from Reuters and The New York Times.

Australia – Health minister fast tracks imports of medical marijuana

Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt has given the green light to international providers of medicinal cannabis. These retailers will provide an interim supply of the substance until domestic production is able to meet Australia’s needs. Hunt said that within eight weeks, and possibly sooner, Australia would have a store of imported cannabis, which would allow for better access to medical marijuana products.

With files from The Guardian

Saudi Arabia – Moving towards greener energy and diversifying its economy

Saudi Arabia, long the world’s greatest exporter of oil, has chosen to diversify its economy by embracing renewable energy. As it stands, the kingdom plans to allocate between $30 billion and $50 billion for solar and wind power investment in an effort to generate nearly 10 gigawatts of sustainable energy by 2023. According to Bloomberg News, Saudi Arabia’s recent move towards greener energy is part of a larger trend amongst Middle Eastern oil-producing states hoping to “either curb their fuel imports or conserve more valuable oil that could otherwise be exported.”

With files from Bloomberg News

Philippines – Cargo ship attack results in one dead and six taken hostage

A Vietnamese cargo ship was attacked by armed pirates as it was sailing off the Philippines’ southernmost province of Tawi-Tawi. The vessel had been transporting 4,500 tons of cement from Indonesia to the Philippines. The gunmen killed a Vietnamese crewman and took six others captive, one of whom was the captain of the ship. While pursuit teams have been dispatched, the current location of the gunmen and their hostages is unknown. The Abu Sayyaf, a Muslim extremist group, was suspected to be behind previous attacks at sea in the area.

With files from The Philippine Star

North Korea – China temporarily banned the import of North Korean coal

Following North Korea’s recent missile test and the suspicious death of Kim Jong-un’s estranged half-brother, China has temporarily banned the import of North Korean coal. The Chinese ban will stay in place until the end of the year at minimum and will undoubtedly hurt the country’s already fragile economy. According to the BBC, coal is North Korea’s greatest export and China, its only ally and primary foreign coal market. In recent years, China has displayed increasing irritation with North Korea’s erratic behaviour. This week’s sanctions suggest that China will continue to struggle with their eastern neighbours.

With files from BBC News.

USA – Trump administration deportation laws get stricter

Undocumented immigrants in the US can now be arrested for infractions such as traffic violations or shoplifting. These measures were taken in order to speed up the removal process of these immigrants according to current US immigration laws. According to Trump administration memos, this will “‘prioritize’ the deportation of almost all undocumented immigrants, everywhere.”

With files from BBC News