By: Nathaniel Tok, Peak Associate


Kosovo and Serbia to sign agreement

The president of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi, has announced that Kosovo will reach a “historic” agreement with Serbia that will allow Kosovo to join the United Nations (UN). Kosovo separated from Serbia in 1999 during a counter-insurgency war the elicited NATO involvement, but its independence had not been recognized by Serbia. Russia and China, Serbia’s allies, had blocked Kosovo’s entry into the UN while the European Union pushed Serbia to resolve relations with Kosovo. Many other nations, including the US and Western Europe, recognize Kosovo’s independence. Thaçi believes that the new agreement will normalize Kosovan-Serbian relations. Kosovo will celebrate the tenth anniversary of its declaration of independence on Saturday.

With files from Reuters.


Plans to find next head of the Commonwealth in motion

The Commonwealth is making plans to find its next head, the successor of the United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II. The title is not hereditary and might not be given to the prince of Wales. The plans are part of the Commonwealth undergoing investigation to review how the organization is governed, and are referred to under the code-named “wider governance considerations,” according to BBC News. The reviewing group will report to the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in April which includes the Queen. There is no formal process for choosing the next Head of the Commonwealth. In the case that the position is not conferred to her son, the Prince of Wales will be head of only 15 of the 53 nations that comprise the Commonwealth.

With files from BBC News.


Cyril Ramaphosa chosen as president of South Africa

Businessman and anti-apartheid activist Cyril Ramaphosa was chosen by South Africa’s Parliament to be the president after Jacob Zuma was ousted under pressure from his African National Congress (ANC) party. The South African stock market gained 4% after Ramaphosa’s inauguration, but the new president will have to contend with rising economic inequality, a drought in Cape Town, and unresolved corruption charges against Zuma. Ramaphosa was chosen as leader of the ANC party in December and will remain president until national elections next year where he will likely run as the ANC’s candidate. South Africa is Africa’s second largest economy.

With files from The Washington Post.


New drug appears to treat psychosis symptom of Alzheimer’s

Researchers at the University of Exeter have found that pimavanserin, an antipsychotic, is able to treat symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease such as paranoia or delusions by blocking a brain nerve receptor. Other drugs aimed at treating Alzheimer’s psychosis symptoms produce side effects which can deteriorate brain function and lead to strokes or death. In a placebo-controlled trial with 180 patients, the study found pimavanserin does not appear to produce those side effects in patients with Alzheimer’s disease psychosis. Pimavanserin is now being tested in American clinical trials for treatment of psychotic symptoms in dementia. Around 22 million people who have Alzheimer’s might show psychotic symptoms.

With files from Sky News.