By: Nathaniel Tok, Peak Associate 


Canada and 10 Pacific Rim countries sign trade pact

Trade ministers from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam signed a free trade deal to improve trade and remove tariffs. After the US withdrew from the trade pact, the remaining nations managed to drop key aspects wanted by the US, such as protection of intellectual property, and renegotiated the deal as the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership. As one of the world’s biggest economies, the US was originally one of the largest supporters of the trade deal before its withdrawal.

With files from CTV News.


Lack of aid for Papua New Guinea earthquake leaves victims angry

Papua New Guineans are angry at the slow delivery of aid 10 days after the region experienced a 7.5 magnitude earthquake. Although the Australian and New Zealand government have dispatched aircraft, funds, and personnel to help, many aid and government workers in area have been threatened by victims due to the lack of information and aid. The provinces of Hela, Southern Highlands, Western, and Enga are in states of emergency as Care Australia estimates that 500,000 people have been affected by the earthquake, and over 100 have been killed. Aftershocks are continuing to destroy homes, leaving villagers afraid to go out to find food and replant crops.

With files from The Guardian.


McDonald’s turns its sign upside down for International Women’s Day, sentiment backfires

McDonald’s franchises in the US flipped their iconic ‘M’ sign for the first time for International Women’s Day. The flipped ‘M’ — now effectively a ‘W’ — was meant to acknowledge “the extraordinary accomplishments of women everywhere and especially in our restaurants” according to a McDonald’s spokeswoman. About 100 locations in the US were thought to have participated, flipping their own store signs, as well as the logos on food packaging and staff uniforms. The sentiment backfired over social media, as users retaliated to the symbolic action under the hashtag #McFeminism. The restaurant was criticized over social media channels for substituting symbolic gestures instead of significant actions to promote social causes such as higher wages, better working conditions, and better responses to the sexual assault allegations the company faced in 2016.

With files from Reuters and Global News.


Microsoft co-founder helps find World War II aircraft carrier

An expedition funded by Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, has found the wreckage of the US World War II aircraft carrier USS Lexington more than 800 km off the eastern Australian coast. Allen has funded other expeditions which found other US, Italian, and Japanese naval ships. Allen provides aid to such expeditions in part because his father had served in World War II. The USS Lexington was sunk during the Battle of the Coral Sea on May 8, 1942 during which Japanese advance in the region was halted.

With files from AP News.