By: Nathaniel Tok, Peak Associate


Tunisian boat sinks, killing scores of people

Over 48 people drowned as their boat sunk near Eastern Tunisia, with roughly 70 others being rescued by the coastguard. The boat was carrying around 180 people hailing from Tunisia and other African countries. Tunisian sea routes are becoming increasingly popular as a new route for migrants going toward Europe, and as a path to Sicily often taken by Africans and Tunisians in improvised boats. Around 660 people have died this year trying to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe. Earlier this week, nine refugees died in a separate incident off the coast of the Turkish province Antalya.

With files from BBC News, Sky News, and Al Jazeera.


Macedonians protest over changes to country’s name

Thousands of Macedonians protested the call to change Macedonia’s name to something other than the “Republic of Macedonia.” Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev has been in negotiations with Greece over the dispute of the country’s name as Greece has a province named Macedonia as well. This issue has prevented Macedonia from joining the European Union or NATO, as Greece has veto votes to both. To join the United Nations in 1993 with Greece’s approval, Macedonia officially called itself “The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.” However, many countries continued to recognize “Macedonia” as the official name, thus leaving the issue unresolved. Many protesters were also angered at the poor economic situation that the country is facing and called for an early election.

With files from Reuters and SBS News.  


American military command changes name

The American military has changed the name of its Pacific Command to the US Indo-Pacific Command, highlighting India’s importance to the Department of Defence. The announcement was made by the US Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis during a ceremony where the leadership of the command was changed. Previous agreements between the US and India hint that the country may be trying to develop stronger defence ties with India and to enter India’s defence industry in an attempt to counter China’s growing defense presence. The US is India’s second biggest supplier of military armaments. The Indo-Pacific Command runs US military activity in the Pacific region and has around 375,000 personnel working for it.

With files from Reuters.


Heatwave hits Southern Pakistan

The Pakistan Meteorological Department announced a new heatwave alert for Karachi, Pakistan, with temperatures expected to hit up to 44 degrees Celsius. Karachi’s government has told its citizens to stay indoors and take caution when performing outdoor activities. Medical services have also advised citizens to be careful during the heatwave, consuming plenty of water and avoiding exposure to direct sunlight. The heatwave arrives during the month of Ramadan, when Muslims will fast during the daytime. In 2015, a heatwave killed over 1200 people in Pakistan.

With files from Xinhua News.