Sunday, 4 March 2018

THE NEWS EDIT [26/02/2018-04/03/2018]



It's been really disappointing to discover that the truce agreement of a daily pause of fighting in the Eastern Ghouta region of Syria has ultimately failed. The five-hour daily pause was meant to allow vital aid supplies to enter the region and for civilians caught up in the rebel held stronghold to leave using humanitarian assistance to get them peacefully out of the region. But sadly, the truce was broken by violent strikes and bombing.  It makes me despair at the hopeless situation for all of the innocent civilians caught up in the chaos. Now the situation has been labelled as ''beyond critical'', with UN aid convoys unable to reach the enclave and 390,000 civilians paying the ultimate price. 

Worringly, a leaked UN report has stated that North Korea has been sending equipment to Syria which could be used to make chemical weapons. I am horrified by the news that the day after the report was leaked, chlorine attacks were reported. The thought of North Korea 'coaching' the various political parties, factions and players involved in the conflict is on a different level entirely.  New layers of the conflict are constantly emerging, with Russia now being accused of violating its commitments as the gurantor of the destruction of all of Syria's chemical weapons and Asaad's use of them. 

In the UK at the Chequers, May's cabinet appeared to make its mind up about want it wants from the final Brexit deal, only for this to be refused by the EU itself. The 'Three Baskets' model suggests that the UK would be in alignment with the EU in some sectors, while striving to find different ways to achieve the same outcomes, before eventually diverging from the EU in a new 'third' category. I'm honestly not surprised by the European Council's decision. On Saturday, May was reported to have urged the EU to buy her ''ambitious but practical'' vision for the UK's economic realities once more following its departure date. May is seriously deluded if she thinks that this ludicrous 'have your cake and eat in' mentality will materialise in our favour.

I think Labour's recent revelations could represent a significant policy shift and a softer Brexit deal, if Labour sides with the opposition  towards Theresa May's Brexit plans, within the Tory cabinet. Corbyn revealed that Labour wants a new UK-EU customs union, which has starkly divided the Labour agenda from that of the Conservatives who want to leave it entirely. He went on to explain that this would therefore stop the UK from having to sign its own trade deals but the UK-EU would still collaborate on EU negotiations with third countries. In addition, he outlined that Labour's new vision is the UK's strong relationship with the single market without such divisive immigration targets. I think it's an important development to take note of but there's certainly no guarantee that the EU would even accept it. It's highly likely that the EU would reject the proposal of a new customs union allowing the UK to still have a say in EU led deals.

Today, Italy will choose a new parliament. Like most of Europe, right-wing populism and extremism has spread in the wake of the migrant crisis. Italy is particularly affected by influxes of migrants travelling to its shores, off the island of Lampedusa. It's likely that the centre right coalition, between former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Mattero Salvini, head of the right- wing Eurosceptic Lega, will emerge as the overall winner. Mr Berlusconi's strong links to Vladimir Putin are definitely cause for concern as well as the impacts of right-wing euroesceptic discourses on immigration policies and the potential tightening up of Italy's borders to migrant populations.

Megan Markle is such a welcome breath of fresh air in the Royal Family. I love how she not only embodies a strong modern day feminist but she completely embraces that title, openly expressing her commitment to  female empowerment. This week, she made an appearance alongside her fiance Harry, Will and Kate, to discuss their plans for the future of The Royal Foundation and its' charitable focuses. 
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