WORLD

Venezuela: is the Cold War back?

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In recent weeks, Venezuela has been going through an unprecedented crisis. The whole world  comments on the situation and take positions. Two clans have been formed: those who support Nicolas Maduro and those who support the opposition embodied by Juan Guaido. 

Venezuela tensions
Tensions in Venezuela divide countries
Source: Creative Commons

Juan Guaido, the president of the Venezuela’s parliament, is self-entitled acting president. In his view Nicolas Maduro, the current president, is responsible for the disastrous economic situation from which the country has been suffering for decades. In addition, the last elections that put  Maduro in power was considered by the international community as suspicious and with malfunctions. There are many tensions because Maduro retains the authority mainly thanks to the support of the army. 

All the countries take position about the Venezuela crisis. The country most opposed to Maduro is the United States of America. Donald Trump actively supported Juan Guaido and he congratulated those who go to the street to demonstrate their dissatisfaction. France, Europe, Brazil … some 40 countries are asking for the end of Maduro’s government.

Those who support Maduro

Some countries still support Maduro. For example, in Latin America, Cuba and Bolivia are the two great supporters of Nicolas Maduro. These are political affinities between left wing regimes to stand up to common enemy: Washington and the American imperialism. The two economic giants Russia and China support Maduro for the economic reasons. Indeed, China and Russia are the two first creditors of Venezuela. The country must pay for their debt with its oil.

None of the two presidents is ready to give up. The opposition does not exclude an American military operation to exit the crisis.

Lucas LAURIN, IEJ2C

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Islamic State is being liquidated in the Middle Est

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At Baghuz, nearly 500 Islamic State’s fighters are under fire of the Arab-Kurdish coalition. Since Saturday, the assault has been launched against the last confined Jihadists in a “final battle”.

Daesh fighters
Source: Creative Commons

Islamic State’s territory should be liquidated in a few days. The Arab-Kurdish coalition of the SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces) supported by the Westerners launched the final offensive against the last Isis forces, grouped in the Baghuz village, at the Syrian-Kurdish border. The US president, Donald Trump, predicted on Wednesday that Isis will have lost all of its territory by next week. And the SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali declared “The decisive battle began tonight to finish what remains of Daesh terrorists”. But he did not say how long they expect the battle to last.
Islamic State territory now accounts for less than 1% of the caliphate, self-proclaimed in 2014. U.S. officials have said in recent weeks that Isis has lost 99.5% of its territory. The last 500 jihadist fighters are localized in a very small village of about 4 squares kilometers. The fighting was intense this weekend, with American air support. Some 37 000 people have fled the area since December, mainly from Isis families, but also about 3 400 jihadists who have surrendered.

The terrorist threat persists

Even if the Isis organization used to plan attacks from its Syrian base, the Islamic State liquidation is not the end of the terrorist threat. Indeed, in Western, Africa or Asia, the organization retains an ideological mobilization capacity. It is estimated it has relays and sleeping cells in about thirty countries. The US military has warned the group could stage a comeback if the military and counter terrorism pressure on it is eased.
The SDF require Western countries to recover their nationals, which is controversial for some people, who fear that they will be quickly released. Nearly 150 prisoners should be brought back soon by plane, in  a combined Franco-American operation.

Lucas Bennoui, IEJ2C

Donald Trump declares he is against late-term abortion

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Donald Trump criticized last week the late-term interruptions of pregnancy. His goal is to rally support beyond his most conservative base before the 2020 elections.

Donald Trump abortion
Donald Trump anti-abortion in third semester
Source: Creative Commons

Trump wants to deliver a new battle: the one over abortion. The President of the United States plans to attack late-term interruptions of pregnancy. In his speech of last Tuesday evening, Donald Trump attacked a law that has been recently adopted by the state of New York. He declared that this law “will pull a baby from the womb of his mother just before birth”. He added that he wants to “defend the dignity of each person”.

Despite their rarity, late interruptions of pregnancy give rise to strong reprobation. According to a Gallup poll, 60% of Americans believe that abortion must be legal in the first trimester of pregnancy, but the proportion drops to 28% in the second quarter and 13% in the third.

Donald Trump apparently chose the perfect time before next elections to address this subject. Even if the Supreme Court legalized abortion in 1973 and 57% of Americans are in favor of abortion, this subject divides a lot. Jo-Renee Formicola, a politic-sciences teacher explains that Donald Trump already has a lot of support among Evangelicals and Catholics. 59% of Republicans consider that abortion should be illegal and 76% of Democrats think the opposite.

Abortion might be the topic that divides the United States the most.

Pauline Knaff, IEJ2C

 

Blackface: Those brands who all make the same mistake

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Gucci polemic of blackface
Gucci is in a controversy about a blackface sweater. Source: Creative Commons

Gucci, Moncler, Prada… and the list is much longer in reality. All of them did the same thing. At first side the definition of a blackface is: make-up used by a non-black performer playing a black role. But when it comes to brands, there are some spin-offs.

The source of the most recent controversy is a black turtleneck, that covers the face up to the eyes of the model in the catalog with a red cut-out around the mouth.
The item was named “balaclava jumper” and the cost was about $890. The item has been removed of the collection as soon as it became a controversial subject.

What is the history of blackface?

Blackface started in the slavery area. It was a way to make fun of or caricature the negroid features. It has a history of racism and stereotypes.

Gucci apologized and decided to remain positive by turning this event “into a powerful learning moment for the Gucci team”. They also explained that it would be removed from sale and said it wasn’t made to offend anyone.

A mistake that reappers often

Gucci isn’t the first luxury fashion brand that has used a blackface. Moncler, Prada.. The list of luxury brands is long, not to mention the low cost brands that have showcased different types of racism.

Moncler polemic blackface
Moncler like Gucci is in a controversy about a blackface sweater.

Other types of blackface

Recently a Ralph Northam, Democrat governor of Virginia was accused of appearing in a picture from 1984 with his face blackened.

Diariatou Ahouandjinou, IEJ2C

Germany: Paintings belonging to Adolf Hitler auctioned

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Hitler armchair auction
Auction of furniture owned by Hitler. Source: Creative Commons

Five pictures said to have been painted by Nazi leader Adolf Hitler have failed to sell at auction in Germany. Starting prices ranged from €19,000 to €45,000.

It is a controversial auction because of the identity of the works’ alleged author and the doubts raised about their authenticity.
Attributed to Adolf Hitler, leader of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945, the paintings were put on sale this Saturday in Germany. The five tables represent bucolic landscapes.

They were on sale at the Weidler House in Nuremberg. Ulrich Maly, mayor of the city which was a high-ranking city of the regime, denounced in the newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung an event of «bad taste».

In addition to the five paintings, the sale offered a wicker chair, a Meissen porcelain vase representing the anchor of the German navy, and a tablecloth.

Doubts about the authenticity of the paintings

All the pieces were seized because of doubts about their authenticity despite the signatures “A. H.” or “A. Hitler”. The sales house, which explains that the objects come from 23 owners, denies any irregularity and ensures cooperation with the authorities. The prosecutor in charge of the file explains that some pieces of art were accompanied by certificates of authenticity but that they could also have been altered.

Hitler’s paintings remain difficult to authentify due to lack of accurate catalogues and the mediocrity of the works of the one who failed to enter the Vienna Academy of Arts. As for the graphological study of the signature, it remains an insufficient method.

 

Leïla Lopes, IEJ2C

40th birthday of Islamic republic of Iran !

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Source: Reuters


Forty years ago, after several months of massive protests against social injustice and corruption in Iran, the authoritarian regime of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, abandoned by his American ally, falls to the benefit of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, returned triumphantly, after 15 years of exile, on February 1st 1979, on board an Air France flight from Paris. February 11th marks the anniversary of the Iranian revolution, which initially brought together students, communists, laypeople, liberals, merchants from the Grand Bazaar of Tehran and Shiite clerics in the streets. But it is the latter who finally seized power. On April 1st, the Islamic Republic is proclaimed by Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini. Exclusively from the ranks of the Shiite clergy, in the name of the principle of “velayat-e faqih” which gives religion the primacy over political power, the Supreme Leader must be “fair, virtuous and at the same time, courageous, manager and clever”. He is the religious reference and guide of the people of Islam, according to the terms of the Iranian Constitution. Forty years after the revolution, the Islamic Republic is still in place, but inside the country there are tensions. Since late 2017, protests against the living cost and financial corruption have multiplied.

Maxime Forgac, IEJ 2C Group 2




 

Theresa May wants more time to renegociate

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Theresa May needs more time to renegociate.

The UK government will try to get a deadline from deputies to negotiate a new Brexit agreement in Brussels.

Prime Minister Theresa May will propose to UK deputies  an additional period of time to negotiate a revamped Brexit agreement with Brussels. The Secretary of State for Housing, James Brokenshire, announced it yesterday.

The Irish question

The Conservative leader is now trying to get concessions from Brussels that will gain the support of parliamentarians. But there are still discussions about the Irish backstop. While the House of Commons will be looking at the strategy on Thursday, James Brokenshire said on the BBC that the government intends to propose to Parliament to re-debate the options for Brexit by the end of February, if no revamped agreement is found by then. This way, the executive can keep control of the process.

Denounced operation

The initial timetable proposed by the government was that if there is no agreement between now and Wednesday, deputies will vote on Thursday on what to do with Brexit. The Labour Party, the main opposition party in the United Kingdom, immediately denounced a move to stall deputies to make a “binary” choice between Theresa May’s Brexit agreement and a no deal, a scenario feared by economists. Theresa May “claims that she is making progress, when in reality she is playing the watch,” said Keir Starmer, the Brexit manager at Labour, in The Sunday Times. “Next week, Parliament must say enough and take control of what is happening,” he added.

Maxime Izac 2C group 1