Week ending 8 July 2018

SPAIN – Spain has become the new main entry point for asylum-seekers fleeing Africa, reports Reuters. Around 19,000 asylum-seekers arrived in Spain in the first five months of this year, almost as many as arrived there in all of 2017, eclipsing for the first time the numbers flowing through north Africa to Italy.

SYRIA – A car bombing in eastern Syria on Friday killed at least 18 people. 11 military personnel, as well as seven civilians, including three children, were killed.

CHINA – “The United States violated the WTO rules and launched the largest trade war in economic history to date,” China’s commerce ministry said in a statement. “This type of tariff levying is typical trade bullying, and seriously jeopardizes the security of the global industrial chain and value chain, hindering the pace of global economic recovery and triggering global market turmoil,” the statement said.

A list of Chinese products will be hit with a 25% tariff from Friday – effectively making them 25% more expensive for US consumers. In retaliation to the US moves, China has hit various US sectors, including agriculture, with tariffs.

CONGO – Horrific atrocities including mass rape and cannibalism are taking place in the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to a new UN report.

Violence between government forces and rebel groups in the DRC increased tremendously in 2016 and 2017 and is a major moral and humanitarian challenge comparable to the wars in Syria and Yemen. It was estimated in March 2018 that two million children risk starvation.

TURKEY – Turkey issued a decree Wednesday that abolishes the office of Prime Minister within the country and gives the President powers over the government, including being able to form and regulate ministries and remove civil servants, without seeking approval from parliament, according to Reuters.

ARGENTINA – A Brazilian mother is accusing Pope Francis of directly covering up the sex abuse of her son by a pedophile priest 16 years ago when the pope, then known as Jorge Bergoglio, was the archbishop of Buenos Aires, WND reports.

The case has been reported in foreign media, and, in at least one instance, pulled after publication. Journalist Atila Sinke Guimarães backs up the story, charging a media cover-up is still underway, “probably due to pressure from the Vatican.”

MEXICO – Two Mexican political party members were shot dead Sunday as the country held elections, capping a blood-stained campaign season that saw 145 politicians killed, reported AFP.

CANADA – A Christian bus driver in Toronto has been charged with a “hate crime” for distributing pamphlets saying homosexuality can lead to diseases and that Jesus can save gay people if they repent.

Bill Whatcott “distributed anti-gay material which promoted hatred toward the gay community,” Toronto Police Service said in a statement, adding that he was arrested in Calgary and later returned to Toronto.