International Round-Up in 2 Minutes

Middle East: The Saudi Arabian government has declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization. The decree reflects Saudi support for the new military-backed government in Cairo as well as the increasing polarization over the Brotherhood since Mohamed Morsi was deposed. Over the weekend, in the city of Hilla in southern Iraq, a suicide bomber killed at least 45 and wounded more than 100. Bombs and other attacks have killed more than 8,000 Iraqis in the past year. On March 7, Secretary of State John Kerry visited Aqaba, Jordan to consult with King Abdullah II on the Israeli-Palestinian peace framework ahead of the April 29 deadline. Neither party made a public statement about the meeting.

Asia: China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi drew a “red line” on North Korea at the National People’s Conference in Beijing on March 8, 2014. As North Korea’s most important diplomatic and economic supporter, China has said that they refuse to allow war on the Korean peninsula and reacted to North Korea’s refusal to abandon its atomic bomb program by saying, “Only with denuclearization can the Korean Peninsula enjoy genuine and lasting peace.” Mr. Wang further explained that China was willing to “work with the United States to uphold peace in the Asia-Pacific region.”

Europe: The Ukrainian crisis is continuing to attract global attention. Most recently, Ukraine’s Prime Minister declared that Crimea would remain a part of the country, despite false reports of becoming official Russian territory. The Russian President, Vladimir Putin, contacted President Barack Obama to defend the Russian military invasion of Crimea. Despite warnings from the Foreign Minister of Russia, Obama announced sanctions against Russia on Thursday, March 6.   

Americas: Anti-government protests of more than 5,000 people continue to be held in Caracas, Venezuela to

protest the violence, high inflation and food shortages that plague the country. President Maduro’s government

responded by firing tear gas and deploying military forces. Since  February 12, 21 people have died in the protests. Currently, the Organization of American States is working to help find a way to solve Venezuela’s issues and has recently declared its support to help solve Venezuela’s political violence.

Africa: The trial against double-amputee Olympian Oscar Pistorius commenced on March 3, with many reporters calling it “South Africa’s Version of the OJ Simpson trial” and “the trial of the century.” On Valentine’s Day 2013, Pistorius fired four shots into his bathroom door; three hit his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp. Pistorius pleaded not guilty to all four charges, including premeditated murder and gun charges, claiming to have mistaken Steenkamp for an intruder. On Friday, March 7, two key witnesses testified: ex-girlfriend Samantha Taylor and security guard Pieter Baba. Taylor claimed Pistorius’s temper was volatile and he always carried a handgun; Baba claimed Pistorius said everything was “fine” when he called to ask about reports of gun shots and was too shocked to help at first when he saw Pistorius walking down the stairs carrying Steenkamp’s bloody body.

Contact Kirsten Halvorson at [email protected].