Brexit reaches impasse
Following the Brexit vote on June 23, 2016, the British Parliament has tried to negotiate a trade deal with the European Union before the secession becomes official on March 29. This week, two votes were held regarding Brexit. The first resulted in Parliament voting down an act by a margin of 432-202 that, if it had passed, would have finalized a trade agreement between the E.U. and the U.K. With the bill’s failure, the Conservative Party was forced to hold a vote of no confidence on Prime Minister May’s government’s leadership.
Both votes shattered precedent. The attempt to pass the trade deal failed by the largest margin in Parliament’s history, and the vote of no confidence was the second of its kind in the last two months. The entire exit process is now in limbo, as Germany, France and the EU’s other principal leaders do not seem ready to make the kinds of concessions that members of British Parliament are demanding of their prime minister.
Brazilian President Bolsonaro makes good on promises
Recently elected Jair Bolsonaro was sworn in as the 38th President of Brazil this past month. Bolsonaro faced a competitive crowd of 13 candidates and emerged as the leading vote-getter of the October 7 election with 46 percent. His subsequent victory in the runoff election saw the defeat of the Worker’s Party of Brazil, a group that had won the previous four presidential elections.
Bolsonaro’s election has inspired criticism due to its continuation of the rightward swing in global politics, most notably in the campaigns nationalistic overtures as well as its anti-gay, pro-capitalist rhetoric. In his first few weeks in office, Bolsonaro’s administration has explored opening up the Amazon basin to business interests while he seeks to fulfill his many campaign promises.
Syrian suicide bombing kills 16
A suicide bombing killed 16 people in Manbij, Syria, on Jan. 16. Four Americans — two civilians and two members of the armed forces — were killed as a result of the blast, along with injuries to three additional service members. The attack on the town in northeastern Syria was claimed by the Islamic State and marks the deadliest attack on U.S. forces in the country since they were deployed to fight the terrorist group in 2015.
This comes in light of Trump’s announcement that the United States would be withdrawing from Syria immediately. In a tweet, the president wrote that “We have defeated ISIS in Syria.” However, this week, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who often criticized the previous Commander and Chief, called it “an Obama-like mistake,” and Senator Ben Sasse labeled it a “weak decision.”