We’ve officially wrapped up the first month of 2021 and it’s been one hell of a start to the new year. As we come to the end of February’s first week, political tensions are rising across the globe: military forces in Myanmar have staged a coup, mass student protests are underway in Turkey and Ethiopia’s embattled region of Tigray is on the brink of a major humanitarian crisis.
Here are five notable stories from across the globe in Lovin Malta’s international news roundup in case you missed them.
1. A woman was filming an aerobic dance class while a coup was underway behind her in Myanmar.
A surreal video has gone viral in Myanmar on Monday, featuring a blissfully unaware aerobics dance teacher filming a lesson while a military coup unfolding just behind her.
With Myanmar’s parliament in the backdrop, the instructor keeps dancing to her upbeat music while military vehicles turn up to seize control of the state and detain its civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.
The military later took power and declared a year-long state of emergency, accusing Suu Kyi’s party of fraud following their recent landslide electoral win.
Aung San Suu Kyi became famous for campaigning to restore democracy in the 1990s. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize while under house arrest in 1991, and spend around 15 years in detention for organising pro-democracy protests. In 2015, she led her party to win the country’s first openly contested election in a quarter of a century.
Over the years, her reputation has been tarnished over the ongoing persecution of Rohingya people. Her government has been accused of committing genocide against them.
2. Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine “Sputnik V” found to be 92% effective after trials.
Russia’s COVID-19 jab gives around 92% protection against the virus, a study published in renowned scientific journal the Lancet found.
The vaccine was initially met with raised eyebrows after it was rolled out by the Kremlin before final trial data had been released. Now, its proven to be safe against hospitalisation and death. It joins other proven vaccines like Pfizer, Oxford/AstraZeneca, Moderna and Janssen.
Besides Russia, it’s being used in countries Argentina, Venezuela, Iran and Hungary. The latter bypassed the European Union to greenlight the jab, something that is allowed in times of emergency. Meanwhile, the Czech Republic and Germany are in talks to procure the Russian vaccine, following friction between the EU bloc and AstraZeneca.
Back in Malta, however, health authorities have now confirmed with this newsroom that they will not be considering the Russian vaccine for use on the island.
3. Hundreds of thousands in Ethiopia’s Tigray region are in need of emergency humanitarian aid.
The U.N Security Council has discussed the alarming humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia’s embattled region of Tigray. Hundreds of thousands of people have been left without aid after the government blocked access to humanitarian workers.
Prior to the erupted conflict, the U.N. said that 1.6 million of Tigray’s 6 million people needed food aid, and it hosted tens of thousands of refugees who fled from Eritrea in four camps. Now, food is even more scarce because it was harvest time when relations between the government and those in the region broke down in November.
Conflict arose after Ethiopia’s Prime Minister accused the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) of administering an attack on a military camp in November. Around 52,000 people have been killed since the conflict started.
4. Turkey’s students are protesting a politically-appointed rector of an Istanbul University.
Tensions are high in Turkey as students and teachers hold anti-government protests following President Erdogan’s appointment of an academic and former political candidate as Rector of Istanbul’s Bogazici University, the most prestigious institution in the country.
The demonstrations have become a force for Turkey’s disillusioned and underemployed youth to vent their frustrations at Erdogan’s conservative rule. They are some of the largest the country has seen since 2013, when hundreds of thousands of people marched against government plans to build a replica of Ottoman barracks in Istanbul’s Gezi Park.
More than 250 people have been detained in Istanbul and 69 in Ankara this week. The government has called protestors terrorists and have slammed the LGBT movement as being incompatible with Turkey’s values.
5. Thousands have been arrested after Russian opposition leader sentenced to prison.
More news from Russia, but it’s less positive than their breakthrough vaccine. Alexei Navalny has been sentenced to two years and eight months in prison as Vladimir Putin institutes a crackdown on the country’s leading opposition figure.
The court’s decision triggered protests in Moscow and the arrest of more than 1,000 citizens. Navalny previously accused Putin and his allies of stealing billions. He was a victim of acute poisoning hen on a plane heading from Siberia to Moscow last Summer. The top doctor that treated him, died suddenly yesterday.
Navalny, who recovered from the attack, was sentenced to two years and eight months for violating parole from a 2014 embezzlement case which he said was politically motivated.
Is there an international news piece you think we’ve missed? Comment below