The Guardian • Issue #2105

GLOBAL BRIEFS

  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2105
Global briefs

KENYA: Biden promised to designate Kenya as the USA’s first “major non-NATO ally” in sub-Saharan Africa as Kenyan President William Ruto arrived in Washington for a state visit. The declaration follows years of collaboration between the two countries, including Kenya’s role in US operations in East Africa and intervention in Haiti. Other countries given the non-NATO ally title  include Israel, Brazil, and the Philippines. Kenyan citizens have criticised the Ruto government’s response to mass floods, including in the capital Nairobi, citing a history of government neglect for the poor and working classes. Past interventions in Haiti have also been criticised due to issues such as allegations of sexual abuse, while Kenya’s police have faced accusations of extrajudicial killings and torture at home, including shooting crowds protesting cost of living.

UKRAINE: Struggles with recruitment are being experienced by Ukraine’s military as recent enlistment campaigns have been met with public scepticism. Aiming to recruit hundreds of thousands of young men, the effort has instead faced draft dodging and public criticism of unpopular attempts to pressure those who have not signed up. The struggles come as Ukraine, EU, and US leaders continue to refuse negotiations with Russia. Putin has proposed an immediate ceasefire and peace negotiations should Ukraine withdraw troops from the 4 regions admitted by Russia and issue a statement against joining NATO. Ukraine and the West continue to engage in negotiations with themselves, including a summit in Switzerland which excluded Russia.

ECUADOR: Nationwide power cuts occurred as part of what officials call a “cascade disconnection,” citing failures in transmission lines. Cities such as the capital Quito also experienced mass traffic light failure as part of the blackouts, as well as disruptions to tram and metro systems. Authorities were able to bring power back to Quito and other cities within the hour, but it is unclear what the impact of the event will be on infrastructure policy.

BRAZIL: Thousands have gathered to protest a bill in Congress which would equate abortion with homicide, even in cases of rape or risk of harm to the mother. Part of the growing ‘A Girl is Not a Mother’ movement, the protests aimed to defend the reproductive rights of women who would otherwise be allowed access to abortion services. Currently, Brazil outlaws abortion except in cases of rape, foetal anencephaly (a fatal condition, where a baby is born without part of the brain and skull), and pregnancy endangering the life of the mother. Criticism of the bill, labelled a product of religious fundamentalism and conservatism, includes that female victims of rape seeking abortions could face harsher penalties than the perpetrators.

CHINA: Chinese tech companies have taken the lead in developing commercial fusion reactors with the successful operation of the Honghuang 70 (HH70) high-temperature superconductor tokamak device. Chinese company Energy Singularity has exceeded its US counterparts, and is already developing an even more advanced model (HH170) set for completion in 2027. The tech constitutes part of China’s rapidly growing clean energy sector.

USA: McDonalds has ended the use of AI drive-throughs developed by IBM from more than 100 outlets after major issues with reliability. The voice recognition software’s failures include bacon-topped ice cream, hundreds of dollars’ worth of chicken nuggets added to orders, sauce packets and several sticks of butter being ordered instead of a bottle of water, and other mishaps. It appears McDonald’s and other US fast food companies have flown too close to the sun in their attempt to avoid paying human workers.

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