Prime Minister missteps, ongoing conflict between the U.S. and Iran, and climate change strikes around the world are big news stories this week.
This week, The Wall Street Journal reported that the president of the United States, Donald Trump, had asked his administration to investigate buying Greenland.
Greenland, according to the Danish government, is not for sale. The Journal also noted, “It is also unclear how the U.S. would go about acquiring Greenland even if the effort were serious.”
So the president canceled his upcoming trip to Denmark. The New York Times described the contretemps as “a serious diplomatic rupture between the United States and one of its longtime allies.”
More from The Times:
All of which might be written off as just another odd moment in a presidency unlike any other. Except that attacking Denmark was not enough for the president. He decided to expand his target list to include NATO because, as he pointed out, Denmark is a member of the Atlantic alliance. And he chose to do this just two days before leaving Washington to travel to an international summit in France, which also happens to be a NATO member.
The president later said that purchasing Denmark was “just an idea.”
Elsewhere in the world, a suicide bombing at a wedding in Kabul killed 63 people. ISIS took responsibility for the attack, which comes amidst talks between the United States and the Taliban to negotiate U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.
From analysis by The New York Times’ Mujib Mashal:
The bombing was a painful reminder of the immediate threat posed by the militants: that they can slip through tight security in the capital and cause the kind of carnage that devastates a vulnerable community, while cranking up pressure on a government already on the edge.
But the Islamic State also poses a longer-term danger that the United States military and Afghan officials worry about: It has positioned itself to gain in the event of a peace deal with the Taliban. The Islamic State is set to grow if an extreme layer of insurgents breaks away from the Taliban to keep fighting, and it is likely to thrive if a hastily managed American military withdrawal leaves chaos behind.
And after reporting revealed that the Chinese government paid Twitter and Facebook to share misinformation regarding the demonstrations in Hong Kong., the tech companies have booted some accounts off their platforms.
NPR’s Emily Feng reported:
Twitter said this week it had suspended nearly 1,000 accounts it believes are tied to Chinese state actors and that it would no longer accept advertising from state-funded media. Facebook announced shortly after that it was removing seven pages, five Facebook accounts and three groups after Twitter tipped the platform off to the use of “a number of deceptive tactics, including the use of fake accounts.”
Meanwhile, the Italian prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, resigned earlier this week. His departure clears the way for Matteo Salvini, who among other things, appears to be re-branding the dad bod..
Vox had more context for Salvini’s rise:
He’s arguably the most popular politician in Italy right now, and his Lega party is polling at 38 percent — very close to the number needed to fully take control of government. Salvini’s party also came in first in the European parliamentary elections in Italy, with his anti-EU campaign taking 34 percent of the vote.
What hasn’t worked out well for Salvini is the awkward coalition government he’s a member of, which consists of his party and the Five Star Movement.
The Five Star Movement is a true hodgepodge. Founded by a former comedian in 2009, the party’s only real unifying ideology is that it’s anti-establishment. Georgetown University political scientist Hans Noel described the party as “like what would happen if you put Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, and Jon Stewart in a blender.”
We wrap up these stories and more on the global edition of the News Roundup.
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