2016-09-10



THINK the cold war is over? The Berlin Wall has been torn down and the Great Wall of China may mostly be a tourist attraction, but building a wall to secure borders is no longer just a thing of the past. Donald Trump took the opportunity during his recent visit to Mexico to insist to President Enrique Peña Nieto that America has the right to build a wall along its border. Trump’s visit angered many Mexicans and resulted in the resignation of Mexico’s Finance Secretary Luis Videgaray on Wednesday (Sep 7), who was dubbed “the architect” of Trump’s visit.

Unfortunately, Trump is not the only one partial to the idea of erecting a wall. Over in Europe, building of the Calais wall is set to begin soon, further fuelling the debate over rising nationalism and tighter borders.

Use the map below to see which other countries have decided to secure their borders by raising more barriers. Then, check out our selection of quotes pertaining to other world news.



Rio Paralympics Opening Ceremony

“Show the world there is no them, only us. A world where people can come together as one. We are all part of one world.”

— Sir Philip Craven, president of the International Paralympic Committee, during his speech at the Opening Ceremony

The 2016 Rio Paralympics kicked off on Wednesday night (Sep 7) with a loud and colourful Opening Ceremony. The Games for athletes with impairments will see over 4,500 disabled sportsmen and women for the event dubbed a ‘celebration of difference’. The Games will run from September 7 to September 18. At the Opening Ceremony, Mr Carlos Nuzman, head of the organising committee, was first on the speech roster. He was received well by the crowds when he addressed the athletes saying that “impossible is nothing” but was booed when he showed appreciation to the Brazilian government. Later, Brazilian President Temer would also be booed during his speech.

Apple iPhone 7 and 7 plus revealed

“Upgrades are all important to Apple and for consumers coming from an iPhone 5S or iPhone 6, the iPhone 7 will feel like a considerable step up.”

— Tim Cook, Apple CEO

At an event in San Francisco, tech giant Apple unveiled its anticipated iPhone 7 and 7 plus on Wednesday (Sep 7). The new model of the iPhone with a base of 32 gigabytes starts at US$649 (S$874) for the 7 and US$769 (S$1036) for the 7 Plus. Battery life is said to be the “longest battery life ever” and one of the new features is that the handset can now be submerged in water up to depths of one metre for 30 minutes at a time. Apple has also killed headphone jacks in its latest smartphone, and introduced wireless AirPods that will be launched next month for US$159 (S$214). Included with the new iPhones will be redesigned earbuds with a lightning cable instead, and an adapter which will let older headphones plug into Apple’s digital charging Lightning port.

Suspected nuclear tests in North Korea

“If North Korea has conducted a nuclear experiment, we absolutely cannot condone it. We must protest adamantly.”

— Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan

An artificial earthquake with a magnitude of 5.3 was recorded near Punggye-ri, Kilju County, North Korea on Friday (Sep 9). South Korean news agency Yonhap quoted an unnamed South Korean official saying that it is most likely to have been a nuclear test. This is North Korea’s fifth nuclear test. The previous nuclear test was conducted in January. Kim Nam-wook of South Korea’s Meteorological Administration said the blast had an explosive power of 10 kilotons, twice as large as the previous nuclear test. World leaders such as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Park Geun-hye have condemned the nuclear testing.

45 people stuck overnight in cable cars

“We hope to be able to evacuate everyone (Friday) morning first thing. We have done all we possibly could…[the mission is] very complicated.”

—Mr Georges François Leclerc, Haute-Savoie region prefect

A scenic ride up Mont Blanc turned into a nightmare for many as they remain stuck in cable cars since Thursday afternoon (Sep 8). While more than 65 people have since been rescued after a joint rescue operation by French, Italian and Swiss crews, there are still around 33 people trapped above the French Alps. Officials have citied “unknown reasons” for the crossing of cables that led to this situation. Those who are yet to be rescued have access to water, energy bars and emergency blankets.

Britain MP slams Air China over racist travel tips

“I am shocked and appalled that even today some people would see it as acceptable to write such blatantly untrue and racist statements.”

— Virendra Sharma, the member of parliament for an ethnically diverse district in western London

A CNBC journalist traveling from China to London on Air China spotted racist travel advice at the back of the airline’s September issue of Wings of China, the inflight magazine. It stated that tourists should exercise precaution when traveling to areas “mainly populated by Indians, Pakistanis and black people”. On Wednesday (Sep 7), British MP Virendra Sharma, who emigrated from India to the United Kingdom in the 1960s, was prompted to complain to the Chinese government about the racist remarks. Air China has since removed all copies of the magazine from its aircraft and issued an apology.

Couple in Colorado accused of abusing blind, autistic son

“Dr Haemer described (the boy’s) physical condition as being consistent with someone who would have been in a concentration camp for several years.”

— An arrest warrant affidavit filed in the case

Colorado couple David Lawrence Hall and Vanessa Hall were arrested on Wednesday (Sep 7) for allegedly abusing and neglecting their 17-year old blind and autistic son. The father took the emaciated boy to a hospital last week thinking his son was suffering from the flu, but attending physician Dr Denise Hasson told investigators the boy had suffered a loss of body fluids traced to malnourishment and acute renal failure. Despite his impairments, the boy had not seen a physician in at least eight years nor had he any dental care, in-home assistance or formal schooling, and he used a jug beside his bed as a toilet.

Islam and secularism in France

“Nothing in the idea of secularism opposes the practice of Islam in France, provided it respects the law.”

— Francois Hollande, French President

A speech made by President Hollande sent out a message stating that Islam can co-exist with secularism in France. His comments were made after mayors in 30 towns banned the burkini and cited that the swimwear was against France’s centuries-old secular laws. However, several towns abolished the ban after the French highest administrative court ruled that the ban was a “serious” violation of basic freedom. Anti-Muslim sentiments are on the rise since the Syrian refugee crisis and the hundreds of civilian deaths in terrorist attacks such as the Paris terror attack in November 2015 and Nice attack in July 2016. Mr Hollande strongly believes that religions like Islam, Christianity and Judaism can co-exist peacefully with secularism.

Compiled by Lishan Teo and Aishah Tamiri.

Featured image Earth by Flickr user Kevin Gill. CC BY-SA 2.0.

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The post And in the Rest of the World: Raising Barriers appeared first on The Middle Ground.

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