This is the WIRe Weekly Briefing. Here are the international events from the week of February 11-17th.
- After the Federal Appeals Court suspended The Trump Administration’s travel ban on refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries, Trump has been fighting for its reinstatement, tweeting that the security of the nation is at stake and questioning the impartiality of the judges who initially suspended the bill.
- In French politics, Republican candidate Francois Fillon affirmed he will not drop out of the presidential election in France despite a scandal over employing his wife and children at taxpayers’ expense. Mr. Fillon, the Republican candidate, when asked, has been unable to prove that his wife performed any work. The affair has hurt him in the polls and could pave the way for Emmanuel Macron, an independent, to reach the election’s second round.
- In Britain, a bill to allow the British government to trigger Article 50, the legal means of leaving the EU, completed its swift passage through the House of Commons. The bill now goes to the unelected House of Lords, an organization which faced veiled threats regarding its abolition if it amends or delays the legislation of Article 50.
- Israel’s Parliament passed a law that will allow for the retroactive legislation of unauthorized building on some privately owned Palestinian land in the West Bank. Governments around the world condemned the move as an obstacle to peace as the Palestinians feel the Israelis are taking away their land- a clear disruption to the two-state idea.
- The Trump Administration announced new sanctions against Iran, after it conducted a missile test, some say in the test defied the 2015 UN Resolution. Although this marked a more aggressive stance, the administration said the deal brokered with Iran to monitor its nuclear programme remains intact.
- Russia is considering handing over former National Security Agency Contractor Edward Snowden as a “gift” to gain the favor of President Trump. Snowden still faces federal charges of espionage which carry with them a minimum sentence of thirty years in prison. Russia has been harboring Snowden since he left the US in 2013.
- On Tuesday, February 14th, Russia secretly deployed a cruise missile. American officials say that the deployment violates the 1987 Treaty that helped seal the end of the Cold War and has been called the cornerstone of U.S. and Russian nuclear cooperation.
- The move presents a serious problem for newly inaugurated President Trump, who has vowed to improve relations with President Vladimir Putin of Russia and to pursue future arms accords.
- North Korea launched a nuclear missile test last Sunday, during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit with President Trump. The missile flew 500m toward Japan and dropped into the ocean. Japan’s prime minister criticized the test as “absolutely intolerable,” and President Trump released a statement saying, “I just want everyone to understand, and fully know, that the United States of America is behind Japan, our great ally, 100 percent.”
- Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was found dead in Malaysia on Tuesday. US agents have told Reuters they believe he was murdered by North Korean agents, after he spoke out against his family’s dynastic control of the isolated state.
- South Korea is now holding a National Security meeting as they are technically in a state of war with North Korea, and thus are acutely sensitive to any instability their nuclear-heavy Northern neighbor may be feeling.