Weekly Briefing – Feb. 20-25, 2017

This is the WIRe Weekly Briefing. Here are the international events from the week of February 20-25th.


  • After less than a month in the job, Michael Flynn departed as Donald Trump’s national security advisor, having admitted that he had provided “incomplete information” to the White House about a conversation he had with the Russian Ambassador weeks before Mr. Trump was inaugurated as President. These events have added to the growing sense of a disorderly Oval Office and continue to fuel speculation about alleged links between the Trump Campaign and Russian Officials.
    • Fear not, however, President Trump has found a replacement for Michael Flynn. On Monday, Trump announced that Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster would be his new national security adviser. Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster is widely respected and is credited with helping to turn around the Iraq War.
  •  Mr. Trump described the appeals-court’s decision to block his temporary ban on refugees and citizens of seven mainly Muslim countries as “disgraceful.” He will try and introduce a new, legally sound order to enact the ban as early as next week. Either way, the issue seems destined for the Supreme Court.
    •   President Trump has also cracked down on illegal immigrants nationwide, forcing the Department of Homeland Security to update their rules on who can be deported. The Obama Administration focused only on deporting illegal immigrants who had committed criminal acts, whereas Donald Trump has now widened that net to catch and deport illegal immigrants who have even a minor traffic violation. This has forced many undocumented immigrants in the United States to go into hiding.
  • On Wednesday, astronauts discovered seven new earth-sized planets about 40 light years away. Which is close, in space measurements. From the data collected so far it appears the planets have the potential to hold liquid water, meaning this could be the first realistic opportunity for scientists to find evidence of alien life.


  • Binyamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, met Donald Trump at the White House last week. In what appeared to be a break from the past American policy which called for a two state solution, Mr. Trump said he would be open to either a one or two state deal. He urged both to compromise, and also told Mr. Netanyahu to “hold back” on building settlements in the West Bank.


  • The American government blacklisted the vice-president of Venezuela, Tareck El Aissami, calling him a “drug trafficker,” and a “kingpin.” The decision bars American firms from doing business with him and freezes his assets in the United States. Mr. El Aissami said the order was an act of “infamy and aggression.”


  •  Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, visited the White House for lunch last week. In the meeting, President Trump took a different tone than he did with Mexico, noting that trade relations are “outstanding.” and that he believes that any changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement would “benefit both our countries.”

North Korea:

  • New facts have surfaced regarding the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s half-brother, Kim Jong Nam, in Malaysia last week. Evidence suggests that the attack was carried out by two women who coated their hands in poison, and wiped them on the victim’s face. South Korean intelligence agencies are convinced the attack was ordered by North Korea but North Korea staunchly maintains their innocence.
    • The case continues to perplex toxicologists who question how these two women could have walked away unscathed after handling a poison powerful enough to kill Kim Jong Nam before he could make it to the hospital.

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