5 Things to Know (11 – 15 September)

Much of this week was centred around North Korea as new sanctions were imposed on the country by the UN. In response to that, North Korea fired another missile over Japan as a threat. Apart from this, pollution continues to plague the UK and Trump makes efforts to succeed with his new tax reform plan. Here are five top highlights of this week:

UK government refuses to protect citizens from air pollution

According a rapporteur from the UN, air pollution continues to plague the UK. Despite numerous judicial instructions, the UK government is not contributing to ensure that the air quality of the country is improved or the health of the citizens is protected. Reports reveal that approximately 40,000 premature deaths occur annually due to air pollution in the country. The government of UK has faced several legal challenges over its proposals, such as the 2015 pollution plan that was rejected by the court for being “inadequate”. Due to this condition of the country, vulnerable groups inclusive of children, the elderly, and those with health issues are at high risk of morbidity, disability, and mortality. If the UK is unable to meet the EU regulations, then it could become a haven for dirty industries, the rapporteur declared.


North Korea preparing for “World War 3”

The United Nations Security Council imposed new sanctions on North Korea after the nation carried out its largest nuclear test yet, a week ago. The sanctions include limiting imports of crude oil and other products that are usually supplied by China. Secondly, exports of textiles will be banned despite the fact that textile exports are worth $700 m a year. Lastly, the UN will also ban new visas for the overseas workers in North Korea by cutting $500m of the tax revenue each year. Moreover, they also planned on a travel ban on Kim Jong-un and an asset freeze, which were later dropped. Pyongyang has also warned United States that it would pay a “due price” if new embargoes on trade are successfully placed. A South Korean spokesman said that North Korea needs to realize the fact that challenges against international peace will bring stronger sanctions against them.


Trump is moving ahead with his tax reform plan

US president, Donald Trump, has urged Congress to act quickly on the tax reform plan he’d come up with earlier. He said that due to the devastation caused by Irma and Harvey, tax cuts and tax reforms are needed more than ever before. Since Trump’s election, the US stock market has also been lifted since the S&P 500 (an American stock market index) has added $2 million in market value. The main goal of this plan was to cut taxes for the middle class people which will lead to the enhancement of job growth in the country. For instance, he is planning to reduce corporate tax rate from 35% to 15%.  The Trump Administration is also introducing simpler tax codes and lower rates. According to Trump, the wealthy people will remain pretty much be where they are, but the middle class will surely prosper because the plan is intended for them.


Sweden holds biggest war games in 20 years

Sweden is planning to undertake the biggest military exercise in 20 years, by drilling 19,000 troops, as Russia’s military strength has left them fearful. The NATO countries are supporting Sweden in this military exercise. Russian forces began their largest military maneuvers in 2013 by assembling troops and combat helicopters in Belarus in a military exercise called “Zapad”. Even though Sweden is not a member of NATO, the exercise, known as “Aurora”, involves 19,000 troops that will simulate an attack from Baltic island of Gotland. In this exercise, over 1500 military personnel are from United States, France Norway and other NATO allies. After Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the fight in Ukraine, NATO has made sure to intensify its military presence in at least three of the Baltic states. Micael Byden, the commander of the Swedish armed forces, says that his country is sovereign and the purpose of Aurora is simply to protect their own country and ensure the safety of the people.


North Korea launches a missile over Japan for the second time

North Korea has fired another missile over Hokkaido, a northern Japanese island. This was the second missile North Korea has launched over Japan in a month and the first one after the new United Nations sanctions that were imposed on the country. According to some sources, North Korea has said “no matter how strong the pressure is, it doesn’t work on us”. North Korea has previously threatened to “sink” Japan and turn the US into “darkness” and “ashes”. The missile was fired from Sunan, located at the north of Pyongyang, at 6:57am Japanese local time. Twenty minutes after the launch, it landed in the Pacific Ocean. In response to the missile launch, South Korea also fired two ballistic missiles against North Korea, where one of the missiles “accurately hit” a target that was 250 km away in the Sea of Japan. They did this to demonstrate a show of force in order to respond to North Korea’s provocation. The Japanese President also proclaimed that North Korea does not have a bright future if they continue doing this.




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