5 Things to Know (29th October – 2nd November)

Angela Merkel to abandon CDU party role

Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, has declared to her CDU Party that she would not be running for re-election as its chairman in December. This was decided after her party suffered heavy losses during the time of regional elections, which threatened the governing coalition stability. She has been the chairwoman of the CDU since 2000, making her one of the longest-serving chairpersons. She has also led the country as chancellor since 2005 and wishes to continue to do so. This, however, contrasts with Mrs. Merkel’s previous position, where she linked the party leadership role to chancellorship- implying that she would only remain chancellor if she was the party leader. The predecessor of Merkel, Gerhard Schroeder, also made the same move in February 2004, where he gave up this position but continued to remain chancellor until November 2005. This move will allow the new CDU chair to build a profile before the next election is held in 2021. Whoever is elected will also be expected to stand as the CDU candidate for chancellor.

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60% of animals have been wiped out since 1970

According to a recent report from WWF, the vast and growing consumption of food and other resources by the population is destroying the web of life, upon which humans depend on for food, clean air, and water. A 60% decline in the human population would look like emptying North America, South America, Africa, Europe, China, and the Oceania. A global sustainability expert said that addressing both ecosystems and climate would allow the existence of a stable planet for the future of humanity. Scientists have started to believe that the world has begun a sixth mass extinction, being the first one to be caused by Homo sapiens. One main cause of wildlife losses is the destruction of natural habitats by creating farmlands. 3/4th of all land on Earth is now impacted by human activities. The second cause is killing for food where 300 mammal species are being eaten, making theme extinct. Scientists believe that even if the destruction ends, it would take about 507 million years for the world to recover fully.

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The Pentagon to send 5000+ troops to Mexico

Over 5200 troops are being sent by the Pentagon, the headquarters of the US Department of Defense, to the Mexican border because thousands of Central American migrants are walking toward the US in a caravan. Donald Trump had earlier said that tent cities would be built so that the migrants can seek asylum in the US. Mr. Trump has already sent 2100 National Guard members to the border. Both sides of the US political divide have been using migrants for electoral gain just a week before the midterm elections are held on 6th November. Despite the fact that the migrants are still roughly 1600 km away from the US border, Mr. Trump has declared that there are various gang members mixed into the caravan that is heading to the southern border of the US, which is why they would not be admitted unless they go through the legal processes. In addition, migrants groups are said to be a central issue of the campaign as Mr. Trump has repeatedly linked them to Democrats. He even threatened to cut off aid to Central American countries like Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, who allowed about 6500 people to flee and move north.

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India unveils the tallest statue in the world

A 182m high statue has been constructed in the western state of Gujarat, costing $430 million, paying tribute to an independence leader Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, said that the “statue of unity” will be recognized as a major tourist attraction in the country from now onwards. On the other hand, the locals think that this is simply a waste of money and that the funds could’ve been used for something better. Local reports reveal that thousands of policemen have also been deployed across the district because of incidents of violence as well as protests over the effigy. The statue is twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty in New York and surpasses the height of Spring Temple Buddha in China, which is 128 m tall. However, it will not remain the tallest for too long because the government of the Indian state of Maharashtra has been constructing a memorial to the Maratha warrior king Shivaji, which is expected to be 190m tall.

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Sexual abuse in North Korea regarded as “common”

According to a report from Human Rights Watch, abuse in North Korea is so common that it has become part of ordinary life. 62 North Koreans, who fled the country, were interviewed regarding rape and sexual abuse in the country. The group claimed that rapes and abuse were particularly done by men in high positions and power. Lack of sex education and unchecked abuse of powers by the perpetrators are some factors that contribute to the origin of this mentality. The perpetrators are inclusive of highly-positioned party officials, prison facility guards, soldiers, and the police. An interviewee revealed that after she was caught fleeing from North Korea, a police official in the pre-trial detention facility had tried to touch her inappropriately, several times a day. These perpetrators have committed systematic, widespread, and gross human rights violations, as declared by a UN Report published in 2014.

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