Global recap: Aid to Tonga hindered by eruption effects, US and Russian officials to explore diplomacy


Michael Crimmins, News reporter

There is no shortage of newsworthy topics here in the United States. At times it is easy to get lost in it all, but equally crucial things happen all over the world.

They can shed light on political relationships and humanitarian issues and keep you up-to-date on global events.

These global headlines are complex. It is highly encouraged to follow the links to the stories provided and read the story in its entirety. 

Here is a quick look at some global events that made the news last week:

US Secretary of State to meet with Russian Foreign Minister as tensions rise

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Friday as tensions rise between Russia and Ukraine, according to an article in the New York Times

The meeting between the two officials is to explore whether there is still a “diplomatic path” for Eastern Europe, according to the article.

“We’re now at a stage where Russia could at any point launch an attack in Ukraine, and what Secretary Blinken is going to go do is highlight very clearly there is a diplomatic path forward,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.

Blinken will travel to Kyiv on Wednesday to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy before going to Berlin. From there, he will travel to Geneva to meet with the Russian minister, a similar article by the Associated Press stated.

In Berlin, Blinken will meet with his German, British and French counterparts to discuss possible responses to the Russian aggression, according to the AP article. 

Russia has stationed roughly 100,000 troops along the Ukrainian border, according to the AP article.

An earlier attempt at de-escalation was made where Russia demanded NATO to pledge not to expand any further into the East, a proposal that the U.S. and Western Europe rejected, the New York Times reports.

Russia has also continuously shrugged off requests to move its troops, maintaining that it can move armed forces wherever it pleases within its territory, AP states.

Western Europe allies and the U.S. have said they would impose sanctions on Russia if the country does not de-escalate the situation, the New York Times states.

The German official warned Russia there would be a “heavy cost” if the nation did not seek a diplomatic path, according to the New York Times article. 

“There’s a diplomatic path forward,” Psaki said. “It is up to the Russians to determine which path they’re going to take, and the consequences will be severe if they don’t take the diplomatic path.”

Aid to Tonga hindered by large-scale damage from volcanic eruption and tsunami 

Tonga has seen “unprecedented levels” of disaster after a volcanic eruption on Saturday caused a tsunami to hit the island, according to the BBC.

A similar CNN article stated that some experts believe the eruption is the largest on earth in 30 years.

Some rescue teams have been sent to some smaller islands that surround Tonga as well, the BBC reports.

The U.N. confirmed earlier this week a total of four deaths, including that of a British woman, according to the article.

The BBC reports that aid efforts to the island are being hindered by the continued ashfall from Saturday’s eruption.

There are some reports, as cited in the article, about volunteers sweeping clear runways so planes carrying aid supplies and water could land.

Tongan officials have expressed concern that this might facilitate a spread of COVID-19, BBC reports. 

Alexander Matheou, director of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said there has been a large amount of coastal damage from the tsunami, according to CNN.

“…Large-scale coastal damage as a result of the tsunami wave,” Matheou said. “We are concerned especially for those low-lying islands close to the eruption itself. At the moment, we know very little.”

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Tongan government said the internet was down, but they were working on restoring communications, BBC states.

Sudanese forces kill protestors in anti-coup protest 

Seven protestors were fatally shot by Sudanese forces during an anti-coup protest in the country’s capital on Monday, according to a CNN article.

This brings the total fatalities up to 71 that have been killed by Sudanese forces since the military coup Oct. 25 that sparked multiple protests, CNN states. 

CNN reports that more than 100 protestors were also injured during the march to the presidential palace in Khartoum.

The latest anti-coup protest comes just before a senior U.S. diplomat visits the country looking to find support for the revival of Sudan’s democracy, according to a New York Times article.

The country’s Sovereignty Council, led by Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, said on Facebook that it was establishing a special taskforce “to combat terrorism and potential threats.”

The United Nations have begun consultations with Sudanese parties to end the crisis causing the civil unrest, according to both the CNN and New York Times articles.

Indonesia passes law to relocate capital city

Indonesian lawmakers approved a bill to shift the country’s capital city from Jakarta deep into the jungle of Kalimantan, according to a Reuters article.

The new capital city will be named Nusantara, which translates to archipelago, according to a CNN article.

“The new capital has a central function and is a symbol of the identity of the nation, as well as a new centre of economic gravity,” Planning Minister Suharso Monoarfa told parliament.

Concerns over the sustainability and swiftly-sinking nature of the political center lead to the idea for a new capital, something lawmakers have toyed with for several years, according to the CNN and Reuters articles.

“The relocation of the capital city to Kalimantan is based on several considerations, regional advantages and welfare, with the vision of the birth of a new economic center of gravity in the middle of the archipelago,” said Monoarfa.

Sri Mulyani, the minister of finance, said the development of the new capital would happen in five stages, CNN reports.

The first stage of development is scheduled to begin in 2022 and go through 2024, with the completion date being 2045, according to the CNN article.

News reporter Michael Crimmins can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @michael_crimm