Global Recap: Russian threat continues to loom, unsuccessful coup in Guinea-Bissau


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:

Russia-Ukraine tensions mount, Russia claims concerns were “ignored”

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that the U.S. and its allies have ignored key security concerns Russia has over Ukraine, according to a NBC article and a similar CNN article.

This is the first public statement the Russian president has made concerning the Ukraine crisis since December, according to NBC.

Among the issues Putin claims are being ignored is the promise not to expand NATO into Ukraine or any other ex-Soviet nations, NBC reports.

This promise would be a contradiction to NATO’s open door policy and therefore is a non-starter in the negotiations, the CNN article states. These delays come as Russia has stationed roughly 100,000 troops near the Ukrainian border.

The Russian ambassador to the UN said that the U.S. was inflating the number of Russian troops on the border to incite Russia into an armed conflict, NBC reports.

“We stand by that troop number, and we continue to see additional forces join in,” Defense Department spokesman John Kirby said.

According to the article, Russian field hospitals have been set up along the border.

“[Putin] has enough capability to move [on Ukraine] now if he wants to,” Kirby said. “He continues to add to that capability.”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken had a phone call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to discuss the United States’ response to Russian demands, according to NBC.

“If President Putin truly does not intend war or regime change, then this is the time to pull back troops and heavy weaponry,” an official said, quoting the secretary’s phone call.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson flew out to meet with Ukraine Prime Minister Volodymyr Zelenskyy, saying Britain was “shoulder-to-shoulder” with the country against Russian aggression in a joint statement, NBC reports.

“The leaders warned that any further Russian incursion in Ukraine would be a massive strategic mistake and have a stark humanitarian cost,” the joint statement said.

Both the West and Russia are open to further negotiations. Blinken stressed Washington’s willingness to “a substantive exchange,” according to NBC. Putin also has said he is open to further negotiations, according to CNN.

“I hope that this dialogue will continue,” Putin said. “I hope that we will eventually find this solution, although it is not an easy one, and we are aware of this. But what that will be, I’m not ready to say today, of course.”

Coup to assassinate Guinea-Bissau’s president fails

Guinea-Bissau’s President Umaro Sissoco Embaló said a coup that attempted to overthrow him failed, according to a CNN article.

“I have never imagined that we would arrive to this type of situation,” Embaló said. “I never thought that Bissau-Guineans could practice another act of violence.”

According to CNN, defense forces engaged in gunfire with the perpetrators for roughly five hours before quelling the attempted coup.

Embaló said that “many” defense forces were killed in the attack, but he did not give specific numbers, according to the BBC.

According to Embaló, several arrests were made.

The president also said he believed the perpetrators, if successful, would have killed him and his cabinet, CNN reports.

“Power is something you get from the people through ballots,” Embaló said. “Guinea-Bissau is mourning today.”

The president has reassured the country that the government was in control, CNN states.

David Glovsky, assistant professor in Africana Studies at the University of Albany, told CNN that Embaló’s legitimacy has been challenged before.

“I doubt many Guineans are surprised by another coup attempt, and yet this is still so disappointing,” Glovsky said. “Regardless of anyone’s feelings on President Embaló, and there is a real range, Guineans have too often been at the mercy of the military, and elite conflicts that do not necessarily focus on the concerns of Guineans across the country.”

The country, formerly a colony of Portugal, declared its independence in 1974. The BBC reports that the nine coups that have ravaged the country since 1980 have left it as one of the poorest countries in the world.

At least 23 dead from Ecuadorian landslide 

At least 23 people are reported dead as a result of a landslide that occured in Quito, Ecuador’s capital, on Monday, a CNN news article states.

Mayor Santiago Guarderas said at least 47 people were injured, with two individuals in critical condition, CNN reports.

Authorities have not ruled out the possibility for future landslides, a similar Reuters article states. They also warn the death toll may rise as they continue to search the debris for survivors.

“We saw this immense black river that was dragging along everything, we had to climb the walls to escape,” resident Alba Cotacachi said. “We are looking for the disappeared.”

Rainfall in Quito was roughly 75 liters per square meter, according to Reuters, the largest single rainfall the capital has seen in nearly two decades.

“There was an oversaturation of the soil on the slopes, which generated a slide from the slopes to the channel and caused this landslide,” Guarderas said.

COVID-19 vaccines could soon be available to children four and younger

Pfizer and BioNTech announced Tuesday they are seeking an emergency authorization for vaccines for children 4 and under, according to an article in the Washington Post.

This announcement comes sooner than expected by either company, according to the Washington Post.

The Food and Drug Administration will meet Feb. 15 to discuss the proposal, CNN states.

Dr. Paul Offit, a member of the committee and director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said safety is the committee’s primary concern, CNN reports.

“The confidence of the American public depends on that, that you’re recommending something that you would give to your own children,” Offit told CNN. “It all depends on the data. The data will tell us just how good these are. There should be a robust safety profile and a robust efficacy profile and immunogenicity profile. And if that’s true, speed doesn’t really matter, as long as they have those data.”

To date, roughly 10 million children in the U.S. have tested positive for the virus, 1.6 million of those cases coming from children younger than 4, according to the Washington Post. As of Dec. 15, 319 COVID-19 deaths occurred in children under 4 years old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Albert Bourla, Pfizer’s chairman and chief executive, said three doses offer the best protection against COVID-19, but the two shots could ease tension as they wait for a booster, Washington Post reports.

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