18 April 2018   Leave a comment

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for snap elections a year and a half before they are required.  He has led the country for 15 years, both as President and Prime Minister, and is riding a wave of popularity that seems to assure his re-election.   If he is elected, he will become President with enhanced powers due to constitutional changes approved in an earlier referendum.  The opposition parties seem to be disorganized at this time and the Parliament has approved the extension of a state of emergency which has increased Erdogan’s powers considerably.  Even though the decision was a surprise, the initial reaction of the markets in Turkey was quite favorable.

 

President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, made a secret trip to North Korea to make arrangements for negotiations between the US and North Korea.  At this time it is not clear at what stage the negotiations are, but it seems as if the process is moving much faster than usual given the complexities of the issues.  But North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has unquestionably achieved what he and his predecessors have longed desired:  recognition by the Great Powers.  Since his meeting with Chinese President Xi, there is no question that Kim has accomplished a great deal and has given up very little in return.  At his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Abe today, US President Trump declared that he was prepared to walk away from the negotiations with North Korea if he was dissatisfied with the progress of the negotiations.  That very well may be the case, but it will be Mr. Trump who leaves and Mr. Kim will have the implicit recognition of the US.

 

Recent research indicates that up to a third of the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia has died because of global warming.  The research was conducted after the record-breaking heat wave in 2016 and, according to Nature:

“‘The world’s largest coral reef is unlikely to recover soon. The damage is a harbinger of what a warming future might hold for a wealth of tropical reef ecosystems’, says lead study author Terry Hughes, director of the coral-reef centre at James Cook University in Townsville, Australia.”

The fear is that the damage may be permanent and it is difficult to determine what changes will result from such dramatic changes to an important part of the earth’s ecosystem.

 

Posted April 18, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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