Although the United Nations Security Council resolution demanded Israel to stop all settlement plans, Israel approved constructing 2,500 new settlement homes in the West Bank. Palestinian officials publicly criticized this, saying that the plans threaten prospects of peaceful relationships by building on land they are seeking. There are currently 500,000 Jewish residents in nearly 140 settlements since Israel’s 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, even though such occupation is considered illegal under international law.
Britain’s Supreme Court has ruled that Prime Minister Theresa May should secure the approval of Parliament in order to begin the exit procedures from the European Union. Although she previously announced that the “Brexit” process will be done within two years, the Supreme Court dictates that the government not invoke the European Union’s Article 50, legal basis for leaving the bloc, without Parliament’s authorization. The Court also ruled that the national government does not need approval from regional legislatures.
The birth rate in China has dramatically increased by 7.9 percent from that of last year, largely in part to the abolition of the one-child policy. Facing the fatal demographic challenges from the low birth rate, the government decided to shift to the two-child policy in 2016. This new policy is expected to mitigate the shortage of working-age people and the rapidly aging population but will take time to fully impact the society.
Gambia’s former president, Yahya Jammeh, went into exile after losing the recent presidential election. He is notoriously known for being a brutal authoritarian who jailed many of his opponents and journalists. Newly elected president Adama Barrow employed the West African military to oust Jammeh from his presidency. The United Nations Security Council supported the military decision to remove him from the post with troops from neighboring countries.
Last Wednesday, Jan. 18, an avalanche buried an Italian four-star hotel, Hotel Rigpiano, located under the Gran Sasso mountain about 85 miles northeast of Rome. The heavy strike of snowfall severely damaged the hotel, crumbling its roof and shifting the building 11 yards off its foundation. Eleven people have been reported as survivors, while four were pronounced dead. The effort to rescue 20 more people trapped in the hotel is still underway. This deadly deluge followed a series of recent earthquakes that caused magnitude-six tremors in the Apennines region near the hotel. Despite the ongoing rescue, the exact total of people stranded in the building remains uncertain, but the rescue estimates the number to be as many as 35.