On Sept. 25, Ri Yong-ho, the North Korean foreign minister, accused Donald Trump of declaring war on the country. This accusation was in response to a tweet Trump wrote which made a snide comment about the President of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, in which Trump called Jong-un “Little Rocket Man.” Yong-Ho also asserted that North Korea has the right to shoot down United States bombers even if they are not inside the country’s airspace borders. This statement came days after US warplanes flew close to North Korea’s borders in a show of force. The United Nations warned both parties that “fiery talk could lead to fatal misunderstandings.” Liu Jieyi, the Chinese ambassador to the United Nations, stated that the provocative talk between the two countries needs to “calm down,” because it is “getting too dangerous and it is in nobody’s interest.” China has continued to act as a middleman between the two countries.
On the night of Sept. 25, Egyptian police arrested seven people for “promoting sexual deviancy,” a euphemism in Egypt for acts of homosexuality. The people were arrested at a Mashrou’ Leila concert, a Lebanese band whose lead singer is gay. The seven people arrested were waving a rainbow flag in support for lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights in Egypt. Egypt is a very conservative Muslim country which has a longstanding history of oppressing the LGBTQ+ community. Specifically, gay men are frequently jailed for charges of debauchery, immorality or blasphemy. In 2001, Egypt drew criticism from human rights groups and governments worldwide after arresting and imprisoning 52 gay men who were attending a nightclub cruise.
On Sept. 22, disaster officials on the tourist island of Bali raised the volcano’s threat status to the highest level due to a “tremendous increase” in seismic activity. In response, more than 35,000 people have fled to escape a potential volcanic eruption. They have escaped to temporary shelters outside of the predicted danger zones. The volcano is part of the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” which includes more than 120 active volcanoes. The volcano’s last eruption was in 1963 and killed over 1,100 people.
On Sept. 26, amidst Jewish holidays, a 37 year old Palestinian man attacked the entrance of Har Adar, an upscale Israeli settlement west of Jerusalem. The man had hid among Palestinian day laborers who were being checked by security forces. When an officer grew suspicious of the attacker, the man opened fire, killing three Israeli men in their 20s and 30s and critically injuring a fourth. For years the relationship between Israel and Palestine has been tumultuous. Since 2015, Palestinians have killed 48 Israelis, while Israeli forces have killed 255 Palestinians. Israel maintains that most of the Palestinians killed have been attackers or have been involved in altercations with Israeli forces.
On Sept. 24, Angela Merkel won re-election as Germany’s Chancellor. While the continuation of power may make it seem as if Germans’ political views have not significantly changed, the unexpectedly strong showing of the third place finisher, a far-right populist party called “Alternative for Germany,” is expected to have lasting repercussions on the country. Merkel’s party, the Christian Democratic Union, while remaining dominant in Germany’s parliament, lost 8.6% of their previous voter base, while the second place finisher, the Social Democrats, lost 5.2% of theirs. In contrast, however, the Alternative for Germany party’s voting base gained 7.9 percentage points. After the results were reported on Sunday, protests against the Alternative for Germany party emerged across the country.