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Global 360 RoundUp

Hong Kong

In the first elections since unrest in 2014, citizens of Hong Kong have been to the polls to vote representatives to their legislative council.

Turnout was 58%, and the election allowed pro-independence activists gain a foothold in power, whilst supporters of the Chinese government managed to hold on to a majority of the seats in the legislative council.

China has always been against the idea of independence for Hong Kong and has frequently condemned pro-democracy protests. The new anti-Beijing representatives in the council, who played a pivotal role in the 2014 protests, were elected with the aim to deliver greater independence for the territory following concerns that Xi Jinping’s government was getting increasingly involved in the politics of Hong Kong. This is despite a one country, two system agreement which states that Hong Kong should have political autonomy.
Ollie Watts

Cambodia

Cambodia’s ‘baby-faced’ drugs mule is to be released after eight months in the country’s notorious Prey Sar prison.

Chhay Reaksmey was originally arrested with her father aged twelve, but was held in a re-education centre. She was then imprisoned ten days prior to her fourteenth birthday, the age of criminal responsibility in Cambodia.

Prior to her imprisonment, a photograph of the child wearing a pink velour tracksuit and pointing to bags of methamphetamines caused outrage in the country and across the Asian region.

However, the prematurity of her imprisonment before the age of criminal responsibility has led a judge to call for her immediate release. Her defence lawyers argued that any charges and detainment were outside of the law.

An investigation into her apparent crimes will continue, but Reaksmey will not face any more jail time, even if found guilty.
Caitlin Doherty

Switzerland

Twelve retirement homes in the Jura area of North-Western Switzerland capitalised on the Olympic Summer and competed against one another in their own Senior Games.

The games comprised a variety of events that included a walking frame slalom, shooting a basketball into a hoop, and seeing who could hammer a nail into a block of wood in the quickest time.

The Games were the idea of the JURAncien Association, inspired by a similar event that was held on a smaller scale in Geneva.

Simon Coste, President of JURAncien, said that the idea was to show that life inside a retirement home can be active and promote a sense of community as the residents were brought together in the spirit of competition.

Medals were awarded by Eric Hanni, a native of Jura and silver medallist in Judo at the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Will Reeves

 

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwean Paralympic Rowing team defied odds and made it to the final of the Coxed Four event despite several unlikely obstacles.

Eight months before the games began the team ñ Margret Bangajena, Michelle Garnett, Takudswa Gwariro, Previous Wiri and coxswain Jessica Davis ñ had not yet sat in a boat together.

Their practice lake was known for crocodile infestations and a number of the athletes were remarkably under-prepared for international competition.

One unnamed competitor reportedly turned up to the trails in a shower cap.

The problems continued when one member was forcibly removed from the team by her family as they believed that she had been possessed by the devil following a spate of seizures.

Nonetheless, the team still made it to the B final in the event with a time of 4:07.

They found a strong base of support in Rio, however, with many members of the crowd choosing to wear shower caps at the regatta.
Caitlin Doherty 

 

Brazil

This summer the Olympic Games travelled to Rio de Janeiro for the games of the 31st Olympiad.

Team GB finished in second place, behind the USA yet beating China, with a total of 67 medals: 27 gold, 23 silver and 17 bronze medals, a total greater than the medal-haul from London 2012.

Despite initial concerns about the competition including unsold seats, incomplete venues and several serious crashes along the cycling road-race circuit in the opening days ñ including one which knocked Dutch rider Annemeik van Vleuten unconscious – there were a number of memorable moments:

A team of refugee athletes competed for the first time, uniting under the Olympic flag.

Fiji won their first Olympic medal, taking he gold after beating Great Britain in the Men’s Rugby 7ís final.

Usain Bolt continued to impress the crowds, winning gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay, and completing the ‘triple-triple’, having also won all three medals at the Beijing and London games.

American swimmer Michael Phelps became the most decorated Olympian of all time, taking home his 28th medal, meanwhile, his 19-year-old compatriot Katie Ledecky won four gold and one silver in the pool, making her the most successful female athlete of the 2016 games.

However, the greatest success for the host nation came on the final night of the games, as Brazil’s men’s football team took gold, beating Germany in a replay of the 2014 World Cup semi-final.

Hannah Scott

 

Mali

International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague has prosecuted an individual on the charge of crimes against a historical and cultural monument. In the first case of its kind, the defendant and member of Islamist group Ansar Dine, Ahmad Al Faqi al Mahdi, was prosecuted for his role in the destruction of mausoleums in the Malian city of Timbuktu.

The crimes were in 2012 when the city had been under the control of Ansar Dine, prior to French intervention. These Unesco heritage sites – once a place of education that attracted leading intellectuals – had been considered by Mahdi and his group as ‘totems of idolatry’, inappropriate according to their reading of Islam.

Following his sentencing, Mahdi discouraged others from committing similar acts stating that ‘they would not lead to any good for humanity’ The ICC has stated it is now seeking avenues to bring to justice members of ISIS who have carried out similar cultural destruction across Syria and Iraq.
Callum Cohen

24/09/2016

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Ollie Watts