November 2022 global news roundup: COP27 for a globe of eight billion; Electoral developments; Supreme court voting decisions; Political and geopolitical developments

Person carrying globe on side (Photo by Ben White on Unsplash)

This roundup summarises the most important news stories around the world in the last month (October 2022).

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Earth is now home to eight billion people. According to United Nations projections, the global population is expected to peak in the 2080s at 10.4 billion people, with India soon overtaking China as the most populous country. At COP27, the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference, nearly 200 countries agreed to a loss and damage fund, which could help less economically developed countries cope with climate disasters.

The 2022 World Cup kicked off in Qatar, though the host country’s abysmal treatment of migrant workers and other contestations over human rights have shrouded the event. Alleged corruption involving FIFA, football’s international governing body, has also been in the spotlight. After playing two games, Qatar also became the earliest host country to be knocked out from the tournament.

Electoral developments

In Denmark, the centre-left coalition won a majority of parliamentary seats with a one-seat majority. In Israel, following the electoral concession of current prime minister Yair Lapid, former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu – whose right-wing bloc secured a clear parliamentary majority – is set to return to office. In Malaysia, general elections resulted in the country’s first-ever hung parliament, with the three main national coalitions not securing a simple majority. Following the king’s decision, Anwar Ibrahim was appointed the country’s 10th prime minister. And in Taiwan, the ruling party suffered a major defeat in local elections, winning just five of the 21 city mayor and county chief seats up for grabs. President Tsai Ing-wen then stepped down as chairman of her Democratic Progressive Party.

In Nicaragua, in an election characterised as unfair – with the main opposition parties banned, opposition figures jailed, as well as non-governmental groups, media outlets, and civil society organisations shut down – the Sandinista National Liberation Front won control of all 153 municipalities.

And in the United States (US), following the mid-term elections, the Democrats retained their slim majority in the Senate as the Republicans – in a disappointing showing – won a similarly narrow majority in the House of Representatives. Former president Donald Trump then declared his candidacy for the 2024 presidential election, in his third bid for the White House.

Separately in the US, in a bid to curb inflation, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates by 0.75 percentage point for the fourth consecutive quarter. This was also the sixth increase this year. Across California, nearly 50,000 academic workers walked out of the 10 campuses of the University of California, in higher education’s largest-ever strike.

Supreme court voting decisions

The New Zealand supreme court ruled that the voting age of 18 was inconsistent with the country’s bill of rights, prompting parliamentary debate on the lowering of the voting age. The Scottish supreme court ruled that the Scottish parliament cannot hold an independence referendum without the consent of the United Kingdom parliament.

Political and geopolitical developments

Politically, in China, there was a violent protest in the world’s largest iPhone factory, with hundreds of workers demonstrating against changes to their bonus payments and dissatisfaction with the country’s strict COVID-19 control measures. Relatedly, a deadly fire in a high-rise building also brought increased attention to the months-long pandemic confinement of residents to their home. Demonstrations involving hundreds took place in at least eight cities thereafter. In Iran, a court issued the first-known death sentence linked to mass anti-government protests which began in September. And in Pakistan, former prime minister Imran Khan was shot during a rally.

In Ethiopia, following two years of a violent and bloody civil war, the government and rebel Tigray forces agreed to end the conflict.

Geopolitically, in Ukraine, in a setback for Russia, whose troops abandoned the city, Ukrainian forces took back Kherson. Also involving Ukraine, a Russian-made missile from a Ukrainian air-defence system crashed in Poland, an incident which initially caused geopolitical alarm. And in North Korea, the country launched the highest number of short-range ballistic missiles in a day toward South Korean territory. No missiles have landed as close to the border as this launch since 1948. This 23-missile barrage was its 28th weapons test in 2022, in a record year. Later, South Korean jets were scrambled after 180 North Korean warplanes were detected north of the border.

Natural and man-made disasters

With natural disasters, there was a landslide in Cameroon, an earthquake in Indonesia, and a storm in Saudi Arabia.

There was a school shooting in Brazil, hotel shooting in Somalia, multiple shootings in the US, a factory fire in China, aviation disasters in Colombia, Tanzania, and the US, a bar fire in Russia, a car bomb in Thailand, and other explosions in Israel and Turkey.

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