World in Conflict: North Korea, Lebanon, UAE

North Korea pressuring border resident to hand in their cell-phones

The North Korean state is reportedly trying to pressure smugglers in the Sino-North Korean border region to hand in foreign-made mobile phones. 

It’s believed these phones are used to call China and South Korea. The reason for this move is because the Ministry of State Security in North Korea has made it clear they want to cease illegal border activity by the end of the year. 

According to Daily NK, the people using the foreign-made mobile phones are secretly communicating with people in China and South Korea to sell state secrets. Or to help transfer money from defectors to relatives inside the country. 

It is thought that security officials have already been approaching smugglers demanding they hand over any foreign-made mobiles immediately. The State says that if they do now, then all their past offences will be forgiven. However, if they don’t and get caught out later then, they should be “prepared to die”. 

Happy Anniversary to Lebanon!

It was exactly one year ago that around 1 million people in Lebanon (20% of the population) flooded the streets in protest. They were burning tyres, creating road block and chanting anti-government slogans. But why are people protesting?

Reasons for protest:

  • Because the government had planned taxes on gasoline, tobacco, and VoIP calls on applications such as WhatsApp.
  • However, it also expanded into a nation wide protest against sectarian rule, unemployment and a stagnant economy. 
  • Oh, and not forgetting corruption in the public sector. 

When the protests first kicked off some demonstrators camped out in tents and occupied car parks. Aline, an engineer and political organiser was one of those protestors organising demonstration in Beirut. 

She was intrumental in building a wooden tent to shelter protestors during the winter months and created a space for activists to come together and stratagise. The tents were a roaring success and very quickly became the epicentre of the revolution. 

However, when the COVID pandemic hit the army then came in and cleared them away as the Government delcared a medical emergency. 

Speaking to VICE, Aline said: “It was the biggest disappointment for me,” Aline says. “It was my second home, my actual home. These people were my family.”

Over the past few days the army have been patrolling ahead of future processions. They are armed with assault rifle’s and are prepared to intervene. In recent months, military forces have become increasingly agressive towards demonstrators, often attacking them with either tear gas, rubber bullets or even live amunition. 

UAE Cabinet Approves agreement to establish relations with Israel

Last month we saw the historic meeting in Washington in which the United Arab Emirates and Israel made a momentous decision to establish diplomatic relations with one another. Well today the UAE cabinet has agreed to go through with the idea. 

Both the UAE and fellow Gulf State, Bahrain, became the first Arab states in a quarter of a century to sign agreements to establish formal ties with Israel, forged largely through shared fears of Iran.

The agreement is called the Abraham Accord and the Cabinet provided a statement saying: “an avenue of peace and stability to support the ambitions of the region’s people, and enhance efforts for prosperity and advancement, especially as it paves the way for deepening economic, culture and knowledge ties.”

Israel ratified the deal last week ahead of a UAE Government delegation visiting Israel on Tuesday.

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