Introducing another week of Future Trends on Oct. 14, 2020 – tracking current global news stories that provide insight into the future. This week: extreme poverty’s changing face, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict displaces thousands, EU invests in Balkans, and Japanese delivery robots.
CONTINUING AND NEW CONFLICTS
Turkey begins to rival China in military drones. Exports of Turkish military drones are increasing, rivalling China’s own drone sector while altering the military balance of power in the Caucasus, the Middle East, and North Africa.
US airstrikes target Taliban fighters advancing on key Afghan cities. The US launched airstrikes against Taliban fighters in Afghanistan’s southern Helmand province, US officials said after a large-scale offensive saw insurgents take over military bases in the region and close in on a key provincial capital.
Assad latest to blame Turkey for Nagorno-Karabakh fighting as battles rage on. Bashar al-Assad accused Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan of being the main instigator in the deadliest fighting between Armenian and Azeri forces for more than 25 years. Turkey has strongly backed Azerbaijan, and Russia has a defence pact with Armenia. The total death toll has risen to 525.
Half of the Karabakh population displaced as mediators set for Geneva talks. In the context of the ongoing fighting in the breakaway region Nagorno-Karabakh, central to the Armenia-Azerbaijan dispute, 75,000 or half of the population of the region has been displaced.
LATEST DEVELOPMENTS: THE RISE OF EXTREME POVERTY, NOBEL AWARDED TO WFP, EU OPENS TO THE BALKANS and RISING PLASTIC IN THE OCEAN
Extreme poverty is rising in cities. COVID-19 effects are expected to push up to 115 million people into extreme poverty. By 2021, this could rise to as many as 150 million. Projections show that people living below the international poverty line ($1,90 a day) after the pandemic, are more likely to be urban, better educated, and less likely to work in agriculture than those living in extreme poverty before COVID-19.
The World Food Programme (WFP) was just awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The Norwegian Nobel Committee has given the Nobel Peace Prize for 2020 to the WFP for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas, and for acting as a driving force in efforts to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.
EU set to invest €9 billion in Balkans. The EU wants to help six countries with ambitions of joining the bloc. The funds should boost their economies and infrastructure. But Brussels also expects reforms in return. Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia are set to benefit from the investment between 2021 to 2027.
But this is not all. Up to 16 million tons of microplastic are stored at the bottom of the oceans. Researchers estimate that since the material was invented in the 1950s, mankind has produced 8.3 billion tons of plastic. More than half of the total global amount has been produced since the year 2000.
China’s central bank is set to cut FX risk reserve ratio to zero. In an effort to expand derivative trading and allow the price of the Yuan to be set independently, the central bank has slashed companies’ FX exposure reserve from 20% to zero.
Turkey’s lira hits an all-time low – again. Geopolitical concerns see the lira depreciate to yet another record low against the US dollar. The country’s government bonds are priced at 6.4%, compared with 4.25% for similar-maturity notes issued in February.
Latin America suffers the biggest economic downturn in 120 years. According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (Cepal), the gross domestic product is expected to fall by an average of 9.1% this year, the sharpest drop since data was recorded in 1900.
But not all is bad news. ECOWAS and AU lift post-coup sanctions on Mali. Both organizations have decided to lift the suspension they had imposed against Mali. The suspension of financial flows, cross-border movement, and commercial trade was ended in response to ‘significant advances’ towards a return to civilian rule.
Related Articles: The Industry Rallying Against Plastic Pollution | Europe’s Course for Sustainable Recovery from COVID-19
SOCIAL CHANGES: TECHNOLOGY, DEATH PENALTY, MALNUTRITION and NEO-NAZI PARTY CONDEMNED
Japan Post delivery robot debuts in Tokyo. Japan Post Co. unveiled a self-driving mail delivery robot as demand grows for minimizing human contact amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Using built-in cameras and sensors, the robot operated on a sidewalk.
Malnutrition stalks Congo’s overcrowded prisons. Friends of 18-year-old Muno Lembissa said he died in prison from sorrow. The jail’s director said malnutrition contributed to his demise because he did not have visitors to bring in meals to feed him.
Greek court rules neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn is a criminal organization. The marathon trial had been assessing four cases rolled into one: the 2013 fatal stabbing of Greek rap singer Pavlos Fyssas, physical attacks on Egyptian fishermen in 2012, and on left-wing activists in 2013, and whether Golden Dawn was operating as a criminal organization.
NEWS IN POLITICS: UNEXPECTED APOLOGY, HIGH COSTS OF ELECTIONS, SANCTIONS, A PALACE COUP and POLICE POWER (POSSIBLY) CURTAILED
What’s the cost per vote to become a US president? The person who spends the most usually becomes president and Barack Obama has been the biggest spender on both campaigns from the last eight presidential races (Ed. note: final costs of the on-going race are not in yet). But, and this may come as a surprise, the cost per vote is half of what it costs in India.
EU to sanction Russians over Navalny poisoning. European Union foreign ministers backed a Franco-German plan to impose sanctions on Russians suspected of poisoning Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny with a nerve agent.
Nigeria disbands dreaded special police units. This happened after days of widespread protests. The Special Anti-Robbery (SARs) Unit was accused of a slew of human rights violations including murder, brutality, and corruption. Officers from the former group will be redeployed as investigations into alleged abuses are being conducted. There is however a sense of spiraling chaos as (possibly up to) 11 persons who were protesting in Lagos were shot by the police and 2,000 inmates had escaped in a prison break in Benin City a few days before. Stay posted for more.