Muhammad Al-Abdul: "This is a clear act of war!”

Muhammmad Ahsan/ Press TV

Muhammad Al-Abdul claims the Shi’ites must act quickly to attack the Maronites in response to a hospital and school bombing.

On July 14, 1978, leaders from various opposing militias gathered to discuss the issue of the Lebanese civil war, specifically with regards to the Maronites. Tensions have existed between the Maronites and Shi’ites for centuries, and has claimed thousands of innocent lives. 

Earlier this year, the Shi’ites had suspected the Maronites of bombing a hospital and school, further intensifying the conflict. Famous Shi’ite cleric Muhammad Al-Abdul has interpreted this as a call for action, with the action indicative of war. He also believes in forming a united Shi’ite nation which fights against the oppression of Israel. 

Muhammad Al-Abdul has received backing and support from "Syed" Abbas Al-Musawi, who is a prominent Shi’ite based in Lebanon. Al-Musawi claims that the only way Shi’ites will be victorious is when "all other factions are eliminated”. He also emphasized that “only Muslims can rule other Muslims”, and thus, Lebanon must have a Muslim President. 

The secularists of Lebanon agreed to support the Shi’ites with 1,000,000 Lebanese pounds on the condition of cutting all economic and military ties with Israel. In response to the offer, the Shi’ites ended their relationship with Israel. 

Israel had a strategic importance in this conflict, as they trained Lebanese troops in the South. The only two figures who were initially against Israel are Abbas Al-Musawi, and Nabih Berri. 

As the conflict was in place, another tragedy occurred which further heated the discussion. Ragheb Harb, an anti-Israeli Imam’s family was murdered but the Maronites as his guards failed to perform their job successfully and fell asleep at night. Despite the sadness and disparity, he showed courage as a Shia Muslim and claimed he was “sick” of his current life and wanted to move on.

The Maronites also left his wife’s ear back at the murder scene for reasons unknown till now. Ragheb responded by simply stating “She wore a hijab anyways”. Tough love.

Muhammad Al-Abdul responded by saying this was a clear indication of war, and claimed that the Maronites will move on with their Horrendous acts. He also emphasized the possibility of his family being murdered as he stated, “Maybe my family will be kidnapped, who knows?".

Ragheb later had his entire security staff publicly executed.

Abbas Al-Musawi and Muhammad Al-Abdul stated that the Maronites’ attacks have “insulted the glory of Islam” and now, as Al-Musawi stated, it is not “time for talk, it's time for action”.


Fierce Battle for Power in Sengoku Japan

Anastasia Safina/The Atlantic

Discussions over who will become Shogun have heated up significantly since the assassination of a member of the Sengoku war council, Oda Nobunaga. Recently, multiple battles have been fought in Kyoto, in which all participants had the goal to emerge as the victor, in order to heighten the chances of becoming Shogun. 

On Saturday morning, immediately following the news of their fellow member being killed, the other council members instantly sprang into action, disputing over how to act in accordance to this shocking event. They ultimately decided to have Takeda Shingen, “The Tiger of Kai” and a master of cavalry with an unparalleled army, become the de-facto Shogun, by unanimous vote. 

However, before the war council was able to discuss further, the Japanese Emperor invited all the members to a tea party, to “thank the men for the work that they have done.” The members of the council were considerably suspicious due to the timing of the invitation. All members were quite adamant of the presence of their taste testers. This suspicion even led Takeda Shingen to have a double attend the tea party. 

Suddenly, as if planned, several things happened at once. A messenger arrived, evidently exhausted, and informed the council that fellow member, Hojo Ujiyasu, “The Lion of Sagami”, had sent forth 11 000 footmen and 3000 cavalry to attack Echigo, the province of Uesugi Kenshin, “The Dragon of Echigo”. The army had been seen burning numerous villages, according to the messenger. 

Directly after the delivery of this news, an earthquake occurred. It’s been proven that it originated in the Northern Ise province, and so it was felt especially hard in Kyoto. Unfortunately, due to this earthquake, a dam that was constructed a few years ago had flooded, effectively causing the Kai and Suruga provinces to flood. The war council members, in considerable shock and disarray, began debating on what to do. 

“Takeda’s leadership has caused this problem and he should fix it.” Stated Oichi, “The Battle Flower”, and Ashikaga Yoshiyaki’s, the previous Shogun’s, wife. She said this because of Hojo’s failed attempt to attack Takeda, after his invasion of Uesugi’s province. As a repercussion, Takeda had locked Hojo in his dungeon, and stated that if Hojo’s son, Hojo Ujimasa, acted against Takeda, he would kill his father. 

Eventually, Hojo committed seppuku. To make things worse, the Emperor removed Takeda from the Shogun position, discovering that Takeda Shingen had brought in a body double to the tea party. He was “gravely offended,” according to an envoy of the Emperor. 

And thus, a bloody battle for the position of Shogun ensued. The 10 000 of Mori’s men that were stationed in Kyoto, and 5000 soldiers that were already there, as well as Otomo Sorin’s, or “Don Francisco’s”, 5000 troops began fighting each other. Then in a different location, Ashikaga Yoshiyaki attacked Hojo Ujimasa’s troops, who had wanted to assault Uesugi. This caused a huge devastation amongst Hojo’s men. If this was not enough, in Echigo province, Date Masamune, “The One-Eyed Dragon” attacked Uesugi with 5000 footmen and 1000 cavalry. 18000 of Uesugi’s men defended the Echigo province. 

The main contenders of the struggle for Shogun were Mori Motonari, “The Peerless Strategist”, a master of an “incomparable” navy, who has been known for his balance in diplomacy and conquest. Although known for this, many council members opposed the possibility of him becoming Shogun. Hojo Ujiyasu and Shimazu Yoshihiro were strong supporters of Mori coming into power. However, they both died. Shimazu was killed by his own people, due to his severe mistreatment of them, and as mentioned before, Hojo committed seppuku. 

Additionally, the Emperor publically denounced Mori Motonari. Because only the Emperor can recognize someone in order to become the Shogun, this leaves virtually no chance for Mori to be appointed to the Shogun position. However, he still believes that because he has never even seen the Emperor’s face, that the Emperor who denounced him was fake. At this statement, the other council members jumped up in outrage, accusing Mori numerous times of being a traitor to the country and to his people.

The other powerful contender was the previously mentioned Takeda Shingen. He has been known to have never lost a battle. He was closely supported by Tokugawa Ieyasu, “The Light of the East”, who was a trusted retainer of Oda Nobunaga, and an infamously cunning and patient man. These two men supported each other, and worked together in order to go against Mori. 

After these series of chaotic events took place, these three men were not hesitant to express their dislike for each other. When discussing who would be better suited for the role of power, Tokugawa stated “The Shogunate is a position full of honor, and so this position should be held by a person of honor.” This statement clearly showed that Tokugawa believed that Mori was not an honorable man. He additionally stated that Mori was not liked by anyone, not in the council, not in the country, and not even by God (referring to the Emperor). Mori, in response, boldly said “As Shogun, you don’t have to trust me, you just have to obey me.” His extremely direct and blunt statement shocked the rest of the council, causing many of them to shout out in anger and protest. 

Both sides ultimately came to the conclusion that a battle was the best course of action. They decided that whoever would win this battle, either Mori or Takeda, will then become Shogun, and hopefully then, all matters will be resolved.

Who will win?

‘Let’s Make Herstory’: The UNHRC’s Fight for Women’s Rights

Vanessa Catenacci/The New York Times

This weekend, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) engaged in an intense debate on how to ensure international human rights for women. Over the past century, women have gained the right to vote, run for political office, go to school, and be considered a legal ‘persons’ in many countries. Yet despite the progress made, in many areas of the world women are still denied basic rights.

The UNHRC is comprised of over 50 countries that have come together to implement resolutions towards the advancement of equality for women. Through the discourse, it could be seen that the majority of countries were dedicated towards this goal. However, there were many different viewpoints on how to tackle the issue at hand.

Countries such as Iraq and Rwanda believed that education was the key to providing women with equal rights. They insisted that both education promoting respect towards women and ensuring women were able to go to school were highly important. The delegate from Rwanda pressed this issue, stating:

“Women themselves believe that they are less than men and they themselves believe that do not have the right to an education…we must make sure that women have the ability to go to school and want to go to school, as this will allow them to open themselves up to representation on a more political level.”

Yet many delegates disagreed with this approach. The delegate of Israel expressed the belief that religion lay at the root of the problem, citing that in some Middle Eastern countries the primary religion contradicted the equality that they were trying to achieve and the education that women would receive. 

Other countries expected a more immediate solution. The delegate of Sweden expressed that education was indeed vital to promoting equal rights, but also emphasized the need short-term initiatives. The delegate proposed the regulation of non-discriminatory practices in the workforce, as well as offering assistance to victims of sexual assault. 

Discourse continued for hours, each delegate arguing for their own approach to the issue. Finally, a working paper surfaced, presented by the delegate of Sweden. The working paper addressed the implementation of non-discriminatory practices towards women in the workforce and strict policies against sexual assault. It also recommended that the UNHRC subsidize nations to provide resources to women who had been victims of sexual assault or discriminated against. Finally, it proposed the implementation of economic sanctions against countries that would not support regulating non-discriminatory practices.

Initially, the paper was met with mixed reviews. The delegate of the UAE proposed the question as to who would determine what was unjust discrimination in reference to how workplace discrimination would be judged. Other delegates echoed this sentiment, noting the vagueness and subjectivity of the resolution.

Despite the dissident voices, the overwhelming majority of delegates supported the promise the resolution held. Germany firmly stated its support:

“This resolution allows for both long term and short terms solutions and increases accountability of countries in terms of discriminatory practices by proposing economic sanctions against those countries with inherent discrimination.”

Overall, after a few small amendments and hours of debate, the final working passed with over 2/3rd of the vote. The committee is now back to the drawing board, hoping to pass resolutions related to women’s education and domestic violence. With one day left in the meeting, there is still a lot of work to do, but the UNHRC’s progress is already beginning to make history.


Eastern Bloc at Ease after Resolutions made for Communist Integration

Harleen Sangha/The Washington Post

After the controversial divide between the Capitalist and Socialist structure, two resolutions have finally been passed in the Council of Economic Assistance (COMECON) in the year 1987. 
While countries like Ukraine and Poland supported capitalizing, most other countries wished to keep the Socialist structure. Capitalizing is following the decentralization strategy, giving the power back to different states and enabling autonomy, whereas Socialism focuses on the centralized system, where all power is given to Russia. 
The Czechoslovakian Republic stated comments for keeping Socialism saying things like how the nation would be in shambles if the Communist system was implemented. They also stated that they can keep the Socialist model by investing in the economy and planning and focusing again. 
After coming to a consensus that the economy must be saved and the rebellious groups must be dealt with, the Republic of Poland, Gorbachev, and Shevardnadze came together and wrote out resolution 2.3.2. 
This resolution mainly states how the USSR will be more democratic, how COMECON members may intervene rebel groups, an increase in the development of the agricultural industry, the trade of natural resources for education and industry production, and cooperation with the West.
There is slow progress being taken towards a more democratic process of transitioning into Communism. It is debatable whether it may be appropriate to play such a game with civilians. In the next election, there may only be Communist voters and members running for state. Eight years later, all will be eligible to vote, however, staunch Communist members are still the only ones to run, locking the system into a cycle of Communist beliefs and notions. 
The eight years has been described as a trick to lure people in after such a long time simply because they wish to vote and that is the only system present there to stop the USSR collapsing, especially during such a tough economic situation and the ongoing Cold War. 
Following the passing of this resolution, the delegate of Ukraine stated their remarks on this mere victory, “Stalinist countries weren’t very cooperative but through truth and progressive policies and democracy we were able to overcome progressivism and able to give power back to the people.”
At the same time, resolution 2.3.4 was also passed, primarily focused on the development economy and technological expansion. This was passed by the Head of Science and Georgia. Idealistic approaches like taxing incomes over 2 million dollars at a rate of 90% were included.
What is in store for the USSR in such absurd circumstance and whether or not this will work; only time will tell.


Madeline Robertson/The New Yorker

The Amal Movement has negotiated deals amongst each other to help stranded Shia Muslims, and provide them assistance with healthcare, and food. This is in order to help struggling Shia's come together and get the resources they need.
The Shias have been a deprived minority in Lebanon for many years now, and a proper government system is needed to be established. Meaning, there needs to be equal representation of religion in the government, not just it solely focused on one religious group.
To help equalize the discrimination in the Shia community, it has also been decided to remove their practicing religion from their identity cards, and not make that the focus of a person.
As well, the Amal Movement has decided to agree to a non-aggression pact with the Secular Group, and put forward a proposal with an alliance. It has been agreed that a ban between the Amal and the LRF so they do not go in to each other's territories, and tensions will not occur.
Many Shia people in Lebanon are living in extremely poor conditions in the countryside, forcing them to join the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) just so they can get the basic necessities they need to survive. To help prevent this from happening, the Amal Movement has made moves to open some of the universities in Beirut to stranded Shia Muslims, and provide them with food, and some reassurance.
The Amal Movement has also made plans in regarding healthcare. They will begin to hire their Militia to build hospitals, and utilize the available funds they have so they can help the Shia people. They will provide free healthcare, as well as security and protection for these clinics, in case any enemies of the Shias try to destroy it. The Amal Movement as well plans to use Militia members as a workforce to start construction on the clinics as soon as possible.
"I am extremely pleased with the decisions we have made," said a hopeful Musa al-Sadr, co-founder of the Amal movement, and supporter of the Shia people. "I'm very grateful that we could get this far in helping the deprived people without using any sort of violence or excessive force." This could mean less fighting amongst the Shias and other enemies, and bring them together to receive the care they need to survive. 
The Shia's have not yet had any representative comment on these decisions made by the Amal Movement, but as development continues updates will be sure to come. Many families will be sure to receive a great amount of help. For now, the Shia people have something to be grateful for and look towards the future with bright hopes for their wellbeing. They will no longer have to be forced by hunger to join a militia in order to receive food and aid, and they can all come together in order to receive aid and a sense of hope.


Civilian Attacked During Thebes Festival Under Akhenaten’s Rule

Harleen Sangha/The Washington Post

Only chaos was born during the 6th year of Akhenaten’s reign when a devotional civilian who attended the Thebes festival, held particularly for the sun disc, Aten, was ruthlessly attacked by a terrorist, not confirmed as an individual or group act, who was making statements against the support for the Hittite empire. 
In this ongoing conflict between the Mitannis, a Syrian empire who have been allied with Egypt in the past, and the Hittites in Anatolia, there is much to be discussed and done. As both sides ask for aid from the Pharaoh for the war waging between both parties, the council of Akhenaten was conflicted and concerned as to which side to choose, or whether to choose a side at all. 
While members such as the great Nefertiti, the king’s royal wife, believed that the Mitannis are the ones to be trusted because they agree to convert the Atenism and based on her avid support for the king and his decisions. However, these such decisions cannot be seen as credible as the council saw a fair amount of condemnation of the forgery of documents from Ptahmose, Royal Secretariat. On the contrary, members like Rib-Hadda, the King of Byblos believed that the Hittite’s offer for the help in the development of Egypt’s iron industry was a more entertaining proposal, especially in wake of the economic condition of Egypt presently. 
When looking for alternate solutions on conversion of the populace to Atenism, Ahmose, the Overseer of Upper Egypt, suggested that there may be a festival held in honour of Aten, as a form of intricate propaganda for the conversion campaign and a means for reaching economic stability once again. 
However, it is important to note how figures like Horemheb, the General and cousin of the King, constantly stressed the need for more funding the stationing of troops for more protection of the citizens and royal members during this arduous dilemma. He stated that this happened because, “[The council was] bickering over marriage and kingdoms, wasn’t [using the time] to put up security. Years of being a general payed off, [however] I warned them they never listened.”
General Horemheb also clarifies the use of the soldiers as, “[I] wouldn’t give anyone [the soldiers at this time], the men might be used to kill others rather than do their duty to defend. [I] only rent the soldiers and don’t own them, so I don’t give [them] now.” 
In response, Tutankhaten, the Prince, stated how this was a small festival to being with and did not seem to need security. As of now members like Nefertiti and Ahmose agree that terrorism and their organization must be addressed and the innocent must be protected. Negotiation with the organization may have to happen.
Shortly afterwards, the council decided as a whole in supporting the Hittite Empire despite the attack primarily for their iron resources and seeing it as the best solution for Egypt as of now. The Mitannis have not responded yet, however we can only speculate as to whether or not it will be hostile, as only time can tell.


Nothing’s Off the Table in Sengoku Japan

Lauren Doyle/The Globe and Mail

All is apparently fair in love and war in Sengoku Japan. As the lords of Feudal Japan fought amongst themselves to resolve the Battle of Kyōtō, the room was rocked with scandal after scandal. The families in the room fought tooth and nail against each other, sacrificing everything and everyone necessary to rise through the ranks and hold the true power in Japan.
The word feudal in Japan indicates prominent families and vicious warlords, and the room certainly emanated an air of tension as the meeting continued. The daimyo, otherwise known as warlords, wheeled their power and influence without shame and with intended malice.
Daimyō Takeda Shingen captured Hōjō Ujiyasu and kept him in his dungeon as he demanded surrender from Mōri Motonari’s forces in the Battle of Kyōtō.
The meeting intensified after word spread that Hōjō Ujiyasu had committed seppuku, the act of performing ritual disembowelment in order to die honorably in Lord Takeda’s dungeon, which signaled Hōjō Ujiyasu’s eldest son, Hōjō Ujimasa, to inherit his father’s troops and title. In a moment of antagonism between Ujimasa and his father-in-law Takeda Shingen, Ujimasa boldly stated, “And as I took your daughter I will take your land, and take revenge for my father’s death.”
Political status constantly shifted as one after another shocking revelation trickled into the meeting.
For sending a body double to the Emporer’s tea-party, the Emporer of Japan revoked Takeda Shingen’s shōgunate status, which only drove the members of the meeting wilder with ambition to achieve the honorable position of shōgun.
Despite plenty of veiled and unveiled threats being tossed across the table, Mōri Motonari, known as a powerful in both battle and diplomacy, declared that his desire to be shōgun was not “an act of usurpation.”
However, he spoke with authority when he rebutted a suggestion that he was untrustworthy by saying, “As shogun, you don’t have to trust me, you just have to obey me.”
Lord Mōri’s two biggest supporters have both turned up dead during this conflict. Hōjō Ujiyasu committed seppuku in Takeda Shingen’s dungeon and daimyō Shimazu Yoshihiro was murdered by his own people in a bloody uprising.
The members of the meeting were constantly on edge, and always unsure of who was and who was not in the Emperor’s good graces. Despite the fighting among members of the meeting, the goal of the feudal lords was to come to a resolution over the Battle of Kyoto.
Lord Takeda frequently offered unpunished surrender to Lord Mōri’s troops, though Mōri stood confident in his belief that his troops will win the battle. Mōri’s honorable stance about fighting was admirable in its sportsmanship, “Just like I’m willing to accept full responsibility of a country if I win, I am willing to respect full consequences if I lose.”
Despite the shared desire to bring peace to Kyoto, the only realistic path to a conclusion seems to be reached by complete slaughter before surrender. The only question now is whose troops will be left lying on the battlefield when the bloodshed in Kyoto is finally over.



Iman Sheikh/BBC

With Britain deciding to leave the EU, many citizens quickly became distraught over what this would mean for their residency. 

When asked about what will happen to the residence rights of citizens currently granted a “Right of Permanent Residence” within the EU, UK’s Prime Minister, Theresa May replied, “We have come to an agreement with the EU that there will be a reciprocal agreement in the way that people that are currently working and have steady jobs will be asked to apply for a permanent status card. They will be fast-tracked on that, and the people who want to apply for this will be welcomed to, in the future.” 

When asked the same question, later on, Chief Negotiator of the Article 50 Task Force, appointed by the European Commission Michel Barnier replied, “Permanent residents already in the UK will be granted citizenship in the UK and EU if they would like for a period of 2 years until it is renegotiated.”

Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier, Didier Seeuws (Head of the GSC Special Task Force in the UK, appointed by the European Council), and Greg Clark (Secretary of State for International Development) collaborated to create Resolution 2.1 which authorizes the UK to limit the number of immigrants entering the UK for a term of 2 years. However, immigration will only be permitted by those who have work visas which will only be granted to those who show proof offered employment by a UK corporation. 

In response to this clause within Resolution 2.1, Mrs. May made the point of asking what would become of those who wish for or have educational visas. Mr. Barnier answered that they would look very friendly upon students such as university students who have or wish for educational visas. 

As Mr. Clark put it, the necessity of a work visa for residency is because, “Under the terms, we only take immigrants that have jobs and will be able to support themselves as the UK is not in the position to financially support these immigrants.”

Prime Minister Theresa May, Alun Cairns (Secretary of State for Wales), James Brokenshire (Secretary of State for Northern Ireland) and Donald Tusk (President of the European Council) also collectively formed resolution 2.4 which emphasizes the fact that any EU citizens working within the UK can remain to do (by being given a permanent residency) if they are guaranteed a permanent or long term career by any known corporation which follows workplace regulations set out by the UK and EU separately.

This will work under the set agreements that, “The process to gain permanent residence status will be accelerated for EU citizens within the UK and this will be upheld if the EU provides same. Visas for education and extended stay will be granted on a more lenient basis rather than work visas. Authorizes the UK to limit the number of immigrants to be accepted into the UK for a term of five years. At the expiry of these terms, a new greater number will be negotiated; 100,000 immigrants from the EU will be accepted within the first 2 years, and slowly increased over the period of five years to a minimum of 230,000 with a cap of 300,000 immigrants.” 

Both Resolution 2.1 and 2.4 follow the basis of the need for work visas for an accelerated permanent residency and limiting the number of immigrants for 2 years, or more. Due to these common resolutions with minor differences, both resolution members were able to compromise and merge resolutions. 

This gives us Resolution 3.1, which highlights important attributes of both of the previous resolutions, and was able to put to rest the dispute between the EU and UK about the topic at hand of immigration.

China’s Attitude to Trump’s Tweet: “No war would start."

Queena Li/Al Jazeera

China’s stance about Donald Trump’s tweet about the South China Sea: “A tweet is just a tweet, a war cannot start over a tweet.”

Trump tweets about China’s current navigation in the South China Sea on Feb 11, 2017: “China is being super aggressive! SAD! We must respond, I’ve got the best people talking. It’ll be EASY D!”. The delegate of both the United States and China has confirmed that the message would not affect the relationship between two countries.

Trump as a Twitter user had tweeted much personal judgment about issues of China. Wang YiWei, a professor of international relationship at Beijing's elite Renmin University, had stated that some tweets of Trump’s comment, for example, on the South China Sea and “One China” policy, makes the public confused¹.

During a break of the United Nation Security Council’s debate on the South China Sea, both the delegate of China and the delegate of the US has confirmed that the words of what Trump just tweeted would not affect the two countries’ attitude.

“The United States and China have clarified that they’re both exercising their right and freedom to navigation and therefore they do not intend on having any military motion. However, the United States wants to get a partial view of what the topic is by sending in two American naval ships to see what Japan and China have been doing.” said the delegate of United State.

The delegate of the United States clarifies that the motion of both countries is just regular-based navigation, doesn’t contain any implied meaning.

For Trump’s use of term “aggressive,” the delegate of China emphasizes that China is and is willing to be a peace-loving country. In the current state, the situation will not change significantly unless there is some true impact on China's sovereignty. The representative of China states that:

“A tweet is just a tweet; a war cannot start over a tweet. The United States is simply using it’s right and freedom to navigation so nothing can really be done at this point. But until the South China Sea is facing an immediate threat, China would peacefully navigate around the water.” 

Both Countries have the stance that the South China Sea situation will not have a sudden transaction. 

Donald Trump has soon recalled the tweet and starts tweets about his daily life; the public's focus turned to his use of the words "EASY D" and argued around the meaning of this word.

Rising global temperatures complicate balance between environment and economy Economies relying on fossil fuels struggle to transition to renewable energy

Bo Jang/The Varsity

The recent United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, France, brought attention to the fragile balance between the economies of developing countries that heavily rely on the fossil fuel industry and the need for action against rising global temperatures.

Since the 19th century, there has been a shocking 0.8 rise in global temperatures, leaving devastating results. With the rising sea levels threatening to flood coastlines and rising surface temperatures drying agricultural land, the pressure to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases only increases.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ultimately addressed these issues, suggesting that a reduction in the use of fossil fuels is the best approach to reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing global temperature to rise. Moreover, many countries supported the idea of replacing such fossil fuels with renewable energy, such as wind, solar, and hydroelectric power. 

Delegates from the Netherlands and France suggested a resolution involving carbon taxes to discourage both the use and exportation of fossil fuels. Small coastal countries that were heavily impacted by the recent rise in sea levels, also emphasized the idea of implanting tariffs and taxes on activities contributing to the production of greenhouse gases. The United States and Israel proposed a more encouraging approach, focusing more upon promoting and funding renewable energy use. 

Despite these proposals, the true conflict lies in the reality that such replacements are expensive; there are many countries in which such a change would be economically detrimental. 

Questions were raised regarding the numerous developing countries that depend on the production and distribution of fossil fuels to fuel the economy. Not only would replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy sources be harmful to their economy, the transition would be impossible altogether without significant financial aid from other countries.

Trinidad and Tobago is one of the many developing nations that expressed their concern over the movement for renewable energy. 

“We are so reliant on fossil fuels,” states their delegate. “We have already done as much as we can to minimize our exports; any more reductions and we will no longer have the funds for agriculture and other necessary aspects of society.”

The Paris United Nations Climate Change Conference continues to strives for a compromise that ultimately protects both the environment and the fragile economies of developing

Religion sparks further conflict in an unstable Japan Violent Christian extremists put strain on relationship between Christianity and Buddhism

Bo Jang/The Varsity

In the year 1570, a religious crisis broke out when a group of Christian radicals attempted to murder followers of the Buddhist faith in Southern Japan. Many innocent villagers were killed in the attack, straining the previously-peaceful relationship between Japanese Buddhists and Christians.

Since the Portuguese converted many of the Japanese leaders to Christianity, civilians have been influenced to follow suit. Despite this major shift, the two major religions of Christianity and Buddhism have managed to maintain peaceful relations until now. 

However, recent uprisings of both Buddhist radical groups and Christian extremists have disrupted the peace. The Christian’s open act of violence left angry Buddhists and an infuriated Rennyo, a head priest heavily affiliated with the Buddhist radical group Ikkō Ikki, demanding justice.

“Peace-loving, innocent villagers practicing their faith were unjustly murdered,” states Rennyo. “Christianity is evil for provoking genocide.” 

However, others argued that not all Christians take part in radical groups; it would be wrong to inflict severe punishments or condemn the religion as a whole.

Further conflict broke out when delegates began to side with a specific religion. Supporters of Buddhism were in favour of taking action to target Christianity, demanding that Christians “take their religion back to their Western countries.” 

Mōri Motonari also proposed a more forceful approach to the issue with an impartial standpoint, expressing that religious persecution should be punishable by death. Motonari’s directive has already been passed in his own province of Aki. With its apparent effectiveness, Motonari suggested that his directive be passed throughout all of Japan.

However, the delegates looked unfavourably on these violent approaches, considering the current state of Japan. Religious tolerance would be a much more peaceful approach to the issue, avoiding the chance of another dreaded war. 

Currently, unity is crucial in Japan. Tokugawa Ieyasu, daimyō of a minor house and retainer of Lord Ōda, was one of many committee members who repeatedly emphasized that provinces must work together in order to restore prosperity across the nation.

With clans suffering from famine, struggling to obtain resources, and now further conflicted by religious disparity, it is more important than ever for the people of Japan to set aside trivial differences and focus on progressing as a whole nation. 

In time like these, it is important for Japan to maintain peaceful relationships amongst its clans to further unify the destabilized nation. Japan currently stands in a sensitive state that cannot risk the dangers of a religious conflict that can certainly be avoided.


Paris Peace Conference: creation of a safe haven fro Jews

Lauren MacDonald/ Haaretz

In the autumn of 1919, a treaty for the creation safe haven for the Jewish population was passed, by vote, which was created following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire. This declaration comes two years following the Balfour Declaration, issued by Britain, which in part called for the “establishment in Palestine of a nation for Jewish people.” This new territory, a legally Jewish state, is called Israel. 
Though a turbulent dispute resulted, primarily between Arab and Zionist leaders, a peaceful agreement was reached, late afternoon on Saturday. 
Saionji Kimmochi, the Japanese delegate notes that they were “all for the creation of Israel,” and echoes the sentiment that “[he] believe the Jews should have a homeland.” This statement is, to the joy of the Jewish public, and was supported by France, who when asked on their views regarding the creation of Israel, simply responded “I signed a treaty approving it.” 
In fact, the Arab delegation leader, Emir Faisal, was also content with the results of the conference itself, telling Haaretz that: 
“It allows for the Arab people to remain in the country, as citizens, and no Arab people can be displaced, as part of the constitution of the government.” 
Mr. Chiam Weizmann, from the Zionist Organization was also willing to issue a statement on the current state of affairs:
“The creation of Israel has been something long awaited by all Zionists. It is the Promise Land and [we] hope to establish strong ties with other countries.”
It appears that Zionists are pleased with their sovereignty as well as ability to make decisions primarily for their own needs (a situation that many did not have the luxury of in previous countries they may have lived in). 
It is apparent that collaborative, diplomatic means is, in fact, the solution and has allowed for respectful relations between the historically unagreeable parties. 
In addition, the population will be governed by a democratic system, to ensure representation of those living in Israel. There is to be a set quota of for government representation of 55% Jewish and 45% Palestinian citizens; this quota hopes to facilitate less class division and disparity in the government. 
Only one question lies: Should a democratically elected government be given an unequal advantage over Palestinians, even if minor? 
Both Jews and Palestinians have faced adversity; the Jews faced displacement after World War One, and the Palestinians after enduring a foreign and unknown nation to act for the rights of the Palestinian population.

Chinese Ship “rams” into Japanese ship

Muhammad Ahsan/Press TV

Debate on the South China sea conflict further intensifies as Chinese ship causes unintentional damage to Japanese ship. 

On Friday, February 10, 2017, the United Nations Security Council gathered to debate on a variety of issues. One of the most prevalent issues was the South China Sea conflict.

China has been well-known to be dominant in Eastern Asia due to its economic progress and strong military, along with alliances with other major countries such as Russia. As a result of their power, countries like Vietnam, Philippines, and Malaysia are quite intimidated. 

China has been slowly gaining area in the South China Sea by building artificial Islands which are mainly used for oil transportation and military uses, such as Navy exercises. Countries that supposedly have claims in the South China Sea are Taiwan, Brunei, Vietnam, and Malaysia. 

The US has had a fair amount of involvement in this conflict, and have had a mostly anti-Chinese stance. They’ve shown sympathy for Vietnam and the Philippines, and claim China should not enter disputed waters in order to prevent further conflict. But according to some, that statement is hypocritical because the United States of America is a nation which has repeatedly violated the sovereignty of various nations, such as Iraq.

The delegation of China at the council made it very clear to all other delegations present that they had the most right to navigate the waters, claiming “we have historical ties”. Concerning island building, the delegate of China simply stated, “We have the right to do so,” further adding on, “It's our sea”. Also, the delegation claimed they use the right to navigation, which no country should disagree with. 

While the West had many questions to ask, the Chinese delegation appreciated if the US only had a say on it, and nothing more than that. The delegation claimed that the US “should not try to patrol it,” referring to the space in the sea which has Chinese military bases. 

A major question was if the Chinese government would let their alliance with North Korea determine the possibility of the abuse of those man-made islands. As North Korea and South Korea’s tensions grow, it is possible that the DPRK would turn towards one of their only allies to seek assistance and strategic use of those islands. In an interview with Press TV, the delegation of China confirmed that “anyone who wants it for military use” will not be given the permission to do so. 

While the debate was already heated, a major problem occurred, where a Chinese ship rammed into a Japanese ship. The pilot was allegedly intoxicated, and this collision caused an oil leak polluting Filipino waters and affecting their main source of income, fish. Countries such as Russia raised questions about whether the news was correct, as the first organization to report on the event was the western news outlet known as The New York Times. Despite the extreme criticism, the Chinese delegation expressed their condolences to the Japanese passengers, and promised to pay for the damage of the ship, and to clean the oil leak for the better of the Philippines.



Iman Sheikh/BBC

Alexander Yakovlev is the chief of Party Ideology and is known to be the ‘Godfather of Glasnost’, as many consider him to be the intellectual force behind Mikhail Gorbachev’s reform program of glasnost and perestroika. However, when discussing the stagnant economies of the Eastern Bloc, Yakovlev was suddenly arrested under the pretense of having “flip flop” ideologies. 

Yakovlev was then sent to prison causing him to be unable to participate in the Council any longer (including any voting). 

Yakovlev is one of the main advocates of perestroika; the restructuring of the Soviet Union. He is a Soviet politician and a member of Politburo and Secretariat of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. 

The programs of glasnost and perestroika helped take the Soviet Union in a positive direction. Glasnost, meaning ‘openness’ refers to the state of being transparent to the public. While perestroika means ‘restructuring’ referring to the reformation of the Soviet political and economic system. 

Perestroika allows more independent actions from various ministries and introduces market-like reforms. The goal is to not end the economy’s command but rather to make socialism work efficiently for the purpose of bettering the ability to meet Soviet citizens’ needs. 

Yakovlev believes that the nations of the Eastern Bloc must collectively work together in order to attack mutual problems and tasks. Czechoslovakia (along with Georgia and Poland), agrees with this stance and believes nations must work together to fund projects. Czechoslovakia humbly spoke, “If one of our nations fail, we all fail.” 

Fortunately for Yakovlev, Czechoslovakia was quick to offer him asylum by petitioning for his release. Regardless of other nations who displayed their hostility towards his release, military conflict did not occur nor will it in terms of his release.

Russia “More concerned on global impact” of refugee crisis

Muhammad Ahsan/ Press TV

On the morning of February 10, 2017, delegates representing various countries around the world gathered at the Human Rights Council at Toronto to discuss a vast amount of issues. The main debate throughout the day was the Syrian refugee crisis which has taken the world by storm. 

The delegation of Russia emphasized that they are “mainly focused to mend the relationship,” referring to the strong tensions between the rebels and the Assad administration. 

Being an ally of Syria and a supporter of the Assad administration, when the Russian delegate was asked about the war crimes committed by the Assad administration, the answer was logical and clear, the delegate claimed that Russia is currently “more concerned on global impact”. 

The delegation made it very clear that if the relationship between the rebels and the government continued to worsen, it would make ISIS much stronger and would also become a very dangerous international issue, putting many countries at risk. The delegation showed their country’s concern and worry for the citizens of all countries around the world. 

Western countries raised questions about Russia’s interest for the better of Syrian civilians. Bashar Al-Assad, the president of Syria has met very often with Russian President Vladimir Putin to speak about various middle eastern issues related to Israel and ISIS. The Russian delegation made clear that their only purpose was to ensure peace to an ally and further strengthen economic and military ties. 

Russia has been supporting the current unstable Syrian government in their battle against ISIS intensively since the summer of 2016. The Russian military had conducted around 1,000 airstrikes against ISIS to support and strengthen the Syrian Army’s position. 

Russia has also carried out a successful aerial campaign in Aleppo and played a large role in taking back the city of Aleppo. Furthermore, all military action was a request from the Syrian government, and Iran is also offering support to Damascus for advice related to military action. 

With regards to the refugee crisis, the Syrian delegation strongly encouraged all economically capable countries in the middle east, especially from the Arab coalition, to accept more refugees in order for the fight against ISIS to become easier. Syria also emphasized the importance of European countries keeping their borders open to refugees, as most of them are economically strong and are well established full democracies.



Iman Sheikh/BBC

For quite some time Scotland has been wanting to leave the UK, and this was made clear as day through Scottish Secretary of State David Mundell, who constantly stressed the importance of Scotland to the UK, who did not display any acknowledgment for Scotland’s claims. 

Just as the UK previously did for the EU, Scotland held a referendum for leaving the UK. The results were 51.2% to 48.8% in favour of leaving the UK, however, Scotland remains unsure of how exactly they will do so.

Unfortunately, the people of Britain didn’t take the news of Scotland’s leave well, and expressed their frustration through public destructiveness. 

Due to the apathetic nature of the surrounding nations, Scotland was forced to pass their own resolution “Raindrop, Drop Top, We Have a Free Scot.” Instead of requiring the usual two-thirds majority in order for a resolution to pass, Scotland was given permission to leave the UK if all EU members voted unanimously. 

“Raindrop, Drop Top, We Have a Free Scot” passed, therefore allowing Scotland to leave the UK and become an independent nation apart of the EU. Scotland will also adopt the euro to replace the pound. 

This caused chaos to break loose within the streets of London. Originally the UK and EU had completely different ideas on immigration and refugees. Due to this dispute between the two sides, the UK needed 17 votes as the two-thirds majority in order to pass their resolutions. 

By Scotland switching over to vote with the EU, the UK lost their assurance of obtaining the two-thirds majority. The British people were absolutely outraged.

Boycotting, and flames erupted on the streets within London. To make matters worse for Britain, the pound was dramatically plummeting. 

However, all of this despair and anger proved to be pointless as the UK was still able to hold enough power over the EU. 

In the end, there was a merge of resolutions between the UK and EU, and Scotland slowly became irrelevant to the situation. 

The UK realized that if everyone from the UK voted for their own resolution, they would be able to maintain a majority. Thereafter two more delegates joined the delegation for the EU’s side lessening the difference of power between the two sides even further. Britain’s anger towards Scotland faded and all was well between the two nations. 

Mundell does not wish for the EU and UK to take Scotland’s referendum personally and stated, “We still want the UK to be friends with the Union.”


Interviewing Brazil on Latin America’s Economic Crisis

Vanessa Catenacci/ The New York Times

The Community of Latin American and Caribbean states (CELAC) has been debating since February 10th regarding the current economic crisis within their region. Formed in 2010, the goal of CELAC is to develop a representative regional body that excludes the influence of the United States. Yet, without a global superpower overseeing the committee, the Latin American countries are starkly in contrast to one another, debating from both extreme socialist and capitalist perspectives. The New York Times sat down with the delegate of Brazil, an important moderator of discourse between the two sides of the spectrum, to discuss the future of Latin America. 

Within CELAC there are a lot of different political and economic perspectives. Which economic stance does Brazil commit to?

Brazil: “There is definitely a mixture of both capitalist and socialist perspectives within Brazil’s economy. After eliminating the dictatorship there was a surge in the economy. However continuing to progress from a socialist to a neutral standpoint, Brazil is still seeing large economic problems. Brazil’s stance on economic policy is to find a healthy balance of capitalist and socialist structures.”

How stable is Brazil’s own economy at the moment? 

Brazil: “At the current moment, Brazil is at an economically instable, specifically due to the Rio Olympics that occurred last year. There were two main problems at the time of Rio that resulted in economic instability. First, there was a presidential transition near the time of Rio due to an extremely large corruption scandal. In addition, there was also an 8 million dollar over expenditure on the Rio Olympics. Overall this has shaped the instability of the economy of Brazil in recent months.”

Where does CELAC as a whole stand on the economic spectrum? 

Brazil: “ In the aftermath of the Pink Tide, an economic shift towards socialism in Latin America in the early 21st century, many Latin American economies are struggling. As a result, there are the beginnings of a transition from socialist policies to capitalist ones. At the moment, countries such as Cuba and Guyana are dedicated to socialism, whereas Paraguay and Peru insist capitalism is the only option. Most countries within CELAC are torn between these two perspectives.”

How does CELAC, as an international organization, plan to solve Latin America’s economic crisis?

Brazil: “Obviously, the economic crisis is a multi dimensional problem. Specifically, one big thing discussed within CELAC is making each country less dependent on the global powers of the world such as the USA and China. For example, Brazil was very dependent on coal as its main export to China, so when oil prices went down and China stopped importing, the economy took a hard hit. Increasing the amount of exports Latin America is reliant on and encouraging free trade within CELAC as well as globally will help build a more stable economy. In addition, another step forward would be to encourage both capitalist policies such as free trade and socialist policies such as minimum wage in order to boost our economy.”

What areas would Brazil wish to focus on for economic growth?

Brazil: “For Brazil, tourism is already a prominent source of income, whereas other countries such as Paraguay might still be able to explore that sector for economic growth. Overall, Brazil believes that CELAC should start focusing on an increase in manufacturing of goods and exports. The concept of renewable resources was also discussed.”

Should CELAC continue to rely on investment from the United States and China despite negative past experiences?

Brazil: “Going forward based on the past experiences of Brazil and other countries, CELAC should be aware to not put its eggs all in one basket. However, Brazil can safely say the majority of CELAC would still look forward toward trading with the USA and China to establish good relations with such dominant countries.” 

How would your relations with CELAC and the countries involved be affected if you could not reach a consensus? 

Brazil: “I believe that the point of CELAC is to try to appreciate everyone’s viewpoint and accommodate everyone for the most consensual solution. Although there are a lot of conflicting ideologies, I do not believe it would affect Brazil within the committee if there were disagreements. At the end of the day, a resolution passed for Latin America is a resolution passed for Brazil too.”



The New Yorker  

The Amal Movement has been making great strides in trying to accommodate the demands of certain religions regarding equal representation in Lebanon, the government, the military, and its variety of religious sects. As the war continues, they have faced many ongoing problems; individuals being killed and kidnapped simply based on their practicing religion, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) taking over hotels based in Beirut, and the impending pressure being put on the United Nations to take action regarding this issue.  


 As a result of this, the Amal Movement has been working very hard at creating a militia in order to create alliances with the PLO and cease the fighting going on within the city center of Beirut. Many Shia Muslims living in the countryside with a very poor standard of living have been persuaded by the PLO to join their militia in order to receive the basic necessities of living, such as food, water, and shelter. Many have turned against the Lebanese, and have been killing Maronite Christians, Palestinians, or those who have converted from Islam in order to fight with the PLO. The UN has been working very hard at trying to equalize the minorities in the region, and stop the murders and kidnappings. To do so, they have begun the process of appointing leaders, recruiting soldiers, and training them for battle to create a militia.


  The Amal Movement has made strides in organizing and appointing leaders to help lead this militia. This is considered by many delegates a priority, and it is needed in case of any more attacks in Beirut. As well, it can help remove Palestinian refugees stuck in Lebanon. Fortunately, the UN has received great support from the Israeli government, who are willing to supply them with weapons, and help train them in Lebanon, with no conditions in place. As well, the UN has asked Syria to give them arms so they can continue to grow the army. The army also has ideas in attacking the PLO, which many worry might derail their negotiations they had planned originally. It simply would not make sense to fight fire with fire, and one would have to question their ideas regarding a relationship with the PLO.


  "We have finally created a militia with funding from Israel," said Musa Al-Sadr, co-founder of the Amal Movement. "We are definitely showing other sects that we are a force to be reckoned with." Many other delegates have shown great support for the militia. As well, delegates have encouraged the militia to infiltrate the Phoenicia hotel, where PLO members are currently stationed. As well, the committee plans to create official propaganda to spread awareness about this new militia, and create popular support amongst the population. They also plan to appeal to the Islamic State of Israel. They are also focusing on dispatching their soldiers across mainly Shia areas, and focusing on the people who are already fighting, not on preventing future conflicts from occurring. The militia as well decided to ask radical Shias where they got their weapons from, in order to supply their army, and as well ask the Shias where the Palestinians might be residing in Beirut so they can go help them.


  This militia plans to form a somewhat friendly alliance with the PLO, and invite them to negotiate deals. If they agree, conflicts will try to be resolved. If not, the Amal Movement plans to invite them to a Question and Answer period on neutral grounds. As a last resort, if the PLO continues to refuse their offers, the Amal Movement will sign a non-aggression pact with them. As a condition, the PLO-Amal Alliance would agree to release Palestinian prisoners.


  Naim Quesem and Faithi Yakan have both been confirmed as the leaders of the militia. They have both expressed heartfelt passion in order to bring the city together once again as equals. Israel has agreed to train their army, and so far 750 soldiers have been recruited and trained for open combat only. They have agreed to keep training the soldiers for urban warfare as well. So far, this army has made little progress in actually taking action to help the city of Beirut improve as a whole, but as more conflict develops around the region the militia will make great efforts in order to keep everything under control.

China Refuses to Back Down from Nine-Dash Line

Chinese Coast Guard Ship

Chinese Coast Guard Ship

BBC, Iman Sheikh

In the South China Sea, The People’s Republic of China has claimed the largest portion of territory based on a nine-dash line drawn after World War II, which includes the Paracel and Spratly Islands. Despite having made the vague claim public in 1947, China has not formally or specifically defined their claim to the area within the dashes. This claim from China has called forth many disputes amongst other nations who do not recognize China’s declaration or accept its ambiguity. 

China’s primary argument for their claim is based upon historical claims dating back centuries to when the empire first began exploring the sea. The Chinese government claims that they were the first to settle, trade and protect the sea and therefore have a historical legitimacy to a large portion of the region. Allegedly, the Chinese discovered many of the Spratly and Paracel Islands, named the formations, harvested the fish-filled waters, and patrolled the area due to the Chinese Navy.

When asked for a direct statement on their stance on the nine-dash line, China replied, “China will not give up anything in the nine-dash line because we have not only historical but legal claim of it.” China continued on to state, “China does not claim ‘almost, virtually, nearly all,’ or the ‘entire’ South China Sea. It’s the media that keeps highlighting this statement. China's official stance is that it claims all rocks, islands, atolls, and reefs within the nine-dash line.” 

However, over several of the past decades, China has butted heads with Vietnam and the Philippines over various islands. During the council, Japan made the point of how these nations, have claimed parts of the nine-dash line, which contradicts China’s historical claim to the South China Sea.

China then moved on to display Vietnam’s recognition and support of China’s declaration of the South China Sea through a letter they had sent to the Chinese Premiere in 1958. 

Vietnam informed China that it does not recognize China’s nine-dash line as a historical claim. China then proceeded to inquire whether Vietnam is aware of the letter their government wrote in regards to the China’s claim of the South China Sea, who responded that they are aware of the letter but are also aware of China not following all the set promises in the letter since the dispute.

Tension rose between China and Vietnam as the former asked Vietnam if they would retract any other declarations they have made in the past with other nations, as they are doing so with China. Vietnam countered China’s attack by stating that their belief is that the basis of these declarations are the agreement from both nations, and if both parties are unable to uphold the set agreements, the declaration loses its validity. 

Vietnam's' final statement went as follows, “Vietnam is not retracting the declaration between themselves and China, but they will not follow through with the declaration until issues have been resolved.”


UN General Assembly to Reform Response to Ebola Epidemic

Ebola Outbreak

Ebola Outbreak

The Globe and Mail, Lauren Doyle

The Ebola crisis in West Africa struck fear through the globe as the health community was forced to face the prospect of the next widespread deadly pathogen. Though the disease was well contained, it is now apparent that the global community must determine more effective means of handling such an aggressive disease in the future.
Though Canada has had no known cases of Ebola to date, Canada has been very active during the entirety of the crisis. In fact, it was Canada who eventually developed the VSV-EBOV, otherwise known as Vesicular Stomatitis Virus-Ebola Virus vaccine. Though VSV-EBOV was experimental at the time, it proved successful in protecting people in West Africa from contracting the virus.
The UN World Health Committee (WHO) convened earlier to discuss improvements to the plan set in place to deal with major global health crises. In the past, the UN had created successful initiatives such as United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response, in an effort to isolate and safely bury victims of the infection. The success of the Ebola Emergency Response was due to the committee dividing the timeline of the crisis into three sections in order to appropriately manage and deal with each.
The first phase of the outbreak focused on treatment and containment. The World Health Organization founded various treatment centers in countries such as Liberia and Nigeria. Treatment staff were also brought in to not only contain the sick members of the community but to ensure that the rest of the community had not been affected.
The second phase of the outbreak in early 2015 focused on finding cases and reaching out to local communities. WHO was tasked with contact tracing, case management, and laboratory services. 
The third phase incentivized local governments to work with federal governments and international aid agencies. As the third phase took place in late 2015, the World Health Organization was adamant about maintaining the interest of WHO’s partners as the world slowly lost its interest in the illness, despite its still prevalent state in West African countries.
Recently, the WHO has been discussing reforms to the second phase of the outbreak treatment. Suggestions of use of both drones and satellites have been floated by the committee. The interest of the committee is focused on solving issues with the movement of supplies in West Africa, as well as using technology to protect resources and people in rural areas.
Concerns over the invasiveness of certain tactics has been expressed, though countries such as the United States are still pushing for those invasive tactics. Discussion is still being had as to how to move forward with the topic of utilizing drones for surveying medical emergencies.
However, the proposed reforms to the ways in which the World Health Organization deals with large scale epidemics will surely improve the future of WHO’s emergency health response for a healthier future.