Compass World: Korea-Japan Trade War Escalates



Mexico Increasingly Unsafe for Journalists
Mexico is becoming increasingly dangerous for journalists, NPR reports. In fact, earlier this year Mexico surpassed Syria as the most deadly country for journalists, with 12 journalists already killed in 2019. Observers point to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s combative attitude toward the media as a likely cause of the violence. An editor for a magazine in Mexico points out that state and local officials now mimic the president, which may exacerbate an already dangerous set of circumstances. Federal officials in Mexico have found that most murders of journalists involve local government officials. Obrador’s government has promised to strengthen laws protecting journalists, as most critics claim existing laws are insufficient.


South Korea-Japan Trade War Escalates
The ongoing trade war between South Korea and Japan continues to escalate, with both governments retaliating against the other’s trade policy. According to Yonhap News Agency, South Korea is planning to remove Japan from its trading whitelist, which is a list of South Korean trading partners with export privileges. In August, Japan removed South Korea from its own list of preferred trading partners, citing allegedly unfair trade practices. Last week, on September 11, South Korea filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization over Japan's curbs on exports of key industrial materials to Seoul. While the trade dispute is centered around compliance with one another’s trade regulations and restrictions, there is a historical element in play as well, with many experts regarding Japan’s colonial past as a central concern.



Qatar Expands Relationships in East Africa
Qatar is seeking to expand its economic development projects in East Africa in order to strengthen its regional relationships there. Qatar is planning to develop a port in Hobyo, Somalia, as part of its effort to develop closer relationships in the region. The increased aid has come after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other Gulf States enacted an embargo on trade with Qatar. Somalia refused to join this blockade, making it a natural partner for Qatar. The United Arab Emirates has increased internal tensions in Somalia to weaken the Mogadishu-based government’s authority in an effort to promote Emirati commercial interests.



Russian Priests Take to the Air in Fight Against Sin
Russian priest Alexander Goryachev has boarded a plane every September for the past 14 years to use icons in a battle against sin in the city of Tver. This year, he and his colleagues poured out 70 liters of holy water when they passed over the city. He has had to take special measures for the trip, such as using a chalice instead of the normal aspergillum to disperse the water in order to prevent backsplash. Goryachev insists that his trips have had a history of success, citing the example of a man who saw the icon-clad plane flying overhead and subsequently made the decision to quit drinking. Although the story has drawn mockery from news media in Russia, Goryachev nevertheless continues to believe in the positive effect of his efforts to make people “stop drinking, taking drugs, and fornicating.”



Ramaphosa Sends Emissaries to Several Countries
Following xenophobic violence in South Africa earlier this month, President Cyril Ramaphosa sent emissaries to several African countries in an attempt to quell any doubts concerning nativist attacks. Ramaphosa announced that the mission, led by former-minister Jeff Radeba, left South Africa on September 15 and is scheduled to visit Nigeria, Niger, Ghana, Senegal, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Zambia. In early September, several native South Africans directed violence at economic migrants, citing increased job-market competition. As a result, Nigeria decided to airlift 600 of its citizens back home, and hundreds of migrants fled to neighboring Zimbabwe and Mozambique.



Migrants Reach Italy in Wake of New Government
Eighty-two migrants have arrived on Italy’s shores, marking an end to former Interior Minister Matteo Salvini’s hard-line entry ban. The new governing coalition, which recently received a vote of confidence by the Italian Parliament, has agreed to relocate the migrants to France, Luxembourg, and Germany, among other countries. Giuseppe Conte, who now enters his second mandate as prime minister, has stated that he is in negotiations for a new relocation agreement with other European states. EU interior ministers are set to meet in Malta on September 23 to hash out some of the plan’s details. However, experts have some misgivings over a new coalition formed of historical opponents (the Democratic Party and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement) and are skeptical that Italy and the other EU states have much stomach for a new resettlement agreement.


Writing contributed by Adam Hilelly, Ben Richmond, and Benjamin Barth.