Picture: Kyodo News – UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres speaks at a press conference in Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 2022, the 77th anniversary of the US atomic bombing of the western Japan city. There are now fewer than 119,000 officially recognised survivors of the two nuclear attacks, according to government statistics from March, the writer says.
By Shifaan Ryklief
This past week in news from around the world, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on global leaders to ‘stop knocking on doomsday’s door,’ China urges the US to stop meddling in its affairs and the UK prepares for possible power cuts.
Last weekend in central Hiroshima, Guterres was among the leaders who attended the 77th anniversary of the first atomic bomb attack that killed more than 140,000 people.
The horrors endured by the Japanese were due to the atomic bombs dropped by the US, with survivors of the blast “cursed with a radioactive legacy” of cancer and other health issues.
“Tens of thousands of people were killed in this city in the blink of an eye. Women, children and men were incinerated in a hellish fire,” Guterres said. “We must ask: What have we learnt from the mushroom cloud that swelled above this city?”
Looking at the current situation in various parts of the world like the Russia-Ukraine crisis, the China-Taiwan situation as well as in Korea, taking into account the involvement of the US, Guterres noted that today, crises with grave nuclear undertones are spreading fast and said “humanity is playing with a loaded gun”.
There are now fewer than 119,000 officially recognised survivors of the two nuclear attacks, according to government statistics from March. The United States remains the only country ever to have used nuclear weapons in the conflict.
In China, officials said it will resolutely make a fightback each time the US makes a serious provocation that encroaches upon China’s sovereignty and interferes in China’s internal affairs, a foreign ministry spokesperson said on Wednesday.
“China will never allow its national sovereignty and territorial integrity to only be trampled upon and undermined,“ spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a regular news briefing, urging the US to stop its attempt to contain China by using Taiwan.
Wang said that speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan is a major political provocation that upgrades exchanges between the United States and Taiwan.
Pelosi’s visit violated relevant commitments by the US side in the China-US Joint Communique on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations, the one-China principle widely accepted by the international community and confirmed in the UN General Assembly Resolution 2758, and the principle in international law of non-interference in other countries internal affairs, which is enshrined in the UN Charter, he said.
Continuing with news from the US, former president Donald Trump’s home in Palm Beach was raided by the FBI this week as part of the Justice Department’s investigation into Trump’s removal of official government property from the White House at the end of his term.
The agency tasked with preserving government records revealed it had found 15 boxes of presidential records at Mar-a-Lago, with some being classified national security documentation.
“Their job is to conduct investigations in accordance with the law and to not prejudice the rights of the people they are investigating while they do it,” said former federal prosecutor Kristy Parker.
“What we are seeing is a by-the-book process, and that is a good sign that we have an independent Department of Justice.”
Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Tuesday, that US President Joe Biden was not briefed ahead of time about the FBI raid on political rival Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence.
Furthermore, Trump refused to answer any questions during an appearance before a state attorney general on Wednesday and invoked the Fifth Amendment which grants the right to remain silent when questioned by authorities.
“I declined to answer the questions under the rights and privileges afforded to every citizen under the United States Constitution,” Trump said in a statement.
Taking a look at the UK, Bloomberg News reported this week that Britain faces a power crisis that stems from a combined gas shortage as well as the cold weather which could lead to an electricity capacity shortfall of about a sixth of its peak demand.
In the instance where the UK needs to trigger its emergency measures to conserve gas, it would look to cut off its supplies to Belgium and the Netherlands, implement rolling power cuts and ask households to reduce consumption.
And, wrapping up the week, Israel and Palestinian militants declared a truce in Gaza following three days of fighting.
A high-ranking delegation from Egypt arrived in Gaza on Sunday evening to negotiate the ceasefire. Last year, Cairo successfully brokered a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, ending 11 days of fighting.
UN Middle East envoy Tor Wennesland welcomed the truce and thanked Egypt “for its crucial role in establishing the ceasefire” on Twitter.
“The situation is still very fragile, and I urge all parties to observe the ceasefire,” he added.
Ryklief is a multimedia journalist at African News Agency (ANA). Twitter: @FootballFaan