The World in a Flash
The Round-Up this week is short and sweet: we’ve got the resignation of an Israeli political officer, the arrival of US troops in Poland, weather troubles in Europe, and a new cabinet in Canada.
1. Shai Masot Resigns
In the wake of theAl Jazeera investigative documentary ‘The Lobby’ we talked about on the Chatter earlier this week, Shai Masot, a high level political officer at the Israeli embassy in the UK has resigned. Masot was at the centre of the investigation, which sought to expose the influence of Israeli politicians on politically connected British students and political figures; he was recorded plotting to take down those he considered hostile to Israel. The UK’s Labour Party has called for an investigation into foreign influence on British MPs. The UK’s Israeli Embassy spokesperson downplayed his comments, claiming they don’t reflect Israel’s diplomatic stance and apologized to Sir Alan Duncan, who was an apparent target of Masot’s.
2. US Troops Arrive in Poland, Causing Rising Tension with Moscow
1,000 of a reported 4,000 US troops arrived in Poland this week as part of NATO action to deter Russian aggression. This is the largest American deployment of troops in Europe since the end of the Cold War. This has obviously raised concerns in moscow, where the government is considering this as a threatening action. However, the Kremlin may be holding back on any action until the confirmation of Donald Trump as new President to take any action. In the past, Trump has come down against American military spending in organizations such as NATO, but there are members of his cabinet that do support a strong NATO presence. The response in other European countries has also been mixed, many Poles are happy that the American have arrived to protect them, many feel that this will just make the situation worse with Russia.
3. Europe is Feeling the Cold
Europe is currently experiencing frigid temperatures this winter that has brought snow to places like Greece! So far more than 20 people have died as a result of the cold temperatures, including 10 in Poland. Some reports have put the number close to 60 dead. These temperatures have brought fresh concerns about those most vulnerable in the region, including many of the migrants making their way into Europe. Although there are efforts to combat the cold, it is unclear whether this will be enough. The United Kingdom is also set to experience cold temperatures as low as -10 celsius and up to 20 cm of snow.
4. The New Canadian Cabinet
Canadian PM Trudeau has shuffled his cabinet for the first time following the Liberals rise to power in the 2015 elections. It marks the departure of two faces that have long been a part of the liberal party and politics in Canada: Stephane Dion and John McCallum. Reports say that both of them will take up Ambassadorial roles, Dion to Germany and the EU and McCallum to China. This shake up is most likely due to the incoming President in the United States. Canada will need new energy and toughness if issues like NAFTA renegotiation do happen. Chrysta Freeland will take over the role of Foreign Affairs Minister, she is said to have strong ties to both Washington and Moscow. The new cabinet will meet for a retreat at the end of January to develop its plans and find its footings.