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Our world this week

A round 72 years ago marked the first and last time an atomic bomb was used in war, when US troops bombed the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The direct death toll and long-term consequences were devastating and until today serve as one of the ultimate reminders of the brutality of war.
This week saw a dangerous escalation of rhetoric between the US and North Korea, raising the spectre of a nuclear confrontation. Trump administration officials and observers however dialled back the level of military threat emanating from Pyongyang. “Americans should sleep well at night,” US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said.

 The Teflon Don survives yet again 

In the end, Jacob Zuma triumphed, surviving his eighth no-confidence vote. Addressing an assembled crowd after the vote South Africa’s president said: “They believe they could use technicalities in Parliament to take over the the majority from the ANC… It is impossible: they cannot. We represent the majority.”
For the first time, a secret ballot was used against Mr. Zuma, who has been battling various scandals including rape and corruption allegations. The African National Congress (ANC), the party of Nelson Mandela, whipped up support by describing the motion in Parliament as tantamount to a “coup d’etat”, calling the opposition “insurrectional”.
While having defeated the motion by 198 to 177 votes, the measure also showed that at least 26 ANC parliamentarians sided with the opposition, while another nine abstained. The ANC and President Zuma’s troubles are far from over. 

 On the eve of war? 

“The most stringent set of sanctions on any country in a generation.” This is how Washington’s envoy to the UN Nikki Haley described the latest measures the Security Council passed against North Korea. The resolution bans Pyongyang from exporting coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood as well as putting new restrictions on the country’s Foreign Trade Bank and capping the number of workers the government can send abroad, a crucial source of foreign revenue for the cash-starved nation.
It did not take long for things to escalate as Pyongyang threatened a “thousands fold” revenge against the US after the sanctions were passed. President Donald Trump fired back, saying that North Korea "will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen" if it issued more threats. North Korean media subsequently said the country was weighing a preemptive strike on the US territory of Guam, raising fears of a nuclear war. 
Commenting on the North Korea sanctions, Ambassador Haley said they would give the leadership in Pyongyang “a taste of the deprivation they have chosen to inflict on the North Korean people”. Amidst the barrage of threats from both sides, however, the question remains: Do sanctions work? The World Weekly’s Nickolas Tang investigates.

 Good news for the US economy 

Whilst beleaguered by the latest moves in the Russia story and controversy over his remarks on North Korea, there were also some positive news for President Trump as the US’ unemployment rate hit a 16-year low of 4.3%, according to the Labour Department. The economy added 209,000 jobs in July, more than analysts had forecast.
What is more the much lamented trade deficit narrowed to an eight-month low in June according to government data, partly helped by a weaker dollar.

 ASEAN: Between economic growth and the South China Sea 

Holding hands during the opening ceremony of the summit to celebrate its 50th anniversary, the states of the Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN) had much to be proud of, but also much to worry about. With a combined population of 620 million people, ASEAN counts some of the world’s fastest growing economies amongst its members. According to predictions by the World Economic Forum, the region will be the fifth largest economy by 2020. However, as notes Melissa Cheok for Bloomberg, “the goal of integrated economies remains a long way off”.
Unity at the 50th summit was disturbed by disagreements over the South China Sea dispute, in which various ASEAN members are squaring off with China. Member states have long been divided how best to respond to Beijing’s assertiveness in the disputed waters. More unity was on display when it came to the threat North Korea, which is part of the ASEAN Region Forum, posed. North Korea’s foreign minister held a round of talks with his counterparts from China, South Korea and Russia in Manila, but no breakthrough was reached.

 A ‘disregard’ for civilians in the world’s forgotten conflict 

After more than two years of fighting, the war in Yemen shows no sign of abating. As a Saudi Arabia-led coalition continues to battle Iran-aligned Houthi rebels and those loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, civilians are bearing the brunt of the violence. Last week 12 civilians, including women and children, were killed when reported airstrikes hit a house and private vehicle in northern Yemen’s Saada province. The Saudi-led coalition denied having targeted a home.
The UN’s humanitarian coordinator, Jamie McGoldrick, called the latest instance of civilian deaths an example of the “brutality” of the conflict, lambasting all conflict parties for showing a “disregard for the protection of civilians”.
The violence in the Middle East’s most impoverished nation has killed more than 10,000 people since March 2015. The Norwegian Refugee Council said this week the closure of the capital’s airport had caused more deaths than airstrikes by the Saudi coalition as many people were unable to travel abroad for specialised care.
In addition to the fighting, as health and sanitary facilities crumble, cholera has spread to almost all parts of the country, with the UN identifying more than 400,000 suspected cumulative cases, making the situation in Yemen the worst cholera outbreak in the world.
Manuel Langendorf, 
Editor-in-Chief, The World Weekly
10 August 2017 - last edited today
Editor-in-Chief / Middle East Editor: Manuel Langendorf

Associate Editor / Europe Editor: Joe Wallace

Asia-Pacific Editor:
Tim Cross

Africa Editor: Kasper Loftin

Americas Editor: Henry Goodwin

Staff writer: Marta Rodmarti

Staff writer: Alastair McCready
Managing Director: Rory O’grady

Chairman: John Spearman

CTO: Christos Athanasiadis

Front-end Developer: Giorgos Sideris​

Back-end Developer: Fran Alvarez

Art Director: Tyrone Barton

Picture Editor: Amir Mohammad