News from around the world September 2018

News from around the world By Sakuni Kalyanaratne

Here are some of the top stories that captured the world’s attention during the past month.

Tragedy strikes Indonesia in the form of a TsunamiA 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck the islands of Palu, Donggala and surrounding settlements in Indonesia on Friday, 28th September. The earthquake triggered a large tsunami that left many people dead and many more still trapped in the rubble of buildings. By Sunday morning, the death toll had reached a staggering 832 while officials say it could go past thousands. Palu people were getting ready for a beach festival with dances and other performances, when the tsunami swamped the area. There appeared to have been no warning signals before the 18 feet high wave hit the beaches of the island. 

Senator McCain dies at 81Republican congressman and Arizona senator John McCain passed away on 25th of August. He was 81. The two-time contender was a naval aviator during the Vietnam war and a prisoner of war for 5 years. The outspoken senator had been battling with brain cancer for quite some time before he succumbed to the disease. McCain was laid in state in the Capitol Rotunda. One of the highlights of his funeral was the two eulogies given by two of his once rivals turned friends, former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. 

UN General Assembly 2018

The 73rd annual UN General Assembly started in New York City, USA and is scheduled to be held from 18th September to 05th October. The theme for this year’s debate was ‘making the United Nations Relevant to All People: Global Leadership and Shared Responsibilities for Peaceful, Equitable and Sustainable Societies’. Leaders from all countries attended the meeting where many priority themes were talked about. 

Brexit the end for Theresa May?After the bold move to support the referendum of Britain leaving the EU in 2016, Theresa May is facing some tough times having failed to negotiate an exit plan from the European Union two years later. The original deadline date for the exit, commonly known as the ‘Brexit’, is set for 29 March 2019 as they invoked Article 50 of the Treaty on EU in 2017. May is under tremendous pressure to get EU to agree to a withdrawal agreement or to extend the period of negotiating. Many are waiting to see the end result of Brexit as there are many consequences economically and politically. 

Sri Lankan rupee at its lowestThe Sri Lankan rupee hit the lowest in history when it traded at 169.40 against the USD this month. The rupee has been depreciating continually and regularly for some 40 years when it was allowed to float against the US dollar. The rupee has weakened 4.7% so far for the month of September against the dollar after a 1.2% drop in August, and has declined 10.2% so far this year. The rupee’s decline was a result of importer demand and foreign selling in government securities. 

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