We're not going to fault you for not staying on top of this week's news. We're only here to help.
- South Sudan president Salva Kiir signed a peace deal with the rebels on Wednesday to bring an end to the 20-month conflict that has displaced nearly two million. The development came over a week after Kiir refused to sign the accord with rebel leader Riek Machar. The Security Council had reached an informal agreement to impose sanctions on South Sudan if Kiir did not sign the peace deal by the extended deadline, September 6. However, whether fighting will stop remains to be seen, as the two sides accused each other of attacks barely a day after the signing.
- Global markets have begun to stabilize after China cut its interest rate for the fifth time since November. Shanghai Composite closed with a 5.3% gain on Thursday and Dow saw a notable gain of 619 points. Dow had opened on Monday with an unprecedented 1000 point decline. Due to plunges on Monday and Tuesday however, Chinese stocks ended the week almost 8% lower.
- North and South Korea reached an agreement to reduce recently escalated tensions that had resulted in an exchange of fire at the border. Seoul put a halt to broadcasting propaganda, while Pyongyang agreed to express regret over a landmine explosion that injured two South Korean soldiers in the DMZ earlier this month.
- Ukraine announced that it had reached a debt restructuring deal with its creditors. This includes a 20% write-off and an extended repayment period. Ukraine’s sovereign debt, before the write-off, is estimated at $19 Billion.
- Austria and the Balkans spoke out against the migrant crisis at the West Balkan Summit held in Vienna on Thursday. Leaders met amidst emerging reports of the discovery of dozens of migrants found dead in an abandoned lorry near the Austria-Hungary border, and in another incident, in a boat off the coast of Libya.
THE MIDDLE EAST
- ISIS reportedly demolished the Temple of Baalshamin, a historic ruin in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra. Photos posted by ISIS supporters on social media show men strap what they claim are IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) to columns and detonate them. News of the destruction of the 2000-year old UNESCO World Heritage Site came just a few days after the beheading of Khaled al-Assad, Syria’s renowned antiques scholar.
- A live televised shooting in Virginia claimed the lives of reporter Alison Parker and her cameraman Adam Ward on Wednesday. The gunman, a former colleague who claimed to have been fired from the station on racial grounds, posted a video of the shooting online a few hours before taking his own life. The horrific incident has prompted calls for gun control across the nation.
- Three Americans and a Briton were awarded the Legion d'honneur --France’s top honor -- for overpowering a suspected terrorist on a train to Paris. President Francois Hollande presented the four with the award at Elysee Palace on Monday.
- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s decision to shut down the border with Colombia has forced hundreds of Colombians to flee the country. Maduro says his move to declare emergency in the territory along the border is in response to instances of smuggling.
- Brazil’s economy enters recession as official figures show the economy contracted by 1.9% during the second quarter (April - June). The industrial sector was hit the hardest, with construction output dropping by 8.4%