Updated: November 19, 2021 9:10:11 am
Here is a round-up of the top developments around the world today.
Amazon forest sees worst deforestation in 15 years
Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest soared 22% in a year to the highest level since 2006, the government’s annual report showed on Thursday, undercutting President Jair Bolsonaro’s assurances that the country is curbing illegal logging.
A 13,235 square kilometers (5,110 square miles) of deforestation in the world’s an area nearly 17 times the size of New York City was recorded. The official deforestation data covers a period from August 2020 through July 2021.
US considering diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics
The United States is considering a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics, President Joe Biden confirmed on Thursday. This would be aimed at protesting China’s human rights record, including what Washington says is genocide against minority Muslims.
A diplomatic boycott would mean that U.S. officials would not attend the opening of the Beijing Winter Olympics in February. This decision comes just days after Chinese President Xi Jinping and Biden worked to ease tensions in a virtual summit, their first extensive talks since Biden took office in January.
British Columbia flooding, mudslides has 18,000 still stranded, some in remote mountains
Some 18,000 people are still stranded in British Columbia after floods and mudslides destroyed roads, houses and bridges in what could be the costliest natural disaster in Canadian history.
Receding floodwaters helped rescue efforts, but the downpour blocked off entire towns in the Pacific Coast province and cut access to the country’s largest port in Vancouver, disrupting already strained global supply chains. A state of emergency has been declared in the state, and as of now one fatality has been confirmed.
Biden seeks common ground with Mexico and Canada at summit but tensions remain
US President Joe Biden hosted Canadian and Mexican leaders on Thursday for their first North American summit in five years in a bid to revitalize regional cooperation that was shadowed by tensions over Biden’s “Buy American” agenda and immigration.
Biden met separately at the White House with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, and then held a gathering with all three. The talks were aimed at finding common ground among the 3 neighbours bound together by the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) free trade agreement, which governs some $1.5 trillion a year in North American trade.
Belarus clears migrant camps at EU border
Belarus authorities on Thursday cleared the main camps where migrants had huddled at the border with Poland, in a change of tack that could help calm a crisis that has spiralled in recent weeks into a major East-West confrontation.
In another potential sign of the crisis easing, hundreds of Iraqis checked in at a Minsk airport to fly back to Iraq, the
first repatriation flight since August. However, the European Commission and Germany rejected a Belarus proposal that EU countries take in 2,000 of the migrants currently on its territory, and the United States accused Minsk of making migrants “pawns in its efforts to be disruptive”, signalling tensions with the West were far from over.