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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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Top three with Keith: a summary of foreign affairs

Japan

Recently re-elected Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Washington this past week, holding bilateral talks with President Obama, as well as speaking before various organizations.  Abe is the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, which is the conservative group that has ruled Japan almost uninterrupted (aside from a brief lull in the last three years) since the end of World War II. In his talks with President Obama, the leaders discussed various issues that are confronting both Japan and the US, such as North Korea’s aggressive behavior, Iranian misbehavior, and the current dispute with China. Abe explained his agenda for his term to the Center for Strategic Studies, and forcefully stated his intent to increase Japan’s military and political presence in the region. He plans on accomplishing this by increasing the military budget, along with increasing Japan’s coordination with other democratic nations, specifically the United States, Australia, and South Korea. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe heralded a return to Japanese supremacy in the region.

Israel

Over the past two weeks, riots have precipitated in the West Bank because of Israel’s refusal to release four Palestinians who are currently on a hunger strike. During one of the riots, the Israeli Defense Force arrested Arafat Jaradat for allegedly participating in throwing rocks at the soldiers, who subsequently died of a heart attack while in an Israeli prison. This caused additional unrest in the West Bank, and many prisoners have organized a day long hunger strike for Saturday, Feb. 24. Israel responded to these additional riots by effectively demanding the Palestinian Authority, which is the government of the West Bank, to break up the protests. There are reports that one of the four original hunger strikers is close to death because of his protest.

Britain

For the first time since 1978, Britain’s credit rating has decreased from AAA to AA1. This readjustment was made by Moody’s, one of the world’s rating agencies, on the expectation that Britain’s economy wouldn’t fully recover from its current economic situation for at least a few years. It doesn’t appear that further downgrades will happen in the near future, as Moody’s has declared that Britain’s new rating is currently “stable.”  Both France and America have both experienced the same downgrade in the past two years. Only the future will tell if this will assign some of the blame for the current situation to the Conservatives who are in charge, giving the advantage to the Labour Party.

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