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Tuesday, August 29


Tuesday, August 29

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is taking a risk by allowing lawmakers back into Temple Mount


Netanyahu to lift ban on Israeli lawmakers ascending Temple Mount

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is taking a risk by allowing lawmakers back into Temple Mount
Photo: Reuters

For 24 hours today, Israeli lawmakers will be allowed to enter Temple Mount for the first time in almost two years.

In October 2015, PM Benjamin Netanyahu banned MPs from visiting the holy site after a spate of stabbings by Palestinians, who accused Israel of trying to seize the compound.

Today’s one-day trial comes at a sensitive time. Last month, 11 were killed and more than a hundred injured in violence sparked by a shooting and aggravated by Israel installing metal detectors. Barely four weeks on, this tension could well resurface— Palestinians on social media have pledged to confront Knesset members today.

It is also a sensitive time for Mr Netanyahu, who’s facing corruption allegations and plunging support. Indeed, the decision to lift the ban stems partly from internal political pressure; Yehuda Glick, a lawmaker from Netanyahu’s own Likud Party, filed a petition with the country’s top court in a bid to force the action.

If allowed to fester, such internal political dissent could well spell the end for the prime minister—but is risking renewed violence a calculated move or a foolhardy gamble?


International Atomic Energy Agency opens bank of last resort

Kazakhstan will open a low enriched uranium bank
Photo: IAEA

Kazakhstan will open the world’s first Low Enriched Uranium Bank in Oskemen today. The International Atomic Energy Agency launched the project in 2010.

The bank will serve as a source of last resort for low-enriched uranium when IAEA members are unable to either produce it or if it becomes unavailable on the international market for whatever reason. The bank will hold 90 tons of uranium—enough to power a large reactor for three years—and member states that withdraw from the bank will cover the cost of restocking.

This function will help non-proliferation efforts. By providing uranium, it will disincentivise countries from developing their own uranium enrichment capacities—as even supposedly peaceful programs could see uranium enriched to a weapons-grade level. The bank seeks to ensure that in the event of an international crisis or similar circumstances, countries dependent on nuclear power would still have access to uranium.

Of course, the IAEA will have to wait and see if the project works as well in practice as they believe it to in theory. But if it does, it could change the world’s nuclear landscape.


South Africa takes opinions for state broadcaster team

South Africa’s Broadcasting Corporation
Photo: Delwyn Verasarriy, M&G

The window for public comments on the candidates for board members of the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation closes today. South Africans had three days to praise and criticise a shortlist of 36 up for 12 spots.

The shortlist indicates the ruling African National Congress may be decreasing partisan appointments to the state broadcaster, which dominates South Africa’s media landscape by reaching 30 million TV viewers and 25 million radio listeners. The government has discarded several ANC-affiliated candidates, including a former president of the party’s youth league.

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The broadcaster has been criticised for partisanship by not running opposition advertisements and censoring negative portrayals of ANC leaders. A parliamentary inquiry also found it to be rife with corruption, leading to the dissolution of the previous board last year.

Expect the identities of the final 12 appointees to indicate if the ANC is serious about a less partisan board. With President Jacob Zuma’s government under scrutiny, the move could bring some goodwill. But, it could take a media ally away from a party plagued by scandal.


Togo protests, Macron’s Europe policy, Trump in Texas

Opposition protests in Togo are calling for President Faure Gnassinbe to step down
Photo: Farida Nabourema/Twitter

After violent anti-government protests in Togo last week, pro-regime rallies are expected in the capital Lome. At least two opposition supporters were killed on Saturday after security forces opened fire on protesters some 340 kilometres north of the capital. Demonstrators are calling for President Faure Gnassingbe—who’s ruled Togo since 2005—to step down. Gnassingbe succeeded his father, who ruled the West African state for 38 years. Opposition demonstrations are expected on Wednesday and Thursday, organised on social media under the hashtag #TogoEnMarche.

Emmanuel Macron will also demonstrate that he’s ‘on the move’; today he’ll lay out his European policy before the 200 foreign ambassadors and senior diplomats stationed in Paris. The French president is expected to outline how he intends to reform the EU from within, including tightening internal labour rules and introducing more stringent controls on non-EU investment.

Donald Trump will tour areas of Texas hit by Hurricane Harvey.

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