News Timeline: September 2018


September 1 – Global Issues / Africa / Europe
More than 100 migrants die and 276 are rescued off Libya’s coast when one of the rubber vessels carrying the migrants towards Europe deflates and sinks in the Mediterranean Sea. The rescued are taken back to Libya to a detention center.[1] According to the UN International Organization for Migration (IOM), by the end of July, 2018, 55,001 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea mostly via Spain, Italy, and Greece. That total compares to 111,753 at this time last year, and over 250,000 at this time in 2016. At the same time, in 2018 alone, 1,504 men, women and children died while crossing the Mediterranean.[2] These migrants who flee wars and poverty come mostly from Sub-Saharan African countries such as Nigeria, Mali, Sudan, Egypt, Eritrea, Somalia, Ivory Coast, Guinea, and Senegal. Some of these migrants are kidnapped in Libya for ransom or slave work in other North African countries.[3]
Migrant slavery in Libya

September 3 – Latin America: ARGENTINA
The Argentinian government announces it has accepted a $50 billion-loan from the International Monetary Fund and plans to implement austerity measures in an effort to tackle its currency crisis. The Argentine peso has lost about half its value this year against the US dollar, despite the central bank raising interest rates to 60 percent. Beginning January 1, Argentina will impose taxes on its primary exports, such as soy meal and soy oil, corn, wheat and raw soybeans. Also, more than half of ministry jobs will be eliminated. Mauricio Macri’s government says its goal is to balance the country’s budget by next year and to produce a 1 percent surplus in its budget by 2020. Argentina has been plagued by economic problems for years.[4]
Argentina’s economic crisis explained in five charts 

September 10 – Global Issues / International Organizations:
United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
According to a Food Security and Nutrition in the World report prepared by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), world hunger is on the rise again, after a continuous decline in previous years, with 821 million people undernourished (about one person in nine) and 151 million children under five (over 22 percent) affected by stunted growth. Because poor access to food increases the risk of low birthweight and stunting in children, which are associated with higher risk of overweight and obesity later in life, one in eight adults in the world – or more than 672 million – are classified as obese. Conflict, climate variability and extremes, such as floods, heat, storms and droughts are among the key drivers behind the recent rise in global hunger and one of the leading causes of severe food crises.[5]
To access the full report

September 12 – Europe: EUROPEAN UNION / HUNGARY
More than one third of the members of the European Parliament votes to pursue disciplinary action against Hungary for violation of human rights, the rule of law and democratic values, the EU’s core values. Hungary’s government under the leadership of Prime Minister Viktor Orban is accused of attacking the media, minorities, and packing the courts with the government-friendly judges, as well as its hardline approach to immigration. It introduced a law which makes it a criminal offence for lawyers and activists to help asylum seekers. If the vote leads to punitive measures, Hungary’s rights within the EU could be suspended, including its voting rights.[6]
The man who thinks Europe has been invaded

September 13 – Africa: SOUTH SUDAN
South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, and rebel leader Riek Machar sign another peace agreement in an attempt to end the country’s devastating five-year civil war. The previous attempt at peace collapsed in 2016, with Machar being forced to flee the country. This time both sides promise to implement the deal fully. In this power-sharing deal, the two rivals agree to establish a transitional government in the next eight months and general elections in the next three years. Kiir will remain the president while Machar the vice-president. The two sides also agree to a unified armed forces with the president as their commander-in-chief.[7]
Background on South Sudan and President Salva Kiir

September 17 – North America / East Asia:
Escalating its trade war with China, the United States President Donald Trump imposes a third set of tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports that include 6,000 items. He says it is in response to China’s unfair trade practices. These tariffs will start at 10 percent and increase to 25 percent from 2019 unless the two countries agree a deal. These items include consumer goods such as handbags, furniture, toilet paper, and textiles. The list also includes food items such as meats, fish, rice, soybeans, fruit, and cereal. Talks between the Chinese and U.S. authorities have so far failed. Many US businesses, farmers, manufacturers, retailers and other industries, oppose the tariffs, calling them taxes on American families.[8]
(September 18): China retaliates with its own tariffs levied on $60 billion of U.S. goods that will include liquefied natural gas. It also threatens other measures.[9]
Trade wars, Trump tariffs and protectionism explained

September 19 – Latin America: COLOMBIA
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reports that in 2017 cocaine production in Colombia reached an all-time high. The area under coca cultivation expanded to 171,000 hectares, an increase of 17 percent compared to 2016. Eighty percent of coca is grown in the same areas as it has been for the past 10 years. The report says the potential production of cocaine has a value of $2.7billion in the local market. Colombia is the world’s largest producer of cocaine, with lots of it ending up in the U.S.[10]
More on Colombia’s cocaine production from Business Insider


[1] “Migrant crisis: Scores drown off Libyan coast.” BBC News. 11 September 2018. Web. Accessed 20 September 2018.
[2] The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). “UNHCR shocked by mass drownings off Libya, calls for urgent action.” Press Release. 21 June 2018. Web. Accessed 20 September 2018 from
[3] Ibid 1.
[4] “Argentina imposes austerity measures in bid to stabilise peso.” BBC News. 3 September 2018. Web. Accessed 4 October 2018 and “Argentina asks IMF to release $50bn loan as crisis worsens.” BBC News. 30 August 2018. Web. Accessed 4 October 2018.
[5] Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). “Food Security and Nutrition in the World.” 2018. Web. Accessed 19 September 2018 from
[6] “EU parliament votes to punish Hungary over ‘breaches’ of core values. “ BBC News. 12 September 2018. Web. Accessed 19 September 2018.
[7] Emmanuel Igunza. “South Sudan war: The handshake that may end a recurring nightmare.” BBC News. 13 September 2018. Web. Accessed 18 September 2018.
[8] “China hits back at Trump with tariffs on $60bn of US goods.” BBC News. 18 September 2018. Web. Accessed 1 October 2018.
[9] Ibid 8.
[10] United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). “Coca Crops in Colombia at all-time high, UNODC Report finds.” 19 September 2018. Web. Accessed 2 October 2018 from–unodc-report-finds.html?ref=fs1