By Prarthana Mitra
The last week has witnessed the sad and untimely demise of renegade chef Anthony Bourdain, as well as the G7 summit led by Donald Trump’s foolhardiness. As new governments come to power in Spain, Italy, Hungary and Slovenia, the political geography of the European Union (EU) comes under scrutiny. The only news of relief comes from Afghanistan’s announcement of a temporary ceasefire with the Taliban forces.
Dialogue culminates in a ceasefire in Afghanistan
Ten months after presenting an extensive peace offer to the Taliban, the Afghan leaders announced a brief, unilateral cease-fire on Thursday. Seen as a strategic gamble and trust-building measure to encourage the militant group to conduct peace talks, it comes at a time when the war continues to wreak havoc in the country. Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, however, seems confident, saying that the ceasefire would go into effect for eight days starting Monday, and is supposed to coincide with the holy month of Ramadan.
G7 summit ends in disarray
US president Donald Trump retracted the previously agreed upon joint communique endorsing trade based on rules, at the end of the G7 summit, accusing the group of seven nations of imposing “massive tariffs” on the United States. Blasting Canada off for being dishonest and meek during the summit, Trump pulled out from the carefully crafted final agreement, hours after calling it “tremendously successful“.
PM Justin Trudeau of Canada acted so meek and mild during our @G7 meetings only to give a news conference after I left saying that, “US Tariffs were kind of insulting” and he “will not be pushed around.” Very dishonest & weak. Our Tariffs are in response to his of 270% on dairy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 9, 2018
The Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau later addressed the media stating his intention to impose retaliatory tariffs on the US from 1 July, as tension over steel and aluminium duties continue to portend to a full-blown global trade war. The EU nations have agreed to stick to the communique as well, thus completely alienating the US from its oldest allies.
Slovenia swings to the right, Spain reinstates an old Socialist
After Italy, Slovenia voted another populist party to power as the Slovenian Democratic Party, led by the two-time former Prime Minister Janez Jansa won the parliamentary elections on Sunday, tilting another European country to the right. It makes it easier for Slovenia to align with Hungary now, which recently re-elected the right-wing populist Victor Orban to power in April and Austria where a far-right party has emerged as a strong political force.
In Spain, Pedro Sánchez was sworn in as the new prime minister in a dramatically quick turnaround for someone who returned to party leadership only a year ago, after being ousted in a mutiny. Using the corruption charge against erstwhile Prime Minister Marian Rajoy, Sanchez orchestrated a parliamentary revolt. On the same day, a separatist administration took office in the Catalan capital Barcelona as Spain faces an uncertain situation, with a fragile Socialist government formed by an establishment party.
Globetrotting chef and culinary storyteller dead at 61
Celebrity chef and journalist Anthony Bourdain reportedly committed suicide in a French village, over the course of shooting his renowned CNN series Parts Unknown. The cherished figure is being mourned and remembered all over, for his respectful and sincere coverage of diasporic cuisine. Bourdain travelled extensively, into the hearts of the Asian and African subcontinents to tell poignant and often political stories about food, which he believed to be intricately linked with the cultures, histories and lives of the people. “Bourdain never treated our food like he ‘discovered’ it,” Jenny Yang tells Vulture.
Bourdain’s demise comes only days after prominent fashion designer Kate Spade committed suicide in her apartment in New York City, serving as a reminder of the insidious nature of mental depression which can affect anyone anywhere.
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius.
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