The Week In World News | 20.02

Hitler look-alike: AP

America

Researchers at George Washington University’s Programme on Extremism have uncovered an alarming statistic. Research analysis of 18 Twitter accounts belonging to prominent white nationalist and Nazi sympathiser groups found their respective followings increased from about 3,500 in 2012 to 22,00 in 2016. This is a 600% increase.

The accounts include the American Nazi Party and National Socialist Movement. Analysis found they commonly post about “white genocide”- the belief that the white race in endangered by the increasing diversity of society, and by left-wing inclusive politics.

The study concludes that exponential growth of white nationalist support on Twitter now outranks the growth observed on ISIS-related Twitter accounts in recent years.

There are several factors for this- while Twitter has been cracking down on ISIS-related accounts (they’ve removed roughly 360, 000 so far), neo-Nazi groups have received less attention and therefore acted with “relative impunity”.

You can read the study here.

On an unrelated note, an Austrian man named Harald Zenz was recently arrested for ‘impersonating and glorifying’ Adolf Hitler. It is understood the arrest took place after a series of bizarre encounters in which Zenz introduced himself as Harald Hitler, was spotted perusing World War II magazines in a military uniform, and having his photo taken outside Adolf Hitler’s first home in what was then Austria-Hungary.

North Korean propaganda: Wikimedia commons

North Korea

North Korean’s leader Kim Jong-un’s half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, has been killed at the Malaysian airport. It is understood Jong-nam was waiting for a flight on Monday when a woman covered his face with a cloth which burnt his eyes.

Jong-un was travelling under an assumed identity. He has reportedly been targeted for assassination in the past, likely due to his time spent outside North Korea and subsequent questioning of North Korea’s political and economic system.

However, it is not likely Kim Jong-un had his half-brother killed. There has been no comment from Kim Jong-un as of yet.

Pauline Hanson: Newscorp Australia

Australia

A new Galaxy Poll suggests support for the One Nation Party in Queensland has jumped from 16% to 23% within three months. According to the poll, support for the Liberal party is declining. Since the resurgence of Pauline Hanson in recent years, One Nation has surged past the Green’s primary vote in the polls. The Greens have sustained roughly 8% support for three consecutive years.

It is important to note, however, that political polling is not usually an accurate representation of support. Poll’s rely entirely on voluntary participation. Galaxy Research states that, although the data has been weighted and projected to reflect the Queensland population, this particular poll is based on the opinions of 867 voters.

State politics between the Liberal and One Nation parties are particularly prevalent right now. The Turnbull government made an unprecedented move this week to preference One Nation ahead of the Nationals in WA. This is exceptional following the affairs on Hanson’s maiden speech to Parliament in 1996, which led to her disendorsement from the Liberal Party. A senior frontbencher said Hanson’s party is far more “sophisticated” today than it was during John Howard’s prime ministership.

 

Ansar Dine military group: BBC

Africa
Meanwhile in Mali, a suicide bomber attacked the Joint Operational Mechanism base in Gao, driving a vehicle laden with explosives. More than 50 people were killed and 100 wounded. Those in the area were mostly former fighters working to stabilise the region.

A 2015 peace agreement bringing Islamic extremist groups and Mali soldiers together is speculated to be the source of contention. Although jihadists were driven from power by a French military-led intervention four years ago, Islamic extremist pockets still remain in the area, and many oppose the 2015 peace agreement in favour of implementing their strict interpretation of Sharia law. Splinter groups of al-Qaeda are also active in the area.

France protest: AP

France

Two thousand protesters have descended on the suburbs of Paris after a young black man was assaulted and allegedly anally raped with a baton during his arrest by police.

It is alleged the 22-year old youth worker required surgery for head and anal trauma after his arrest. Police officers involved in the stop-and-search have been suspended and are awaiting investigation. The officer who allegedly sodomized the man has had rape charges filed against him. All officers involved has denied the allegations placed against them.

Al Jazeera’s David Chater, reporting from Bobigny, said: “The whole area where the demonstration started is now soaking in tear gas.”

The protests come a very sensitive time in France. The relationship between youth and authoritative forces has completely fragmented under growing global awareness of police brutality and aggression.

 

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