This week marked the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Germany and Israel. The event was celebrated in Jerusalem last Tuesday, where Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Merkel, while attending the event with 16 of her ministers, shared her hope that this anniversary would mark an era looking towards the future rather than at the past. However, the relationship between the Israeli Prime Minister and Merkel has not exactly been intimate, as they have had their share of misunderstandings and diplomatic issues-mostly concerning the Israeli colonization of certain Palestinian territories. Despite lingering disagreements, this visit was focused on establishing a firm alliance and friendship between the two states; an opportunity to start fresh and with a strong bond.
The Embassy of Italy hosted a Digital Diplomacy Series forum, titled “Foreign Policy in Stereo: Power and Leadership in a World of States and People,” with Professor Anne-Marie Slaughter, President of the New America Foundation and professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University, as the guest of honor. The forum began with the opening remarks by Mr. Claudio Bisogniero, Ambassador of Italy to the United States, and soon as the microphone was passed to Dr. Slaughter, she engaged with the main theme of the forum: changes in diplomacy in age of the internet.
For the past four weeks, Venezuelans have taken to the streets to protest high crime, inflation, low employment opportunities, goods shortages, and the suppression of free speech. The culprit: Nicolás Maduro, the current President of Venezuela. Maduro replaced former President Hugo Chávez after his 14 year rule ended in March 2013, when Chávez died of cancer. The protests received international attention after a few protesters were killed on February 12th by unknown armed vigilantes. Another landmark event involved the February 18th arrest of Leopoldo Lopez, an opposition leader politician who was accused of sedition, terrorism, and murder for his role in organizing the initial protests. This event sparked greater participation in Caracas demonstrations and a few more violent nighttime riots by a fringe minority. The protests continue as Lopez encourages his fellow Venezuelans from prison.
U.S. President Barack Obama has condemned the growing violence toward protests in Venezuela. The country has been suffering unprecedented turmoil for the past couple of weeks which has, so far, cost the lives of five people and injured 60 others.
On February 9th, Tokyo held its gubernatorial election to replace its former governor Naoki Inose (who resigned on December 24th last year), resulting in the election of Yoichi Masuzoe.
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