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  • Writer's pictureDanielle Uehara

Weekly News Blast | Feb 4 - 11

King Charles stands next to Queen Camilla in a crowd of people

British King Charles has been diagnosed with cancer, and other members of the royal family have been tasked with carrying out his duties (Office of the Governor-General, Wikimedia Commons)

British King Charles Diagnosed With Cancer

On January 17, Buckingham Palace announced that King Charles was undergoing a “corrective procedure” for a benign (non-cancerous) enlarged prostate. He was discharged on January 29, and authorities stated he was “doing well.” However, while undergoing the treatment, a system triggered tests that identified the presence of “a form of cancer.”

It has yet to be announced how serious the cancer is, how early it has been detected, or what treatment he will be receiving, although it has been confirmed that it is not prostate cancer. Although most royals are private about their medical conditions, King Charles decided to share his diagnosis to encourage men with similar problems to seek medical attention. 

Under the advice of his doctors, the King has postponed his public duties after beginning treatment on Monday. For now, Prince William has returned to public duties after taking time to support his wife after her surgery. The princess is expected to return to her public duties after Easter, although this will depend on her doctor’s advice. Queen Camilla has also begun undertaking public duties, with other members of the royal family expected to pick up additional duties on King Charles’ behalf if needed. Royal engagements are meant to be split up between the 14 family members, but after Prince Harry, Megan, and Andrew stepped down, only 11 members remain to conduct these royal duties.

While there are no reports of King Charles being too ill to work, in such an event, the “counselors of state” would be called upon to step in for him. In the event that the king is incapacitated, two counselors are appointed to act on the monarch’s behalf and maintain government operations. If the King is completely unable to fulfill his duties and the state can no longer function properly, medical evidence would have to be provided before his powers can be assumed by a regent. A panel of five members—composed of the Lord Chancellor, the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Lord Chief Justice of England, the Master of the Rolls, and The Queen—must vote before such action can be taken. They then need to declare the decision in writing and declare when the King would resume his duties.

As of now, the King is receiving outpatient treatment, and no date has been suggested for the King’s return to full public duties.

Venezuela and Guyana Territorial Dispute Continues

On December 15, Venezuela and Guyana agreed to pursue a diplomatic avenue in resolving their long-standing territorial dispute over an oil-rich piece of Guyanese land. In the joint declaration, both sides agreed to not threaten or use force against the other and to refrain from escalating the conflict in any way. Despite this, recent satellite images from Maxar have shown that Venezuela is expanding its military presence near the border. The images show new infrastructure, armored vehicles, and improved roads. Videos on social media also show bulldozers clearing the land for more infrastructure development and military vehicles, including military transport helicopters, on the move.

The military expansion was first reported by the Washington-based think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies. Essequibo, the oil-rich piece of land in question, makes up about two-thirds of Guyanese national territory. In what Guyana calls a move towards armed conflict, in December, Venezuelan voters voted to take the Essequibo region by force and create a Venezuelan state within the region. Venezuela has long claimed the region as its own, but recently Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has ramped up the country’s claim to the territory. According to analysts, this could be a strategy to build support in preparation for the upcoming elections and to pressure Guyana into sharing the revenue of the recently discovered oil.

In response, Brazil has deployed more troops to its border with Guyana and Venezuela, and the U.S. has agreed to bolster Guyana’s defense. However, anti-imperialist voices have argued that the U.S. is using Guyana as a “pawn” to control Venezuelan affairs and serve its own strategic and economic interest. Guyanese officials are also working with their Caribbean allies on their response to the burgeoning Venezuelan military.

Trump Comments on Lack of NATO Defense Spending

In his nearly two-hour speech at a campaign rally in South Carolina, Former President Donald Trump said America would not defend NATO allies against Russia if they did not meet their defense spending obligations. This violates the commitments of a NATO member, as every NATO member is committed to defending any member of the alliance that is attacked. For this reason, his statement is seen as a threat to the alliance if he were elected president again in 2024.

Trump has long criticized the lack of defense spending amongst fellow NATO states and suggested that there are unpaid balances owned by U.S. allies. In 2014, NATO countries pledged to spend 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense by 2024. According to data, only 11 of 31 countries have hit the target, while the U.S. contributes 3.49 percent of its gross domestic product to defense.

Many people have criticized Trump for what he has said. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said, “Any suggestion that allies will not defend each other undermines all of our security, including that of the U.S., and puts American and European soldiers at increased risk.” However, others agree with Trump, stating that almost every American president at some point has complained about other countries in NATO not carrying their share of the defense burden, and Trump is simply the first one to express this view in a more aggressive manner.



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