Top Ten International News Stories of 2018: Our Pick

1. 1MDB scandal A controversy that erupted in Malaysia in 2015, and remains ongoing to this day, with those accused of money laundering and corruption still being brought to justice. Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Najib Razak has been accused of siphoning almost S$ 660 million (RM 2.67 billion) from development fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), into his personal accounts. The 1MDB scandal is widely believed to be critical in the ruling UMNO’s defeat in the Malaysian elections in May. Read related: Who’s who in 1MDB scandal: The men and women who did the legwork 2. The return to power Mahathir and Anwar In the wake of the explosive 1MDB scandal, many Malaysian officials called for Najib to resign, including Dr. Tun Mahathir Mohammad, who eventually succeeded Najib. For Mahathir, it was a return to power, since he had served as Prime Minister from 1981-2003. As for Anwar, who had been Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister from 1993 to 1998, he assumed office as a Member of Malaysia’s Parliament in October of this year and is the PM-in-waiting. 3. Trump-Kim summit The first-ever, historic meeting between the heads of state of the United States and North Korea, Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, was also a triumph for Singapore, as it was held at the Capella Hotel in Sentosa on June 12, 2018, to much fanfare, including commemorative coins, special burgers and Kim Jong-un impersonations walking around the city. A joint agreement was signed for denuclearisation and other forward steps for both countries, but pundits called the summit more of a win for North Korea than the US. The rest of the world isn’t holding its breath to wait and see. 4. US-China Trade war 2018 may just be the year that people will remember when US President Trump not so low-key declared a trade war on China, imposing billions of dollars of tariffs on China’s imports. Of course, China fought back with retaliatory tariffs on American products. Officials from both countries have been meeting for months, and when the two biggest economies in the world lock horns, everyone else feels the tension. However, by December 1, Presidents Xi Jinping and Donald Trump sat down to a steak dinner at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, and a 90-day truce was called. Let’s hope it holds. (By the way, that must have been some steak dinner.) Read related: US and China call a trade war truce at G20 Summit, causing a rise in world markets 5. US Midterm Elections The hotly contested midterm elections in the United States in early November was not quite the “blue wave” Democrats were hoping for, but the Dems did take back the House, with a net gain of at least 40 seats in Congress. The elections also proved to be one with the most diverse candidates winning—from women, minorities and LGBT candidates winning elected positions. Most importantly, it perhaps signalled that more people in America were becoming more dissatisfied with President Donald Trump. 6. Jamal Khashoggi’s […]