TOPIC 1: Crisis in mali

France last week launched air strikes against Islamist camps and mobile forces in Mali, its former colony, to stop a rebel offensive and "safeguard" Mali's existence. President François Hollande said France intended to "destroy" the Islamists or take them captive if possible. Islamists have warned that French troops will become bogged down for years.After gaining independence in 1960, Mali endured decades of instability until Alpha Oumar Konaré was elected president in the country's first democratic election in 1992. It is feared that the Islamists will use Mali to destabilize the rest of West Africa and potentially bring on violent threats off of the political instability.


topic 2: China vs us trade war

A total of $50bn worth of imports will now be taxed by this second round, raising expectations that China will retaliate. Since the opening salvo in July, tensions between the world's two largest economies have worsened, hurting their companies and economies. Officials from both countries are holding talks in Washington. But hopes are not high they will bring a breakthrough. The new US tariffs came into effect at 12:00 Beijing time The 25% tax will affect nearly 280 Chinese goods, including chemical products, agricultural equipment, motorcycles and antennas. The move completes the series of tariffs on $50bn of Chinese goods the US initially set out to tax. China has warned it will once again retaliate with its own 25% tariff on $16bn of US goods including coal, medical instruments, cars and buses.