2022’s international headlines you might have missed

FILE – People walk from a rural area towards a nearby town where a food distribution operated by the Relief Society of Tigray was taking place, near the town of Agula, in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia on May 8, 2021. Ethiopia’s lead negotiator in ongoing peace talks asserted Friday, Nov. 11, 2022 that 70% of the Tigray region is now under military control and aid deliveries have resumed to the area, but there is no immediate confirmation from aid workers or Tigray spokesmen. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis, File)

(NewsNation) — The U.S. news cycle could at times be hard enough to keep up with in 2022, and world news often got lost in domestic current events.

Some international news headlines break through, like the July assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. But other stories slip under the radar.

From a planned coup in Germany to swarms of locusts that destroyed an Italian island’s crops, here are five news stories from across the world that you might have missed.

Germany’s Nazi sympathizers

Suspected extremists with ties to the Nazi party allegedly plotted to overthrow the German government and seize the military in early December, and 25 suspects were arrested in Germany as well as Austria and Italy.

Authorities said their plans included attacking politicians and storming Germany’s Parliament, according to the publication Foreign Policy.

The suspects are believed to be part of a movement known as Reichsbuerger (Citizens of the Reich). Germany’s domestic intelligence began observing the movement in 2016 after a member shot and killed a police officer during a raid at the gunman’s home, Reuters reported.

The German intelligence service believes about 21,000 people are linked to the movement, and about 5% of them are suspected far-right extremists, according to Reuters.

Some 2,100 are prepared to use violence to reach their goals, according to the agency’s 2021 annual report.

According to Reuters, members of the Reichsbuerger do not recognize modern-day Germany as a legitimate state. Some are devoted to the German empire under a monarchy. Others follow Nazi ideas or believe Germany is still under military occupation.

Controversy follows former Japanese prime minister’s assassination

Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated on July 8 on a street in western Japan.

The gunman opened fire from behind Abe as the political figure delivered a campaign speech. The former prime minister was flown to a hospital and received several blood transfusions before he was pronounced dead, according to the Associated Press.

While the assassination made headlines in the U.S., you may have missed the fallout that followed his death.

Opposition leaders condemned the attack as a challenge to Japan’s democracy. Abe resigned as prime minister in 2020 and was the country’s longest-serving leader.

The suspected shooter, Tetsuya Yamagami, reportedly targeted Abe over his alleged ties with the Unification Church. Yamagami allegedly believed his mother’s massive donations to the church ruined his family, the AP reported.

The South Korean church, whose late founder called himself a messiah, built close ties with many Japanese conservative lawmakers. They include members of Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party, which has governed Japan almost uninterrupted since its inception in 1955.

Japanese media coverage of the church following Abe’s death sparked protests by followers in South Korea.

Ethiopia and Tigray agree to end civil war

The Ethiopian government and leaders in the northern Tigray region reached a deal in November to halt a two-year conflict, the BBC reported.

Tigray has been under a de facto blockade since 2020, according to the World Health Organization.

The war in Africa’s second-most populous country has since displaced millions and left many near famine. It’s left about 20 million people in Ethiopia — including 5.2 million people in Tigray — in need of aid, according to the WHO.

In November, both parties agreed to protect civilians and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to the region of more than 5 million people, according to a copy of the agreement seen by The Associated Press.

The agreement stated that disarmament would take place alongside the withdrawal of foreign and non-Ethiopian military forces from Tigray.

The lead negotiator for Ethiopia, Redwan Hussein, told the AP that November’s signing created a conducive environment for ongoing peace efforts, noting that the next meeting of military leaders will “most likely” be held in Tigray in December before a final meeting in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, in January.

Europe experiences worst drought in 500 years

The summer brought with it the worst drought Europe has seen in 500 years.

An August report from the Global Drought Observatory noted that soil on 47% of the continent’s land had dried, the BBC reported.

Seventeen percent of Europe was on alert or “showing signs of stress,” according to the BBC report.

The United Nations has warned that by 2050, droughts may affect 75% of the world’s population, which already is dealing with intensified food and water shortages and wildfires brought on by drought.

Crucial for global trade, waterways are the means for 90% of products to be transported around the world, according to the World Economic Forum.

The reduced stored water volume had serious impacts on the energy sector and water and heat substantially reduced summer crop yields, according to the Global Drought Observatory.

The warm and dry conditions were forecast to subside last month in the Euro-Mediterranean region.

Italian crops ravaged by locusts

In 2022, the Italian island of Sardinia experienced its worst locust invasion in 30 years.

Projections suggested the invasion would impact more than 148,000 acres — twice that of 2021.

Rising temperatures and a lack of rain on depopulated, uncultivated lands on the island may have led to ideal conditions for locusts to lay their eggs, Reuters reported.

An expert who spoke with the news organization didn’t expect locusts to multiply as rapidly in 2023. That’s thanks to planned remedies such as plowing more fields and the deployment of a specific type of beetle that feeds on the locust’s eggs.

Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this story.


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