Weekly Links

By Patrick Pierson.

Auguste Renoir (French, 1841 - 1919 ), Oarsmen at Chatou, 1879, oil on canvas, Gift of Sam A. Lewisohn
Auguste Renoir, “Oarsmen at Chatou,” 1879. Photo via National Gallery of Art.

Though the Obama administration may be looking for common ground with Russia in managing the conflict in Syria, this report details the harassing of US diplomats across Europe by Russian agents. Relatedly, some are contending that President Obama should pardon Edward Snowden – who has found asylum in Russia – before leaving office. This week, Snowden denounced a new mass surveillance bill in Russia that would collect and archive data from phone and internet providers. And this article presents an interesting picture of Snowden’s digital presence, sometimes dubbed “Snowbot,” at venues and events around the world.

A controversial new president, Rodrigo Duterte, was inaugurated in the Philippines this week. The run up to the inauguration has coincided with a spike in the number of suspected drug dealers who have been killed in recent weeks. In Burma, some are worried that the hoped for democratization under Aung San Suu Kyi’s leadership will not materialize. Indonesian authorities are engaging former terrorists in some of the country’s de-radicalization programs. Lady Gaga has been banned from China after meeting with the Dalai Lama to discuss yoga.

While Boko Haram shows signs of internal fracturing, a personal bodyguard of Nigerian President Buhari was arrested this week for having ties to the terror network. In Namibia, some are questioning ongoing ties between the government and North Korea. The potential for political violence has observers in South Africa concerned, especially with local elections due in August. Drought-related food insecurity in Madagascar has become increasingly perilous while others are concerned by the terror attack that hit the country this week. And finally, the US State Department has sworn in the first ambassador to Somalia in a quarter century.

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