By Patrick Pierson.
The Obama administration is doubling down on the fight against al-Shabab in Somalia. In central Somalia, citizens are fighting back against al-Shabab’s efforts to impose taxes on local populations. Cartels are stealing coffee in Kenya, exacerbating farmers’ plight in a year marked by low yields and poor weather conditions. A new UN report points to ethnic cleansing in South Sudan – attacks on women have been particularly brutal. A key opposition leader has been arrested in Ethiopia and a group of purportedly Eritrean-linked rebels were captured in the country’s Tigray region. Violence is on the rise in western Uganda, while a crackdown on street begging in Nigeria has many worried about potential human rights violations. A presidential advisor in Burundi narrowly escaped an assassination attempt. In a surprising (but welcome) turn, Gambia’s long-term leader Yahya Jammeh conceded defeat in this week’s election.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon apologized to the Haitian people for the role played by the UN in sparking a cholera outbreak in the country. In Colombia, the nation’s Congress approved a landmark peace deal with the FARC. Colombia is playing host to an increasing number of Venezuelan migrants. As Mexico City continues to grow, the municipality struggles to provide much-needed infrastructure. Is construction of the Grand Transoceanic Canal of Nicaragua about to get underway?
An employee at the German intelligence agency has been arrested for links to extreme Islamist ideology. Dutch MPs have voted into law a ban on the wearing of burkas in public places. Migrant routes through Europe have become increasingly dangerous and difficult. Reunification talks in Cyprus resumed after a recent two-week stalemate. Four major global cities have announced plans to ban diesel vehicles by 2025. Copenhagen has reached a turning point – the city’s streets now have more bikes than cars.
The terror of war continues in the fight for Yemen. The US Congress has renewed sanctions against Iran – authorities in Iran claim this is a violation of the nuclear deal between the two countries. The UN Security Council voted unanimously this week for tougher sanctions against North Korea.