Link Roundups

Weekly Links

By Patrick Pierson.

Paul Cézanne, “Riverbank”, c. 1895. Photo via National Gallery of Art.

 A member of the Portuguese national intelligence service has been charged with spying on behalf of Russia. Portugal is set to acquire enhanced air defense systems via NATO. Earlier this week, Montenegro became the first new NATO member in nearly a decade. In light of the UK’s post-election hung parliament, this article provides a helpful explainer for what comes next. An independence referendum in Catalonia is scheduled for October; not surprisingly, officials in Madrid claim the referendum is illegal and non-binding. Public transportation authorities in Madrid are pushing an initiative to decrease ‘manspreading.’ Emmanuel Macron is encouraging US persons working on climate change to bring their skills to France. A man was shot outside Paris’ Notre-Dame after attacking a police officer with a hammer. A Bulgarian military helicopter crashed into the Black Sea during training exercises on Friday, killing one soldier and leaving others injured. United States’ VP Mike Pence has voiced support for Cyprus peace talks. A diplomatic stalemate between Turkey and Germany escalated yet again this week as Germany announced plans to withdraw military assets currently stationed in Turkey as a part of the fight against ISIS. A French photographer was released this week after spending nearly one month detained in Turkey.

Check out this amazing story about a volunteer land mine removal guru in Syria who recently died after having successfully defused thousands of bombs. A deadly terror attack hit the Iranian capital of Tehran this week. ISIS’ influence on Twitter is waning. IS fighters in Pakistan have claimed responsibility for the killing of two Chinese teachers kidnapped last month. A female suicide bomber killed dozens this week in a crowded market south of Baghdad. Iraq’s Kurdish region announced that it will hold an independence referendum in September. Authorities in Lebanon have arrested seven militants with links to IS. A cholera outbreak in Yemen has reached “unprecedented” levels according to the UN; nearly 50% of those affected are under the age of 15. A number of Gulf states have severed diplomatic ties with Qatar.

India is taking the United States to the WTO in a row over steel duties. After the disappearance of a number of Christian leaders, observers are worried that the Malaysian government is targeting religious minorities. Lawmakers in Hong Kong are being urged to approve a ban on the sale of ivory.  A Burmese military aircraft carrying over 100 passengers went missing early this week – debris were later discovered off the coastal town of Dawei. After a recent siege attack by an IS-linked gunman, authorities in Australia are carrying out a number of counterterrorism raids. Authorities in the Philippines have placed a temporary ban on Filipino workers headed to Qatar.

Despite geographical distance, an initial agreement has been approved for Morocco to join Ecowas. Seven African migrants were recovered from an abandoned truck used by human smugglers in Libya on Sunday. Kidnappings are on the rise in Libya. The government in South Sudan has banned a number of foreign journalists. An al-Shabaab-led attack on a Somali military base in Puntland killed nearly 70 people on Thursday. Four aid workers died in Kenya this week after their vehicle hit a landmine. Deadly encounters between cattle herders and lodge owners continue in Kenya. Nigeria’s President Buhari has now been gone for over a month in his second trip to London for medical treatment. Meanwhile, Boko Haram launched one of the group’s largest attacks in the past 18 months on Wednesday in the city of Maiduguri. Bald men in Mozambique are in danger of being killed due to superstitious beliefs perpetuated by witch doctors. Is democracy in trouble in southern Africa? This post celebrates African civil actors making meaningful improvements in their local communities. South Africa has officially entered its second recession in the past decade.

Two men in the United States have been charged with providing material support to Hezbollah. The US witnessed more drug-related deaths in 2016 than ever before. Amazon’s new headquarters in Seattle will feature a homeless shelter. Canada unveiled plans to increase defense spending by nearly 75% over the next decade. Is Mike Pence set to become the US administration’s point-man for the Northern Triangle? Public employees in Colombia will soon enjoy a 6.75% salary increase – the move helped bring to an end a weeks-long strike by teachers. Leopoldo Lopez, a jailed Venezuelan opposition leader, has called for a continuation of anti-government protests and demonstrations. Leaders of the Venezuelan opposition have accused security forces of forcefully robbing demonstrators. Will the military continue to support Maduro’s government?

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