Link Roundups

Weekly Links

By Patrick Pierson.

Vincent van Gogh, “Green Wheat Fields, Auvers,” 1890. Photo via National Gallery of Art.

Canada filed a WTO challenge against US tariffs this week. Six traffic police were killed by gunmen in the Mexican city of Salamanca. Mexican marines are being accused of kidnapping and disappearing dozens of people. According to activists, a court ruling in Honduras has dealt a serious blow to anti-corruption campaigns. In El Salvador, commentators are asking what is the line between community policing and vigilantism? More than 100 people have died since April in Nicaragua’s anti-government protests. Venezuela has released dozens of detained activists. Chile is now the first country in the Americas to ban plastic bags. Take heart – you can once again send direct mail between the US and Cuba. This week’s surprise resignation of the CEO of Petrobras, the Brazilian state oil company, has some concerned about the country’s economy. Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes is resigning from his post in order to take a seat in the country’s senate.

Spain has a new Prime Minister. France’s far-right National Front is doing some re-branding – party members have voted to change their name to the ‘National Rally.’ Ireland is putting pressure on Britain regarding Brexit border proposals. A terrorist attack in Liege, Belgium, left four people dead, including two police officers. The Austrian government plans to cut benefits for immigrants and refugees. A little-known law professor is officially the Prime Minister of Italy. Protesters in Greece took to the streets to protest ongoing austerity measures. EU judges have fined Lithuania and Romania for allowing the CIA to torture terror suspects in secret prisons within their borders. You’ve got to read this story on the fake killing of a Russian reporter in Ukraine.

Turkey heavily criticized the US veto of a UN resolution on Palestine. Syria’s Assad is telling the US to leave the country. Protesters are taking to the streets in Jordan over recent price hikes on fuel and electricity. Al-Qaeda has warned Saudi leader Mohammad bin Salman that his recent liberalization efforts are ‘sinful.’ Saudi Arabia is threatening military action if Qatar acquires a Russian-made air defense system. An Emirati activist has been sentenced to a decade in prison for insulting the UAE on social media. An ISIS attack in northern Iraq killed twelve members of the same family early this week. A Russian pilot shot down over Afghanistan in 1987 – and believed dead – has been found alive. A US general claimed that Afghan officials and the Taliban were having behind-the-scenes dialogue – the Taliban is rejecting the claims. A former Pakistani intelligence chief recently published a book…now the government won’t let him leave the country.

A former top Thai monk is on the run in Laos. Myanmar is now willing to take back 700,000 Rohingya refugees? In a speech in Singapore, US Defense Secretary James Mattis criticized China’s actions in the South China Sea. Indonesia’s currency isn’t doing well. The Malaysian government has launched a crowdfunding campaign to try and tackle its overwhelming national debt. After a visit by North Korean envoy General Kim Yong-choi, it looks like a summit between North Korea and the US is back on. South Korea’s defense minister says the international community shouldn’t question Kim Jong Un’s motives. The Japanese defense minister isn’t quite so sure.

Leaders of competing factions in Libya have agreed to hold elections in December. UN Secretary Antonio Guterres is requesting more support for the UN mission in Mali. A maritime border dispute between Ghana and Togo continues. Is social media contributing to violence in the CAR? The UN is hoping that the threat of sanctions will bring warring factions to the table in South Sudan. In a corruption crackdown, Kenya is ordering all state procurement personnel to undergo a polygraph test. Uganda is planning to develop an ‘Idi Amin’ museum. The Ugandan government has imposed taxes on the use of popular social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp. The ‘Anglophone’ conflict in Cameroon continues. Burundi is in a spat with France over donkeys. Islamist violence is growing in northern Mozambique.

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