Link Roundups

Weekly Links

By Patrick Pierson.

Fred Hassebrock, “Star and Flag Design Quilt,” c. 1935-1941. Photo via National Gallery of Art.

How will the recent election of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (commonly known as AMLO) to the Mexican presidency affect US-Mexico relations? The first lady of Honduras, Ana García Carías, is urging citizens not to attempt to cross into the US illegally. As unrest mounts in Nicaragua, the US is ordering all non-emergency government personnel to leave the country. Haitians took to the streets in protest as fuel subsidies were lifted this week. The killing of activists continues in Colombia. The Venezuelan government has announced plans to build homes for the poor using the country’s cryptocurrency. Bolivian President Evo Morales underwent emergency surgery to remove a tumor this week. In Chile, eight retired military officers have been sentenced to 15 years (and one day) in prison for their involvement in the killing of a popular folk singer during the 1973 coup.

Two Britons are in hospital after being exposed to the nerve agent Novichok—this comes just months after the same nerve agent was used against a former Russian agent and his daughter in Britain. Three nights of rioting erupted in western France after a police officer shot and killed a young black man. Is Spain going to exhume former dictator Francisco Franco? Matteo Salvini, Italy’s new Interior Minister, is sticking to his hard line on immigration. North Korean officials are scoping out Switzerland as a potential site for a follow-up meeting between Kim Jong-un and President Trump. The German government unveiled a new plan to combat anti-Semitism among school children. Authorities in Kosovo and Germany conducted simultaneous raids to detain four Kosovans suspected of plotting terrorist attacks. Germany’s Angela Merkel and Hungary’s Viktor Orban shared a somewhat testy press conference this week. You should be following the protests in Poland regarding the attempted Supreme Court purge by the ruling Law and Justice Party. Denmark will now require children from “ghetto” areas to attend a daycare where they will learn “Danish values”.

Earlier this week, the Israeli air force conducted an air strike on the Golan Heights just inside the Syrian border. Authorities in Amman have dismantled a large-scale water theft operation. A conference to support peace in Afghanistan will kick off this week in Saudi Arabia. Martin Griffiths, the UN envoy to Yemen, says that the Houthis are seeking a peaceful cessation of hostilities and have “concrete ideas for achieving peace.” Following a request from officials in Kuwait, Britain has agreed to deploy troops to the country. The dispute over airspace between Qatar and its Gulf neighbors continues. The Taliban has turned down government overtures towards peace talks, dashing hopes that the Eid ceasefire would provide momentum for sustained talks. In Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif has been sentenced to a decade in prison. More than one thousand Indian pilgrims have been rescued in Nepal after spending the past week stranded in the mountains.

In separate incidents, three mayors have been killed in the Philippines in the last week. A Filipino rights group says that President Duterte is using the country’s drug war as a cover to eliminate political opponents. Air India—in response to Chinese pressure—has dropped all mention of Taiwan from its flight list…you can now fly to Chinese Taipei. Human rights officials with the UN are pushing for the release of Liu Xiaobo’s widow, Liu Xia. The China-US trade war is upon us. In another goodwill gesture, North and South Koreans met up in Pyongyang this week for some friendly games of basketball. On Friday, Japan hanged seven members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult, the group behind the sarin gas attacks on the Tokyo subway in 1995. The Australian National University in Canberra has been fending off attacks by Chinese hackers.

Dozens of African leaders met up in Mauritania this week to discuss strategies for countering extremism. In Mali, a woman has been arrested for helping jihadists by supplying them with fertilizer to be used in homemade explosives. Warring factions in South Sudan have signed onto a security arrangement deal that, if held to, could be the first step towards a longer term power-sharing agreement. Africa’s ‘largest free trade zone’ is now open for business in Djibouti. Al-Shabaab carried out an attack against the Somali Interior Ministry. In Uganda, President Museveni is standing by his new social media tax, arguing that the media platforms are used for “lying” and donating money to foreign companies. Ugandan and Congolese navy personnel engaged in a deadly fight on Lake Edward on Wednesday. As conflict continues unabated in Cameroon, local economies are starting to take a serious hit. Authorities in Liberia have confiscated a large haul of counterfeit bills. The Burundian government is now banning pregnant teenagers from attending school. A new report highlights Mozambique as a key node in the global heroin trade. In South Africa, rhino poachers were killed by a pride of lions after sneaking onto Sibuya Game Reserve.

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