Link Roundups

Weekly Links

By Patrick Pierson.

Walker Evans, “Red Building in Field”, 1963. Photo via Metropolitan Museum of Art.

A Massachusetts man has been formally charged by federal prosecutors after tweeting that he would pay “$500 to anyone who kills an ICE agent.” The Russian embassy is trolling the announcement of a US Space Force. The US State Department has cleared the way for a sale of cutting-edge missiles to the Mexican navy. Mexican president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (Amlo) says his entire security detail will be 20 unarmed men and women…the current detail for President Enrique Pena Nieto is around 2000. Amlo is also vowing a fresh start in the country’s fight against crime—“You cannot combat evil with evil.Arbitrary arrests are the new norm in Nicaragua; human rights groups claim that more than 300 people have been killed since anti-government demonstrations began in April. Former El Salvadoran President Antonio Saca has plead guilty to money laundering in a bid to reduce his prison sentence. After weeks of unrest, Haiti has a new prime minister. In the wake of last weekend’s attempted assassination, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is cracking down even harder on the opposition. Ecuador is struggling to keep up with the influx of Venezuelan refugees. New President Iván Duque is officially at the helm in Colombia. On his way out the door, former president Juan Manuel Santos recognized Palestine as a “free, independent, and sovereign state”—not surprisingly, Israel isn’t a fan of the move. The homicide rate in Brazil is moving in the wrong direction.

The new government in Madrid has taken a more welcoming approach to migrants, but not everyone is excited about the policy shift. France is trying to help out with the recent surge of migrants in Spain. Meanwhile, anti-immigrant populism is taking center stage in Italy. German authorities had to step in this week to protect a man from a baby squirrel. Greece and Russia continue their tit-for-tat measures over an ongoing name crisis regarding Macedonia. Norway is piloting a program that will provide free heroin to addicts. Officials in Poland had to evacuate more than 2000 people this week after an unexploded WWII-era bomb was discovered in the town of Glogow. Estonia has slammed the brakes on NATO exercises after a Spanish fighter jet accidentally fired a missile in Baltic airspace during training exercises. The drama concerning a potential land swap between Kosovo and Serbia continues. Romanian expats headed home this week to participate in anti-government protests in Bucharest. Russia is less-than-excited about the potential for new US sanctions to go into effect later this month. The Turkish economy is in bad shape.

Three months after elections, Lebanon is still struggling to form a government. Saudi Arabia and Canada found themselves in a diplomatic row this week after Canada pushed Saudi Arabia to release civil society activists. Saudi officials took exception to the comment—meanwhile, Saudi Arabia beheaded a man on Wednesday and then put his body on public display. Bahrain voiced its support for Saudi Arabia in the diplomatic spat. A Saudi airstrike in Yemen hit a bus driving through a busy market this week, killing dozens, including many women and children. The Taliban launched a large-scale attack on the Afghan city of Ghazni this week. The US has imposed another round of sanctions on Iran. Thirty years later, the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan continues. Pakistan plans to erect fences along much of the country’s border with Afghanistan. An Indian MP showed up to parliament dressed as Adolf Hitler this week in a bid to gain greater economic assistance for his district.

Large-scale protests continue in Bangladesh—the protests are also encouraging citizens to push for the release of previously imprisoned activists. Myanmar continues to tell the ICC to ‘mind your own business’ when it comes to the deportation of Rohingya Muslims. The Facebook page of Cambodian PM Hun Sen was hacked this week, falsely claiming that he would cede a number of parliamentary seats to the opposition. The Pentagon has joined in the chorus of individuals and institutions condemning the recent elections, which saw the Cambodian People’s Party win all 125 seats in parliament. An Australian human rights activist—and former professor—has been detained in the Philippines. Najib Razak, the former prime minister of Malaysia, has been charged with money laundering. The testy relationship between China and the US in the South China Sea continues. It appears that a number of South Korean companies violated UN sanctions last year by importing over 30,000 tons of coal and iron from North Korea.

Malians head to the polls today in a runoff election for president. As relations between Eritrea and Ethiopia thaw, the UAE has announced plans to build an oil pipeline between the two countries. Joseph Kabila, the 17-year ruler of the DRC, is pulling out of December elections. Vigilantes are killing witch doctors in Tanzania. Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza says he will step down in 2020. In Mozambique, former RENAMO rebels are preparing to be incorporated into the armed forces as part of a deal to secure a permanent peace agreement. Skyrocketing vanilla prices threaten Madagascan farmers as thieves attempt to steal their crops.

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