By Patrick Pierson.
The US has accused China of conducting an espionage campaign via LinkedIn. The Mexican navy seized more than 2 tons of cocaine this week. Check out this important primer on forced disappearances in Mexico’s war on drugs. Officials from El Salvador say that three young Salvadoran children were sexually abused in a US detention center in Arizona after being separated from their families. Nicaragua expelled a UN human rights team after the group published a report accusing the government of repressing opposition protesters. Similarly, Guatemala shut down a UN-backed anticorruption commission this week. Two former FARC rebel leaders have gone missing. Colombian officials have charged more than a dozen Chiquita employees with funding a right-wing death squad in the early 2000s. In Venezuela, authorities have arrested more than 100 people accused of economic sabotage against the Maduro regime. Dozens of police weapons have gone missing in Paraguay—the theft went unnoticed for quite some time after the thieves replaced the real guns with toy replicas. Protesters in Peru are disrupting mining operations. The spat at the ICJ between Bolivia and Chile continues as the two countries dispute ownership claims to the Silala river. Brazil’s top electoral court has ruled that Lula is not allowed to run in the country’s October elections. Officials in Argentina raised the interest rate to 60% in an effort to stymie the pesos free fall.
A British man has been sentenced to life in prison over a plot to kill Prime Minister Theresa May. Alex Salmond, former head of the Scottish National party, is facing allegations of sexual misconduct. The Spanish government recently granted official approval to a sex workers’ union, but the country’s Minister of Labor says it was unintended and that she was deceived. French environment minister Nicolas Hulot resigned on live radio this week, dealing a significant blow to President Macron’s government. Earlier this week, French authorities detained a trio of British smugglers attempting to sneak twelve Vietnamese migrants into the UK. The right-wing in Germany continues to make its presence felt. The Netherlands is not making any international friends with its Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest. Denmark is looking to strengthen its support of collective security in the EU. The Polish government is intending to seek damages from Germany over the costs of WWII occupation. Poland’s hunt for Bertha—a 16 foot Indian python on the loose in Warsaw’s suburbs—continues. In Slovenia, five moderate parties have joined together to form a center-left government. Turkey is hoping to improve ties with Greece.
In the wake of a recent UN report on possible war crimes in Yemen, US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis says that US-support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen is “not unconditional.” The US navy intercepted a weapons smuggling operation off the coast of Yemen this week. Qatar is expanding an air base that houses scores of US forces. Egypt is considering digging a trench so expansive that it would make Qatar an island, taking the diplomatic isolation of its Gulf neighbor to the next level. The Syrian army is preparing its assault on Idlib, the last major rebel stronghold in the country. In Iraq, a suicide attack on a security checkpoint killed eight and wounded more than a dozen. Airstrikes in northern Afghanistan were conducted on Monday, but the source is unclear—Russia and Tajikistan are pointing fingers at one another. More than 100 human rights groups are calling for the immediate release of Bahraini activist Nabeel Rajab.
Protests erupted in India this week after a number of human rights activists were placed under house arrest for supposed links to Maoist insurgents. In a first, Facebook has banned a number of Myanmar military officials from its site. A ‘ghost ship’ was found drifting off the coast of Myanmar. Cambodia extended pardons to more than a dozen anti-government activists this week. In Cambodia, an Australian filmmaker has been sentenced to six years in prison on espionage charges. The United Nations is calling on China to cease the detention of the country’s Uighur Muslim minority. A number of US congressmen are pushing for economic sanctions over China’s treatment of the Uighurs. Japan is preparing to spend more than $2 billion on a new US missile-defense system.
A jailed Moroccan activist has launched a hunger strike. Algeria is confronting a serious cholera outbreak. French forces claim to have killed a top Islamic State operative in West Africa. US airstrikes against al-Shabaab continue. Ugandan opposition politician Bobi Wine is en route to Boston to receive medical treatment for injuries suffered while in state custody. New video has emerged of abuses carried out by the army in Cameroon. Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Liberian President George Weah this week. Malawi’s former president Joyce Banda looks set to reenter the country’s political scene in next year’s elections. Germany has returned skulls and bones to Namibia dating from the German genocide of Herero and Nama people in the early 1900s. South Africa saw a number of attacks against foreign business owners this week. Chief Buthelezi is stepping down from his leadership role at the head of the Inkatha Freedom Party, an organization he has steered since the 1970s and one that played a prominent role during the apartheid era.