By Patrick Pierson.
El Chapo is on trial in the US. Two sons of former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli were arrested in Miami this week on money-laundering charges. A former Guatemalan soldier has been sentenced to more than 5000 years in prison for a massacre committed during the country’s civil war. The Nicaraguan government is cracking down on journalists. El Salvador’s navy seized a record 6.3 metric tons of cocaine this week. Protests over government corruption continue in Haiti. Cuba is strengthening ties with Spain. Is the US preparing to name Venezuela as a state sponsor of terrorism? Former Peruvian President Alan García is seeking asylum at the Uruguayan embassy as he faces corruption allegations.
More than 600 migrants have died off the coast of Spain in 2018—this is nearly three times the number of deaths in all of 2017. France has imposed a travel ban on 18 Saudi citizens in retaliation for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Protests over fuel prices continue in France. More than 1.8 million people have applied for asylum in Germany over the past five years. Is Italy “sleepwalking into instability”? Poland continues its request for the US to open a military base on Polish soil. In Bulgaria, an anti-corruption task force has opened investigations into the country’s finance minister.
Turkey has accused President Trump of turning a blind eye to the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. Israel is increasingly violating Lebanese airspace. Iraqi PM Adil Abdul Mahdi is opening Baghdad’s ‘Green Zone’ to the public today…the space has not been consistently open to the Iraqi public for more than 15 years. A recent Amnesty report documents Saudi Arabia’s ongoing mistreatment of several human rights activists detained in the country since May. Martin Griffiths, the UN envoy for Yemen, has arrived in the strategic port city of Hodeidah for peace talks. A British academic has been jailed for life in the UAE after being accused of spying for the UK government while conducting fieldwork in Dubai. In Bahrain, opposition groups are encouraging a boycott of upcoming elections. A suicide attack inside an Afghan military base killed dozens during Friday prayers. An attack was launched against the Chinese consulate in Pakistan this week.
The political crisis in Sri Lanka continues. Bangladesh has released renowned photographer Shahidul Alam after more than 100 days in jail. Munitions are still exploding in Laos, nearly 50 years after the US bombing campaign against the country during the Vietnam War. What does Xi Jinping’s recent trip to the Philippines mean for politics in the region? Indonesia’s ‘millennial party’ is providing a new look to politics in the Muslim-majority country. Dolce and Gabbana is facing serious pushback in China after running an ad that many have decried as racist. A UN committee says that North Korea is still conducting operations at the country’s primary nuclear site. Japan’s cybersecurity minister, Yoshitaka Sakurada, made headlines recently after confessing that he doesn’t use computers.
Egyptian authorities say that police killed a dozen Islamic militants during operations in Sinai this week. Hundreds of thousands of Tunisians are striking over demands for higher wages. Mali continues to struggle in its efforts to contain Islamist insurgents. Activists in Burkina Faso are working hard to provide quality education for children fleeing extremist violence. A new UN report documents the threat of famine in Central African Republic if efforts are not made to curtail the country’s humanitarian crisis. Campaigning is under way in the lead up to December elections in the DRC. Islamic State has claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on a military base in northern Nigeria. France is returning dozens of artifacts to Benin that were taken from the palace of King Behanzin 126 years ago. Freeman Mbowe, head of Tanzania’s opposition party, has been arrested for failing to appear in court to face charges of illegal protest. Angolan President Joao Lourenco is stepping up the fight against corruption. Things got testy in Zimbabwe’s parliament this week.