Weekly Links

By Patrick Pierson.

Henry Ward Ranger, “High Bridge, New York,” 1905. Photo via The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Juan Antonio Hernández, brother to Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández, has been arrested in Miami on charges of cocaine smuggling. In Cuba, yet another Canadian embassy employee has come down with an unexplained illness. As unrest continues in Haiti, the US State Department has ordered the withdrawal of all non-essential diplomatic personnel. In El Salvador, one mayor is taking the fight against gangs into his own hands. Students are taking to the streets in Colombia. In Venezuela, President Maduro is looking towards gold in an effort to stabilize his rule. The Venezuelan opposition is working to build grassroots support, one slum at a time. Ecuador needs more than $500 million to provide aid to Venezuelan migrants. In Brazil, the governor of Rio de Janeiro has been arrested with ties to the Car Wash corruption investigation.

A new rule in the UK requires that anyone placing political ads on Facebook must “verify their identity…and prove who is paying for the advertisement.” China and Spain are strengthening bilateral ties. A pair of jailed Catalan separatist leaders have launched a hunger strike. In Austria, a jihadist recruiter has been sentenced to eight years in prison. Swiss citizens are voting this weekend on the future of cow and goat horns. Italian prosecutors have named a number of Egyptian security officials in the alleged murder of Italian doctoral student Giulio Regeni. Record-low birth rates are threatening Finland’s welfare system. Latvian security officials have arrested three individuals on allegations of spying. Russia and Ukraine are going head-to-head on the high seas. Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán promoted his country’s counter-terrorism unit this week alongside Chuck Norris.

Turkey has renamed the street that houses the US embassy after Malcolm X. In Syria, President Bashar al-Assad has reshuffled his cabinet and ordered the formation of a National Reconciliation Commission. More than 500 bodies have been exhumed from a mass grave in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa. UN officials are reiterating that Yemen is “on the brink of a major catastrophe.” On Wednesday, the US Senate voted to move forward with a resolution that would end American military support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. Iraq has sentenced a number of former officials in absentia to a seven year prison term on corruption charges. It was a particularly violent week in Afghanistan. Relations between Pakistan and India took a positive step forward this week with the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor.

Sri Lanka’s most senior military official has been accused of aiding the abduction of 11 people during the country’s civil war. Three Philippine policemen have been charged with murder in the killing of a teenager as part of President Duterte’s war on drugs. Also this week, President Duterte threatened to create a “death squad” to track down members of a Maoist militia. More than 200 Chinese citizens have been arrested in Cambodia for defrauding people via internet scams. Authorities in Vietnam have arrested the former chairman of a state-run bank. Australia has become the first country in the world to pass legislation making “orphanage trafficking” a part of modern-day slavery. Japan is preparing to acquire its first aircraft carrier since WWII. Is Japan about to loosen its notoriously strict immigration policy? In China, a prominent photojournalist has gone missing while on assignment in Xinjiang, a region that currently houses more than one million Muslim Uighurs in internment camps. Two US Navy ships passed through the Taiwan street this week as part of an ongoing dispute in the South China Sea.

Mauritania is finally landmine free. Militias continue to battle it out for control of Tripoli. Senegal is the new home of Africa’s first NBA training center. Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Burkina Faso have launched a joint security operation to fight terrorism, smuggling, and drug trafficking. In Chad, opposition leaders are railing against President Idriss Deby’s decision to visit Israel. French forces killed a top terrorist leader in Mali this week. Cameroon has activated village militias in the north of the country to combat Boko Haram terrorists. Boko Haram fighters attacked a military base in Nigeria this week, the second such attack in as many weeks. A Russian bank accidentally lent $12 billion to the Central African Republic. The Ebola outbreak in the DRC is growing. US forces conducted an airstrike against al-Shabaab militants in Somalia this week. Kenyan police officers fired warning shots at anti-corruption officials in order to secure the release of colleagues accused of bribery. Demonstrators are taking to the streets in Zimbabwe to denounce President Mnangagwa’s rule. In Lesotho, MPs are demanding that their salaries be doubled, despite the fact that they currently make more than 18 times as much as the average factory worker in the country.

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