Link Roundups

Weekly Links

By Patrick Pierson.

Maxwell Balfour, Cape Town, 1900. Photo via National Gallery of Art

Fourteen Canadian diplomats are suing their government after contracting a mysterious illness while posted in Cuba. A new report from the Pentagon is pushing for a change in how the US military measures civilian casualties. The Mexican government is deploying more than 10,000 troops to murder hot spots around the country. A special task force has been established to help find tens of thousands of people that disappeared during the country’s drug war. The number of political prisoners detained in Nicaragua has reached nearly 800. Nayib Bukele, a 37 year-old independent, is officially the president-elect of El Salvador. In Colombia, ELN rebels have freed three civilians that were captured more than three weeks ago. A Chilean court has reopened a case against former army chief Gen. Juan Emilio Cheyre for his alleged involvement in the torturing of political prisoners shortly after the country’s 1973 military coup. Brazil’s former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has been convicted on a second corruption charge, this one carrying a term of 13 years in prison.

Italian Deputy PM Luigi Di Maio paid a visit to Yellow Vest protesters in France this week. In turn, France recalled its ambassador from Italy and declared “playtime is over.” Authorities in Belgium are planning for a nationwide strike set to begin on Wednesday. Germany has unveiled the new headquarters for the German Intelligence Agency. Huawei offered to build a cyber-security center in Poland, just weeks after an employee was arrested on spying charges. China has decried allegations of spying by Lithuanian officials as “ridiculous.” Norwegian software firm Visma has been hacked by Chinese intelligence agents in an effort to steal data on clients. In the run-up to March elections, Ukraine has 44 registered presidential candidates. Serbian officials are not happy about a recent Freedom House report that downgraded the country from “free” to “partly free.” Macedonia has signed an accord to become the 30th member of NATO.

Intelligence officials believe that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi survived a coup attempt last month. Two Palestinian teenagers were killed on Friday by Israeli live fire amid ongoing protests at the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip. Morocco has withdrawn from the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen after Al Arabiya aired a documentary on the disputed Western Sahara region. A new Amnesty International report draws attention to the UAE’s reckless arming of militias in Yemen. As the war drags on, citizens continue to suffer—the country has few remaining cancer clinics in operation. Pope Francis celebrated a historic mass in the UAE this week. In Iraq, Kurdish Peshmerga leaders warn that the US decision to withdraw from Syria is ill-advised. Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khameini has clarified the meaning of ‘Death to America’ chants—it doesn’t mean death to American citizens, just “death to US leaders, death to Trump and John Bolton and Pompeo.” The chief US negotiator in Afghanistan says a deal with the Taliban is still a long ways off. The arrest of ethnic Pashtun activists in Pakistan this week did little to ease the ongoing rift with neighboring Afghanistan.

In Myanmar, dozens of activists were detained after protesting against a statue of Aung San, one of the country’s independence heroes and father of the current leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The Philippines is apologizing after video surfaced of the burning of a Malaysian flag by a private citizen. Read up on the world’s “biggest heist” in Malaysia. Tensions continue to flare between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea. Are the US and China in an AI arms race? President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un are set to meet for a second summit later this month. Shinzo Abe is fighting to regain four disputed islands from Russia. Earlier this week, hackers attempted to infiltrate the Australian parliament’s computer network.

Algerian authorities have detained an activist who appeared in a Facebook photo holding a placard opposing President Bouteflika’s fifth term in office. Algeria is struggling to stave off ‘brain drain’. Forces in Libya have detained a suspected al-Qaeda leader. A human rights group has accused Burkina Faso’s army of committing rights abuses during counterterrorism operations. The US government is cutting millions in aid to Cameroon amid ongoing human rights abuses. Despite the move, the US military still plans to partner with Cameroon on broader counterterrorism operations in the region. A new peace treaty has been signed in Central African Republic. Officials in Nigeria don’t appear too keen on having foreign countries weigh-in regarding this week’s elections—when asked about the role of the international community in elections, Kaduna governor (and ally of sitting President Muhammadu Buhari) Nasir El-Rufai replied, “We are waiting for the person who will come and intervene. They will go back in body bags because nobody will come to Nigeria and tell us how to run our country.” Ebola is spreading in the DRC. Public service announcements are reducing violence against women in Uganda. In Sudan, nearly 60 people have been killed in the government’s recent crackdown on protesters. Tanzania is planning to release nearly 2000 Ethiopians currently imprisoned in the country. Unrest continues in Mozambique’s northern Cabo Delgado region—this week, suspected jihadists killed seven men and abducted four men. South Africans will head to the polls for presidential and parliamentary elections on May 8th.

Leave a Comment