Weekly Links

By Patrick Pierson.

Henri Rousseau, “Tropical Forest with Monkeys,” 1910. Photo via National Gallery of Art.

A US drone strike in Afghanistan killed a Pakistani national accused of involvement in a 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team. Polio eradication efforts are on the rebound in Pakistan. An effective strategy for combating terrorist group financing is a key issue for the Pakistani government according to a recent government report. The country’s National Assembly has voted to reinstate military courts for another two years. In India, the appointment of a controversial Hindu leader to the role of Chief Minister in Uttar Pradesh has raised questions about the government’s agenda. A meeting this week between Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Chinese President Xi Jinping marked 25 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Leaders from Japan and Russia met this week in an effort to move towards resolution of a decades-long territorial dispute. A North Korean envoy claims that his country will continue the advancement of its nuclear missile programs despite threats of increased sanctions from the United States. Malaysia claims to have intercepted a shipment of North Korean military communication equipment bound for Thailand in 2011. Saudi Arabia has signed a contract with the Chinese military to purchase 300 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). What is China’s approach to cybersecurity?

Police in Antwerp intercepted a speeding car in what appears to have been an attempted terror attack. Germany is set to deport two suspected terrorists. Three German teenagers have been sentenced to prison for detonating a homemade bomb at a Sikh temple last year. As tensions with Russia continue to escalate, the Swedish parliament held its first war game in 20 years earlier this week. Russia has warned Norway not to join the NATO missile defense system. In the face of the largest antigovernment demonstrations in years, the president of Belarus – Alyaksandr Lukashenka – is accusing Western intelligence agencies of fueling the unrest. The president claims to have arrested a number of militants who had received training in Ukraine and funding from Poland and Lithuania. An opposition leader in Russia, Alexei Navalny, was “doused in green liquid” this week. A former Russian lawmaker critical of Moscow was shot and killed in Kiev, Ukraine, on Thursday.

South Sudanese rebels seized four oil workers this week – this is the second kidnapping of oil workers in less than a month. A regional protection force from the UN is expected to deploy to the country in coming weeks. Pope Francis has announced plans to visit South Sudan in October. Uganda is struggling to cope with the 800,000 refugees displaced from South Sudan. Refugee flows from Burundi suggest the conflict there is worsening. The UN called on Cameroon to stop forcibly deporting Nigerian refugees displaced by Boko Haram. In a new video, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau reasserted his group’s desire to establish an Islamic caliphate in Africa. A British woman has been detained in Rwanda on accusations of spreading state secrets in order to undermine the president. A Frenchman was kidnapped in eastern Chad along the border with Sudan this week. Mass graves in the DRC reveal the brutal nature of ongoing clashes between state forces and local militias. Opposition parties in Zimbabwe want the United Nations to oversee the upcoming 2018 national election.

Investigators of the deadly drug war in Mexico have unearthed hundreds of bodies in mass graves. Three Mexican journalists have been killed in the last month. A land rights activist in Brazil was killed by gunmen while in hospital recovering from a previous assassination attempt. Uruguay is set to pull its soldiers out of a UN mission in Haiti. A new PM, Jack Guy Lafontant, has been confirmed in Haiti. Guatemala’s Barrio 18 gang has launched a series of attacks on police. Honduran officials are working to uncover supposed links between public contracts and drug cartels.

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