Link Roundups

Weekly Links

By Patrick Pierson.

Auguste Renoir, “The Blue River,” c. 1890/1900. Photo via National Gallery of Art.

Last month, Portugal produced enough clean energy to power the entire country. The UK and Russia continue to exchange words over the recent nerve agent attack in Britain. A month after the general election, Italy still hasn’t established a government. Vatican police have arrested a former diplomat to the US on child pornography charges. A vehicle attack left two dead in Germany this week. Germany has refused extradition requests for exiled Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont. Meanwhile, Puigdemont is calling for dialogue with authorities in Madrid. A month after general elections, Italy is still without a government. Authorities in Poland seized millions in dirty money this week. Check out this interview with Linas Linkevicius, the Foreign Minister of Lithuania. Protests over the killing of a Slovak journalist continue. A major Croatian drug smuggler has been extradited from Slovenia to face charges. Infighting continues among the ruling Social Democratic party in Kyrgyzstan.

Clashes between the Israeli army and Palestinian protesters continue. Some MPs in Jordan are petitioning the return of Israel’s ambassador to the country. In Syria, pro-government forces have launched a renewed attack on the town of Douma. Cinemas have been banned in Saudi Arabia for decades…but Black Panther is about to change that. The whirlwind tour of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman continues. Dozens of Sudanese soldiers – part of the Saudi-led coalition – were killed in Yemen this week. In Afghanistan, an IS commander was killed by a drone strike. Afghan authorities have accused Pakistani military forces of conducting airstrikes on a border district on Thursday. Meanwhile, the Pakistani Prime Minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, held talks with Afghan leaders in Kabul on Friday. India has announced plans to construct a rail line that will connect to the Nepali capital, Kathmandu. Is Bangladesh becoming a one-party state?

Human rights groups in Myanmar claim Facebook is not doing enough to curb hate speech directed towards the country’s Rohingya minority. Rebel groups in Myanmar are not happy with the state of current peace talks. International observers have been invited to Cambodia’s general elections slated for July. Authorities in Thailand conducted the largest seizure of crystal meth in the country’s history. A state of emergency was declared in Indonesia this week after a massive oil spill caught fire. Six human rights activists in Vietnam have been sentenced to prison terms. Japan activated its first marine unit since WWII this week. Former South Korean President Park Geun-hye has been sentenced to 24 years in prison. Officials from North Korea and the US have been conducting secret direct talks in preparation for a planned summit in May.

Check out this story on Russian efforts to bolster ties on the African continent. The US has announced a new commander for Army forces in Africa. Are plans to hold an election in Libya really a good idea? Hundreds of migrants were rescued off the Libyan coast this week. Tempers are flaring over the Western Sahara issue, more than four decades since the conflict began. Algeria continues to support the POLISARIO front in Western Sahara, but Moroccan authorities are warning Algeria to not get involved. Chadian president Idriss Déby has announced that legislative elections will take place in November…these elections have been postponed since the summer of 2015. Courts in Mauritania issued the country’s toughest ever sentences for slavery this week. A joint team of Malian and French troops killed dozens of Islamist insurgents on the border with Niger. Officials from Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia are still unable to reach an agreement over disputes about a dam on the Nile. Nigeria’s President Buhari is not a fan of the pending Economic Partnership Agreement between West African countries and the EU. A clash between herders and farmers in the central Nigerian state of Benue killed ten people this week. Is Cameroon’s army committing human rights violations in the country’s Anglophone region? Check out this story of a singer-turned-opposition politician in Uganda. Check out this primer on Botswana’s new president. In South Africa, Jacob Zuma has appeared in court on the corruption case levied against him.

Former Guatemalan military dictator Efrain Rios Montt has died. Honduras and President Trump are in conflict over the migrant ‘caravan’ headed for the US. Panama has withdrawn its ambassador to Venezuela amid an ongoing diplomatic spat. The US has expressed support for Panama in the row. Colombia is now registering Venezuelan migrants. The supreme court in Colombia has ordered the government to protect the Amazon rainforest. Authorities in Ecuador have arrested a cartel boss with ties to a string of recent bombings and kidnappings. Three people are in custody in Guyana amid allegations of a plot to assassinate the president.

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