Weekly Links

By Patrick Pierson.

William Stanley Haseltine, “Santa Maria a Cetrella, Anacapri,” c. 1892. Photo via National Gallery of Art.

Have you (like me) ever tried to decipher the precise amount of caffeine to optimize your alertness? If so, you’ll want to check out this new algorithm – recently published in an academic journal ­– developed by the US Army.

Mexico is responding to US tariffs on steel and aluminum with tariffs of its own. This article provides an overview of the ongoing political crisis in Nicaragua. The US has imposed visa restrictions on a number of Nicaraguan officials implicated in human rights abuses. Costa Rica has seen an uptick in refugee applications from Nicaragua. Officials in El Salvador have officially ordered the arrest of former president Mauricio Funes. The US has agreed to an extradition request for former Panamian President Ricardo Martinelli, who is currently incarcerated in Florida. A group of FARC dissidents are killing social activists in Colombia. In Venezuela, the opposition is calling on the international community to pressure President Maduro to open a humanitarian aid corridor. US Vice President Mike Pence will travel to South America at the end of June to help countries confronting growing numbers of Venezuelan refugees. Is it time for a coup in Venezuela? Argentina has agreed to terms on a $50 billion loan from the IMF.

Spain’s new government is setting records – women hold a majority of the cabinet positions. France is struggling to combat cocaine smuggling from Guiana, a French territory in South America. The new US ambassador to Germany is under scrutiny for his pro-right comments. Prosecutors in Germany have issued an international arrest warrant for the head of Syria’s state intelligence agency. Austria is shutting down a handful of mosques that received funding from Turkey (officials in Turkey are calling the move racist). Officials in Italy are requesting NATO assistance with migrants. Italy and Malta are arguing over who should take in more migrants. The Norwegian parliament has overwhelmingly voted to ban the burqa in schools and universities.

Dozens of people were killed in Russian airstrikes on a rebel-held village in Syria. Lebanon is playing hardball with the UNHCR over returning refugees to ‘secure areas’ of Syria. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Kuwait are coming together to help Jordan find a way out of its economic crisis. Here’s five reasons why you should be concerned with ongoing fighting in Yemen. The International Committee of the Red Cross is pulling all of its international staff out of the country. Nike is refusing to provide cleats for Iranian players in the World Cup. For the first time ever, the Taliban has agreed to a three-day ceasefire. Bangladesh’s ‘war on drugs’ has become increasingly violent.

In Myanmar, hardline Buddhist monks are using Facebook to spread hate messages about Rohingya Muslims. Vietnam has released two activists from prison and subsequently expelled them to Germany. Indonesia – along with Germany and South Africa – will serve as non-permanent members on the UN Security Council. China and the Philippines are at odds over fishing rights in the South China Sea. Chinese hackers stole information from a US naval contractor working on submarines and underwater weapons systems. Chinese investors are pouring into Dandong, the Chinese border city with North Korea. The Australian government has established a task force specifically focused on protecting the country against election-related cyber attacks.

The Ethiopian parliament has lifted a state of emergency in place since February. Suicide bombers attacked a number of mosques in Niger this week. Egypt is punishing journalists for insulting the al-Sisi family. The US carried out a drone strike in northern Somalia this week, the first strike conducted in the Puntland region in more than a decade. Malians took to the streets to protest against President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. Violence from the Central African Republic is spilling over the border into Cameroon. Armed groups are raiding NGO compounds in the CAR to get supplies. The International Criminal Court has overturned the war crimes conviction of former DRC vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba. The Vatican is preparing to open its first embassy in South Sudan. Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza says he will step down in 2020. The uptick in Islamist violence in northern Mozambique continues. An extremely rare sea creature has washed ashore in Namibia.

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