By Patrick Pierson.
In Mexico, two gunmen kidnapped Norma Azucena Rodríguez Zamora, a newly elected Congresswoman. Mexican marines seized 50 tons of methamphetamine in an underground facility in Sinaloa. Officials in Costa Rica are making serious efforts to curtail violence against women. More than a dozen individuals have been detained in connection with the recent assassination attempt on President Maduro in Venezuela. The country’s economic crisis is so bad that many hospitals no longer have running water. Meanwhile, piracy is making a comeback off the Venezuelan coast. In Chile, 24 Pinochet-era policeman have been sentenced to prison terms for their involvement in the disappearance of a man in 1974. US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis announced plans to work more closely with the Argentinian military. A former Guantanamo Bay detainee is now running a pastry shop in Uruguay. Mario Abdo Benítez is officially the new president of Paraguay.
Thousands of babies were taken from their families during the dictatorship of Spain’s Francisco Franco—decades later, the first case is going to court. Thieves in Belgium managed to steal more than $1 million worth of Red Bull from a distribution center. Vladimir Putin spent his Saturday at the wedding of Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl. Poland is hoping for a permanent US military presence. Denmark is building a 43.4-mile fence along the German border to curtail the movement of wild boars and the potential for African swine fever. The US troop presence is on the rise in Norway. More than 100 cars were torched this week during a mass arson attack across Sweden. The US is investing $27 million to update military bases in Romania and Bulgaria. A pair of Greek soldiers returned home this week after spending months in a Turkish prison. As the lira continues to plummet, Turkey secured a $15 billion investment from Qatar that may help the economy stay afloat.
Saudi Arabia announced plans to give $100 million towards stabilization projects in northeast Syria, an area currently controlled by US-backed forces. Iraqi forces conducted airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria, but the Pentagon claims that ISIS is well-positioned to make a comeback. A suicide attack killed dozens in Kabul. India’s first all-female SWAT team is now active. The Sri Lankan rupee hit a record low this week.
Human Rights Watch has condemned the Bangladeshi government for detaining dozens of activists and government critics. In Myanmar, Facebook is being used to foment attacks against Muslims. According to a UN panel, up to one million ethnic Uighurs are currently detained in Chinese ‘re-education’ camps. Japan activated an elite marine unit for the first time since WWII. Officials in Seoul are pushing for a new ‘railway community’ that would include North Korea. An Australian senator drew strong reactions from both sides of the political spectrum this week after calling for an end to all Muslim migration and invoking the term ‘final solution’.
Authorities in Mauritania are cracking down on dissent in the lead up to September elections. Jihadist militants killed six during an attack on security forces in Burkina Faso. As Western militaries set up shop in Niger, the government is silencing local activists that denounce the foreign bases. The Ebola outbreak in the DRC continues. Ugandan authorities are accused of torturing opposition politician Bobi Wine. Tanzania is hoping to encourage women to report gender-based violence by establishing ‘gender’ desks at police stations. British soldiers are training park rangers in Malawi in an effort to combat illegal poaching. Nigerian soldiers protested this week after learning of a planned redeployment to the front lines in the fight against Boko Haram. Authorities in Mozambique released the names of the suspected leaders of an Islamist insurgency in the north of the country. A young Zambian man has been sentenced to more than two years in prison after scamming citizens out of money by posing as the country’s First Lady, Esther Lungu. The body of longtime Angolan rebel leader Jonas Savimbi is set to be exhumed by the end of the year in order to receive a ‘proper’ burial. Reports out of South Africa suggest that illegal rhino poaching is linked to widespread corruption in the country’s judiciary.