Weekly Links

Searchlight on Harbor Entrance, Santiago de Cuba by Winslow Homer.

By Patrick Pierson.

 A third Canadian has been detained in China in as many weeks. Nearly 200 Canadians are currently detained in the country. The US is withdrawing troops from Syria. Nevada is making history as the first US state with a female-majority legislature. The US government has pledged nearly $6 billion in aid and investment to Central America. The Guatemalan government has expelled investigators working for a UN-backed anti-corruption group. Nicaragua similarly expelled two missions from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Haiti is attempting to survey all citizens in the diaspora. According to President Maduro, Venezuela has a civil militia that is 1.6 million members strong. Trinidad is struggling to cope with the large number of Venezuelan refugees. Former Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner will face trial on corruption charges. Brazil has arrested dozens of police officers accused of accepting bribes from cartels.

Violent protests erupted in Barcelona after the Spanish government decided to hold a cabinet meeting in the city. The Spanish Interior Ministry has released a detailed report on the country’s murder rate. Yellow Vest protests spread to Portugal this week. Belgian PM Charles Michel has offered his resignation in a political fight over immigration policy. Authorities in Germany are upping their surveillance of right-wing extremists. Is Denmark’s new “hand-shaking requirement” anti-Muslim? Estonia has detained ten people involved in a massive money laundering scheme. Protests continue in Hungary. A bomb attack occurred this week at the headquarters of a Greek media group that has criticized the government. Vladimir Putin is weighing in on the rap game. Putin has commended President Trump’s decision to remove US troops from Syria. The US Treasury announced a new set of sanctions against Russian individuals and businesses.

In Amman, youth-led protests against economic policies and alleged corruption are entering their fourth week. In the wake of the Jamal Khashoggi murder, Saudi Arabia is restructuring its intelligence operations. Officials from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are working to negotiate their way out of a diplomatic crisis in the Gulf. The UAE is offering a $3 billion bailout package to Pakistan. The US is looking to pull thousands of troops out of Afghanistan.

The NBA is headed to India. Facebook is shutting down a number of fake news sites in the run-up to elections in Bangladesh. A son of Cambodian PM Hun Sen has been promoted to a leading position in the ruling party. In Indonesia, the hunt continues for a group of separatist rebels that killed 16 workers at a construction site earlier this month. Japan just announced record military spending. North Korea says it will never unilaterally give up its nuclear weapons unless the US removes its nuclear threat. The US Justice Department has indicted two Chinese men accused of hacking into companies and government agencies in Western countries. Australian officials joined the chorus of condemnation. President Trump signed a new law that imposes a visa ban on any Chinese officials denying American citizens access to Tibet. Does Australia have the world’s first “immigration economy”?

Officials in Tunisia dismantled a secret cell that was plotting attacks on security forces. A number of Islamist militants were killed by French airstrikes in Mali. Eight people were killed in Sudan this week during protests against soaring food prices. Uganda is preparing to teach Chinese in secondary schools in a sign of warming relations with China. Protesters took to the streets this week after the DRC’s electoral commission postponed the holding of presidential elections scheduled for December 30th. A former chief of defense in the Nigerian army was killed by unknown gunmen this week. Meanwhile, the Nigerian army has accused Amnesty International of spying on behalf of Boko Haram. Journalists in Cameroon are facing increasing government censure. A Tanzanian rap star has been barred from performing after playing a song banned by authorities for being sexually provocative. Zambia’s Supreme Court sentenced a journalist to 18 months in prison after he accused the judiciary of corruption. Islamist militants are threatening a fragile peace in Mozambique. Meet Mozambique’s “ghost employees”, all 30,000 of them. South Africa has issued an arrest warrant for Grace Mugabe.

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