May 2018 — CANVAS

Weekly Report: 25 May 2018

Photo: Venezuelan citizens wait to check in at a “Red Spot” to verify they cast their votes during the presidential election. Reuters. Cambodia Cambodia’s National Ministry of Interior has threatened officials of the CNRP, the dissolved opposition party, with seizure of assets if they continue calling for a boycott of the election. This has alarmed observers, who say there is no legal precedent for such a move: the ministry spokesperson has argued that as the CNRP officials are no longer residents of the country, the seizure is permissible. Several CNRP officials and activists have fled the country and are living in self-exile following the dissolution of the party last year. However, Sok Sam Oeun, lead attorney at the Amrin Law and Consultations Group, says he has “no idea” what legal provision the government could use, as calling for a boycott of an election is not illegal in Cambodia. Furthermore, a senior election observer at COMFREL, one of the two observers who declined to send representatives, says the call is an expression of free speech, not an “obstruction” of the election. The former deputy president of the CNRP has compared the threat of seizure to Khmer Rouge tactics, where the regime would evacuate citizens from their homes and towns, only to take all their belongings. A CPP spokesperson has stated that average citizens who may choose to boycott the election will not face any repercussions. As of Thursday, the National Election Committee has approved all 20 of the political parties that registered for the election. Only two of these currently hold parliamentary seats, the ruling CPP and the Funcinpec party,...

Weekly Report: 18 May 2018

Photo: The families of victims of the ongoing protests in Nicaragua demand justice. Reuters. Venezuela Presidential elections are only two days away, and the National Electoral Council says that the country is prepared, with all materials having been distributed both domestically and internationally. As of Wednesday, Bertucci still will not step down to clear the way for Falcon. A poll conducted by International Consulting Services shows 67.5 percent of the surveyed population saying they are “absolutely certain” they will participate in the May 20 elections. Around four percent said they are certain they will not participate, and 1.3 percent remain unsure. As such, nearly 14 million Venezuelans are expected to vote. The opposition coalition, Broad Front, is calling for abstention from the elections. On Wednesday, it called for supporters to demonstrate on the streets. Protests, however, are feeling ever more futile to the average Venezuelan. While several hundred people turned up this week to protest the “farcical election,” the crowd pales in comparison to the hundreds of thousands seen in past demonstrations. But the violent repression and absolute lack of change has disenfranchised much of the opposition. Furthermore, with the countrying emptying out as citizens flee food shortages and soaring inflation, turnout is expected to be sharply reduced. Canada has banned Venezuelan expats residing in several of the its provinces from casting their votes in the presidential election. Venezuelan embassies and consulates located in Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver will not be permitted to set up polling stations for their constituents. Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza took to Twitter to criticize the move, saying the Canadian government is violating the...

Weekly Report: 14 May 2018

Photo: Protesters in Thailand, demanding the junta stop rescheduling elections. Bangkok Post. United States The scandal embroiling the legal team of President Trump heated up further this week. Michael Cohen, a Trump lawyer, was exposed for exploiting his closeness to the president as a way of signing on to lucrative consulting contracts with major American companies. AT&T, an American telecommunications giant, and Novartis, a major pharmaceutical company, both hired Cohen for his promised insight into Trump’s thoughts and policies. Having come to view the contracts as a scam, both of these companies have called the deals a mistake. Regardless, the surfacing of this information presents a grave concern for the fairness of information and policy. If Cohen had delivered on his proposals, he would have given insider information to only those companies that paid him specifically for it. The reveal also raises suspicion and alarm over whether President Trump himself knew about the deals. If so, a corruption or otherwise tremendously serious scandal could ensue. Another member of the legal team, the newly recruited Rudy Giuliani, has also furthered the chaos surrounding the White House this week. In keeping with his media trend of last week, the lawyer has again revealed information about agreements andpayments with a Russian company that could be detrimental to both the president and the ongoing investigation into the 2016 election. In the international realm, the new US embassy in Jerusalem is sparking turmoil. Saudi Arabia has warned that the move will increase instability in the Middle East, a leader of Al-Qaida hascalled for jihad, and protests in Gaza have turned deadly. Haaretz reports that Israeli gunfire there has killed at least 37 Palestinians and left...

Weekly Report: May 4 2018

Photo: Demonstrators protest against the construction of a government housing project on the forested land around Doi Suthep mountain. Watcharapong Jingkaujai/AFP/Getty Images. Zimbabwe Following the primaries held on Sunday and Monday, ruling party ZANU-PF lost several major nominations. The elections faced irregularities and disorganization that resulted in delayed or annulled results in some parts of the country. President Mnangagwa has acknowledged complaints that police had been present in organizing the voting process, and he said that the practice is illegal. In a letter, the president’s special advisor Christopher Mutsvangwa, has claimed the elections had been rigged by senior party officials with the use of the Zimbabwe Republic Police. In other news, Nelson Chamisa, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has said that Chinese investors are stripping the country of its resources and that, should he win the July elections, any deals will be terminated. China is Zimbabwe’s largest source of investment and its fourth largest trading partner. Chamisa took over as a leader of MDC after deceased Morgan Tsvangirai in February this year. Zimbabwe is now the second African country after Lesotho to have legalized the production of marijuana for medical and scientific use. North & South Korea The nations have together decided to compete as one team at the World Team Table Tennis Championships. Both countries had qualified and planned to play independently in the quarterfinal round, where they were matched against each other. On Thursday, however, they announced that they would both skip the quarterfinals and advance directly to the semifinal round together as one unified team. Earlier this week, there were some other symbolic...