Weekly Reports Archives — CANVAS

Weekly Report: 15 June 2018

Photo: A Nicaraguan demonstrator stands next to graffiti reading “Ortega Out”. Reuters. Malaysia The Malaysian government seeks to receive reparations from companies like Goldman Sachs that contributed to the IMDB scandal resulting in enormous debt. Financial minister Lim Guan Eng stated that he intends to “seek some claims” from Goldman Sachs and eventually have the money returned. In other news, Malaysia’s top two judges, Chief Justice Raus Sharif and Court of Appeal President Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin have resigned and will officially step down on July 31. Their resignations occurred amidst Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s ongoing removal of senior government officials with close ties to the previous administration. Muhammad bin Ibrahim, the Central Bank Governor, also resigned in June, having only completed two years of his five-year term. Venezuela After months of medicine shortages in the country, polio appears to have made a disturbing comeback in Venezuela nearly three decades after its eradication. A case was reported in a child from the state of Delta Amacuro: health care officials and the WHO are awaiting final confirmation from lab results. The case was allegedly reported over a month later than international health regulations require. The lack of basic vaccinations in the country has also sparked an increase in other formerly eradicated diseases such as diphtheria, tuberculosis, measles, and malaria: malnutrition from food shortages has only served to compound Venezuelans’ vulnerability to these diseases. Annual inflation has reached 24550%, and Venezuelans are unable to buy a meal with one day’s salary. The country’s economic collapse continues to deepen as oil production deflates and Venezuela is unable to meet its contractual exports of...

Weekly Report: 8 June 2018

Photo: Protesters outside the prime minister’s office in Amman, Jordan. Raad Adayleh, Associated Press Malaysia Malaysian Central Bank Governor Muhammad Ibrahim officially resigned from his position this week after speculations of a multi-million dollar scandal. The scandal involves the 1MDB, a strategic development company,  that has been under investigation since 2015. Ibrahim’s resignation was announced by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on June 6. Ibrahim denies any relation to the scandal, however, claiming “…Bank Negara Malaysia will never be party to any such activities that would betray the public trust in us”. The new administration’s Finance Minister, Lim Guan Eng, has suggested that a land sale made by the recent Prime Minister Najib Razak to the Negara Bank is being used to pay off debts to 1MDB. Bank Negara states that the transaction made with Najib Razak was “fair” and in alignment with “relevant laws.” Attorney General Tommy Thomas highlighted the importance of the case, stating his number one priority is to “nab the culprits responsible for the 1MDB scandal.”  Thomas has announced that his department is requesting help from United States, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Singapore to ensure that the money involved in the scandal is rightfully returned to Malaysia.   Cambodia Cambodia’s ruling party announced official plans to monitor and control online content intended to “cause instability” leading up to the July election. Cambodia’s Ministries of Information, Interior, and Posts and Telecommunications will work jointly on “controlling all dissemination of information.” Following a recommendation from the National Electoral Council, the regulation also bans journalists from including personal opinion or bias in their reporting. Violations will be punishable with fines...

Weekly Report: 1 June 2018

Photo: Nicaraguan mothers protest the killings of their children at demonstrations over past months. The Guardian. Maldives In a primary election labeled illegal by the ruling government, members of the country’s largest opposition, the Main Democratic Party (MDP), voted resoundingly in favor of Mohamed Nasheed as their candidate for the upcoming presidential elections. Police attempted to halt all “illegal” voting this week, seizing many of the party’s ballot boxes, but their attempts were largely unsuccessful. Creative MDP supporters used an assortment of bins, plastic containers, and cement mixing tubs to make sure people were able to vote. Thanks to these efforts, reports show that Nasheed was able to secure approximately 44,000 votes, or about 85% of the MDP’s support (99.8% among those who voted). Nevertheless, there remain immense obstacles to his candidacy. The Maldivian government has not only condemned this election as illegal, but has pointed out that Nasheed is an invalid candidate for the presidency. After he was ousted from leadership in 2012, the implemented government followed up his case with a politically-motivated terrorism charge. Nasheed is currently still serving the resulting 13-year sentence, and as a convicted criminal, he is ineligible to be president as per the Maldivian Constitution. The MDP has vowed to fight for the reversal or otherwise elimination of this obstacle, but the future of the election remains to be seen. Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen has taken up the garment workers’ ongoing dispute with their employer over severance wages and back pay. He has agreed to have the government pay the workers and encouraged the Labour Ministry to amend legislation to ensure that...

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...