Weekly Reports Archives — Page 2 of 8 — CANVAS

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...

Weekly Report: April 27 2018

Photo: A woman wearing a mask depicting the grim reaper takes part in a protest against the lack of medicine and medical supplies in Venezuela’s hospitals in Caracas, Venezuela. Newsweek. Cambodia The upper house of Cambodia’s parliament met for the first time since the election in February, which had been highly controversial. Ruling party CPP won every seat that had been up for election after the Supreme Court dissolved the main opposition party, banning lawmakers from running, and stripping 5,000 opposition councillors of their voting rights. During the session, the King of Cambodia delivered an address in which he urged senators “to protect justice and human rights,” and also made the dubious claim that “liberal multiparty democracy is going smoothly” in the country. The head of opposition party Khmer National Liberation Front (KNLF), Sam Serey, was arrested in Thailand at an immigration center north of Bangkok. He has now flown to Denmark, thanks to the intervention of the Danish government and a human rights group. It remains unclear why the Thai government acquiesced to this move. Prime Minister Hun Sen urged union leaders on Sunday to avoid aligning themselves with the remnants of the CNRP and to tell union members to not organize political protests. Hun Sen has been reaching out to garment workers, who make up an 800,000-strong voting bloc, by promising higher wages and health care benefits. Union leaders suggest the prime minister is trying to prevent the workers from taking to the streets in protest, and instead cooperate with the government, perhaps remembering the 2013 and 2014 protests that ended when security forces fired on the crowds,...

Weekly Report: April 20 2018

Photo: Pro-government Nicaraguans during the protests against pension reform. Semanario Universidad. Cuba The Castro Era has come to an end. Raúl Castro stepped down from the presidency yesterday, transitioning the position to hand-picked successor Miguel Díaz-Canel. The choice is significant not only because he falls outside the dynasty, but because Díaz-Canel was born after the nation’s 1960 communist revolution. As such, he has “spent his entire life in the service of a revolution he did not fight.” Many see this as the true test of the nation’s viability, as its implemented policies become more independent from the original revolutionary spirit that brought them about. Despite this apparent ideological shift, there are no serious changes expected for the government anytime soon. In his acceptance speech, Díaz-Canel declared that he intends to continue the work and trajectory of his predecessor. As such, his commitment to the nation’s communist ideals and Castro’s continued presence as an influencer made him a comfortable replacement choice. He was elected almost unanimously by the Cuban National Assembly after serving five years as vice president to the country. Syria In retaliation for the recent attacks with chemical weapons on civilian populations in Eastern Ghouta, the UK, France, and the US have carried out airstrikes on strategic points to target chemical weapon development. The Pentagon reported that more than 100 missiles were launched, with specific targets including a scientific research center in Damascus, a chemical weapons storage facility west of Homs, and another storage site and command post nearby. In the seven years since the Syrian civil war began, this is the biggest intervention by Western powers against...

Weekly Report: April 13 2018

Photo: Women at the memorial of Winnie Madikizela Mandela. The Guardian. Syria Russia reports that Syrian forces have retaken Eastern Ghouta, the heavily besieged suburb of Damascus. This means that now, Assad’s power is the most secure it has been since the start of the Syrian civil war. Furthermore, while this is a victory against extreme rebel groups that have held the territory for years, it comes at an immensely high cost. The UN refugee agency reported this week that more than 133,000 have fled Eastern Ghouta since the escalation of this siege. Moreover, the Assad government is again accused of using chemical weapons in its attempts to retake this area. While the use is thus far unconfirmed officially, it is strongly substantiated. 500 people in Eastern Ghouta have demonstrated symptoms consistent with chemical attacks; residents reported hearing things falling from the sky, leaving strange smells; videos coming out show people sprawled on the floors of their homes, killed by apparent suffocation; of 70 killed while taking shelter in basements, 43 showed signs of “highly toxic chemicals” according to the World Health Organization. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, an international watchdog, is on its way to Syria to investigate and uncover whether chemical weapons were used, and if so, to find out what was the nature of the attack. Many governments in the West have expressed abhorrence over the chemical attacks, generally agreeing on the need for action, and in some cases threatening a military response. Assad has, however, both denied the use of chemical weapons and warned these governments against intervention of any kind. “Any...

Weekly Report: April 6 2018

Photo: Smoke rises while Palestinians protest on the Gaza side of the border with Israel. Reuters. Israel This week has seen a surge in direct conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, who have come out to protest for rights to their homeland in “the Great March of Return”. Already, the week has brought at least 21 deaths, including at least one Palestinian killed by an Israeli air attack at the border. The protests will continue until ‘Nabka Day’ on May 15. The date will mark 70 years since the ethnic cleansing of 750,000 Palestinians by Zionist militias. Despite the violence being so actively committed against the Palestinians during these demonstrations, many have vowed to stay. Said one demonstrator, “We are here to deliver a message that we are resistant and we want to return to our land no matter what.” Last Friday, an estimated 1500 Palestinians were injured by Israeli snipers over the border. In advance of this Friday’s protest, protesters built large towers of tires to burn, hoping that the smoke will obscure the snipers’ view. Other Palestinians threw Molotov cocktails and stones over the border fence at Israeli soldiers. Israeli forces responded with tear gas and live fire, witnesses said, fearing the protesters would use the tire smoke as cover to try to breach the fence. Israel has accused Hamas of orchestrating the protest and border attacks, but both the March For Return organizers and a Hamas spokesperson deny that the march is for any escalation between Hamas and Israel, but rather for the people of Palestine. Hamas did urge its supporters to keep the protests peaceful, however, and...

Weekly Report: 30 March 2018

Photo: More than 70 pro-democracy protesters were arrested at a demonstration in Minsk, Belarus this week. V Fedosenko. Reuters. Zimbabwe President Mnangagwa was slammed by opposition groups this week after ruling out possible election reforms. The decision was announced after negotiations with the US this week, where Zimbabwe was given a set of conditions that, if met, would lead to the restoration of good trade relations between the countries. The move not to reform was one of these given conditions. Critics are furious over this development, citing the dire state of civic freedom in Zimbabwe at present. “Villagers are being commandeered and coerced to attend Zanu PF political rallies and other functions. No less than 5 000 soldiers in civilian attire have since been deployed into rural Zimbabwe to clandestinely campaign for the ruling party,” said Obert Gutu, spokesperson of the MDC. Also this week, Mnangagwa is launching five anti-corruption courts around Zimbabwe. This is to combat the pervasive corruption in the country, which Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index ranks extremely poorly, at 157 of 180 countries in the world. It’s also no coincidence that these courts are being launched right as Grace Mugabe faces game poaching and smuggling charges. In other recent news from Zimbabwe, some activists in the village of Kadoma came up with a clever way to address the problem of potholes in their roads. They planted banana trees in the holes, an action that the government was definitely not pleased by. Like many creative and especially strategic protests, however, this had the exact intended effect, and the government moved quickly to fix the roads. Venezuela...