March 2020 — CANVAS

Weekly Report 27 March 2020

Coronavirus The Latest: There are currently 427,138 confirmed active cases of the coronavirus around the world with 26,889 deaths. The United States now leads the world in confirmed coronavirus cases, surpassing the number of cases in Italy and China on Thursday with a total of 82,404. Ceasefire: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for a global ceasefire in all conflicts. He told reporters that “it is time to put armed conflict on lockdown and focus together on the true fight of our lives.” Millions around the world are having to stay inside as governments issue requirements to shelter in place and follow curfews. After much pressure from the international community, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics have been delayed. They are now set to take place in 2021. China China is ending its two-month lockdown in the province of Hubei, which was hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. While people with a clean bill of health will be allowed to leave their homes, the city of Wuhan will remain shut down for another two weeks. Censorship: Reporters Without Borders reported that if the Chinese media were free and if there had been no censorship by the authorities, they would have informed the public about COVID-19 much earlier. In its analysis, they said that the Chinese authorities have even banned the publication of the genome of the virus. Hong Kong The streets of Hong Kong are slowly filling back up with protesters following weeks of silence. Hundreds took to the streets on Sunday to commemorate fifteen-year-old activist Chan Yin-lam who was found dead last September. In a separate incident, activists were attacked by...

Weekly Report 20 March 2020

Coronavirus The Numbers: Over the past three months, there are have been 265,873 confirmed cases of the coronavirus around the world and 11,181 deaths. At the current moment, 164,089 people are infected, and 7,793 people are in critical condition. Since the pandemic originated, 90,603 people have recovered. Border Closures: Countries around the world are closing their borders and implementing curfews in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19. The United States has closed its border with Canada. It has also enacted a travel ban that prevents foreign travelers from entering the country if they have recently visited countries that have been particularly affected by the pandemic. The European Union has also closed its borders to non-citizens for 30 days. Even the Schengenscheme is temporarily suspended as some EU-member states imposed some restrictions among themselves. Economy: The stock market has continued to take serious hits, and the looming threat of a recession has sent Americans into a frenzy. Lebanon, a country that was already struggling financially before the virus, is still experiencing massive debt; its economy is “tanking.” Venezuela is facing the same problems. The IMF denied Venezuela’s $5 billion loan request, as it does not recognize Maduro as a legitimate president. Vaccines: Three countries are currently testing vaccines on both human and animal subjects. The tests are being administered in the United States, China, and Europe. Results have yet to be reported. New Discovery: The second dog to test positive for the coronavirus was reported on Thursday in Hong Kong. According to the Agriculture, Fisheries, and Conservation Department, “there’s no evidence that pets can transmit the virus to...

Weekly Report 13 March 2020

Venezuela Juan Guaidó called for a new round of protests, the first since returning home from his international tour earlier this year, but a disappointing result left the movement unsure of how to move forward. Only a small amount of people turned out in support, and the march was broken up quickly by police with tear gas. Opposition protests drew millions a few years ago, but now it is surprising to even see 1,000. Protesters are growing weary with no sign the government is changing course, and an increasingly harsh police force is making it dangerous. Russia The Russian Parliament approved an amendment to their national constitution that would reset Vladamir Putin’s term count, allowing him to stay in power for another 12 years after his current term ends in 2024. The revised constitution will go to a nationwide vote next month. The amended document includes a ban on same-sex marriage and adds “a belief in God” to a list of Russia’s traditional values. Iraq After a week of deadly violence, Iraq’s foreign minister summoned ambassadors from the United States and Great Britain for an emergency meeting. Overnight airstrikes against the Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah killed five, which were in response to a previous attack on US and British soldiers. The violence comes less than a week after security forces used tear gas against protesters in Baghdad, injuring 16 demonstrators. Iran Satellite images of the city of Qom show mass graves being dug, confirming that the COVID-19 outbreak in the country is much more serious than the government is letting on. The minister of health has already been accused of...

Weekly Report 6 March 2020

Syria After a long week of violence, the presidents of Turkey and Russia came together Thursday, announcing an immediate cease-fire in the Syrian region of Idlib. The deal freezes the conflict lines where there are, not requiring the Syrian government to give back the land that they have won in recent months. The skies were clear Friday, but with no specified way to enforce the truce, whether Assad’s forces will respect the ceasefire is still unclear. The Syrian government’s efforts to take back the last rebel stronghold escalated into a barrage of airstrikes during the past weeks, drawing in Russia and Turkey to protect their allies. Some residents of Idlib have reacted positively to Turkey’s military operations, hoping that they can relieve the Syrian people of their suffering, while others are worried about the high humanitarian cost of the invasion. Turkey As thousands of migrants stream across the Turkish-Greek border, they have faced violence from border police instead of the smooth crossing that President Erdogan promised. Greek riot police have used tear gas and water cannons to keep refugees from entering their country that they insist is still closed. EU member nations are worried that this new spat will revive the debates surrounding immigration that rocked the continent five years ago. The group pledged €700m in aid to Greece, calling the country “Europe’s shield.” The United States  Representatives from the US and the Taliban signed a deal aimed at ending the war in Afghanistan. The agreement, coming after months of negotiations, sets up a way for American and NATO troops to gradually leave the country over the next 14 months...