May 29, 2020
After U.S. President Donald Trump reported that he has been using hydroxychloroquine, an antimalaria drug, to keep him from contracting COVID-19, “prescriptions surged 2,000% in March.” However, scientists have stated that coronavirus patients who take the drug actually have a higher risk of death than those who do not take it. Users have a higher chance of developing heart issues, and the Food and Drug Administration has warned that hydroxychloroquine should not be used because of its “serious side effects, including muscle weakness and heart arrhythmia.”
Black Lives Matter: After a video of a police officer killing an unarmed African American man surfaced online, Black Lives Matter protesters took to the streets demanding justice for the deceased party. The protests were initially peaceful until police used tear gas to disperse the crowds; there have also been reports of police firing rubber bullets at protesters. The protests have evolved into riots; buildings are being set on fire, including police precincts, and stores are being looted. The riots have ensued for four days and show no signs of slowing down.
President Donald Trump tweeted about the looting and stated that the military stands with the city; the National Guard has also gotten involved. Trump also tweeted that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Twitter has since flagged the tweet because it violates “policies regarding the glorification of violence.”
The officer responsible for Floyd’s death, Derek Chauvin, as well as the three other officers at the scene, has been fired. Lawmakers, politicians, and protesters are demanding that Chauvin be arrested and tried for murder.
The murder of George Floyd comes just weeks after the video of Ahmaud Arbery, another unarmed African American man, was murdered while jogging. The Black Lives Matter movement has gained serious momentum over the past month as a result of more videos of other racist occurrences are being posted online.
International Relations: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Wednesday that his government would no longer consider Hong Kong to have “significant autonomy” from China. This likely means that the United States will “end some or all of [its] special trade and economic relations” with Hong Kong.
China is moving forward to tighten its control over Hong Kong; its controversial national security law passed the National People’s Congress Thursday with a vote of 2,878-1. The law will alter Hong Kong’s Basic Law constitution, requiring the territory to follow any measures passed by the NPC. Hong Kong activists say that this undermines the “one country, two systems” promise that was made to them.
Thousands of protesters gathered outside the legislative building on Wednesday, shouting pro-democracy slogans as lawmakers inside debated a bill that will criminalize insulting the Chinese national anthem. Riot police were out in full force, shooting pepper balls into the crowd, demanding that journalists stop recording, and arresting 360 people.
The Livelihoods and Food Security Fund (LIFT) is offering financial assistance to the Department of Social Welfare (DSW) so that 441,726 women and elders in the nation’s five most vulnerable areas can receive “an extra one-time payment of 30,000 kyats (US$21.36).” The payment will provide these demographics with funds to “prevent their exclusion” and will ultimately help “communities and the country as a whole.”
The Zimbabwean government has been “accused of using lockdown to silence reporters” after two journalists were “charged with violating lockdown regulations.” The journalists were interviewing three female opposition officials who were allegedly “abducted, sexually assaulted and tortured by state agents after staging a protest.” The journalists stated that they were granted the right to conduct interviews under Zimbabwean law but were detained anyway.
The coronavirus is testing the capacity of Chile’s health care system. President Sebastián Piñera stated that Chile is being pushed to its limit because of “a very large increase in the needs and demand for medical attention.” The government has declared that it will provide a quarter of its citizens with “a planned emergency basic income” that will last for three months.”
The Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service has stated that Mu’taz Numan ‘Abd Nayif Najm al-Jaburi, one of the heads of the Islamic State, was killed in a U.S.-led airstrike in eastern Syria. Jabburi “headed the terrorist group’s foreign operations… [and] was known as the Islamic State’s governor of Iraq.” The United States has been offering a reward for information on Jaburi since last September.
Russian military fighter jets were deployed to Libya’s Al Jufra Airfield “where they are expected to back Russian state-sponsored private military contractors.” According to the United States Africa Command’s General Townsend, “Russia has denied the full extent of its involvement in the ongoing Libyan conflict. Well, there is no denying it now.” Russia’s recent actions have been interpreted as an attempt to “tip the scales in its favor in Libya.”
ISIS is reportedly “using the coronavirus to rebuild its terrorism network in Iraq and Syria.” Because of the ban placed on international travel, ISIS has been able to strengthen regionally, expanding “upon the rebuilding effort it began last fall.” Nation-wide lockdowns and the “COVID-19 distraction” have given the terrorist organization the opportunity to carry out violent attacks.
Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab visited peacekeepers from the United Nations on Wednesday at the south border shared with Israel, “describing the presence of force in the volatile area as a necessity.” Israel has demanded that it be granted “access to all sites and freedom of movement,” but Diab has reiterated that it is absolutely necessary to keep Lebanese armed forces at the border.
Palestinian officers traveled to the northern occupied West Bank on Monday night to break up a fight between families. Upon their arrival, Israeli soldiers blocked the way and prevented the Palestinian forces from passing. The Israelis “began stopping all vehicles… and checking everyone’s IDs.” After the background checks finished, the Palestinian officers arrived at the scene of the fight after it had de-escalated. One of the injured parties later passed away in the hospital.
Russian health care workers are not receiving the same appraisal as other doctors around the world. Instead, they say that “they face fear, mistrust — and even open hostility.” General mistrust of health care professionals has permeated throughout the nation, reflecting a “broader mistrust of the state.”
A United Nations-led investigation has found that both North and South Korea have “violated the armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War” after a gunfire exchange took place at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on May 3rd. While both sides are guilty of breaching the armistice, North Korea was the country that initiated the gunfire and shot a South Korean soldier.
Lawmakers have appointed the new speaker of Parliament. The speaker, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, is a former police chief, the former mayor of Tehran, and a former commander in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
The Pan-American Health Organization, a regional office of the World Health Organization, has called upon Nicaragua’s government to take massive steps to control the stead of COVID-19. “The protection of life and health cannot wait,” a representative said. President Ortega’s government has reported relatively few cases, but there are growing worries that this is not true. With no social distancing restrictions in place, schools remain open and large gatherings are being held.
Yasser Abbas, the Sudanese Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources, met with Egyptian Minister Mohamed Abdel-Ati and Ethiopian Minister Seleshi Bekele on Monday “to discuss arrangements for the resumption of negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).” Negotiations regarding the construction of the dam have been taking place for several months, as the dam will heavily impact Egypt’s water supply.
The Venezuelan navy has escorted four Iranian fuel tankers into its waters “through its exclusive economic zone.” The United States has spoken out against the shipments, saying that they are “a distraction from problems facing President Nicolas Maduro.”