October 28, 2022
CANVAS is delighted to bring you another issue of our weekly report!
Russian forces are continuing their incursion into southern Ukraine as its citizens struggle to retake annexed land in increasingly muddy conditions. Ukraine’s “muddy seasons” have long beleaguered military operations in the country and impeded Adolf Hilter’s moves towards the country’s east in 1941, according to the New York Times. President Putin has sent an additional 1,000 troops to Kherson, according to intelligence from the Ukrainian forces. Meanwhile, reports suggest the United States will soon issue another $275 million in “security assistance” to Ukraine.
Mourners gathered on Wednesday at Mahsa Amini’s grave to mark 40 days since her death. Even though security warned mourners and Amini’s family not to hold a ceremony at her gravesite, many came to Saqqez anyway. Riot police and the Basij Resistance Force were deployed in Saqqez and the rest of Kurdistan to anticipate the 40th day of mourning. Protests continued that day, leading authorities to close schools and universities in the province. The fortieth day after death is an important day for mourning in Shia Islam, hence the size of protests this week. Stories of students and young protesters being killed by security forces are being reported by big news agencies, but confirmed counts of deaths and arrests are still hard to come by due to the difficulty to confirm deaths and government data.
Women have been following the news about the movement spawned by Mahsa Amini’s death, feeling solidarity and hoping that the movement would spill into Afghanistan. In the past months, Afghan women have gathered to protest the education and employment ban and at the Iranian embassy. Meanwhile, Qatar will suspend evacuation flights for Afghan refugees traveling to the US while it hosts the World Cup. Qatar and the US have been cooperating to resettle Afghans in the US after housing them at a US military base in Qatar.
A deadly cholera outbreak has spread from Syria into Lebanon. The devastated Lebanese economy cannot support sanitation infrastructure, and five people have already died. This week doctors diagnosed half of the total 169 cases, showing a spike in cases since early October. The vast majority are Syrian refugees, but cases are spreading out of crowded refugee camps into Lebanese areas.
After weeks of discussing plans to repatriate Syrian refugees, the first hundreds were sent home from Lebanon, where more than 800,000 registered Syrian refugees are hosted. Critics have said that the voluntary repatriations are coerced and based on incomplete information.
Last Thursday, Abdul Latif Rashid was elected to be president and appointed Mohammed Shia al-Sudani as prime minister-designate. They hope to quickly form a government to end the long term political deadlock that has prevented building new infrastructure. On the border, Iran has threatened to send troops into Iraqi Kurdistan as part of the response to the protests across Iran. The Revolutionary Guard Corps have targeted Kurdish groups in Iraq as foreign interference leading the protests. The threat includes artillery, drones, and missile strikes.
An African health authority declared Thursday that the Ebola crisis in Uganda is now “under control,” according to the Associated Press. The viral outbreak began in late September in the Mubende district and eventually spread to Kampala, the nation’s capital. Nearly all of the 2,694 persons who have come in contact with an Ebola patient in the country have been identified.
A 20-year-old Sudanese woman accused of adultery may be punished by stoning, sparking outrage among human rights activists. She was convicted in a Kosti city court this June amid accusation of a “joke” trial, the BBC reports. In 2015, the Sudanese government, prior to its takeover by a military coup in 2019, pledged to cease the practice of stoning but did not take steps to do so.
This week, the US President increased pressure on Daniel Ortega’s rule in Nicaragua in response to escalating diplomatic tensions with that country by signing an executive order prohibiting Americans from doing business in Nicaraguas’ gold industry, raising the possibility of trade restrictions and revoking the visas of approximately 500 government officials. Prior sets of sanctions targeted Ortega’s inner circle, but none were able to weaken his hold on power. By stating that Ortega’s hijacking of democratic values, undercutting the rule of law, and use of political violence against opponents represent a threat to U.S. national security, the latest presidential order significantly broadens the earlier measures. For the first time, the United States has designated a particular economic sector as off-limits, and these sanctions, thus, have created pathways to expand and cover more industries that fall within the specified boundaries.
Strikes have erupted in the Santa Cruz region to demand that a national census be taken earlier than the government’s current plan for a census in mid-2024; the Pro Committee, as well as the government of the Santa Cruz Department and other regional entities, believe the delay in the national census is detrimental to the region. The census was originally scheduled for November 2022. The protests in the Santa Cruz region, Bolivia’s economic engine, have produced protesters blocking roads and shutting down businesses. The strike began on Saturday when clashes between government supporters and opponents left one dead.
Paul Pelosi, the 82-year-old husband of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, third in the line of presidential succession, was “violently assaulted” by an intruder with a hammer Friday morning at his home in San Francisco, according to a statement from his wife’s office. Mr. Pelosi is hospitalized but expected to recover; the Speaker was not home when the attack occurred. The armed intruder is currently held in custody, and the F.B.I. and U.S. Capitol Police are investigating the incident. Mr. Pelosi made headlines back in August when he pleaded guilty to drunk driving charges after his arrest in California.
The government has finally approved the long-awaited rules for screening refugees and asylum seekers, who are currently not distinguished from other foreigners illegally in Thailand. Authorities usually let refugees stay and then move to a different country, but have deported large groups occasionally. Refugees are always at risk since Thailand has not ratified the UN’s refugee convention. The new rules require credible reasons to believe someone will be harmed if they return, as well as pass a health screening, background check, and a review of their political behavior.
Around 80 people have been killed after the military Junta dropped four bombs on a music concert. Rights groups have called this the deadliest airstrike since the initial coup since it threatened the thousands of attendees at a concert celebrating the 62nd anniversary of the Kachin Independence Organisation, a political group that has clashed with the military before. Witnesses report that the military blocked medics. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations announced their concern for the escalating violence in Myanmar.
The Indonesian National Police has recently been shaken by controversies that have resulted in broadcast courtroom proceedings. Public faith in the police has been severely damaged by recent events where police caused fatalities at protests due to arbitrary arrests and unneeded or excessive use of force. To voice his concerns about the recent incidents, President Joko Widodo summoned over 500 Indonesian officials from across the nation to the presidential palace on October 14. On the same day as the meeting, a joint independent fact-finding team that had been put together following the stampede at Kanjuruhan Stadium released a 124-page report that alleged that the police erased CCTV footage at the stadium and that the use of tear gas had undeniably caused deaths.
Xi Jinping installed loyalists in top party positions during the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party. He left other politicians off of the Politburo that rose through the Youth League faction, stifling their careers and symbolically crushing the faction. Former President Hu Jintao was escorted offstage during the party congress. While it is unclear why he was escorted, it has symbolically been read by the West as Xi’s centralization of power.
Pro-democracy activist Jimmy Lai has been convicted of fraud and faces several other cases. He is one of the most prominent activists being prosecuted after the 2019 protests. He founded the pro-democracy media outlet called Apple Daily and is serving prison sentences for 2019 protests and a 2020 vigil in remembrance of Tiananmen Square. He faces life in prison under a new national security law about “colluding with foreign forces” and conspiracy to produce “seditious publications.”
The U.N. aviation agency, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), released a follow-up report that detailed the state-sactioned bomb threat, which was deliberately false. A year prior, a Ryanair flight was forced to land following an orchestrated bomb threat so Lukashenko’s government could arrest notable opposition journalists. Among that new information was testimony from the Minsk-based air traffic controller who guided the Ryanair pilot through the diversion to the Belarusian capital, Minsk.