November 24, 2023
CANVAS is delighted to bring you another issue of our weekly report!
After weeks of negotiating, with Qatari officials mediating, Israel and Hamas have agreed to a temporary ceasefire ahead of a hostage release. Hamas has agreed to free at least 50 of the 240 total hostages taken during the October 7th attacks, and Israel will release 150 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons in exchange. Those freed by both sides will be mostly women and children. The pause in fighting began Friday morning, and the releases of both hostages and prisoners will take place over the next four days. The first set of releases will occur Friday afternoon. As part of the negotiated deal, increased humanitarian aid will be allowed to enter Gaza, providing much needed relief to the region that has been bombarded by Israeli missile strikes and war operations over the last several weeks. Aid will include large amounts of fuel, food, and water, though humanitarian groups have warned that a four day pause will not be enough to address the scale of the crisis in Gaza.
In a surprise visit to Kyiv and his first since April 2022, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced on Tuesday a new military aid package for Ukraine totaling $100 million. His visit comes amid increasing division among Ukraine’s allies regarding their continued support for the nation’s war effort against Russia, causing tension among top Ukrainian officials as a difficult winter of fighting approaches. During an address to leaders in the Group of Twenty (G20) on Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he believed it was necessary to think about how to stop the “tragedy” of the war in Ukraine, surprising many with some of his most dovish comments about the war to date. Fighting in Ukraine since Russia invaded the country in February 2022 has killed or wounded hundreds of thousands of people and displaced millions.
The Venezuelan government actively advocates for the referendum on the border dispute with Guyana that is set to be held on December 3rd. With music, videos, leaflets and more they try to convince the public to vote that the disputed area is part of Venezuela. Guyana has requested the International Court of Justice to stop the referendum, as the ICJ holds jurisdiction over the area, but the request yielded no results.
Considering Georgia’s aspiration to join the EU, the government has released an action plan for de-oligarchization. The plan entails multiple facets, including fighting corruption, an anti-money laundering policy, public procurement, monitoring financial activities of political parties, and more. According to the government, the plan is part of a larger set of actions to fulfill the EU’s conditions for Georgia to gain candidacy status.
In 2022, the Georgian Dream Party promised to lower the threshold from five to two percent for the parliamentary elections. However, they have now broken that promise for the upcoming elections. According to them, the statement was made in light of the EU deciding on Georgia’s candidacy status in December 2022. Since that decision did not happen at that time, they do not have to keep the promise. Opposition parties heavily critique their decision not to lower the threshold.
Over 200 Thai nationals trapped in the conflict between Myanmar’s military and ethnic minority groups are being rescued and repatriated by Thailand. The clashes, which have intensified in northern Myanmar, involve an alliance of ethnic-minority groups and pro-democracy fighters against the military coup regime. Thailand’s foreign ministry is evacuating 266 Thais from Laukkaing in the Shan state. This follows a previous repatriation of 41 Thai nationals.
Zimbabwe has declared a state of emergency amid a cholera outbreak, killing dozens and infecting thousands. The epidemic has been growing since October, recently peaking at over 500 reported cases every week. Subsequently, the outbreak has begun to spread outside of Harare, and is infecting rural Zimbabweans. The nation’s recurring cholera crises have been chalked up to poor government infrastructure, allowing sewage to seep into water sources.