Weekly Reports Archives — CANVAS

Weekly Report 11 October, 2019

Myanmar Myanmar Investments International, a London-based firm, has pulled its foreign investments from Myanmar amid instability and conflict in the Rakhine region. One of several investors to withdraw from Myanmar since 2017, MII’s move represents the lack of confidence in the country’s future. In addition to the fallout from the Rakhine conflict, former investors have cited Myanmar’s fragile domestic banking system as grounds for withdrawal. Foreign investment is expected to drop significantly in the coming months and years as Myanmar becomes further enveloped in civil unrest.  This Week, 30 Rohingya Muslims were arrested in Myanmar while trying to travel from Rakhine State to the city of Yangon without official travel documents. According to Human Rights Watch, police arrested the group of Rohingya and sentenced 21 of them to two years in prison, while eight children were sent to a child detention center. The youngest, a five-year-old, is being held in prison with his mother. This incident is an addition to a long list of discriminatory arrests that target Rohingya in Myanmar, inhibiting their freedom of movement.  Cambodia   This Monday, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen threatened to deploy the military if opposition leaders from the dissolved CNRP return next month, as he would consider it an attempted coup. Specifically, opposition Sam Rainsy is expected to return to the country following his self-exile. Rainsy has repeatedly called for a revolution due to Hun Sen’s abuse of power and unwillingness to hold free and fair elections. This Monday, the Prime Minister ordered police forced to “Attack wherever [supporters] are seen, there is no need to wait for an arrest warrant or...

Weekly Report 4 October, 2019

Myanmar This Tuesday, the UN’s refugee agency released a report regarding Myanmar’s refugee crisis. Figures provided demonstrated an increase in the ratio of deaths or missing persons of refugees or asylum seekers who embarked on a sea journey: an increase from one in every 81 refugees or asylum seekers in 2013 – 2015 to one in every 69 refugees or asylum seekers. The report also indicated that previously most of these refugees or asylum seekers’ deaths were a result of people smugglers and caused by “beating, gunshot wounds or deprivation of food and water.” However, recently the report showed that most deaths of Myanmar’s refugees and asylum seekers were attributed to sea journeys. Of these maritime movements, approximately 59% of individuals embarking on sea journeys were women or children. This increase in women or children sea voyagers corresponds with the increase in women or children Myanmar refugees or asylum seekers seeking safety in Bangladesh. The report found that four out of five Myanmar refugees or asylum seekers seeking safety in Bangladesh were women or children, a great increase from  2013 – 2015 when most individuals seeking refuge in Bangladesh were men. Cambodia A Cambodian judge ruled on Thursday that the espionage case against journalists Uon Chhin and Yeang Sotearin needed reinvestigation due to a lack of evidence to convict. Chhin and Sotearin were accused two years ago in 2017 for “supplying information to a foreign state” during a government crackdown on political and media opponents. This accusation sprouted from the journalists working for Radio Free Asia, a US funded broadcasting organization. The decision for reinvestigation angered human rights activists who reasoned if there is a lack of evidence to convict the charges should...

Weekly August 23

Protesters in Zimbabwe: https://abcnews.go.com/International/thousands-march-zimbabwe-president-robert-mugabe-military-put/story?id=51242618   North Korea  Talks of denuclearization between the United States and North Korea have stalled after North Korean diplomat called the U.S. Secretary of State a “diehard toxin”. South Korean officials have attempted to get talks back on track, though it is currently unclear as to whether more meetings will take place with Secretary Mike Pompeo involved. The continued launching of test missiles by North Korea has aided in maintaining heightened tensions, and the test launch of a missile by the United States (an action directed at Russia) has only further complicated the situation. Nicaragua  Protests against Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega have continued outside the country in Costa Rica. Nicaraguan exiles who fled after the government crackdown in April have become increasingly vocal about the state of the country under Ortega. The economically spiraling nation has been dealt another blow, as it appears the 50 billion dollar canal project will officially fall through; the project, largely funded by a Chinese billionaire, has a contract that is set to expire in September, but construction is yet to start. Brazil The Amazon rainforest in Brazil has been set alight by thousands of deliberate fires, signaling an international environmental emergency. Pressure by the international community has failed to move Brazilian President Bolsonaro, who has blamed NGOs for the blaze (despite lack of proof). Many have blamed Bolsonaro for pushing deforestation in a bid to jump start the Brazilian economy. Leading scientists have warned that the scale of the fires in the Amazon will have dire consequences if something is not done. Zimbabwe  A Zimbabwean opposition MP has been arrested...

Weekly Report August 2nd

Cuba Though Cuba, is one of the least wired nations in the Western Hemisphere, on Monday the communist-run nation took a step that may soon solve its disconnection after putting into place a new regulation that allows the creation of private wired and Wi-Fi internet networks in homes and businesses and allow the importation of routers and other networking equipment — though still giving the government’s iron-fisted monopoly over commercial internet access.  That wasn’t the only good news for Cubans: US Senator Patrick Leahy introduced the “Freedom for Americans to Travel to Cuba Act of 2019” that would lift the congressional ban on American travel to Cuba, which was signed in 1996 by Bill Clinton under the Helms-Burton Act.  It is the only congressional law that prohibits Americans from visiting a country. While Congress has sought to cease long-standing tensions, further ignited by President Trump, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel blamed Washington D.C. and its Secretary of State as “ignorant of the history and principles of the Cuban Revolution.” Cuban officials have denounced Pompeo’s claim that Cuba controls the political and oil elite in Venezuela.  Nicaragua On Wednesday, opposition leaders went back to the negotiating table but there was no one from the government to negotiate with. The Civic Alliance opposition group accused the Ortega administration of intransigence saying “the ability to re-establish (dialogue) depends on diplomatic efforts by the Organization of American States.” According to the Alliance, “the political, social and economic crisis continues to deteriorate and the civic path is the one chosen by the Nicaraguan people.” This week, the Nicaraguan government  made a controversial move by granting...

Weekly Report: 26 July 2019

Protests in Moscow (REUTERS) Cuba The recent brain scans of Cuba-based American diplomats insinuate some sort of brain damage; in late 2016, multiple staff members at the U.S. embassy in Cuba reported concussion-like symptoms, leading the United States to expel two Cuban diplomats. Dubbed “Havana Syndrome”, the mystery illness led to accusations of sonic attacks by Cuba. While no evidence of sonically capable technology has been found, recent images of the diplomats’ brains shows various abnormalities; although the scans appear to prove something happened, findings are inconclusive. Cuba has denied any possibility of a sonic attack and pointed out that U.S. diplomats have experienced the described symptoms in other locations.  Gabon A former member of the Gabonese parliament, Bertrand Zibi Abeghe, was sentenced to six years in prison for his role in instigating post-electoral violence. The Libreville Criminal Court sentenced Abeghe on charges of “violence and assault” and “illegal possession of a firearm.” His arrest stems from the 2016 elections in which he supported Jean Ping in the disputed election against longtime Gabonese President Ali Bongo, who first came to power in 2009.  Nicaragua A group of students submitted a request to stage a protest for National Student Day, despite the ban on protests that was implemented by the Nicaraguan government in September of 2018. The objective of the protest, the students say, is to reaffirm the demand for university autonomy. Despite direct warning from Daniel Ortega, the president of Nicaragua, the students plan to hold the protest on July 25. A government spokesperson called the students “delinquents,” further causing tension leading up to the protest. North Korea This...

CANVAS Weekly Report July 19th

Cuba Communst-run Cuba passed sweeping governance reforms that solidifies a one-party system, while restructuring its government to have a prime-minister and provincial governors. The new law, which was unanimously approved, amends the 1976 constitution that vested all power into the president by outsourcing power to the legislative body and the prime-minister. The new law allows for two five year terms by the prime minister and shrinks its representative body from an unwieldy 605 to 407–– a number that is expected to shrink even further. The law aims to lighten the bureaucratic load on single-figureheads –– like the president –– and instead boost policy execution by more legislative bodies. Cuba has long touted its governance structure as more democratic than other Western powers but many are hoping that, Miguel Diaz-Canel, who took the presidency from Raul Castro last year, would further restructure its one-party system in light of Cuba’s social and economic over the last decade. Gabon On July 15th, the president of the Gabonese Patriotic Front (FPG), Gérard Ella Nguéma was arrested by the judicial police prior to taking part in a march in the town of Libreville. A FPG spokesman stated: “We still do not know the reason for his arrest,” adding that “it is possible that this is related to the somewhat harsh remarks that Nguema made against the Gabonese authorities during a press conference last week.” The spokesman was referring to a July 7th speech in which Nguéma accused several close relatives of Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba, who is currently recovering from a stroke in late October of a stroke, of trying to “manipulate” him....