Author: Mark Lauria

EU Places Sanctions On 8 More Nicaraguans, Including Ortega’s Wife

On August 2nd, the European Union (EU) sanctioned eight Nicaraguans, increasing the total number under restrictive measures to 14. They were accused of “serious human rights violations,” or undermining the democratic rule of law. Some high ranking officials were targeted such as Vice President Rosario Murillo, National Assembly President Gustavo

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Myanmar Carries Out Airstrikes After Militia Attacks Witnesses

On 31 May, Myanmar’s military attacked anti-junta militias in east Myanmar, using artillery and helicopters, according to witnesses. Residents were forced to flee the region, joining thousands of others displaced by fighting in recent weeks. The United Nations reported that over 37,000 people in southeast Myanmar fled their homes, some

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Turkish Police Remove Followers Of Islamist Figure From Mosques

On 2 May 2021, Turkish authorities removed followers of Islamic opposition figure Alparslan Kuytul forcefully from three mosques in southeast Turkey, claiming their gatherings were a provocation against COVID-19 restrictions. These followers audibly exclaimed they were reading the Koran in footage that showed a police skirmish inside a mosque in

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Putin Signs Law That Could Keep Him In Kremlin Until 2036

In early April, the Russian government announced President Vladimir Putin is signing legislation that potentially extends his power until 2036. Following changes to Russia’s constitution, enabled by a 2020 referendum, it allows him to run for two additional six-year terms after his current term ends in 2024. Passing Parliament’s upper and

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U.S. Expected to Sanction Russians over Navalny Poisoning: Sources

Responding to Alexei Navalny’s poisoning last year, President Joe Biden’s administration announced sanctions against seven Russian government officials, and military intelligence agencies Federal Security Service (FSB) and Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (GRU). Before the announcement, two anonymous sources said the

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Saudi Women’s Rights Activist Hathloul Freed From Jail, Relatives Say

Relatives of prominent women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul said she was released from a Saudi prison on 10 February, following almost three years of imprisonment. She was detained with other activists in 2018, for opposing a law banning women from driving and campaigning against the Saudi male guardianship system. In

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Guatemala Begins Clearing Migrant Caravan On Blocked Road

On 18 January, Guatemala security forces cleared a road occupied by migrants from a large caravan, comprised mainly of Hondurans entering the country and camped overnight. Security forces were seen wielding shields and descending the road toward them by the Vado Hondo village. Migrants were prompted to assemble by increased

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U.S. Senate Backs Massive Arms Sales To U.A.E. After Trump Veto Threat

On 9 December, the United States Senate backed President Donald Trump’s high-tech arms deals to the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), following his veto threat against resolutions seeking to block them. Although introduced by Democratic Senators Robert Menendez, Chris Murphy, and Republican Senator Rand Paul, two procedural votes were mainly partisan,

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Dozens Confirmed Dead In ‘Brutal’ Attack In Western Ethiopia

Dozens of people were confirmed dead in a “brutal” terrorist attack in the West Wellega Zone of Ethiopia. It occurred after government forces left unexpectedly on 1 November. Following their departure, survivors said rebels identifying themselves from the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) arrived and claimed authority to the area. According

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Renewed Fighting In Nagorno-Karabakh Threatens U.S.-Backed Truce

Renewed fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces in the Nagorno-Karabakh region has threatened a recent agreement brokered by the United States. Tensions escalated within minutes after the agreement took effect at 8:00am when Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry accused Armenian forces of shelling villages in the Terter and Lachin areas. Authorities in

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Myanmar Insurgents Say They Kidnapped Ruling Party Candidates

Western Myanmar insurgents claimed responsibility for kidnapping three candidates from State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi’s ruling party, the National League for Democracy (NLD). On 14 October, armed Arakan Army (AA) operatives overran a campaign event in southern Rakhine. When speaking with Agence France Press, witness and NLD supporter Thant

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EU Leaders To Insist On Tough Enforcement Powers In Brexit: FT.I

Last Thursday, European Union leaders met in Brussels to discuss enforcement for a prospective Brexit trade deal, skeptical of United Kingdom promises. Chief Brexit negotiator Micheal Barnier was expected to ensure support for “level playing field” guarantees through the same rights enabling E.U. retaliation against Britain if they breach previous

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Afghan President Arrives In Qatar Amid Peace Talks

On Monday, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani arrived in Qatar amid peace talks for a bilateral meeting with Qatari leaders, neglecting to include Taliban officials in the discussion. Last month, the Afghan government and Taliban agreed to reduce violence and potential power-sharing in Afghanistan. However, violence has continued since these negotiations

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“China Will Keep Opening Up”: Chinese Relations On The World Stage

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs State Counselor and senior diplomat Wang Yi said Monday that the country will continue opening its economy to the world. Along with expanding access to foreign investors, Wang said that China has shortened the Negative List, which details entities restricted or prohibited to international firms.

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Belarus Opposition Appeal To E.U. Fails To Unblock Sanctions

Belarusian opposition candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s appeal to the European Union failed to overturn blocked sanctions against individuals within President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime. Citing requirements for unanimous decision on foreign policy, top diplomat Josep Borrell said, “[T]he required unanimity was not reached.” On Monday, only Cyprus of the 27 E.U. members

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Brexit Back In Crisis As UK Threatens To Undercut Divorce Pact

United Kingdom and European Union trade talks returned to crisis, amid Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s threat to override the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement he previously signed unless a deal is reached by 15 October. Indicating impatience, his administration drafted the Internal Market Bill on Wednesday. It explicitly violates Brexit, particularly the

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Baltic States Impose Sanctions On Lukashenko And Other Belarus Officials

The Baltic states imposed travel sanctions on President Lukashenko and 29 other Belarus officials. They were accused of aiding vote-rigging and violence against protesters challenging his landslide election victory over Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya on 9 August. His inclusion in the sanctions was intended to prompt other European Union bodies reluctant to

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Tsikhanouskaya Hopes Dialogue With Belarusian Authorities Will Start Soon

Belarusian presidential candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya hopes to start dialogue with authorities amid controversy over the August 9th election, which many believe was rigged. Belarus’s central election commission cited preliminary results showing a landslide victory for Tsikhanouskaya’s opponent, the incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko, who received 80% of the vote to Tsikhanouskaya’s

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