NEWSWorthy

NEWSWorthy is a news roundup related to international affairs.  ACIR's goal is to inform members of foreign policy and global issues.


Disclaimer: The views expressed in these articles are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the position of the members of the Board of Directors or members of Atlanta Council on International Affairs, a non-partisan 501c.3. organization 501c.3. that seeks to educate the public on a wide variety of international issues from multiple points of view.



EUROPE

May 19, 2020

Germany’s foreign intelligence service, BND, violated the constitution by its telecom surveillance activities of foreigners, an issue brought before the country’s Constitutional Court by overseas journalists.


GERMAN COURT LIMITS POWER OF SPY AGENCY'S OVERSEAS BUGGING

aljazeera.com



ASIA

May 19, 2020

China condemned the US and others’ keen backing of Taiwan’s participation in UN bodies like the WHO, citing that their support undermines the global anti-virus response.


CHINA DENOUNCES SUPPORT OF US AND OTHERS FOR TAIWAN AT WHO

straitstimes.com



AFRICA

May 19, 2020

Burundi president will soon step down after 15 years in power, a period marked by mass unrest and repression. Can an opposition leader triumph over the governing party in the upcoming election?


BURUNDI GEARS UP TO HOLD TENSE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

aljazeera.com



LATIN AMERICA

May 19, 2020

Threatening to break up the hard-fought Colombian peace accord, disgruntled ex-FARC rebels have started to rearm, also fueling the drug trade. They have struggled or refused to transition to civilian life.


MANY OF COLOMBIA'S EX-REBEL FIGHTERS REARM AND TURN TO ILLEGAL DRUG TRADE

npr.org



EUROPE

May 19, 2020

Macrons party has seen a trickling out of MPs over the last few months, now leaving him without a majority. Defectors claim the president has not addressed social and environmental issues enough.


FRANCE'S MACRON LOSES MAJORITY AS DEFECTORS FORM NEW PARTY

bbc.com/news



ASIA

May 19, 2020

Indian counter-insurgency operations have ramped up recently. Common in the disputed territory of Kashmir but rare in the city center, a 12-hour shoot-out led to multiple rebel deaths and several wounded. 


KASHMIR VIOLENCE: 12-HOUR SHOOT-OUT ENDS WITH KEY REBEL JUNAID AHMED SEHRAI KILLED BY INDIAN TROOPS

scmp.com



AFRICA

May 19, 2020

Amidst accusations of being involved in a murder, Lesotho PM has resigned, with the finance minister to take office. The governing coalition, including his own party, had been pushing for his resignation.


LESOTHO: PM THABANE RESIGNS

africanews.com



WORLD

May 18, 2020

A family of foxes have burrowed away near a popular Toronto boardwalk, drawing admirers in crowds for weeks now despite the risk of the virus.


TORONTO WAS OBEYING SOCIAL DISTANCE RULES. THEN CAME ADORABLE BABY FOXES

nytimes.com



MIDDLE EAST

May 18, 2020

Across the board, governments in the Middle East have stepped up the expulsion and arrests of dissident voices in the media and targeted free press at large, replacing it with state-controlled or pro-government outlets.


MIDDLE EAST COUNTRIES UNITE TO ASSAULT FREE PRESS

jpost.com



MIDDLE EAST

May 18, 2020

Since Khamenei took power post-Iranian Revolution, he has built a repressive system of institutions that will keep his worldview and legacy in place long after he is out of the picture.


THE TWILIGHT OF THE IRANIAN REVOLUTION

newyorker.com



DEFENSE

May 18, 2020

To reduce its dependence on China, a primary supplier of rare earth minerals, the Pentagon proposed higher or no spending caps on the purchase of these elements critical to US defense manufacturing.


PENTAGON LEGISLATION AIMS TO END DEPENDENCE ON CHINA FOR RARE EARTH MINERALS

defensenews.com



DEFENSE

May 18, 2020

Finally on stable financial footing, Air Force Special Ops Command will test a laser weapon on its newest AC-130 gunship in 2022, making it easier to disable enemy systems without sending a manned aircraft.


AIR FORCE FINALLY HAS PLANS TO TEST A LASER WEAPON ON ITS AC-130J GUNSHIP

military.com



DEFENSE

May 18, 2020

SOCOM is expanding its information-warfare efforts by capitalizing on the power of AI/ML to improve social and psychological situational awareness within a “hyper-enabled environment”.


HOW AI WILL SOON CHANGE SPECIAL OPERATIONS

defenseone.com



ASIA

May 18, 2020

Pro-Beijing and pro-democracy lawmakers in Hong Kong clashed over the chairperson’s seat of a committee that decides which bills to read. Leadership was ultimately given to a pro-Beijing politician.


HONG KONG LAWMAKERS SCUFFLE AS PRO-BEIJING POLITICIANS CLEAR PATH FOR CONTROVERSIAL NATIONAL ANTHEM BILL

cnn.com




EUROPE

May 18, 2020

In a quid pro quo with Israel, Russia has claimed sovereignty over property in Jerusalem, symbolizing Putin’s extension of religious “smart” – soft and hard – power over the Middle East and beyond.


PUTIN’S RELIGIOUS SOFT POWER HITS JERUSALEM

uscpublicdiplomacy.org



LATIN AMERICA

May 18, 2020

El Salvador’s Supreme Court immediately suspended a state of emergency ordered without congressional approval. Bukele has drawn repeated criticism from rights groups for overstepping his presidential powers.


EL SALVADOR SUPREME COURT ORDERS STATE OF EMERGENCY SUSPENDED

aljazeera.com



MIDDLE EAST

May 15, 2020

The EU has set out to block any unilateral action by Israel to annex parts of the West Bank, an application of territorial sovereignty backed by the new unity government as well as the US.


EU 'TO RALLY AGAINST ISRAEL'S WEST BANK ANNEXATION PROPOSAL'

bbc.com/news



EUROPE

May 13, 2020

Germany issued an international arrest warrant against a hacker believed to have spied on Merkel’s emails in 2015 on behalf of Russian intelligence, this despite her enduring efforts at diplomacy with Putin.


ANGELA MERKEL SAYS GERMANY HAS 'HARD EVIDENCE' RUSSIA HACKED HER EMAILS

telegraph.co.uk



ASIA

May 13, 2020

US Pacific Fleet recently sailed a destroyer through the strait separating Taiwan and China, what Taiwan’s DM called an “ordinary mission”. Chinese air force drills have been viewed as attempts at intimidation.


US SAILS WARSHIP NEAR TAIWAN A WEEK AHEAD OF PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURATION

straitstimes.com



AFRICA

May 13, 2020

Operations in Niger and Nigeria have resulted in the killing of 75 fighters from Boko Haram, a terrorist group that has been active in the Lake Chad region since 2009.


BOKO HARAM FIGHTERS 'KILLED IN TWIN OPERATIONS'

aljazeera.com



AFRICA

May 13, 2020

Nigeria arrested 2 Chinese businessmen for allegedly bribing a top law enforcement official. They aimed to thwart investigations into Chinese infrastructure contracts in Nigeria’s Zamfara State.


NIGERIA ARRESTS CHINESE OVER $250K CASH BRIBE FOR CORRUPTION COVER-UP

africanews.com



DEFENSE

May 12, 2020

Chinese activity in the Arctic appears motivated by economic and energy-related gains, but it may overshadow a deeper, more strategic and scientific interest in the region’s maritime security.


CHINA’S STRATEGIC INTEREST IN THE ARCTIC GOES BEYOND ECONOMICS

defensenews.com



EUROPE

May 12, 2020

Looking to surpass the EU-Japan trade pact and join the CPTPP, the UK rolled out an ambitious timeline for talks with Japan. Already negotiating with the EU and US, is it prudent to be juggling multiple relations?


UK TO START TRADE TALKS WITH JAPAN, WITH US AND EU TALKS ONGOING

aljazeera.com



LATIN AMERICA

May 12, 2020

Ahead of the impending dry season, the thinning ranks of Brazil’s environmental agency are no match for the threat of deforestation. Under VP Mourao, troops have been deployed to established bases in the Amazon.


BRAZIL LAUNCHES MILITARY OPERATIONS TO PROTECT AMAZON RAINFOREST

nbcnews.com



ASIA

May 11, 2020

Four Indian and seven Chinese soldiers were injured after another border flare-up between the neighboring states. Skirmishes over unresolved territorial disputes have taken place for nearly six decades.


CHINESE AND INDIAN SOLDIERS ENGAGE IN 'AGGRESSIVE' CROSS-BORDER SKIRMISH

cnn.com



DEFENSE

May 11, 2020

NATO forces have carried out a freedom of navigation operation (‘FONOP’) in the Northern Sea Route heavily patrolled by Russia and the site of a deadly submarine confrontation 20 years ago.


ARE NATO WARSHIPS ABOUT TO START WORLD WAR III IN THE ARCTIC?

militarytimes.com



MIDDLE EAST

May 7, 2020

The US scaled back Patriot defenses in Saudi Arabia over oil volatility that has hit Republican-run states hard. Other troops and weapons remain there and in Iraq to counter the threat of Iran.


US PULLS PATRIOT MISSILES, FIGHTER AIRCRAFT FROM SAUDI ARABIA AMID DISPUTE

militarytimes.com



MIDDLE EAST

May 7, 2020

A US-led coalition, including Syrian Democratic Forces, raided an Islamic State (IS) cell in Deir el-Zour, Syria. It has become a hotspot for IS operations, but the group may not be as sophisticated as it used to be.


US-BACKED FORCES CRACK DOWN ON RESURGENT ISLAMIC STATE

voanews.com



MIDDLE EAST

May 7, 2020

The Senate couldn’t override Trump’s veto of a bipartisan resolution affirming Congress’ authority over war powers. It’s hoped that the effort, which came post-Soleimani strike, wasn’t in vain and still has a constraining role.


SENATE FAILS TO OVERRIDE TRUMP VETO ON IRAN CONFLICT

militarytimes.com



WORLD

May 5, 2020


Public health responses to the virus are feeding leaders’ autocratic leanings, even those of liberal Western democracies. Technology plays a particularly contested role in measures like mass surveillance.


AN ILLIBERAL PLAGUE

fpri.org



EUROPE

May 5, 2020

EU nationals in the UK under pre-settled status have not been able to claim welfare payments amidst COVID-19 layoffs, an issue that MEPs said violates the withdrawal agreement in a letter to UK cabinet minister.


UK DISCRIMINATING AGAINST EU CITIZENS, SAYS MEPS

theguardian.com



LATIN AMERICA

April 27, 2020

El Salvador’s president called for lethal force against gang members, some of whom allegedly ordered murders from inside prison, exploiting the police’s redirected focus to enforcing COVID-19 lockdown measures.


EL SALVADOR'S PRESIDENT TAKES ON THE COUNTRY'S GANGS AMID CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

npr.org



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