Weekly Global Newscast |31 September – 04 October, 2019
India Clampdown Hits Kashmir’s Silicon Valley
The coffee machines have been cold, computer screens blank and work stations empty for two months in Kashmir’s Silicon Valley as an Indian communications blockade on the troubled region takes a growing toll on business. The dozen software development companies in the Rangreth industrial estate on the edge of Srinagar bring tens of millions of dollars of crucial revenue into the region each year.
“The government said the crackdown, backed by the presence of hundreds of thousands of security forces, was needed to head off trouble by Pakistan-backed militants in the Muslim-majority territory. Markets, banks, schools, clothes stores and the fledgling high-tech industry have all been closed. Many locals say the shutdown is in protest against the government action. The authorities blame militant threats’ said Strait Times.
‘Some IT companies have already laid off workers, many are preparing to move their business away from Kashmir. Rasool at STC said his company had lost more than $2.8 million in business since August 5, 2019 and has laid off two thirds of its 370 employees’ said DAWN.
Putin, Rohani Attend Summit of Russia-Led Economic Grouping in Yerevan
Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Yerevan to take part in a summit of leaders of the Eurasian Economic Union (EES) amid protests against political suppression in Russia. The summit, which began on October 1, 2019 in the Armenian capital, is aimed at building closer economic ties between member states Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia, as well as with nonmember states.
“A group of Armenian human rights activists held a protest in front of the Presidential Palace in Yerevan to express support for political prisoners in Russia’ said by Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty.
‘Among the leaders of non-EES states invited to attend the event are Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Iranian President Hassan Rohani. Singapore is expected to sign a free trade zone agreement with the EES at the October 1 session of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council’ said Russian Insight.
Middle East & North Africa
Iraq Protests: UN Calls for End to ‘Senseless Loss of Life’
The United Nations has called for an end to the ‘senseless loss of life’ in Iraq as the death toll from anti-government protests nears 100. Demonstrators say they are taking a stand against unemployment, poor public services and corruption in the country. Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq, said: ‘Five days of deaths and injuries: this must stop.’
“Five people are said to have died in the latest clashes in the capital. Security forces are again reported to have used live rounds and tear gas. At least 99 people have died and nearly 4,000 have been wounded since protests began in the capital before spreading to the south of Iraq’ said BBC.
‘The violent deadlock presents the conflict-scarred nation with its most serious challenge since the defeat of the Islamic State group two years ago and deepens the political crisis of a country still struggling with the legacy of multiple, unfinished wars since the US invasion in 2003’ said The Guardian.
Sub Saharan Africa
Nigeria’s Tech Community Launches a Campaign against Alleged Police Harassment
The tech community in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, is fighting back against what its leaders say is alleged police harassment and extortion of tech workers. The campaign, titled #Stop Robbing Us, was launched in September after Akinmolayan Oluwatoni, a software developer tweeted about being harassed by officers of the state’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Lagos, the country’s commercial hub.
“SARS is a branch of the Nigerian police responsible for tackling violent crimes like armed robbery, kidnapping and murder. In his tweets, Oluwatoni said SARS officers stopped him while he was on his way home and accused him of being an internet fraudster for carrying a laptop and an iPhone’ said CNN.
‘A Nigerian police spokesman declines to comment, but the force’s complaints department said on Twitter that an investigation had begun. Local media reported that four officers had been arrested on suspension of extorting Mr. Oluwatoni. Tech investors said the arrest were a worrying trend’ quoted by Financial Times.
No 10 Continues to Deflect Blame for Brexit Impasse on to EU
Downing Street has sought to deflect the blame for the Brexit impasse on to Britain’s EU counterparts, as Boris Johnson’s plans continued to meet a frosty reception. After the French president, Emmanuel Macron, set a deadline for progress towards a deal, the prime minister’s official No 10 spokesman repeatedly said Johnson was still waiting for the EU27 to engage with Britain’s plan.
“A leaked EU document suggests it has already made a detailed point-by-point rebuttal of Johnson’s offer and EU sources scoffed at the idea that it was down to it to make compromises. Despite the tight deadline before next week’s European council summit, Johnson currently has no plans to visit EU leaders for face-to-face talks. The spokesman said: “There isn’t anything in the diary at present”’ said by The Guardian.
‘The government is expected to publish fresh details of its no-deal preparations on Tuesday, including the tariffs that will be applied on EU goods. However, a planned announcement about the state aid regime has been delayed, as ministers continue to wrangle about the details’ said Press Reader.
Facebook Must ‘Pick a Side’ in Fight against Online Child Sex Abuse: Dutton
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton says Facebook needs to “pick a side” in the battle against online child sexual abuse material, joining his American and British counterparts in ramping up pressure on the social media giant over its plans to roll out encryption across its messaging services. Mr Dutton, US Attorney-General William Barr, acting US Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan and British Home Secretary Priti Patel have released a joint open letter to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, warning the company about its privacy push.
“Facebook, which owns Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram, announced in March it would introduce end-to-end encryption across all its services, preventing data from being accessed by people other than the sender and recipient. The company has 2.4 billion monthly users across its core platforms’ said The Sydney Morning Herald.
‘The security heads say they are concerned Facebook will lose the ability to report 70 per cent of the cases it currently sends to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children because it will no longer have access to users’ conversations’ said Which-50.
Trump Administration Detains Highest Number of Immigrants in Over 10 Years
New federal data shows that the number of migrants arrested on the US-Mexico border in 2019 spiked to its highest levels in over 10 years. Figures show that around 851,000 people were apprehended and taken into US custody between 1 October 2018 and the end of September, marking the highest rate of arrests since 2007, during the administration of President George W Bush.
“In defending those positions, Mr Trump has frequently claimed that immigrants commit crimes while in the US, and make the country less safe. His administration has also claimed that harsh policies towards immigrants would serve to deter others from trying to enter the United States’ said Independent.
‘The number does not include those who approached designated ports of entry along the southern border. As of Aug. 31, not including the September figure (which has not yet been released), 263,000 migrants were denied entry at ports. Neither figure includes arrests or those denied entry at the US-Canada border or along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts’ said Business Insider.