Weekly Global Newscast | April 8 - April 14, 2019
India Votes as the World Largest Electoral Exercise Kicks Off
India’s multi-phase general elections kick off on Thursday when millions will vote in 91 constituencies across 20 states and federal territories in the first phase of the polls. The seven-phase elections will conclude on May 19. Results will be announced on May 23.
‘India is at a critical juncture in its history. As Indian academic and author Pratap Bhanu Mehta recently pointed out: “There is something happening to our democracy which is mutilating the democratic soul. We are becoming a nation of resentful hearts, small minds and constricted souls”.’ Rana Ayyub wrote for Al Jazeera.
Deadly Explosion Kills Twenty as it Rips Through Quetta Market in Southwestern Pakistan
A deadly attack killed twenty, injuring forty as it ripped through a market in Quetta on Friday morning. At least seven members of the Hazara community and one paramilitary soldier were among those killed.
According to Quetta police chief Abdul Razzaq Cheema; “They were at the market as police and [paramilitary] Frontier Corps soldiers patrolled the area. There was a store selling potatoes, and that is where the explosion has taken place”. “There are a lot of general security threats issued, but for this place, there was no specific threat”.’ Asad Hashim reported for Al Jazeera.
‘Tahir Hazara, leading the sit-in protest post the attacks said; “We’ve lost hundreds of our loved ones in the last 10 years, the government failed to protect our community. Terrorists are free to target us”. Gul Yousafzai reported for Thomson Reuters.
Middle East & North Africa
Sudan Military Seizes Power From President Omar al-Bashir
After ruling the country for three decades, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir was removed by the country’s military following months of anti-government protests sparked by rising food prices in the country.
‘Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan, reporting from the capital, Khartoum, said the military’s concessions amounted to “less than what some people wanted”.
Reforming NISS, while significant, “was not the main issue standing between the two sides – the main issue was how will the military council operate under the transitional government,” said Morgan.
“There were concerns from the political parties that the military council will oversee the government and that’s something they do not want. They want an independent government in which the military council serves only as a protector”.’ Mohammed Amin reported for Al Jazeera.
WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange Arrested From Ecuadorian Embassy in London
On Thursday Julian Assange was taken from the embassy by British police last Thursday after Ecuador revoked his political asylum, ending a stay there of nearly seven years. The arrest has come amid accusations of repeated violations of asylum conditions by Assange, for he has used the Embassy of Ecuador in London for spying.
‘Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson disputed allegations of poor behavior on Assange’s part on Sunday.
“I think the first thing to say is Ecuador has been making some pretty outrageous allegations over the past few days to justify what was an unlawful and extraordinary act in allowing British police to come inside an embassy,” she told Sky’. Patrick Wintour reported for The Guardian.
Australian PM Morrison Announces Election Date
Australia’s prime minister has called federal elections on May, 18. Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s conservative coalition is seeking a third three-year term, he is the third prime minister to lead a divided government in that time, having been in the post since last August.
‘Stephen Charles, a retired Victorian court of appeal judge, said “What is clear is that if the Coalition is re-elected we are not going to get an effective anti-corruption commission in Canberra,” he told Guardian Australia. “Just bear in mind that in November last year, 34 judges wrote an open letter to the prime minister, asking for a strong, independent commission. I’ve never before known 34 judges to agree to a letter such as this”.’ Christopher Knaus wrote for The Guardian.
Venezuela in Crisis as Maduro Continues His Second Term as the Country’s President.
Venezuela has plunged into a major political crisis amid a growing row over President Nicolas Maduro’s future as the country’s leader. Maduro started a second term on January 10, following a widely boycotted election last year that many foreign governments refused to recognize.
‘UN aid chief Mark Lowcock emphasized the need for international help, calling the situation a “very real humanitarian problem”.
“The scale of need is significant and growing,” Lowcock said. “We can do more to relieve the suffering of the people of Venezuela, if we get more help and support from all stakeholders”.’ Elizabeth Melimopoulos reported for Al Jazeera.