Weekly Global Newscast | July 1 - July 7, 2019

Asia

China Being Blamed For Forcefully Separating Uighur Parents From Their Children

Research reports that China is forcefully keeping Uighur parents away from their children. Children are separated and kept in boarding schools. This is no less than an attempt to cut them off from their family, cultural and religious roots. Chinese officials, on the other hand, are denying such reports.

Analysis

‘Beijing says it’s trying to combat terrorism by targeting Islamic extremism and “separatism.” The reality, however, is nothing short of an Orwellian nightmare: Uighurs are subjected to near-total surveillance, with cameras watching their every move and police waiting to detain them for even the slightest sign of dissent. At least 1 million people in Xinjiang are currently detained in what the U.N. called a “massive internment camp that is shrouded in secrecy.” Even less is known about their children.’ Nicole Bozorgmir and Isobel Yeung analysed for VICE.

‘Beijing has also repeatedly denied mistreatment and abuse in the adult camps, instead saying detainees are living happily inside. It has blamed unrest such as 2009 riots in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region, and a 2014 knife attack in Kunming, a southern Chinese city, on Uighur separatists.’ writes Sophia for The Telegraph.

‘Uyghurs — a predominantly Muslim, Turkic-speaking ethnic minority who were historically the majority in Xinjiang — have long complained that their culture and religion were being marginalized by the authorities. For years, activists focusing on Uyghur language and culture have faced pressure and even detention, accused of spreading “extremism.” Zenz’s research comes amid extra tension in Xinjiang as the region marks the 10th anniversary of ethnic unrest in the capital Urumqi’, writes James Griffiths for CNN.

A Two-Day Intra Afghan Summit is Being Held at Doha Which Includes Taliban and 50 Key Afghan Citizens From Different Walks of Life and is Being Sponsored by Qatar and Germany

Qatar is hosting yet another round of dialogue to facilitate Afghan Peace Process. This summit is unique since it includes people from the Afghan society (including women). 50 high profile figures including politicians and civil rights activists are part of this summit apart from the key Taliban leadership. This summit continues amidst attacks back home.

Analysis

‘While about 50 Afghan politicians, activists and journalists were discussing with the Taliban ways to find lasting peace in Afghanistan, the armed group attacked a government security compound in Ghazni city, nearly 150 km from capital Kabul. Delegates attending the intra-Afghan meeting, however, were hopeful that a dialogue with the Taliban would help in setting the ground for future negotiations’, writes Shereena Qazi for Aljazeera.

‘In an apparent push for upper hand amid the proposed peace talks, the Afghan security forces and Taliban are engaged in fierce and deadly clashes. Visuals circulating on the social media showed a number of Afghan politicians sharing dining tables with the leaders of the Taliban in an apparent cordial environment. Although the Afghan government is not officially represented at the intra-Afghan talks with the Taliban, a number of top officials from Kabul are attending the talks in their personal capacity’, analyses Shadi Khan Saif for Anadolu Agency.

Middle East & North Africa

Russian-Syrian Joint Attacks Over Civilians of Idlib

Russian-Syrian joint assaults in the last stronghold of rebels in Syria, Idlib, started in April 2019. Till now, around 544 civilians including 130 children are dead and 2000 are injured in these strikes.

Analysis

‘Aided by Russian air power, the Syrian army launched an offensive on the rebel-held Idlib province and the nearby provinces on 26 April – and fighting has continued since then. Russia and the Syrian army deny indiscriminately targeting civilian areas. The have claimed the campaign is fending off against al-Qaeda militants who allegedly hit populated, government-held areas. They also accuse rebels of wrecking a ceasefire deal agreed last year between Turkey and Russia. The heads of 11 major global humanitarian organisations warned at the end of last month that Idlib stood on the brink of “a humanitarian nightmare unlike anything we have seen this century”, with 3 million civilian lives at risk, including one million children.’ Alessio Perrone reported for Independent.

‘The Russian military and its Syrian ally are deliberately targeting civilians with a record number of medical facilities bombed,” Fadel Abdul Ghany, chairman of SNHR, told Reuters. Last month U.S.-based Human Rights Watch said the Russian-Syrian joint military operation had used cluster munitions and incendiary weapons in the attacks along with large air-dropped explosive weapons with wide-area effects in populated civilian areas, based on reports by first responders and witnesses. According to the United Nations, at least 300,000 people have been forced to leave their homes for the safety of areas closer to the border with Turkey. It was the most destructive campaign against Idlib province since it completely fell to the opposition in the middle of 2015.’ Suleiman Al-Khalidi reported for Reuters.

Sub Saharan Africa

AFCFTA to be a ‘Game Changer’ for Africa

In the ongoing summit of the African Union, on 7th July, a landmark free-trade accord, African Continental Free Trade Area, has been announced to be signed among 54 African nations.

Analysis

‘The African free trade zone has been under discussion since 2002, with a draft deal signed in early 2018. AU Chairman and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi said “The success of AfCFTA will be the real test to achieve economic growth that will turn our people’s dream of welfare and quality of life into a reality.” It took 17 years of bitter and tough negotiations to reach Sunday’s milestone, which experts say could boost trade among African nations by 60% in just three years. Chambas told VOA, “If you have a free trade area and it is matched also by a regional common currency, the impact of course will be to boost both free trade and easy commerce within the area.”’ Ken Bredemeier reported for Voice of America.

‘With Nigeria and Benin Republic signing the Agreement at the Summit, 54 out of 55 African countries have signed the world’s largest free trade area deal, encompassing 55 countries and 1.2 billion people. Eritrea is the only country yet to sign the agreement. The AfCFTA Agreement entered into force on May 30, 2019, 30 days after having received the 22nd instrument of ratification on 29 April, 2019 in conformity with legal provision. After four years of talks, an agreement to form a 55-nation trade bloc was reached in March, paving the way for yesterday’s African Union (AU) summit in Niger. The continent has missed out on the economic booms that other trade blocs have experienced in recent decades. Economists say significant challenges remain, including poor road and rail links, large areas of unrest, excessive border bureaucracy and petty corruption that have held back growth and integration.’ Augustine Ehikioya, Abuja reported for The Nation.

Europe

Alan Kurdi Rescued Migrants Near Italy Breaking the Ban Which Has Been Imposed by Italy in its Staunch Attitude Against the Migrants. Germany Agrees to Accept up to 40 of These Rescued Migrants.

The German vessel Alan Kurdi rescued migrants into the Mediterranean in Italian waters thereby breaking the Italian ban on migrants. Malta allowed the rescued migrants on its land but not permanently. They have to be sent to different EU countries as a permanent arrangement.

Analysis

‘More than 40 migrants disembarked a charity rescue vessel in the Italian port of Lampedusa early on Sunday. It is the second boat to defy a ban by the country’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini. On Saturday, Mediterranea’s Italian-flagged “Alex” declared a state of emergency and said it was heading to Lampedusa but Salvini rejected German calls for Italy to open its ports. Italy had asked Mediterranea to go to Malta but the charity said the 11-hour journey would be too long in view of what they called “intolerable hygiene conditions” onboard the Alex. Last month Salvini’s far-right League party introduced laws which would lead to heavy fines for any migrant NGOs which enter Italian waters’, writes Philip Andrew Churm for Euronews.

‘The Italilan-flagged boat, operated by Mediterranea, a pro-migrant NGO, was greeted at the port by a line of police officers deployed by Salvini. Earier in the day, Salvini asked the Alex to abandon Italy’s waters and sail for Malta’s capital, Valletta, where officials had agreed to let them through. Italy’s Public Television (RAI) reported that the Alex ran out of water and was overcrowded. Germany is ready to welcome some of the migrants who are on board the two German NGO ships’, writes Duarte Mendonca and Matthew Robinson for CNN.

Oceania

The Deported Australian Student Alex Sigley has Been Accused of Spying on North Korea While Being a Student There

The Australian student who has been previously detained in North Korea has been deported back to Australia. North Korea has accused him of spying and collecting information secretly about North Korea.

Analysis

‘The Korean Central News Agency said that Mr. Sigley had acted at the instigation of NK News and other “anti-D.P.R.K.” news outlets, providing them several times with information and photos he had collected in Pyongyang by making use of his foreign student card. The official news agency did not provide further details about Mr. Sigley’s alleged acts of spying. Chad O’Carroll, the head of NK News, said in response to the North Korean claim, “Alek Sigley’s well-read columns presented an apolitical and insightful view of life in Pyongyang, which we published in a bid to show vignettes of ordinary daily life in the capital to our readers.”’, reported Choe Sang-Hun for The New York Times.

‘Australia has a limited diplomatic presence in Pyongyang and has been searching for Sigley through third parties. The Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang, which provides consular assistance to Australians, helped in Sigley’s release. Sigley is the first foreigner known to have been arrested by North Korean authorities since Otto Warmbier. Warmbier, a college student from the United States, died in 2017 after 17 months in detention in North Korea. He had been sentenced to 15 years in prison and hard labor for allegedly stealing a propaganda poster in 2015’, writes Min Joo Kim for The Washington Post.

Americas

Third Round of Talks to be Held Between Guaido and Maduro

The Venezuelan government and opposition are planning to initiate another round of negotiations to stabilize the situation of the country. This round of talks will be mediated by Norway and will be held in Barbados.

Analysis

‘Guaido declared himself acting president of Venezuela in January, challenging Maduro’s claim to have won a 2018 election that international observers said lacked legitimacy. Maduro has accused Guaido, his allies and international backers — most notably the United States — of attempting to organize a coup. Dozens of Latin American and Western countries have recognized Guaido as the legitimate leader of Venezuela, while Russia, Cuba and China are among the most prominent states supporting Maduro. Jorge Rodriguez, the Venezuelan Minister of Communications appointed by Maduro, said in a statement on Sunday that government officials will participate in Monday’s negotiations to “look for a constitutional solution for the country.” Guaido said in a tweet that he was taking part to “establish an end to (Venezuela’s) dictatorship” and “end the suffering of the Venezuelan people.”’  Isa Soares, Jackie Castillo and Joshua Berlinger reported for CNN.

‘“We don’t have unlimited time, every day our situation is becoming worse,” according to the statement from Guaido, recognized by about 50 nations including the U.S. as the leader of the country. “Venezuelans, our allies and the world’s democracies recognize the need to hold truly free and transparent elections.” Norway’s Foreign Ministry, which is acting as a mediator, issued a statement on Sunday confirming that talks will start “this week” in Barbados. The parties will now meet to continue work on finding a negotiated and constitutional solution, as “quickly as possible,” it said in the statement. While Guaido’s envoys will push for new elections in the talks, there are divisions within the opposition on whether Maduro can still be in power for a vote to take place.’ Patricia Laya reported for Bloomberg.

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