Weekly Global Newscast | July 15 - July 21, 2019
ICJ Announces Kubhushan Jadhav Verdict; Pakistan to Allow Consular Access to the Spy
Both India and Pakistan are claiming victory after the ICJ’s verdict on Jadhav according to which Jadhav will remain in Pakistan’s custody and a review of his sentence to be carried out by Pakistan in whatever way it chooses to do so.
‘Pakistan breached the Vienna Convention by denying India “the right to communicate with and have access to (Jadhav), to visit him in detention and to arrange for his legal representation,” the ruling stated. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said he welcomed the verdict. Pakistan also sees the ruling as a win, citing the court’s decision not to order Jadhav’s acquittal or release. Shortly after his arrest a video was released purportedly showing Jadhav accepting responsibility to the charges. India has maintained that the recording was made under duress’, writes Helen Regan for CNN.
‘Both sides claim ‘victory’ as court upholds India’s demand for consular access but denies request to dismiss case. The ICJ ruled that it did not have jurisdiction to rule on the nature of the trial Jadhav received, but that in delivering a verdict that alters the circumstances of the case, it called for a review of the case under Pakistani law’, writes Asad Hashim for Al-Jazeera.
‘India declared victory from the forecourt of the Peace Palace at The Hague, Netherlands, after officials stepped out of the Great Hall of Justice. The Indian delegation led by Deepak Mittal, joint secretary PAI (Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran) at the ministry of external affairs, and also the agent at the ICJ for this case, was confident that India was on a strong footing on issues of violations of the international conventions. Interestingly, both the Indian and Pakistani delegations stayed at The Hilton, unlike in February when both, in The Hague to make their submissions, ensured they were in separate hotels’, writes Geeta Mohan for India Today.
Protests and Mass Demonstrations Enter into Seventh Week in Hong Kong Turning More Violent with Clashes Between Protesters and Police
Protests in Hong Kong are not coming to a stop. Rather violence is growing as a result of police’s attacks on protestors.
‘The day’s protest — the seventh in a series of demonstrations that have taken place in Hong Kong every weekend since early June — was staged to make citizens’ displeasure with their city’s Beijing-backed chief executive, Carrie Lam, known and to call for an investigation into police action at protests. Hong Kong, which has long had a significant pro-democracy faction, retains its own political and legal systems but is under Chinese sovereignty — this arrangement was meant to last until 2047. But that independence is under threat in the eyes of many Hong Kongers. Although the latest protests have not been quite as large as the first, protesters similarly have shown no signs of backing down. As their list of grievances grows, and as worries over Beijing’s influence over the city increase, protesters are likely to continue to take to the streets en masse, growing bolder as they do so,’ analyzes Riley Beggin for Vox.
‘Activists and human rights groups have called for an independent investigation into what they describe as excessive use of force by police. The protesters are also demanding the word “riot” be withdrawn from the government’s description of demonstrations and the unconditional release of those arrested. What started as protests over the extradition bill have now morphed into demands for greater democracy, the resignation of leader Lam, and even curbing the number of mainland Chinese tourists to Hong Kong’, write Alun John and Vimvam Tong for CNBC.
Middle East & North Africa
IRGC Capturing a British Ship in Hormuz
Iran has seized a British Ship in the Strait of Hormuz on 19th July, possibly to counter the Iranian tanker seizure by Britain in Gibraltar
‘The Iranian capture of the ship in the global oil trade’s most important waterway was the latest escalation in three months of spiraling confrontation with the West that began when new, tighter U.S. sanctions took effect at the start of May. European countries including Britain disagreed with the U.S. decision to quit the nuclear deal but have so far failed to offer Iran another way to receive the deal’s promised economic benefits. Britain was thrust more directly into the confrontation on July 4, when its Royal Marines seized an Iranian tanker off the coast of Gibraltar. Britain accused it of violating sanctions on Syria, prompting repeated Iranian threats of retaliation. Iranian Revolutionary Guards rappelled from helicopters and seized the Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday in apparent retaliation for the British capture of an Iranian tanker two weeks earlier. “Iran is displaying its power without entering a military confrontation,” an Iranian official said. “This is the result of America’s mounting pressure on Iran.”’ Parisa Hafezi & Peter Graff reported for Reuters.
‘The seizing of a British-flagged tanker in Omani waters, empty and inbound to a Saudi port, marks a serious escalation in a whole catalogue of recent incidents in the Gulf. This has become a highly volatile situation where not everyone believes in diplomacy. There are figures in Washington who have been pushing for an ever-tougher line with Iran. And there are figures in Iran, notably in the Revolutionary Guards Corps and the security apparatus, who are quite prepared to push this right up to the brink of a conflict, yet probably stopping just short of one. A diplomatic solution to this crisis is going to be complicated, not least because Britain’s relationships with its traditional partners – the US and the Europeans – are under strain. Diplomatic pressure – action at the UN or tough economic sanctions – requires the building of a coalition.’ Jonathan Marcus and Frank Gardner provided Analysis for BBC.
Sub Saharan Africa
Ebola Epidemic in DRC Declared a Public Health Emergency
Ebola outbreak in Congo, the second largest in history, started in August 2018. Almost after a year, WHO, a specialized agency of UN has declared Ebola crisis as a public health emergency and international concern, in part, to encourage international donors.
‘The virus has infected more than 2,500 people and killed nearly 1,700. “The risk of Ebola spread in DRC and the region remains very high, and the risk of spread outside the region remains low,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. He has described this outbreak as one of the world’s most dangerous viruses in one of the world’s most dangerous areas. Labeling the epidemic a global emergency will “help raise international support and release more resources — including finance, health care workers, enhanced logistics, security and infrastructure,” Josie Golding predicted.
The panel was persuaded by several factors that have made combating the epidemic more urgent in recent weeks.’ Denise Grady reported for The New York Times.
‘With its latest declaration, WHO does not recommend any restrictions on travel or trade, but rather the organization released recommendations for affected countries, which include to continue strengthening community awareness and screenings, among other actions. WHO’s decision to declare a public health emergency of international concern won’t markedly shift the DRC’s strategy to combat the deadly outbreak, said the country’s Health Minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga. While serious, this outbreak has yet to have the level of global attention that the West African outbreak garnered. Many public health experts expressly called for the emergency designation months ago — as a way to refocus attention and to bring in much-needed funds.’ Jacqueline Howard & David McKenzie reported for CNN.
European Parliament Adopts a Pro Protestors Resolution on Hong Kong While China Views the Resolution as a Display of Ignorance and Hypocrisy
85 members European Parliament says it empathizes with protestors in Hong Kong and calls for a complete withdrawal of extradition bill and release of all detained protestors. China calls this resolution a breach of its sovereignty.
‘The European Parliament on Thursday issued a joint motion calling for a resolution over Hong Kong’s controversial extradition bill. The motion, endorsed by 85 members of the parliament, condemned the constant and increasing interference by China in Hong Kong, The parliament also proposed prohibiting the sale of riot control gear to the Hong Kong police force and called for the release of peaceful protesters who have been detained for exercising their freedom of expression. However Lu Kang, a spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, argued that the European Parliament should respect China’s sovereignty and not meddle in China’s affairs’, writes Kamaran Malik for Asia Times.
‘Amid reports that Germany and Britain were considering suspending arms sales to the Hong Kong police, the European Parliament’s motion “calls for the EU, its member states and the international community to work towards the imposition of appropriate export control mechanisms to deny China, and in particular Hong Kong, access to technologies used to violate basic rights”. While the resolution is non-binding, observers said it could influence EU foreign policy’, write Teddy Ng and Stuart Lau for South China Morning Post.
‘The Chinese Foreign Ministry slammed the European Parliament and the UK for interfering in China’s domestic affairs in Hong Kong, as these foreign forces have demanded that the Special Administrative Region (SAR) pardon violent rioters and made disparaging comments about the “one country, two systems” policy. Observers noted that when the European Parliament and the UK pretend to defend Hong Kong’s democracy, they are truly blind, as they don’t see there is also a silent majority in Hong Kong who is urging the government and the police to punish violent protesters and bring peace and stability back to the city’, analyzes Yang Sheng for Global Times.
Australian Government Under Climate Warning by the Coral Reef Agency
The Australian state coral reef agency managing the Great Reef Barriers has warned the government to reduce Green House Gas emissions.
‘The federal agency has warned, only the “strongest and fastest possible action” will reduce the risks to the natural wonder. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has published a climate position statement that says the reef is already damaged from warming oceans and it is “critical” global temperature increases remain within 1.5 degrees. “Only the strongest and fastest possible action on climate change will reduce the risks and limit the impacts of climate change on the reef,” the authority said. “Further loss of coral is inevitable and can be minimised by limiting global temperature increase to the maximum extent possible.”’ Helen Sullivan reported for The Guardian.
‘The position statement issued by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority is unequivocal in its stance that the climate crisis threatens the world-renown reef.Despite the coral bleaching in the reef and the extensive drought and heat waves Australia has suffered, the country has set new emissions records for four straight years. Experts say that trend shows no signs of slowing since the recently re-elected government of Prime Minister Scott Morrison will open up mines for the coal and liquefied natural gas industry.Environmental groups cheered the report and noted that a report from Morrison’s own government agency should prompt him to address the climate crisis. The government’s grant of over $400 million to the Great Barrier Reef foundation would be wasted unless the Morrison government takes radical action to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions to save our greatest natural icon and the jobs it supports.’ Jordan Davidson reported for EcoWatch.
Venezuelan Fighter Plane Shadowing a US Aircraft over Caribbean
A Venezuelan aircraft approached a US reconnaissance plane on Friday, 19th July over the waters of Caribbean. The move is being considered unprofessional, unsafe and aggressive by Pentagon.
‘Venezuela’s defense minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez said on Saturday that the U.S. aircraft entered a flight region controlled by Venezuela without reporting necessary information, breaking with international regulations. Venezuela has purchased military aircraft, including the Su-30, from Russia. U.S. officials have previously accused Moscow of propping up Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro amid the ongoing economic and humanitarian crisis there. SOUTHCOM said the action of the Venezuelan fighter on Friday “demonstrates Russia’s irresponsible military support to Maduro’s illegitimate regime and underscores Maduro’s recklessness and irresponsible behavior, which undermines international rule of law and efforts to counter illicit trafficking.”’ Elizabeth McLaughlin & Esther Castillejo reported for ABC News.
‘In a Sunday tweet, the Southern Command said the incident happened in international airspace over the Caribbean Sea. According to Venezuela, more than 76 US aircraft have attempted to enter Venezuelan airspace in 2019. Last month, a Russian aircraft intercepted a US aircraft flying in international airspace over the Mediterranean Sea three times in just under three hours. Southern Command said in its statement that the “Maduro regime continues to undermine internationally-recognized laws and demonstrate its contempt for international agreements authorizing the U.S. and other nations to safely conduct flights in international airspace.”’ Devan Cole, Ryan Browne & Stefano Pozzebon reported for CNN.