Africa and Middle East
Iraq Thousands of Iraqis took to the streets to protest against the presence of American troops in the country, which they see as foreign occoption. The protesters blame America for corruption, as well as turning Iraq into the battleground for a proxy war between foreign powers.
Qatar A new ‘fake news’ law introduces penalties of up to $25,000 and 5 years in prison for spreading or publication of statements deemed to be false. Amnesty International has denounced the law as a regressive step that could, and likely would, be used to erode freedom of speech in the country.
Israel A mosque in East Jerusalem was covered in Hebrew-language graffiti, and then part of it set alight. The graffiti allegedly expressed support for an Israeli settlement which is neither approved by the government nor legal under international law.
Angola The so-called ‘Luanda Leaks’ revealed how Africa’s richest woman, daughter of the former Angolan president, ran and altered the state oil company for her own personal enrichment. Documents leaked by the ICIJ prove that the legitimate fortune she claimed to have made through her businesses actually came from the state. They also show that western officials not only turned a blind eye to but in some cases facilitated her actions.
Asia & Oceania
India Over 600 members of eight different separatist groups from India’s north-eastern state of Assam surrendered their arms to police, as part of a peace deal with the government. The various groups represent different ethnic armed groups in the region who want either increased autonomy or complete political independence.
China Cities in Hubei province were put on lockdown to try to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The outbreak has so far infected 830 people, and officials fear that transmission will rise as millions of Chinese travel to celebrate Lunar New Year. Cases have now been reported in the US and several other countries.
Mexico President Obrador was heavily criticised this week for blocking the passage of a Guatemalan caravan through the country. Lopez Obrador is strongly critical of the US, but was forced to bow to the threat of punitive US tariffs and prevent mass migration across Mexico. The use of tear gas by the country’s security forces against Central American migrants has been condemned by the United Nations.
El Salvador A retired general publicly acknowledged the military’s responsibility for the El Mozote massacre. Occurring in 1981, the massacre was perpetrated by US-trained Atlacatl Battalion, who killed almost 1,000 people.
Brazil In the southern state of Minas Gerais, landslides killed tens of people and displaced over 2,500. The landslide was caused by the heaviest day of rainfall in the state in over a century.
Germany A gunman fired on several members of his family, killing 6 people and seriously injuring 2 others. Police in the south-western town of Rot am See state that the perpetrator owned a gun license.
France Yet another wave of strikes unfurled on the streets of Paris after the government approved changes to the country’s pension scheme. Symbolically, the Eiffel Tower and other tourist attractions were shuttered as their workers joined the strikes. The government managed to alleviate the strikes somewhat by offering concessions.
France Alexander Vinnik, a senior member of staff for BTC-e, a cryptocurrency trading website, was charged with money laundering and extortion. He also faces similar charges in the US and Russia. He claims that, as technical consultant, he was unaware of the company’s malfeasance.
Montenegro Igor Damjanovic, a pro-Russian journalist, was detained for allegedly abusive comments made on Facebook. He claims that the police wish to silence his fervent opposition to Montenegro’s NATO membership.