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Eastwest Press Review – The world in ten news items – 21 July 2017

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Eastwest Press Review offers a weekly geopolitical collection of recent global trends, beyond the main headlines. The world, one news at a time.


Burma: 80,000 Muslim Rohingya children starving after military violence, warns UN agency

The World Food Programme‘s report was compiled after assessing 45 villages in western Rakhine state, where around 75,000 Muslim Rohingya people have fled military oppression and violence. It is estimated that 80,500 children under the age of five are expected to be in need of treatment for acute malnutrition over the next twelve months, the report said. (Read more on The Indipendent)

Get out! Chinese agents bar access to the ‘free’ wife of Liu Xiaobo

Chinese authorities claim Liu Xia is a free woman. But one week after the death of her husband, the Nobel laureate and democracy activist Liu Xiaobo, a visit to the couple’s Beijing home immediately gives the lie to that claim. […] Rumors have swirled that Liu – last seen in propaganda photographs of her husband’s cremation and sea burial on Saturday – had been forcibly “travelled” to the southwestern province of Yunnan to prevent her speaking out. On Thursday, however, supporters admitted her whereabouts were a mystery. (Read more on The Guardian)


What Congressional Republicans Really Think About Trump and Russia

As one senior Senate aide told me, the private reactions from Republican lawmakers to the most recent spate of bombshells has run the gamut. “Some people are like, ‘This is bullshit, this is just an effort to undermine Trump,’ then some are like, ‘Trump needs to be removed from office.’ It’s all over the place.” But on one point, at least, there seems to be widespread consensus: All of them believe they’re already doing everything they can within reason to hold the president accountable—and they fiercely reject any argument to the contrary. (Read more on The Atlantic)


Engaging Colombia’s students may be key to long-term peace

In June, Colombian officials announced that members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia had officially disarmed and become civilians after turning over the last of their weapons. This comes after the militant group signed a peace accord with the government in 2016. […]Colombian universities, in particular, have an opportunity to prepare the next generation of political and business leaders to be agents of peace and social change. When educators and students across countries and disciplines become partners in promoting peace, chances of preventing future mass atrocities will improve. (Read more on The Conversation)


Mafia in Italy Siphons Huge Sums From Migrant Centers

The government provided millions of euros to care for the migrants who had arrived at the reception center at Italy’s toe after traveling across deserts, war zones or choppy seas. But on many days, they were served little more than rancid chicken. Some did not eat at all when the food ran out. The center’s managers, including the Rev. Edoardo Scordio, were among 68 people arrested this spring on charges of fraud, misuse of public money and mafia association. A yearslong investigation exposed a vast embezzlement scheme that, the authorities say, siphoned off nearly 36 million euros, or about $41 million, in government money — more than a third of the €102 million provided over a decade. (Read more on The New York Times)


Fighting revives refugees’ hopes of returning to Aleppo

More than 100,000 people who have been displaced from towns and villages in northern Aleppo province are in camps in Bab al-Salam, al-Nour, al-Iman and Sajou. They are all eager to return home and hope it will be soon. Their hopes have been raised by accelerating developments on the battlefront in Aleppo, intermittent clashes between the FSA and SDF, and the exchange of shelling. (Read more on Al-Monitor)

Afghanistan More Deadly for Women and Children, U.N. Says

Afghanistan has grown more deadly this year for women, children and other residents of the capital, the United Nations mission in the country said on Monday, even as the violence is expected to intensify in the coming months with no hope of peace talks any time soon. A record number of civilians — 1,662 — were killed in the first six months of 2017, a 2 percent increase from the same period last year, the mission reported. An additional 3,581 civilians were wounded. (Read more on The New York Times)


Rwanda is being accused of executing its citizens for committing petty crimes

Rwandan officials have summarily executed “at least 37 suspected petty offenders” in the last year instead of prosecuting them, a new report from Human Rights Watch (HRW) says. The rights group said that the killings were “not isolated events” and were part of an official strategy to “spread fear, enforce order, and deter any resistance to government orders or policies.” (Read more on Quartz)

Despite changes in governments, most African leaders have done little to improve the welfare of their people

Despite African political parties espousing different ideologies and launching welfare manifestos, nothing really changes when governments change. Corruption is prevalent throughout the continent. Tied to this is the fact that anti-corruption efforts fail because of a lack of honest and accountable leaders. […]Every year about USD$50 billion is lost through illicit transfers. Not only does this hold back the continent’s socio-economic progress, it also threatens peace, security and stability. (Read more on The Conversation)


Map charts early massacres of indigenous Australians

Researchers have created what they say is the most comprehensive map yet to detail the massacres of indigenous Australians by European settlers. More than 150 locations feature on the online map, which presently covers only the nation’s east coast. […] The project includes details about the number of people killed at each site, which weapons were used, and who was responsible. The information was compiled over four years and corroborated through sources including settler diaries, newspaper reports, court records and letters. (Read more on BBC)


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