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The Daily Brief: Western Powers Unite to Hit Belarus With New Sanctions

Western Powers Unite to Hit Belarus With New Sanctions

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Henning Schlottmann (User:H-stt), CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Summary:

  • The United States, European Union, United Kingdom and Canada have imposed new sanctions on Belarus in a coordinated effort to oppose “the May 23rd forced landing of a commercial Ryanair flight between two EU member states and the politically motivated arrest of journalist Raman Pratasevich and his companion Sofia Sapega, as well as the continuing attack on human rights and fundamental freedoms,” in the country.
  • Pratasevich’s arrest made international headlines and was criticized as an attack on fundamental freedoms. The journalist’s appearances on Belarusian state television have also prompted outrage as some observers suggest he is being tortured.
  • The coordinated sanctions show a boiling point for the western countries which have grown increasingly frustrated with Belarus since widespread protests over a supposedly rigged election in the former Soviet state last year.
  • In a joint statement released by the 4 western powers they called on Minsk to cooperate with an international investigation of the Ryanair incident and “enter into a comprehensive and genuine political dialogue” with the democratic opposition in their country.
  • The EU placed travel bans and asset freezes on 78 Belurusian individuals bringing their total sanctions against Belarus up to 166 people and 15 entities.
  • The UK also announced travel bans and asset freezes against “senior-ranking officials” in Belarus as well as oil firm BNK (UK) Ltd. Britain specified that their sanctions are separate from those of the EU which they left last year, however they are coordinated with Washington, Ottawa, and Brussels.
  • The Canadian Foreign Ministry imposed sanctions on 17 Belarusian individuals and 5 entities.
  • The US Treasury Department sanctioned 16 individuals and five entities in addition to the visa restrictions on 46 Belurusian officials announced by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday.
  • Sources:

Al Jazeera

CNN

  • Tweets:

Other Headlines:

World Reacts to Iran’s New President 

  • Ebrahim Raisi, Iran’s new hard-line president, brings a new aspect to the crumbling nuclear deal, which former U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of in 2018.
  • Raisi gave his support to the nuclear deal in a televised presidential debate, however he also stated he would not agree to meeting United States President Joe Biden. 
  • Suzanne Maloney, director of foreign policy at the Brookings Institution, stated “For the most part, I’d expect Iran’s approach to the world to remain mostly the same. For example, I see nothing that suggests he would be amenable toward scaling back Iran’s massive network of armed militia groups that extends from Lebanon to Yemen…The main difference will be that the veneer of Iranian goodwill and readiness for engagement with the West will be gone.”
  • Tweets:

The UAE Welcomes Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid

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Adi Cohen Zedek (עדי כהן צדק), CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
  • Israel’s foreign minister will be the first ever top Israeli diplomat to visit the United Arab Emirates after the two countries settled relations last year.
  • Foreign Minister Yair Lapid is set to inaugurate the Isreali Embassy in Abu Dhabi at the end of June.
  • Palestinians have continued to condemn the Abraham Accords which normalized relations between Israel, UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan as it undermines the efforts toward Palestinian freedom. 
  • Tweets:

Ethiopia Holds Parliamentary Elections Amidst Legitimacy Doubts

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The Kremlin, Moscow, CC BY 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
  • Ethiopians began voting in their parliamentary election on Monday, with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s party accused of election abuses. Abiy, however, tweeted that this would be Ethiopia’s “first attempt at free and fair elections.”
  • The election is controversial given that many opposition figures are in jail, the election has been cancelled in Tigray and many other regions, and prominent opposition parties are boycotting the process.
  • Voting has been delayed twice due to the pandemic and other conflicts. Both the United States and European Union have voiced concern over the fairness of this election.
  • Tweets

Sweden’s Prime Minister Loses No-Confidence Vote

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Kremlin.ru, CC BY 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
  • Sweden’s Parliament voted to oust Prime Minister Stefan Lofven from his role in a no confidence vote that passed with 181 votes in favor. This is the first time a Swedish Prime Minister has been ousted by this process.
  • Prime Minister Lofven has to either resign or call a snap election this week. If he resigns, a new government will have to be formed by the Parliamentary speaker. The new government would only serve until the election in September.
  • The Left Party called the no confidence vote after a dispute over rent controls. Sweden is currently facing a housing shortage and real estate prices are quickly rising, which the Left Party blames Prime Minister Lofven for.
  • Tweets

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

Daily Brief

Justice Ketanji Brown Officially Gets Sworn into the Supreme Court

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  • Ketanji Brown was officially sworn into the nation’s highest court, finally replacing former Justice Stephen Breyer. This was just in time, when decisions on environment and immigration cases are in the midst of being determined. 
  • Right when the Biden administration was trying to slash emissions and scientists have been growing alarmingly concerned about the accelerating pace of global warming, the Supreme Court curbed the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate carbon emissions from power plants. The court also cut back on agency authority which will limit the federal government’s power to regulate climate policy, along with internet and worker safety. 
  • Nevertheless, the Biden administration finally achieved one victory on its agenda when the Supreme Court gave Biden the authority to end the “Remain in Mexico” policy, that originated under the Trump administration. According to Justice John Roberts, the immigration statute confers a discretionary authority to return aliens to Mexico during the pendency of their immigration proceedings. 
  • 3 abortion-related cases were also sent back down to lower courts by the Supreme Court, now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned. 
  • Even though the next term doesn’t start until three months later, there are many momentous cases that Jackson will take part in along with the other justices. On the first day of the term, they will hear a case that could limit the federal government’s jurisdiction over wetlands. The following day, they plan to hear a redistributing case in Alabama and North Carolina, which could drastically change voting rights across the country. 

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

Cancelling Canada Day: A Country Perpetuating Injustice Cannot be Celebrated

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Canada Day is celebrated every July 1st, but as the injustices against Indigenous people in the country become mainstream, calls to cancel the celebrations are amplified.

With fireworks and large festivals, Canada Day is celebrated from coast to coast on July 1st by millions of people, every year. The day, for many Canadians, is one of joy and gratitude, for the home that Canada has become for them. 

However, following the discovery of mass graves at the site of former Residential Schools, celebrating Canada Day is becoming confusing for many. 

Residential schools, among other historical policies, made essentially to assimilate Indigenous peoples and erase their culture, are one of the causes of deeply rooted intergenerational trauma and disproportionate access to resources in Indigenous communities.

Canada Day, which marks the day of confederation and the day that Canada became its own nation also marks the day that the oppression of Indigenous peoples was taken into Canada’s own hands. Calls to ‘cancel Canada Day’ become louder each year, as the injustices which were perpetuated to help bring the country to where it is today become more widely known.

Canada, the “true, north, strong and free”, as described in the country’s national anthem, was established at the price of the lives, autonomy and rights of hundreds of thousands of Indigenous peoples.

Canada recognizes its Indigenous population broadly as the FNMI — which stands for the First Nations, the Métis and the Inuit. All three Indigenous nations were directly impacted during colonization, through forced relocations, harmful policies, and cultural genocides.

The Indian Act following confederation was a legal document which specifically prevented the First Nations people in Canada from many things, including cultural practices, political actions and restricted their freedom. Under this act, First Nations could not leave reserves that the government forced them onto, without explicit permission from an Indian Agent first. The RCMP – the Royal Canadian Mounted Police known today as Canada’s FBI – was made with the intention to force and keep Indigenous peoples on their reserves.

First Nations and Métis were also predominantly affected by residential schools and the sixties scoop, when Indigenous children were taken from their homes and given up for adoption. Both of these efforts were made with the goal of assimilating Indigenous children, by “killing the Indian in the child“.

The Inuit faced dehumanization with their forced relocation into the High Arctic, a land they were not traditionally accustomed to. They were used as human flagpoles in the race to claim the Arctic, giving Canada a land advantage over countries like Russia and the United States.

For the sake of Canada’s growth as a Western nation, Indigenous peoples were used as pawns. First Nations and Métis were forced onto reserves to make space for European settlers, while the government commissioned a mass Inuit dog slaughter, to keep the Inuit stranded in the High Arctic, so that Canada could not lose their claim over that land.

The birth of a nation had become more important than the lives of Indigenous peoples who have existed since time immemorial. And because of that, Canada was born with blood on its hands — blood it has yet to wash off in full, as the country’s growth continues to be more important than respecting Indigenous peoples who’ve lived there for centuries.

The Canadian government has a long-standing history of making promises to the Indigenous community and then turning their back on them — whether that means refusing to turn their words into action or taking action that has the opposite impact.

Indigenous peoples in Canada have been long subject to unjust conditions: many communities lack access to clean water. The government has acknowledged this; however, it hasn’t done much beyond that to actually improve living standards on reserves. Indigenous peoples are subject to disproportionate rates of police brutality and violence, especially in the North. Despite multiple reports recording the numbers, institutions are not doing much to change their practices.

Most prominently, the pipeline debate has shown how the government is willing to backtrack on their promises to Indigenous peoples to protect their rights, if it results in a growth for the country. Although Justin Trudeau ran a campaign in 2016 heavily opposing the Coastal GasLink and Trans Mountain pipelines, in 2019 his government bought the pipelines to take over the project and continue it, despite protests from Indigenous peoples pleading otherwise.

Time and time again, Indigenous communities in Canada seem to be living in an entirely different country; the “true, north, strong and free,” seems more like a betraying, oppressive and unjust nation. Their rights are considered dispensable in favour of material growth, and in society, they face stereotypes that lessen their quality of life.

The question: to celebrate or to not celebrate, might seem like a hard one when Canada Day is meant to be a day where Canadians rejoice for all that the country is to them. But the answer is quite straightforward, when it is the suffering of people caused by Canada in question.

For many — those born in Canada, those who immigrated here, and those seeking refuge here — there is much to be grateful for, on Canada Day. But showing gratitude for living in a country such as Canada and acknowledging the injustices it participates in are not mutually exclusive attitudes.

Sol Mamakwa, an Indigenous MPP for Kiiwetinoong, an electoral riding in Ontario, stated in a message for Canada Day, “It is my hope that Canadians will be able to strike a balance between honouring all that Canada has done for them today while still recognizing the real history of oppression, colonialism and genocide.”

Even if most Canadians do not experience the struggles of Indigenous peoples firsthand, these struggles still affect the very fabric of Canada. The country is only as great as it treats its Indigenous peoples, whose losses the country was built upon. And every single Canadian plays a role in advocating for the better treatment of Indigenous peoples.

To celebrate Canada Day, we must want better for the people who have lost everything for it, but we also must mourn with them for all the loss they have had to face. 

Canada Day should become a holiday more meaningful than fireworks and festivals: it needs to become a day of reflection. We must cancel Canada Day’s insensitive celebrations, by understanding the context of it, because injustice simply isn’t something you can celebrate.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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I am a student from Ontario, Canada, and an aspiring journalist. I enjoy reading, writing and learning about the world around us - the issues with it and how we can make it a better place.

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Daily Brief

India playing the “All religions matter” card in the UN

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In a recent event that marked the first anniversary of the International Day of Countering Hate Speech, Ambassador Tirumurti from India urged the UN that fighting religiophobia should not be a “selective exercise” that involves only one or two religions but one that should be applied equally to phobias against non-Abrahamic religions as well. He had also addressed terrorism concerns that have been plaguing India due to the cross-border tensions that are on the rise.

It is ironic that such statements were made during an event whose sole purpose is to counter hate in a country where religiophobia against people practising Abrahamic religions is at an all-time high. Last week, India was in the news for all the wrong reasons due to comments made against the Prophet Muhammad (saw) by the official spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), one of India’s major political parties. Clashes erupted around the country in retaliation and houses that belonged to Muslim activists were bulldozed and razed to the ground simply because they had raised objections against the ruling party for the hateful comments made. Even though the cause for all that is happening in India is predominantly Islamaphobia, it is surprising how the religion of Islam was not mentioned anywhere in the list of Abrahamic religions given by Mr Tirumurti[1] . Leaving out the religion of Islam takes us back to the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and The National Register of Citizens (NRC) bill that was passed but not implemented yet required Muslims living in India to submit documents showing that they are indeed the citizens of India.

Mr Tirumurti also mentioned that India follows pluralism as it was recognised by the UAE and Egypt to promote fraternity on the International Day of Fraternity[2] . He defines Pluralism as “where every religion is respected, is a sine qua non of tolerance and harmony,”. However, what happened in India a few days prior is a stark contrast to the definition that he read out during the event.

“Till this is done, such international days will never achieve their objectives. There cannot be double standards on religiophobia,” stated the Ambassador. His remarks on how all religions must be treated equally to combat religiophobia are similar in nature to the “All Lives Matter” slogan created for the sole purpose of undermining the ‘Black Lives Matter movement. India needs to look back at itself to understand the definition of double standards as the country itself has become the epitome of the word by denying the extremist allegations while executing the same on minorities.[3] 

Regarding the statement given by Mr Tirumurti in the UN, Mahmooda, a Muslim citizen of India, living in Chennai said, “This is yet another flag of insignificance being pinned upon the Muslims”. This is a testament to the fact on how the government of India and the majority is still undermining and undervaluing the lives of Muslims who have made India their home for several decades now. 

“Fascism is always denied when it’s being perpetrated. Furthermore, there’s a convenient narrative orchestrated through different avenues to justify the hostility against the persecuted” remarked Aslam who is a 35 year old non-residential Indian living in the UAE.

Safura, a Muslim in her mid-20’s said that she understands that all religions must be considered equal in the religiophobia narrative and that “one cannot value one’s human life more than the other”, but it baffled her that Islam was left out of the conversation in an event that strives to fight against religiophobia despite the fact that Muslims are the most persecuted around the world. 

This makes us wonder if India believes that Muslims are the reason why religiophobia still exists and hence all the other religions must be saved from it? Unfortunately, the answer to this question can be provided by Mr Tirumurti alone.


All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

Trump Knew His Supporters Were Armed in Jan. 6 Capitol Riots

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  • Former White House aid, Cassidy Hutchinson, stated that former US President Donald Trump was aware that rioters were armed on January 6th, 2021 when they stormed the US Capitol, but he did not want to stop them.
  • Hutchinson worked as a top advisor to Mr Trump’s chief of staff, and testified at a hearing to a select House committee that was in charge of investigating the Jan 6th riot at the US Capitol.
  • Hutchinson recounted how Mr. Trump said that rioters were “not here to hurt me” and that security should “let them in.” She also stated that he lunged at the driver of the limousine in a rage when he was told he could not be taken to the Capitol.
  • Mr Trump denied several parts of Hutchinson’s testimony, stating, “I didn’t want or request that we make room for people with guns to watch my speech.”

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

Fire During Colombia Prison Riot Kills 51

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  • A fire broke out in a Colombian prison during a riot, killing 51 inmates and injuring dozens. The fire was started by an inmate setting a mattress ablaze during the commotion and the flames spreading.
  • Colombian President Ivan Duque requested a “quick investigation to explain this terrible situation” and expressed his solidarity “to the families of the victims.”
  • No prisoners seem to have escaped and the fire is now under control. Twenty four people are currently in the hospital.
  • Prisons in Colombia are extremely overcrowded, as it was in this case, making riots and fighting amongst inmates a common occurrence.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

50 Migrants Found Dead Near the US-Mexico Border

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  • Fifty migrants were found dead near the US-Mexico border in an abandoned semi truck due to “poverty and desperation,” according to Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
  • The vehicle in which the victims were found was lacking air conditioning and water and, coupled with the extremely hot climate, it is suspected that they likely died from dehydration and heat stroke.
  • Migrants from Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala were among the victims. Sixteen people survived the incident and were taken to the hospital.
  • US President Joe Biden spoke about the incident, stating that his administration “will continue to do everything possible to stop human smugglers and traffickers from taking advantage of people who are seeking to enter the United States between ports of entry.”

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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