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In Myanmar the death toll has reached nearly 550 since the coup on 1st February and the protests that followed it, which were met with deadly force by the ruling military

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Ninjastrikers, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In Myanmar the death toll has reached nearly 550 since the coup on 1st February and the protests that followed it, which were met with deadly force by the ruling military. The military took over following elections in the country, which saw a landslide victory for Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party. However, the armed forces who had backed the opposition were demanding a rerun of the vote, claiming widespread fraud. There have been reports of security forces opening fire at protesters and destroying barricades, with videos taken from social media showing security forces firing at protesters and detaining them. The military crackdown shown on photos and posts from social media, has largely stopped the rallies which drew crowds of tens of thousands in the large cities at the start of the takeover but many people are still marching against the military government, including candle-lit vigils.

Almost 2,750 people have been detained and sentenced according to the group, including Aung San Suu Kyi and some NLD members. Arrest warrants by authorities have been issued for show business celebrities, social media influencers and journalists, who oppose the military rule. The warrants were issued under a law against material intended to cause a member of the armed forces to mutiny or disregard their duty.

The military has also turned its attention to the virtual world by enforcing internet censorship and arrest warrants for online critics. This has included shutting down mobile data and ordering internet providers to cut wireless broadband and so cutting customer access. 

Myanmar has a population of about 54 million, most of whom are Burmese speakers, although other languages are also spoken. The biggest city is Yangon (Rangoon), but the capital is Nay Pyi Taw. The main religion is Buddhism. Following independence from Britain in 1948, the country formerly known as Burma, first came under military rule in 1968 until 2011 when a new government saw a return to civilian rule. The military is now back in charge and has declared a year-long state of emergency citing election fraud. The election commission said there was no evidence to support these claims. The coup took place as a new session of parliament was set to open and power was taken by military commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing. He has long wielded significant political influence, successfully maintaining the power of the Tatmadaw – Myanmar’s military – even as the country moved towards democracy.

Numerous countries have condemned the military takeover and subsequent crackdown. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has accused the security forces of a “reign of terror”. The US, UK and European Union have all responded with sanctions on military officials. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the United States’ Ambassador to the UN, noted that as well as sanctions the US had extended temporary protection to Myanmar people in the US and increased assistance to civil society. She promised, in a series of posts on Twitter, that the US would do more and urged others to follow suit. She added that their allies and regional partners also need to do more to stop the violence and respect the election outcome, calling especially on Myanmar’s neighbours and the military’s economic partners. China, who had previously opposed international intervention in Myanmar, blocked a UN Security Council statement condemning the coup and backed calls for the release of Ms Suu Kyi and a return to democratic norms. Saturday 27th March, saw one of the deadliest days of fighting, with the Myanmar Now news website reporting that 114 people, including children, were killed across the country by security forces. The United Nation fears a worsening situation. The envoy on Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, told a closed session of the 15 member Council that the generals who seized power on 1st February were not capable of managing the country. She implored the Security Council to take action amid an escalating crisis, warning of the risk of civil war and an imminent “bloodbath” following the violent crackdown on the anti-coup protests.

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

A Monkeypox Outbreak has Been Detected in Europe, Canada, and Now the US

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  • There is a monkeypox outbreak in Europe and North America, with 8 reported cases in England, 20 in Portugal, a few in Canada, and one case in the US. What’s concerning is that the virus is possibly spreading throughout the community undetected and no one knows exactly where and how people are acquiring the infection.
  • Monkeypox can cause fever, body aches, enlarged lymph nodes, and eventually painful and fluid-filled blisters called “pox” on the face and extremities. Although monkeypox can be deadly, the version of monkeypox currently in England is milder, with a fatality rate of 1%, and can usually resolve in  2-4 weeks. 
  • Person-to-person transmission is very uncommon, as it requires one to have close contact with bodily fluids, such as saliva or pus from lesions, and is more commonly transmitted from animals in Africa and then imported to other countries. However, 7 of the 8 cases in the UK did not involve recent travel to Africa, nor had they had contact with the 1 patient who had traveled to Nigeria. The one patient in Massachusetts hadn’t traveled to any countries that had an outbreak, but had traveled to Canada. 
  • Much evidence is suggesting that the disease is being transmitted through a new route, sexual contact, and particularly men who are gay or bisexual have been warned to be aware of any rashes or lesions, and to contact health service immediatley. 
  • Monkeypox is closely related to smallpox but isn’t as transmissible between people. The smallpox vaccine, which was approved in 2019 by the FDA, is about 85% effective, and after the world eradicated smallpox, countries stopped vaccinating children, and so now there’s a growing population of people who don’t have immunity to monkeypox, which means an outbreak could now involve dozens of people instead of just 1-2 cases. This virus can become more transmissible and there is a possible chance of a global threat, like COVID-19.

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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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Politics

Digital Authoritarianism – A Growing Challenge to The World Press Freedom

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Press and electronic media have been an active source of propagation of the discourse be it political, social, or religious. They make it easier for a piece of information to reach the common masses and thus it is crucial for the governments to control them to keep insuring the creation of “us” and “them” division in the society.  But this control has become a challenge for a free and independent press. Digital authoritarianism, cyber surveillance, and monitoring of political and social activities of people through media have made it difficult for the people of the present age and time to have freely expressed their opinion and easier for the governments to control the information.

While China has been controlling the influx of information and the regulation of ideologies in the country through a great fire, Other countries are joining in too with their measure to increase cyber-surveillance. Internet shutdowns are one of the tools for asserting digital authoritarianism and according to a survey conducted by a non-profit digital rights organization Access now, the year 2021 experienced 182 events of Internet shutdowns around the world.

The shutdowns measures were taken to contribute to the growing political tensions in the respective regions for example, during the coup in Maynmar, and to influence the geopolitical situation in Eastern Europe, specifically Russia. Similarly, while Africa experienced an epidemic of coups in the year 2021, the number of internet shutdowns reached 19.

 India which claims to be the “world’s largest democracy” imposed an internet shutdown more than a hundred times in the year 2021 and more than half of them were on the already repressed people of Jammu and Kashmir.

While Russia became the only country in Europe to impose an internet shutdown in 2021, in the year 2022, the Russia and Ukraine war has forced other EU countries to ban the access to Russia Today, Sputnik other information sites regulated by Russia calling it a measure against “the war propaganda.” Similarly, since the beginning of the conflict, Russia has imposed new internet laws in the country to monitor the spread of news restricting the use of global applications like Instagram and Facebook.  

The more recent rerouting of the internet traffic of occupied Ukrainian regions to be redirected through Russian cyber routes. Netblocks, an internet observatory, noted that: “Connectivity on the network has been routed via Russia’s internet instead of Ukrainian telecoms infrastructure and is hence likely now subject to Russian internet regulations, surveillance, and censorship.”

However, while countries around the world are being exposed to exerting digital dominance, and being accused to collect user data for their own benefit, it is becoming a challenge for them to create “democracy-affirming technologies” to combat the digital authoritarianism that has been challenging the world’s press freedom around the world.

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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Business

Russia Looks to Brazil for Support to Prevent Expulsion from IMF

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The Kremlin has requested Brazil’s support in the International Monetary Fund, G20 group, and World Bank to help it counter crippling sanctions from invading Ukraine. Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov wrote to Brazil’s Economy Minister Paulo Guedes claiming that, “behind the scenes work is underway in the IMF and World Bank to limit or even expel Russia from the decision-making process”. Siluanov then went on to request support from Brazil “to prevent political accusations and discrimination attempts in international financial institutions”.

Russia is facing immense backlash for its actions against Ukraine, especially from the US and its allies. According to Siluanov, Russia is facing financial difficulties and economic turbulence due to international sanctions which have frozen almost half of the Kremlin’s international reserves and foreign trade transactions. The Russian minister added that the US is attempting to isolate Moscow from the international community. 

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stated last week that the US will not participate in any G20 meetings in which Russia is present, citing the Ukraine wa as the reason. Brazilian Foreign Minister Carlos Franca has previously stated that Brazil opposes the expulsion of Russia from the G20 group. Franca further explained that, “The most important thing at this time is to have all international forums, the G20, WTO, FAO, functioning fully, and for that all countries need to be present, including Russia”.

As reports of Russian war crimes make headlines and the economic consequences of the Ukraine War begin to pile up, more countries appear to be standing against the Kremlin’s involvement in international affairs. The US is the main proponent for Russia’s expulsion, however this could partly be due to the personal benefit the White House would receive from the removal of Moscow’s influence from global politics and economics. Russia’s actions in Ukraine warrant severe consequences and Moscow’s removal from international financial groups could serve as a warning for other countries against initiating offensive military action.

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.

Saira Shah
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Saira is a Muslim American with a passion for writing, economics, and justice.  With a background as a UC Berkeley graduate with a bachelors in economics allows her to quantitatively analyze critical developments from around the globe as well as their long term impacts on financial systems and social welfare. She is dedicated to reporting in an investigative, honest and compassionate manner to give voice to those who need it most.

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Politics

Israeli forces raid Al-Aqsa Mosque injuring over 150 Palestinians

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Violence has yet once again flared up in the month of Ramadan as Israeli police force entered the Mosque and detained hundreds of Palestinians

In a tragic occurrence of events, similar to last year, conflict has erupted in the month of Ramadan between Israeli forces and Palestinians.

Israeli forces raided the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem with the responding medics reporting that at least 158 Palestinians were injured and hundreds detained.  

According to the Islamic endowment that is responsible for the site, Israeli forces entered the premises before dawn as thousands of worshippers were gathered at the mosque. 

Many videos circulating online depict the ensuing conflict with Palestinians throwing rocks and police firing tear gas and stun grenades.   

Palestinian Red Crescent stated that Israeli forces even obstructed the arrival of ambulances and paramedics to the scene in order to tend the wounded and those trapped in the Mosque. 

According to Israeli Foreign Ministry who issued a statement on twitter saying, “Israeli police entered Al-Aqsa Mosque in order to disperse violent rioters desecrating the site and endangering the public. The mosque has now reopened for prayers. Israel continues to ensure freedom of worship in Jerusalem.”

However, Palestinian cameraman Rami al-Khatib, first hand witness to the raid, said “They [Israeli forces] brutally emptied the compound. They were attacking the mosque staff, normal people, elders, young people.  There were many injured people, they fired rubber bullets inside Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. They were beating everyone, even the paramedics, they hit them”.

Jordan, who has custodianship over the holy site, in conjunction with Palestinian Authority, issued a joint statement warning Israel of “a dangerous and condemnable escalation that threatens to explode the situation”.

The clashes come at an important time for all three major faiths.  Muslims are celebrating the month of Ramadan while the Jews are celebrating the Passover which began on Friday and is a weeklong Jewish holiday and the Christians celebrate their holy week which culminates on Easter Sunday.  The collective holidays are expected to bring tens of thousands of followers into Jerusalem’s old city, which is sacred to all three faiths.  

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

Heavy Rainfall and Flooding Hits South Africa’s Coastal Province Leading to 259 Dead

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  • South Africa has been experiencing unusually heavy rainfall that has led to severe flooding in the eastern coastal province of KwaZulu-Natal. Many South Africans have posted photos on social media showing major destruction in the form of collapsed roads and bridges, as well as homes that have been destroyed by mudslides. The city’s power stations have been flooded resulting in loss of power as well as water for residents. 
  • Mayor Mxolisi of eThekwini has stated that there are efforts being made to restore the water and electricity supply. Orders were given for residents to stay at home unless they live in a low-lying area or their home is at risk of collapsing.
  • The flood has killed 45 people in the last few days and emergency services have been working to save as many as possible. It has been reported that many people have been sitting on rooftops of buildings awaiting rescue.
  • Mayor Kaunda also stated that there is communication with the South African National Defence Force in relation to assisting the city. Rescue teams are cut off from being able to work with each other since major areas of the city are fully flooded.
  • The floods coincide with South Africa’s La Niña period, which is a global phenomenon in which there is more rainfall than usual. Scientists have also warned that the La Niña period is even more agitated by global warming. Studies show that the region has been hit by a multitude of cyclones and storms in the past six weeks with 230 reported deaths. Dr. Izdine Pinto from the University of Cape Town stresses that scientific resources need to be refined in order to understand the effects of climate change and “to prepare vulnerable people and infrastructure to better cope with them.”

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.

Samar Idlibi
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Samar is a UC San Diego graduate with a degree in Communication and a minor in Business. In addition to her passion for research and writing in relation to current events, she also utilizes her skills in areas such as digital marketing. Furthermore, she is deeply interested in positions that involve oral communication skills such as leadership roles and public speaking.

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Daily Brief

16 Injured During Brooklyn Subway Shooting

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  • Multiple people have been shot and injured after a man opened fire in a subway station on Tuesday morning, April 12th 2022. The shooting took place at 36th Street subway station in Brooklyn around 8:24 a.m. The shooter was said to have worn a gas mask and construction vest and proceeded to open a canister of smoke within the area before shooting people around the platform as well as inside the train car.
  • As of now, 16 people are injured with 10 wounded due to gunshot wounds. The Fire Department has stated that five of the victims are critically injured, but none have experienced any life-threatening injuries. Others with gunshot wounds are currently being treated at NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn where they are said to be in stable condition. As of now, there are no fatalities reported.
  • After the shooter fired into the train car as it was moving away from the platform, the train then made a stop at the next station on 25th street. From there, multiple injured people were able to exit the train and receive help from other subway riders as they waited for more help to arrive. 
  • As of now, the shooter is still on the loose. New York City Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell spoke to the public at a conference saying, “We are determining what the motive is, and we will find that out as the investigation continues.” NYPD has stated that they will not rule anything out yet without a proper investigation. This includes not ruling out the possibility of terrorism. As of now, the suspect has not been identified and another briefing will take place later as more information is uncovered.
  • The subway shooting is one of many shootings that have occurred recently in New York. NYPD has reported 322 shooting incidents with 360 people shot in this year alone in the city. Shootings have increased by about 8.4% from 2020 to 2021, which is a great contrast to 2018 and 2019 in which crime rates had hit an all-time low. It appears that the pandemic and lockdowns have deeply affected the crime rate of the city, sending the numbers up once again.

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.

Samar Idlibi
+ posts

Samar is a UC San Diego graduate with a degree in Communication and a minor in Business. In addition to her passion for research and writing in relation to current events, she also utilizes her skills in areas such as digital marketing. Furthermore, she is deeply interested in positions that involve oral communication skills such as leadership roles and public speaking.

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