The World in a Flash
The Round-Up this week is short and sweet, with just enough room for some of our favourite articles and stories from the week. From Venezuela’s Supreme Court drama to the UK’s messy divorace, and the Rohingya in Myanmar, we’ve got all the headlines from the week and a few stories you might have missed!
First on the docket is Venezuela, where Maduro is in some hot water as the Supreme Court takes over legislative duties from the Congress, in what most are calling a coup. Several legislators have flat out called Maduro a dictator and unsurprisingly, the international community has chimed in with demands for an electoral timetable and fourteen North and South American countries have chimed in to call for elections. It remains to be seen if Maduro-sans-legislature will do a better job providing a way out of the crippling recession, and food and medicine shortages that have plagued the country recently.
Despite protests and hope for legal loopholes, the UK this Wednesday triggered Article 50 and formally began its divorce from the European Union. Stories of companies leaving the UK amid uncertainty are piling up, and Scottish MPs have voted 69 to 59 in favour of seeking another referendum and tweeted a picture of her writing the Section 30 (that’s the other divorce) Article.
In a speech to commemorate Myanmar’s Armed Forces Day on Monday, the country’s army chief announced there would be no citizenship for the approximately 1.1 million Rohingya Muslims who have been various kinds of oppressed and displaced. There’s also the argument that citizenship should take a back seat to bettering the conditions of the Rohingya more generally; many of those who are full citizens are still stigmatized, marginalized, and denied access to jobs, education, and living places.
The UN picked a bone with the US: since Trump’s ascension nineteen states have apparently introduced or passed laws that curbs freedom of expression and the right to protest. A bill in Missouri proposes a seven-year sentence for obstructing traffic and a bill in Minnesota would criminalize peaceful protestors who participate in activism that later turns violent. Not that the President will mind, most of the protests are a reaction to his more controversial bouts of “Presidential” and this is all probably fake news anyway. A Republican from Maine, Larry Lockman, is taking steps to ensure that Climate Change Deniers are protected, though.
Park Guen-hye is now officially become the former South Korean president. She will be placed in solitary for twenty days while prosecutors find evidence to indict her; her cell will only be slightly larger than the other inmates and she won’t be able to have her hair done. A moment of a silence for her suffering. That seems like enough.
Narendra Modi’s government is in the final stage of its ambitious tax reform programs, the implementation of a goods and services tax (GST) throughout the country. The last few bills are being tabled in the upper house of the Indian parliament and businesses are working towards accommodating these changes before they come into effect on July 1. The program began to make news in late 2016 and will streamline the country’s tax system and transform it into a single market by eliminating the need for rates that vary by state.
The gong show that renegotiating NAFTA will be kicked off for realsies this week, with Bob Lighthizer, the presumptive US Trade Representative, dropping some clues about the renegotiation priorities via letters exchanged with congressional committee considering his appointment. A big one on the list: liberalizing cross-border online shopping. Obviously also on that list, of course, are dairy, softwood lumber, wine, and pharmaceuticals. Also, some drama about intellectual property and knockoff products. It remains to be seen, however, how the spectacular failure that was Trumpcare might affect the tax and trade reforms.