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THE HIGHLIGHTS

Colombia’s prez has his mind on police reform. 

 

THE BACKGROUND. 

For weeks, people in Colombia - where nearly half of the population lives in poverty - have been protesting a planned tax reform that would essentially force a lot more people to pay a lot more taxes. Police met those protesters with semiautomatic weapons and rifles, leading to at least 60 deaths and 800 injuries. Three officers are even facing murder charges. All this has caused international outrage and calls for changes to policing. 

 

THE HAPPENINGS. 

Meet Iván Duque. He’s Colombia’s prez - and he’s pledging to modernize the country’s police and increase accountability. See: he wants Congress to greenlight measures that’d do things like create a human rights directorate, add more officer training, and set up a new complaints system and disciplinary standards for officers - to name a few. 

 

THE REACTION. 

ICYMI, lately, Duque’s gov has been in talks with an umbrella group of protesters called the National Strike Committee. Those negotiations came to a halt a few days ago, reportedly because the gov still hasn’t signed a pre-agreement reached last month. So it’s not entirely clear whether the measures Duque now supports also have the thumbs-up from protesters. 

 

THE TAKE. 

Either way, this is an important first step toward putting an end to police brutality in Colombia. TBD on if Congress passes those measures. 


THE ACTION

WORLD: The other day, armed militants attacked a village in Burkina Faso, burning buildings and killing more than 130 civilians, including 7 kids. It’s the worst militant attack in the African nation in years. So far, no group has claimed responsibility. Meanwhile, the United Nations is warning that famine is imminent in the Ethiopian region of Tigray. Quick refresher: for months, Ethiopian and Eritrean troops have been trying to take further control of Tigray, leading to thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of displacements. Stay tuned. In other news, recent research just revealed that China’s actions against Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang could cut between 2.6 million and 4.5 Uighur births in the next 20 years. That’s a third of the region’s projected minority population. 

 

ELECTIONS: Yesterday, Mexico headed to the polls in its midterm elections. Voters decided on 500 seats in the lower house, 15 state governorships, and thousands of local leadership positions. The elections - largely seen as a referendum on the country’s prez - were marred by violence, with 35 political candidates murdered ahead of the vote. Expect to keep hearing about this as results continue to come out. Speaking of which, yesterday, Peru had its presidential election. The two candidates? Pedro Castillo, a leftist union activist with no gov experience, and Keiko Fujimoro, the right-wing daughter of a jailed ex-prez. Voters were apparently not too happy about either option, but as of now, it looks like Fujimoro may have the lead. Suspense, thick. 

 

USA: Say hello to Sen Joe Manchin (D-WV). He’s a Dem who’s been known to side with Republicans on some key votes (think: Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation). That’s especially significant right now, when Dems and Republicans each have 50 votes in the Senate - with Vice Prez Kamala Harris serving as a tiebreaker. Case in point: recently, Manchin announced that he won’t vote for the For the People Act, which would expand voting access. Manchin’s move pretty much ensures that the act won’t pass. Intro backlash from other Dems. In other news, the US is set to donate 750,000 coronavirus vaccines to Taiwan. The country used to get a lot of applause for its pandemic response, but in the past few weeks, cases have skyrocketed. 


WHAT TO KNOW

Meghan and Harry:” who just announced the birth of their second baby, Lilibet Diana. 


SAY WHAT?

“Kim Jong-un is waging war on slang, jeans and foreign films” - an actual headline. No cap. 

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