Thailand Cracks Down on Continued Anti-Government Protests 

On March 8, Thailand’s Bangkok Criminal Court detained three pro-democracy activists  on the charge of insulting the monarchy, according to Human Rights Watch. Al Jazeera states   that 15 other protesters were indicted over attending anti-government rallies on charges of sedition and disobeying a ban on public assemblies.

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India and Pakistan Renew Ceasefire After 20 Years

For the first time in almost 20 years, India and Pakistan have ceased firing across their shared border. Military officials from both nations released a joint statement stating they have agreed to a new ceasefire that went into effect at midnight on February 26, according to The New York Times. 

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FOCUS on Vaccine Diplomacy: China

Over a year after the world first felt the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, countless vaccines have been produced at record speed. Vaccine diplomacy, the practice of using shots to enhance a country’s regional ties and global status, provide nations like China the opportunity to flex their diplomatic muscles by using resources and development to their advantage. If vaccine diplomacy is a competition, then China is winning.

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Robert Zoellick Speaks at the School of Diplomacy on Foreign Policy and U.S. Diplomacy

The School of Diplomacy recently welcomed former World Bank President Robert Zoellick to discuss his new book, America in the World: A History of U.S. Diplomacy and Foreign Policy.  Zoellick also served as the Deputy Secretary of State, and U.S. Trade Representative from 2001 to 2005. The event was moderated by Dr. Anne Marie Murphy, Director of the Center for Foreign Policy Studies and Professor at the School of Diplomacy. 

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Supreme Court Overturns Conviction of Former Brazilian President 

In a recent ruling, the Supreme Court of Brazil overturned the corruption conviction of former two-term President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Lula), according to BBC News. The conviction was related to the massive anti-corruption investigation known as “Operation Car Wash” that exposed the largest corruption scandal in Latin America. The Supreme Court, however, ruled that Lula’s conviction was invalid because the court he was tried in lacked jurisdiction.

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German Politician Resigns Over Mask Corruption

In Germany, corruption allegations are threatening the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) as well as its sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU) ahead of elections in multiple German states. The CDU is the party of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has been in power for 15 years. However, this scandal is coming just months before she planned to step down in September.  BBC News notes that with Merkel leaving office, strong CDU leadership is needed if the party is to pick up the torch from the chancellor.

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FOCUS on Vaccine Diplomacy: Israel

The world’s most pressing challenge is the rush to inoculate everyone against COVID-19 and achieve herd immunity. Some countries choose to exchange vaccines with foreign nations to reward compliant behavior, while others seek to help countries that do not have access to vaccines. The Soufan Center, a non-profit research center, calls this a “new arms race,” states  France 24. Amid this “vaccine diplomacy” race, Israel is demonstrating its power to the international community and stands as number one in global vaccine rollouts. The country vaccinated almost 60 percent of its residents over 16 years old with the first dose, according to The Wall Street Journal. 

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Libyan Parliament Approves Unity Government

Libya’s parliament has appointed a new interim government in hopes of progressing unification in the conflict-ridden state. The government of Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah will replace the rivaling East-West administrations that have been ruling Libya for years, a transition that PBS reports was approved by 132 lawmakers.

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Derek Chauvin’s Trial is Beginning: What has America Learned, and How Do We Continue Forward?

On March 25, 2020, the world watched as George Floyd laid face down on a street outside a Minneapolis shop, pleading for his life. Floyd was accused of attempting to pay for cigarettes with a “fake” $20 bill. Floyd was handcuffed and restrained by police officers, while then-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin placed his knee on Floyd’s head and neck for 7 minutes and 46 seconds. Those moments, captured on spectators’ mobile cameras and shared on social media and the news, were Floyd’s final moments alive. 

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Pope Francis Makes Historic Visit to Iraq

In early March, Pope Francis embarked on a four-day trip to Iraq, where he met with political and religious rulers to encourage better Christian-Muslim relations. According to the official Vatican itinerary, titled Apostolic Journey of His Holiness Pope Francis to Iraq, the Pope arrived in Baghdad on March 5, where he was met by the Prime Minister and later that day visited the Iraqi President. He concluded his trip in Erbil, where he led mass in front of a large crowd. He preached words of encouragement to Christians living in Iraq, pointing to a better future in which they can restore the communities that were ravaged by ISIS militants years ago when they seized control of the region. 

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