Solomon Islands Security Deal with China Sends Shockwaves Across Pacific

A recent leaked report reveals that the Solomon Islands has drafted a security agreement with China, reports CBS News. This agreement would allow China to deploy military personnel and armed police in the islands, as well as permit Chinese warships to visit the nation, according to the Center for Strategic & International Studies. Though the leaked document has yet to be formalized, it has generated significant international concern and criticism. 

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Russia Accused of Atrocities as Massacre Continues in Ukraine

On April 3,  Ukraine accused Russia of committing a massacre of the Ukrainian people located in Bucha, a city located north of Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital. The accusations arose following Russia’s retreat from Kyiv. Numerous images and videos being circulated show the violence Russian soldiers inflicted upon the Ukrainian citizens. Images show numerous atrocities, such as a picture of at least twenty male corpses, lining a singular street in Bucha.

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Taliban Declares Total Ban on Poppy Cultivation

The cultivation of poppy is now strictly prohibited in Afghanistan, per a recent decree from the Taliban. The move comes amid the Taliban’s bid for formal international recognition, in which cessation of the Afghan drug trade has been a major impediment to the international community. 

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Ketanji Brown-Jackson Confirmed as First Black Female U.S. Supreme Court Justice

On April 7, the United States Senate confirmed Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States. According to NBC News, Judge Jackson will be the first Black woman and first public defender to be nominated and confirmed for a seat on the country’s highest court. She will take office in October 2022 following Justice Stephen Breyer’s retirement at the end of the current Supreme Court term. 

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New Prime Minister Appointed in Pakistan After No-Confidence Vote

In the midst of intense political turmoil, Pakistan’s parliament elected its new Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif on April 11, reports The New York Times. The new Prime Minister was voted in after the previous Prime Minister, Imran Khan, was ousted in a contentious no-confidence vote on April 10. 

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Somalia Elections Again Delayed, Drawing Western Warnings

Somalia’s federal parliamentary elections have been postponed with no planned makeup date, drawing the ire of Western backers that have condemned the delay. 

March 15 was the deadline for each of Somalia’s five states to separately hold elections for the country’s lower house of parliament. By the end of the day, however, the central government failed to announce the completion of the vote nationwide. While voting was completed in the states of South West and Galmudug, the states of Jubaland, Hirshabelle, and Puntland cumulatively still had 40 vacant seats to fill as of the date of the deadline, according to Africanews.

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FOCUS on Ukraine: Global Sanctions

Although the United States and its European allies have so far avoided direct military contact with the Russian armed forces, they have engaged in a different kind of warfare. Economic warfare has been employed to deter further Russian aggression in Ukraine and punish the regime for its illegal territorial expansion.

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Sanctions May Not Stop Putin, But They Will Certainly Hurt the Russian People

As the world watched in horror while Vladimir Putin launched his illegal and indefensible invasion of Ukraine, many immediately called for the harshest sanctions possible to be imposed on Putin’s regime. The United States and its allies showed remarkable unity in implementing comprehensive sanctions targeting key sectors of the Russian economy. According to Vox, the U.S. and Europe immediately sanctioned Putin and other Russian oligarchs by freezing their assets and confiscating properties belonging to individuals close to the Russian government. 

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U.S. Launches Sanctions Against Houthi Financers

On February 23, the United States took a major step in supporting allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates by announcing sanctions against key members of an international financing network accused of diverting funds for Yemen’s Houthi rebels, reports The Independent. The sanctions were launched in response to recent conflict escalation by the Houthis, who have launched an increasing number of missile and drone strikes against Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

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Numerous proposed bills across US limiting LGBT rights for minors

On March 8, Florida’s legislature passed a bill banning the discussion of sexual orientation and gender expression in elementary school classrooms. According to The Associated Press, Governor Ron DeSantis is expected to sign the bill into law. If he does so, the legislation will go into effect on July 1, per ABC News. While the bill is officially titled “The Parental Rights in Education” bill, LGBT activists are calling it the “Don’t Say Gay” Bill, as, according to ABC News, they fear “it could act as a complete ban on the lessons on LGBTQ oppression, history and discussions about LGBTQ identities.”

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