Compass World: Historic Sentencing in Chile
According to Politico, the Trump administration plans to nominate Treasury Department official David Malpass to be the next World Bank president. In the past, Malpass described global financial institutions, such as the World Bank, as having "grown larger and more intrusive." Former World Bank President Jim Yong Kim unexpectedly announced in early January 2019 that he would step down, effective February 1. Historically, the United States has appointed the head of the global development bank, but Malpass' nomination may be met with resistance given prior skepticism he's expressed about intergovernmental organizations such as the World Bank.
Latin America & the Caribbean
Six Sentenced for 1982 Murder in Chile
A Chilean court sentenced six people to up to ten years in prison on January 30 for the murder of former-President Eduardo Frei Montalva (pictured below) in 1982. At the time, Montalva was an ardent opponent of Augusto Pinochet’s right-wing military dictatorship, which began in 1973 after the overthrow of left-wing President Salvador Allende. Montalva preceded Allende from 1964 to 1970. The investigation into his death in 1982 began following a court complaint by his son, Eduardo Frei, who served as president from 1994 to 2000. Several of the six perpetrators were former agents of Pinochet, and Montalva’s driver and doctor were also sentences. The judge ruled that Montalva’s death was a result of poisoning with “toxic substances,” confirming claims by his family over the years. Montalva is now included among the 3,095 slain under the Pinochet regime, according to the Chilean government’s figures.
Australia to Resettle Refugees in U.S.
The Australian government announced that the last of the children seeking asylum while held at an offshore facility in the Pacific island of Nauru will be resettled in the United States. Asylum seekers are barred from being settled in Australia if they arrive by boat, and they are instead held in detention centers in Nauru and Manus Island, Papua New Guinea. This announcement is viewed as a victory for a coalition of human rights groups lobbying Australia’s government. More than 400 asylum seekers have been resettled in America under a deal negotiated during the Obama administration to accept up to 1,250 refugees from Australia.
Middle East & Central Asia
Yemeni Government, Houthi Rebels Discuss Truce
The two sides of the Yemeni Civil War met on a ship in the Red Sea to discuss an end to the conflict. The meeting, which took place aboard a United Nations vessel, was mediated by a former Dutch general. The Yemeni government has been fighting against Shia Houthi rebels since 2014 for control of the country, with the war serving as a proxy between regional hegemons Iran and Saudi Arabia. The Saudis, in coalition with the United Arab Emirates, back Yemen’s government while Iran backs the Houthis. Among the issues discussed was control over the port city of Hodeidah (labeled below on the map as Al Hudaydah), which has been held by the Houthi rebels since summer 2018. The city is the main point of entry for imports into Yemen and control over it serves as an important source of legitimacy for either side.
Eastern Europe & Russia
Kvitova Presents Evidence
Czech tennis star Petra Kvitova presented evidence to a Prague court on February 4 related to an attack on her in December 2016. Kvitova suffered a serious injury to her main playing hand following a home invasion, which forced her to sit out six months in order to receive physical therapy treatment. The accused, Radim Zondra, faces up to 12 years in prison if found guilty. Kvitova requested to give the evidence from out of court in order to avoid facing Zondra in person again. There is no date set for the court’s verdict to be heard. The 28-year-old is currently ranked number two overall in the Women’s Tennis Association global rankings following a runner-up finish at the 2019 Australian Open to Naomi Osaka.
EFF Party Promises Comprehensive Reform
South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party released its official manifesto on February 2, promising to secure employment for all and land reclamation for the country’s black majority. The manifesto was released ahead of this May’s scheduled general election, when the ruling African National Congress (ANC) is heavily favored to win reelection. The party was founded by member of Parliament (MP) Julius Malema ahead of the 2014 election in response to widespread corruption within the ANC and what he felt was the party’s “compromise of power” with the country’s white minority. That year, the EFF unexpectedly won 25 seats in the 400-seat National Assembly and six seats in the 90-seat National Council. Despite the ANC being favored to maintain its absolute majority in Parliament, observers believe that recent corruption in the ANC and South Africa’s poor economic performance could result in more seats for minority parties like the EFF.
Western Europe & Canada
Uncovered Serial Killer Shocks Canada
Toronto native Bruce McArthur pled guilty in January to the murder of eight men involved in the city’s gay community. While the existence of a serial killer in the community had been rumored, the discovery has still sent shockwaves across the country. Multiple Canadian news outlets have questioned the amount of time it took for police to find the killer, with some arguing that the gay community may not have received enough attention from the city of Toronto.
Writing contributed by Ben Richmond and Benjamin Barth.