Compass World: Čaputová the Favorite in Slovak Election
LATIN AMERICA & THE CARIBBEAN
Russian Military in Venezuela
Two Russian military planes landed in Venezuela just three months after a joint military exercise between the countries, reigniting concerns of continued Russian military and economic aid towards Venezuela in Washington. A reported 100 Russian troops along with 35 tons of cargo were offloaded from the planes, and Russian officials have claimed that there is “nothing mysterious” about the arrival of Russian military personnel. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called on Moscow to break off its diplomatic support of Venezuela and its President Maduro, while Russia continues to condemn leading nations for their support of opposition leader Guíado.
Bus Catches Fire in China
At least 26 people were killed, in Changde, a city in China’s Hunan province, after a tourist bus transporting 53 passengers burst into flames. The city reports that an investigation is currently underway and that the two bus drivers are being detained. Traffic accidents are known to be common in China, with 58,000 deaths by vehicle accidents in 2015. Almost 90 percent of the time, accidents in China are considered the fault of inattentive or careless drivers who violate traffic laws.Chinese transport authorities continue to struggle to ensure that vehicles follow regulations.
MIDDLE EAST & CENTRAL ASIA
Governor of Iraqi Province Removed by Parliament
The Iraqi Parliament voted to remove the province of Nineveh’s governor due to charges of corruption and negligence. Nineveh’s citizens in the city of Mosul have sought the removal of governor Nufal Hammadi for over two years, but parliament resisted removing him. After a ferry sank in Mosul on Nowruz, the Persian and Kurdish New Year, protests broke out in the streets demanding Hamadi’s removal. Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi set up a “crisis cell” to run Nineveh, which consists of the president of Mosul University, Nineveh’s chief of police, and the head of the Iraqi armed forces in Nineveh.
EASTERN EUROPE & RUSSIA
Čaputová the Favorite to Win
Zuzana Čaputová is the favorite to win the runoff for the Slovak presidential election on March 30. Čaputová won a plurality of the votes with 40 percent in the first round on March 16. She faces Maroš Šefčovič in the runoff, and opinion polls heavily favor Čaputová with an average just above 60 percent. Čaputová ran on a platform of rooting out corruption in the national government which arose in the wake of populist, Euroskeptic politicians gaining power. She is running on the ticket of the Progressive Slovakia party, a social progressive, pro-Europe party, while Šefčovič ran as an independent.
Police in Comoros Crack Down on Protests
Police in Comoros, an island nation in the Indian Ocean, fired tear gas to push back against protestors contesting the presidential election results, which some have described as a flawed vote. Opposition candidates claim that the government barred independent observers from monitoring polling places and noticed marked ballots before voting commenced. Observers from the African Union and other African intergovernmental groups noted that the process lacked transparency and was riddled with abnormalities, overall rendering it not credible. Soilihi Mohamed, an opposition candidate, explained the goal of the post-election protests as fighting “the power to validate the fraudulent results of the elections.”
WESTERN EUROPE & CANADA
MPs Move to Establish Brexit Approach
In a vote of 329 votes to 302, the British government was defeated by an amendment backed by politicians of multiple parties. This amendment will call a vote later in the week to determine what form of Brexit has majority support among Parliament. Theresa May does not guarantee that she will act in accordance with the vote, but other MPs have warned of the commotion that would be caused if she were to refuse to acknowledge the vote. May has voiced her fear that the votes will choose an outcome that will be refused by the EU.
Writing contributed by Benjamin Barth, Stephen Cho, and Ben Richmond.