Compass World: CBA, Tencent Boycott the Houston Rockets
LATIN AMERICA & THE CARIBBEAN
Brazilian President Broadens Investigation of Oil Spills
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has ordered federal police forces and the navy to support an investigation into oil spills that have polluted the country’s Northeast in recent weeks. Authorities have yet to determine the origin of the spills, which have killed turtles and forced bathers and fishermen to stay away from the contaminated areas. State oil company Petrobras has conducted its own investigation and concluded that it was not responsible. This initiative comes as Bolsonaro is under fire for his half-hearted reaction to the ongoing fires in the Amazon, the most biodiverse area in the world and the source of most of its oxygen.
CBA, Tencent Boycott the Houston Rockets
The Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) and Chinese technology conglomerate Tencent both announced that they would be cutting ties with the NBA’s Houston Rockets after the team’s general manager, Daryl Morey, tweeted an image declaring support for protesters in Hong Kong. The CBA, in an official statement on its Weibo account, said that it would discontinue all exchanges and partnerships with the Rockets. The CBA is chaired by Yao Ming, who played on the Rockets for nine years and was instrumental in expanding the popularity of basketball in China. Tencent went even further, saying it would no longer have live broadcasts of any Rockets games or report news about the Rockets. Tencent has exclusive Chinese broadcasting rights for all NBA games.
MIDDLE EAST & CENTRAL ASIA
Talk of Deal Between Yemeni Government, Rebels
Yemen’s Saudi-backed government is close to reaching a deal with separatists in the South over the status of the port of Aden. The deal would have Saudi forces take temporary control of the city and bring an end to the power struggle. Resolving the standoff over Aden is viewed as a precondition to discussing the Houthi proposal to end drone and missile strikes on Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has been hosting talks between the government of Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and the Southern Transitional Council to end one front in the Saudi-backed war.
EASTERN EUROPE & RUSSIA
Incoming EU Diplomatic Head Plans to Focus on Balkans, Russia
The European Union's incoming foreign affairs chief, Josep Borrell, said he would focus on the Balkans and Europe's eastern neighbours during a confirmation hearing on October 7. He also urged that the bloc continue to impose strict sanctions on Russia. Borrell, who currently serves as the Spanish foreign minister, promised to make Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, his first official visit, despite the fact that Spain does not recognize Kosovo as an independent state. "The Balkans and the eastern borders of the EU, they are the main priorities of our foreign policy," Borrell said. "We can't have ambitions to be global players if we can't sort out problems on our own borders."
Opposition Leader Freed From Jail in Cameroon
Cameroonian opposition leader Maurice Kamto has been allowed to walk free due to a military court ruling after spending the last nine months in prison. He was arrested in January 2019 for leading protests that disputed the results of last year’s election. President Paul Biya won the election for his 7th consecutive term, comfortably beating his opponents. Kamto came closest with only 14.2 percent of the vote, although he claims the election was rigged. Biya has released Kamto and several of his supporters in an effort to signal reconciliation, but critics say the government still keeps thousands of innocent people in jail.
WESTERN EUROPE & CANADA
School Strike Averted in Ontario
The Canadian Union of Public Employees and the Ontario provincial government managed to reach a tentative deal on October 6 to avoid a strike by 55,000 caretakers, educational assistants, early childhood educators, and office staff. The deal has not yet been officially ratified by both sides. The negotiations concerned wage hikes, sick leave, and funding to bring back services for students and jobs lost because of budget cuts. Critics attribute the impetus for the near-strike to Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s budget cuts, which resulted in higher student-teacher ratios in many school districts.
Writing contributed by Adam Hilelly, Ben Richmond, and Benjamin Barth.